Overcoming fear by not giving it a chance
It's been awhile since I posted (like since 2008) but I landed back here when I got a toothache last week, more for re-assurance than anything.
When I first found here I was terrified of dentists. Since then I've worked through a lot of it, by first going (and being nervous enough to make myself physically ill), then deep cleaning/scaling and then onto regular cleanings over the last 6 yrs. Okay, no problem! Worst I've had outside of that was a filing of a chipped front tooth.
That was, until last week. When I got a toothache. And my fears came crashing back fast and hard. My fears of going to the dentist go back to a several month long trial that started in a filling for a cracked tooth, followed by a root canal, followed by extraction. None of it very pleasant and all of it leaving the scars of fear.
So when I had my tooth looked at earlier this week and was told that there was possibly a crack under and old filling that needed to be treated sooner rather later because it would develop into something much more painful at some point in the future, you can darn well believe that this was me ->
I saw my dentist on Tuesday and had an endodontist appt by this morning. Apparently my dentist doesn't mess around. Took my x-rays and my sorry self to the office this morning, bright and early after dealing with an hour of rush hour traffic to get into the city, only to have enough time to barely get my new patient paperwork done before being called back to the torture chamber.
Got situated, met with the assistant briefly and in walks Dr. Kim who asked me how I was doing and I didn't hesitate in replying that honestly, I'm terrified. He took a look, did his thing of poking and prodding, had me do some bite tests and announced that I needed a root canal.
So by not having any time to panic but simply slink down a little further in the dentist chair, he proceeded to explain to me that yes my tooth was cracked behind the filing. He reassured me that it would take only about an hour and would be no worse than getting a filling done. He was exceptionally reassuring that he was confident this would fix my hypersensitivity issue that had been building of the last six months.
So, we set off. First topical, then three injections with the "you might feel a little pinch". Ten minutes later he working diligently and with such a complete degree of concentration a helicopter could have landed outside and it wouldn't have bothered him.
No pain. No anguish. Just weird grinding noises and the sound/smell of the drill. An hour later, I'm walking out with a root canal with a temp filling. My mount remained numb most of the afternoon so I could actually work without to much discomfort though my hubby had fun laughing at me trying to drink water (I couldn't even use a straw, numb mouths don't produce section).
After the numbness wore off, it is not as bad as I thought it would be. In all honestly it hurts less, throbs less, and is bothering me less than what it had been since last week. I go back in three weeks to my regular dentist for my cleaning and for a permanent cap.
So lesson I've learned - we work ourselves up and we place in our minds that all of our experiences will be like the previous. I've been down the root canal road previously and this was nothing like it at all. This was, dare I say, one of the most pleasant experiences I think I've ever had at a dentist. The Dr was very thorough in telling me what he was doing, while be very quick and not lingering to make the agony worse.
Still kind of sort of can't stand it - but not so scared anymore!