Hi, I wanted to share my story in the hope that it can help anyone in a similar position.
I have always been frightened of the dentist since I was young. This was through no fault of anyone or due to any bad experiences. Up to the age of 18 I had regular check ups and treatment with our family dentist who was kind and gentle. Once I left home and there were no parents to nag me to go for check ups I naturally put it on the back burner and just didn't think about it.
At 19 I managed to chip my front tooth which scared me witless and because it was barely visible and caused no pain I ignored it. Everytime I thought about getting it sorted I panicked that if I went in they'd remove it and I'd have to have a false tooth ( my father has dentures and the thought of them terrified me). Ignorance about what treatment they could have offered some how spiralled into a deep seated fear that meant I didn't go to a dentist for 15 years.
I was extremely lucky with my teeth during this time only once requiring an emergency appointment for a abscess that formed when my wisdom teeth broke through. If it hadn't been for the most intense pain ever I would probably have avoided getting treatment for this.
Fast forward to now. My husband who is also afraid of the dentist - yes we probably aided each others avoidance, crown broke off and after putting it off and off he eventually put his foot down and said right lets go, both of us. I should mention at this point that I was so scared that if anyone even mentioned teeth or a programme on tv featured dentists etc I would change the subject/turn over etc. All the usual advoidance techniques. In my opinion my teeth were horrendous for although they looked fine from the front the behinds had lots of stained tartar which I believed was rot so I believed I'd have to have them all removed, plus the front tooth that was chipped seemed to be loosing colour and the chip certainly became more visible.
Anyway with the nagging of the husband I decided to take the plunge encouraged by the stories on here - I have read every single post over the last 6 months, I found a local nhs dentist whose website suggested was very used to dealing with nervous patients. I put off making the call for a further 2 weeks before one morning I was staring at my teeth in the mirror and started to think that perhaps my gum was receeding. Cue massive panic and immediate call to the dentist arranging a new patient consulatation for both me and the husband for the following week. That week waiting was hell I felt sick and spent most of my time endlessly googling every possible dental problem which strange as it sounds is probably what forced me into the surgery. I was far too terrified to cancel.
The dentist was very good not in a constant reassurance kind of way, she says very little and in fact didn't tell me what was needed until after the xrays came up and I was literally shaking from the unknown but felt strangely calm/resigned? once in the chair. The good news was I didn't have to have my teeth out! Any of them. I needed 3 fillings replaced - they were 20 years old and 2 new fillings and a scale and polish. The relief was enormous. Treatment has begun I have had the front chip filled with composite filling so it looks perfect and 1 filling replaced. Unfortunatley the work on the front tooth sparked a tooth infection that resulted in root canal which she completed 2 weeks ago. I am due back in January for the rest of my treatment and a night guard as I grind my teeth but all in all its going pretty well. I don't even feel afraid when I go in there anymore or ring them. I feel blessed that after leaving it so long that I don't require huge amounts of work and since the scale and polish I feel like smiling all the time and showing them off.
This is an abreviated version of events and I probably haven't encapsulated entirely the depths of my fears, I have been on medication for depression and counselling for the past 8 years which have certainly aided my confidence in starting this journey but mostly its down to this website that I actually got up and did something.
I can't thank everyone on this board enough - it really has changed my life. I feel like a different person and the relief of not carrying this fear is enormous.
If I can offer hope to anyone in a similar position then I'll be happy. The reality really isn't as bad as what the mind conjurs up before that first appointment. If your fear is blighting your life to the extent that mine did know that there is relief at the end and that first step, although the hardest, is the most rewarding long term.
Wishing you all luck, courage and support xxx