Dental nightmares and why I might end up a mad hatter………….. 

Back to the teeth! On Monday, the receptionist reminded me that I started this dental adventure in JANUARY! It’s been months of difficult appointments. But this is what happens when you’re too afraid to go to the dentist for far too long. Mainly because you’ve been poked, prodded and surgically dissected about a hundred times over the years. And my childhood experiences with cavities didn’t help allay my fears. 

When I was about 17, my dad & I attended a welcome luncheon at my college. The entire day felt interminable because I had the worst toothache. We met so many people and then ate lunch with faculty members, current students and other incoming freshmen. I could barely speak, let alone chew.  After telling my dad what was happening, he called our dentist (his friend) – a Rodney Dangerfield lookalike who thought he was hilarious – and booked an emergency appointment later that evening. Turned out that I needed a root canal. I’ll just say this: the night ended with my mouth in REALLY bad shape. There was a ridiculous amount of pain and upset. Oh, and I may have punched the dentist. It’s a little fuzzy all these years later. He damaged my tooth, which ended up needing to be pulled. But not before he broke it. I wasn’t aware of that until years later, when another dentist casually informed me that “that piece of broken tooth” needed to come out. What the heck?!?! That’s when I explained that the tooth had been pulled. She said that it had clearly been cracked during the extraction and it would have been obvious to whoever pulled it. A fact conveniently left out of my last appointment with “Dr. Dangerfield.” What a mess. Needless to say, my fear of sitting in that chair intensified A LOT. It kept me from seeing a dentist regularly. I’d go in, get fillings done and deal with issues as they popped up. That was my mistake. 

Fast forward a lot of years. My teeth began to give me grief the way the rest of my body does, enough that it couldn’t be ignored any longer. So, in January, I went in to get a proper cleaning, checkup and whatever other work was necessary. Well, the cleaning ended up becoming a deep cleaning, not fun. And that “other work” turned into a four month odyssey of pain. I needed a crown, multiple fillings, and he bonded my teeth as well. He also filled in the gap where that broken tooth had been. Hard to imagine that such a small space between my teeth could cause so much trouble. But it did. 😖

On Monday, my amazing dentist – (and I sincerely mean that) – planned to finish the final bonding and filling. But since my last appointment, I’d started having serious pain on the right side of my mouth each time I ate, brushed/rinsed and at random times. I was convinced there was a new cavity or a problem with the work he’d already done. He did another x-ray and checked each tooth. And then said that it’s residual nerve pain and gum sensitivity. All of the RSD stuff already affected the left side of my face. Plus having this much work done in a short span of time was intense. So I’ll have to use sensitive toothpaste and a gentler brush, that’s easy. But the nerve pain? We’ll just have to see what happens. 

Moral of the story: GO TO THE DENTIST REGULARLY!!!! That’s an order. 😁

In other news, I started classes again. They’re amazing. One is about popular design motifs used in architecture, furniture and fashion. Seriously cool. When you’re not in a big hurry, take time to look at the buildings where you live. Examine the style choices you make each day. Are they influenced by ancient Egypt? The renaissance? Gothic? Victorian? While those words conjure up specific images, there are subtle details within each genre that can be seen daily in homes, churches, courthouses and the like. Sometimes we don’t even notice! It’s really interesting.

The other course is a game changer for me: Hats and headpieces for costumes. It was surreal, listening to my professor speak about her career, and suddenly imagining what it would be like to have a job like hers. Trying to picture what having access to materials, a big budget and a “runway,” aka the stage, would be like. I wouldn’t even know where to begin! But I know that I want to find out. This will be the first of many millinery classes for me, I know it. Am I biting off more than I can chew? Maybe. But at least my teeth are in better shape to handle it. 😉

It’s been an education listening to my classmates talk about their jobs in various theaters, with different companies. I’m trying to glean anything I can from this experience, gain any insights into this business of costuming. It’s political, competitive and all about who you know. Like most jobs in most fields nowadays. At least I’ve carved out a small corner for myself, one that works for me. For now. The flexibility my work affords me is priceless. 

It’s odd. I can go for weeks, (during my non- show months), and feel pretty good, for the most part. It’s even easy to forget my limitations when things are calm. Well, not forget, but my denial goes into high gear. Then, the runaround starts up and I’m reminded of why working full-time would be difficult. My body hurts. My fatigue is off the charts and it’s like getting hit with a bucket of ice water. Not so fast, Beck! 

But I love it. I’ll take the soreness, being tired, and the struggles that accompany them. Because I’m alive and doing. I’m creating. I’m happy

And that’s worth everything. 

Be kind to one another. And I wasn’t kidding about the dentist! 😉

Peace &painlessness,




  1. golden1723

    I know what you mean by “selective denial”, as I’ve heard it called. My RSD/CRPS pain is barely noticeable during the day though by 4 or 5 pm every day for the past 14 years, it emerges as a monster crawling out from under my bed, grabbing my right foot so tightly that I want to scream! It is amazing that our defenses can protect us from awareness during periods of relative calm. I am grateful for this respite and thoroughly enjoy afternoons until the dreaded monster wakes up. I am so glad that you found a trustworthy dentist after your initial ordeal. I do see mine every 6 months, motivated by my mom who had a bridge. Seeing her teeth sitting in a pink cup overnight in our family bathroom as a child made a deep impression upon me. I too had multiple cavities as a child and now sport molars full of metal fillings which will someday need to be replaced. I wish you the best as you move forward and salute your courage to get this work done. I understand desperation as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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