Right before the pandemic hit I was referred to a dentist by a good friend. I had not been to the dentist in two years due to the sudden loss of my mother, who, ironically, was such a stickler about me going annually. But because I was in such shock after her passing, and distracted by life in general, a visit to the dentist was simply not a priority. Living was.
But finally, I made the appointment for a simple cleaning and was told I actually had a cavity. Well, I have a great history of dentist visits, and only two cavities from my teen years (almost two decades ago) so I figured, this is going to be a simple procedure. Let’s do it! I got the filling done, and that was when I began having issues. All of a sudden, my tooth was sensitive to hot and cold. All of a sudden, I was in pain! I went back to the dentist and they did some flossing and said my issues were due to some food stuck in my teeth. Umm….ok. Well the pandemic hit and as you know, everything shut down for a while. I was still having pain and had to wait another two months to be seen. When I was seen, I saw a different dentist at the same practice (that shall remain nameless) and was shown x-rays of my tooth. Apparently, the cavity was larger than Dentist 1# let on, and the filling was now hitting the root of the tooth, hence the new pain. I was told I now need a root canal (insert audible gasp). At this point I am upset. Why is it I come in for a cleaning, and now ya’ll are telling me I need a root canal? I have been told ALL MY LIFE how perfect my teeth are and how well-aligned, and have I ever had braces? (To which I would answer no, just really good genetics) and now I’m supposed to get a root canal?!)
So I get the root canal (and I’m going to start using the actual dental terms here because this is when the story gets more complex). I get the root canal by the Endodontist. The procedure goes well enough (except for that horrible drilling you are hearing in your ears the whole time). But within a few weeks, when they said I was supposed to have no pain, I recognized that I still did! Now, the sensitivity to hot and cold is gone, however I cannot chew on that side of my face! I went back and they shaved down some of the bite and told me I had to wait six months before they could do anything else.
I switched dentists. I got another referral and was told that maybe I just needed a crown on the tooth to stabilize it and that is why it wasn’t healing? This was told to me by Endodontist #2. So, I got a temporary crown by my new dentist (Dentist #3) and waited and nothing. I was still in pain. I was still unable chew on that side of my mouth.
We are at the six month mark here, just in case anyone was wondering…
I went back to Endodontist #2 and after performing more tests, his recommendation was for me to see a Periodontist (aka a gum specialist). Now, bless his heart, he did not want to re-do the root canal (which is what I was suggesting because I just wanted this issue fixed) and he was sure it was not the tooth, but the gum at this point. I’ll just throw in here, I literally saw this man three different times and never once did he charge me! God bless Dr. Mickels.
So anyways, I am now seen by the Periodontist and he does his own assessment and suggests a “Crown Lengthening” where they shave down the bone in the gum. Ouch. I don’t even want to think too hard about this, and am so ready for this thing to be over that I am teared up while sitting in his chair and hearing his diagnosis. Lord help! (And I will insert here that of course throughout this whole journey I was sending out texts to my people for prayer and had many people praying for me. I even received a prophetic dream in the midst of this experience and had a few spiritual experiences to where God was affirming His presence and that He was with me walking through all of this. But that was even more confusing to me. Since He was with me, why wasn’t I being healed? But we will get to that…)
I am put on a waiting list for the crown lengthening (at this point we are over a year in this thing, and I recognize the hand of God in it all to have me wait). The pain is manageable, and so I do. But then I am told by my dentist (Dentist #3, the new dentist) that she also does these surgeries and she can get me in faster. Well, I book super quick, but unfortunately the date fell on a day where I had other obligations and it didn’t work out. So again, I was waiting.
Then, one morning, I get the call that I am able to have the surgery done that day and so I quickly cancelled all the day’s plans and sped over to the Periodontist. Again, another easy-peasy surgery and I am told it will be weeks before we know if it actually worked. Well, I have waited over a year, so I can do a few weeks.
Or so I thought.
All of a sudden, a few days after the surgery, my pain skyrockets from a 3/4 to an 8/9! Can you imagine? Over a year of pain and now it’s WORSE?! And it’s worse because of something a certified health professional recommended and was so certain would heal me? I went back, and was seen and told the throbbing I was experiencing was caused by a canker sore in my mouth. Huh? A canker sore? Ok. (Insert rolling the eyes emoji). Because now my whole face feels in agony, on fire and as if I am literally in surgery at this very moment.
“You are just going to have to wait six weeks for your follow up. You are just going to have to bear through it.” That is what I am told by these male and female health professionals through blank expressions, and glazed-filled eyes.
Wow. Bear through it huh? That is your medical professional opinion? Here is the thing sir, I have already been “bearing through it”. I am no lightweight. I can endure a certain level of pain, but I cannot go through this magnitude of pain for another year. I didn’t even know if I could get through another day.
Have you ever been there? You are already in so much pain (physical/mental/emotional/spiritual/financial, etc…) and then the fire gets turned up, and it just gets worse?
I am not even going to get into how my mental health took a nose dive during this process. I am not even going to share the unfair racial treatment I know was at work in these medical professional’s responses. I am not even going to share the details of how I was never given any form of medication through this whole process. I am only going to say I hit my breaking point and cried out to the Lord. Now of course, this whole time, as I said, I had been praying, but now I was waking up at 3AM in agony, in pain like I’ve never had before, crying out to him. I was taking up to 1200 mgs a day of IB profen (well over the recommended dosage I might add) and was still in pain. But God.
He met me. And do you know during one of those nights where I was begging for help, He gave me a word of knowledge? He reminded me some six or seven years ago a dentist recognized that I grind my teeth at night and recommended a mouth guard. Well, I declined the offer at the time as they were trying to overcharge me. But I never looked into the matter since then.
In the middle of the night though, while on my knees, it was on my heart that I needed one. I sat up from my pool of tears, popped open my phone and ordered one immediately from Amazon. Still, I had to wait two more days. (Do you see the theme of waiting here? Sometimes our healing is a process. Sometimes we do have to wait for our healing. But that does not mean our healing is not coming!).
Do you know that when I finally used that mouth guard, my mouth was 80% healed overnight? 80% healed! From a mouth guard! My God.
I am in awe of God and all that I have learned through this experience. I literally was at my breaking point, but just when I was giving up, He moved.
Do not give up. You just do not know that your healing is right around the corner. And now, I am pretty much 100% better. After that whole journey, and that whole process, I am healed.
But my healing took time.
I want you to be encouraged, that though you are being tested, it is only for the testimony. Though you have been in pain and agony, and through the fire, pain is temporary, while love is eternal. I want to remind you that God is Healer and a Restorer of the Breach. Our bodies were made to heal, and I believe that also includes our mental/emotional and spiritual faculties. If they are not healing, then something is blocking them from their healing.
Ask God, “Why am I not healing? What is blocking my healing?” I guarantee He will answer. His answer for you may look different then His answer for me (He has used medical professionals before in my past healing experiences, but this time He wanted to teach me something different).
But I promise you, that if He did it for me, He will certainly do it for you.