I did it!!!!! I finally went to the dentist after about 5 years. The first 4 years was a lack of health insurance and this past year was busyness and fear. But not only did I make a New Year's resolution to go (something I never do), I chipped a back tooth this past weekend in Albany. And there's nothing like being stabbed on the under side of your tongue over and over again to give you a kick in the pants.
B's dad told me that they had made great strides in dentistry over the past 5 years. It seemed like such an absurd thing to say that I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't. And thank god, he was right. I had a computer screen in front of my chair! And instead of two x-rays taken in a back room, I sat right there while they took about 2o detailed x-rays of each section of teeth. The pictures popped up on the screen and they explained everything. They also used this special camera - I think it was actually called "Denta-Cam" or something - and took full color pictures of my teeth so I could see exactly what they see.
Also, the cleaning was much less painful than I remember. Of course, I bled like a hemophiliac since I hadn't been there in so long, but it was still pretty survivable. I found out that: I brush too hard, I clench my teeth when I sleep, you should "hug" each tooth when you floss, dental bacteria is the same kind of bacteria that causes heart disease and strokes, one of my "i" teeth has 2 roots (very rare apparently), and my oral surgeon left a tiny piece of tooth in my jaw when he pulled my wisdom teeth (not a big deal).
And the good news? Only 2 small cavities after all this time! I figured I had an entire mouth-full, especially after B took a flashlight to my mouth to see the chipped tooth and announced to everyone in the room how awful my mouth was and how decayed it was. As it turns out, he should stick to engineering. The "cavities" he saw were simply the wear on my back teeth from clenching.
So now I'm converted. I am dedicated to perfect tooth care from here on out!