There’s a phenomenon that we humans participate in whereby we dissociate from parts of our bodies. This can be because we don’t like those parts, we find them unattractive, or they are uncomfortable or even painful.
Here’s an example: I have had problems with my teeth ever since I can remember. I was a dental patient from the time I got my adult teeth. The drinking water where I grew up in Chicago wasn’t fluoridated, and I was a big sweet eater, besides. I ended up needing lots of fillings and, as a result, sometimes just wanting to avoid the dentist.
In my forties, I discovered I had a bigger problem – periodontal disease. Eek! I found out that this condition of inflammation of the gums was likely occurring because of a genetic predisposition. The progression of this disease can lead to tooth and gum loss, many hours in the dentist’s chair, and great expense.. Over the last 20-plus years, I would say that I’ve had the equivalent of a small down payment on a house go into my mouth.
I had treatment from some good dentists and specialists over the years, and some not so good. One dentist pulled a tooth without telling me he was going to do it. Another dentist would verbally abuse his nurse while I was a captive audience in his chair.
I never really wanted to know about the various interventions that I needed. I just wanted the procedures – extractions, fillings, root canals, crowns, bridges, implants – to be over and done with as soon as possible.
You see, all these years I’ve been fairly thoroughly dissociated from my gums and teeth… strange considering I take such good care of the rest of my body. I try to be in touch on a daily basis with all parts of my body in my yoga practice.
I have a new dentist. I like her, even though I’m sure she’s just barely out of school. I decided I’d let her in. Today we looked at my dental X-rays together. She pointed things out and I didn’t look away. I said that I was tired of dealing with one tooth problem at a time and I’d like to have a holistic plan – the Big Picture – going into the future. After our visit she emailed me and said she needed to do some research.
After 60 years, it’s time, and I’m ready to reclaim my mouth.