The excitement of back to school is in the air. My boys have spent the past two weeks organizing their gear, trying to guess which teachers they will have, wondering which friends will be in their classes, and planning their morning routines. I have been busy setting up my classroom, planning with other teachers and getting ready to greet a new set of smiling faces. While I enter September with energy and excitement, this year I have also been carrying a bit of fear .
In January, I had a running accident, a freak accident if you will, when I fell on a particularly dark section of road and broke my jaw in four places. I spent 4 weeks recovering at home, 6 weeks on liquids and 8 weeks without any physical activity other than walking. I was lucky. I could have broken my neck, I could have been unconscious…the list of “could have’s” is endless. I only broke my jaw.
The one worry that I carried throughout my recovery, though, was about my teeth. When I hit the road, my bottom front teeth shifted. The sudden discolouration of some teeth made the oral surgeon think I would need a root canal or two. It looked like I had some cracked teeth at the back of my mouth. But I was told that teeth do repair themselves so there was no reason to worry. “Wait 6 months,” he said. “That will give your mouth the time that it needs to heal. Then, we’ll x-ray and see what work needs to be done.”
“Don’t worry,” he said. Of course, I worried – every time I looked in the mirror, brushed my teeth and ate. And I’ve worried about the time that I would need from work for any reconstructive work. And I worried about the cost. How could I not worry?
So at home, when the dudes have been excitedly in their back to school frame of minds, my fear of my follow-up exam was consuming me. I was glad that I had booked my appointment for the week before school so that I could eliminate my fear of the unknown; I had to have an idea of what lay ahead. At least, then I would know; then, I could plan.
Yesterday, I spent 40 minutes with my dentist who checked the top, front and back surfaces of every single tooth. He did the “percussion test” when he taps on the teeth to check for any sensitivity. Then he announced, “There is nothing wrong with your teeth. Nada. I can’t believe it. They have repaired themselves.”
“Don’t you want to x-ray them?” I asked.
“I don’t need to. You aren’t showing any signs of damage. When you come back for your regular check-up, we can x-ray then.”
I could not believe it. We – my husband and I – were certain that there was long-term dental damage. The oral surgeon was right. “Teeth have a way of repairing themselves.” I am still shocked that he was right; I am completely fine. The feelings that I had when I left the office were overwhelming – happiness, gratitude, relief. I don’t tend to be an emotional person but I almost wanted to cry. Almost.
When I left the dentist, I left my fear of the unknown behind me. The accident is now a thing of the past, a memory, an experience, a challenge that probably made me a little bit stronger. And now, as I head into a new school year, I can truly look forward to what lies ahead.