Ugh. I’m having dental problems. My problems aren't "necessarily" from my 14 years of bulimia, but they are definitely from a side-effect of not being great at dealing with stress, even after my recovery - I grind my teeth. And, apparently, I've been grinding like never before since I began my new stressful job in March. It’s true that my new job really stresses me out and even put me into a bit of a depression for about 2.5 months (thankfully, it's been getting much better – that will be a separate post). I was consumed with a fear of failure. The job is tough and demanding, but those things are manageable IF YOU AREN’T CONSUMED WITH SELF-DOUBT.
Let's talk about my teeth. I went to the dentist in March before I left my old job since I didn't know how the insurance would be with the new one. She didn't see anything unusual and just gave me a cleaning. By late April, my teeth started hurting. My whole left side of my mouth hurt. I tried ignoring it, but of course it just got worse. I couldn't eat or drink anything cold. I couldn't eat anything sweet & sticky - I got some candy stuck in there once and I about hit the ceiling from the pain.
I finally went back to the dentist (my new insurance covers my old dentist, thankfully) in June. She found that my grinding had "dug up" 2 old fillings that would have to be replaced. And, I have one new cavity. She also gave me some more scary news - I may have cracked a tooth, which definitely means getting a crown and probably a root canal. UGH!! For now, I got 2 fillings done and will get the 3rd done at the end of the month. She filled the potentially cracked tooth, at my insistence, hoping that that would take care of the problem and that her guess at it being cracked is wrong. But, alas, 2 weeks after getting it filled, it still hurts as much as it did before she "fixed" it. I'm going to have to get up some courage and get the root canal and the crown.
Who knows how much worse this is because of the damage I did to my teeth during 14 years of bulimia. The one thing we know for sure is that my lingering inability to deal well with stress and my propensity to let challenge and discomfort with new, unknown circumstances develop into an overwhelming fear of failure have caused me to do more harm to my body. It's frustrating . . .
I have grown enough to recover from bulimia, but I'm still not as spiritually strong, courageous, optimistic, and unattached from my circumstances as I want to be. I need to get some of my old tools and books back out. In June, just before I finally made that first dentist appt, I actually reread " Self-Esteem Tools for Recovery" by my friend, Lindsey Hall of Gurze.com, and it helped immensely. This book isn't just for bulimics, it's for anyone struggling with a bad habit (such as my bad habit to focus on the potential for failure over all else when things get challenging). It actually was the turning point between being my depressed about my job and my starting to embrace it because of all the wonderful things it brings to my life.
To look on the positive side (which I’ll get into more in another post), I’m happy that 1) I’m finally challenging myself to grow in my career and really feel proud of myself and excited about watching myself accomplish meaningful things. And, 2) my new challenging circumstances are forcing me to continue to stretch myself and grow spiritually. Every tough time in our lives is a beautiful opportunity to grow stronger and better if we choose to work on it.
have more to say about how I got out of my funk with the new job, but I want this post to focus a bit more on teeth. I have to thank the anonymous poster who wrote this comment just today over on my post, " Dental problems from bulimia:"
I need to get veneers because of the damage i have caused during 20 years of bulimia. Is there anything else i can do to protect my veneers? Of course i am trying to recover but don't hold out much hope. Can any bulimics tell me how their veneers are lasting and if they are having any problems.
This poster’s amazing timing made me finally get this post written. We would BOTH love input from anyone out there who had to go through major dental work, particularly vaneers, during or after bulimia. Please share your experiences and how your dental work is holding up. I’m going to have to get a “night guard” to stop me from grinding while I’m asleep – anyone out there have one of these?
Early treatment of orthodontic problems not only makes treatment time shorter, but also prevents serious dental problems from developing. This piece of advice has been given by Prof TP Chaturvedi, senior doctor of the Faculty Of Dental Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, on the eve of the Orthodontic Awareness Week (OAW) .