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    Thread: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

    1. #1
      Join Date
      Jan 2009
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      Unhappy Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      Hey, I've visited these forums during school hours but never thought of registering because I was sure nobody could help me, but I'm starting to get pretty worried about my teeth.

      The first time I went to the dentist's was when I was about 6 or 7 and they tricked me into injecting something into the back of my hand and putting me to sleep (I think I was asleep, at least...) while they gave me four fillings and pulled out two baby teeth that had gone bad.

      Then the next time was checking for whether braces would do me good (not really a dentist visit, but anyways), they took an x-ray of my teeth and told me that the only way to fix my 'bite' would be to perform surgery on my actual jaw, so... no question about that, it ain't happening.

      Then I went a few years ago to the dental van in school and it was absolutely horrible (even though she barely touched my teeth). As if I wasn't afraid enough, when I started to panic on the chair, I was pinned down to it by some horrible female dentist--I've been in hysterics merely thinking about dentists ever since then.

      But recently, my bottom four front teeth have started to grow crooked. They're all kind of pushed in to different degrees and I have a feeling it's because my wisdom teeth are cramming everything forwards so they can come out. Not only this, but I have actual tartar build-up (not as horrifying as the image in Wikipedia thank God) on the backs of my teeth and I've been frantically scratching at them with my nails in an attempt to get them off so I don't need a dentist's help. My mother doesn't help much either, telling me every time one of her fillings falls out and what a horrible job Australian dentists are doing nowadays, so I am literally petrified to the point of preferring death over getting my teeth checked. I'm serious about this, I am frightened into hysteria, I was reading the dental phobia's page and *sobbing*.

      My mother doesn't want to pressure me into booking an appointment, she's got the whole "if you want to, do it, if not, oh well" attitude, which means that unless I book an appointment for myself, I'll never get one, nor be motivated to book one.

      I just want them to put me under, like, ASLEEP, so I don't have to think about what's happening to my mouth (not that I know much about what they do during tartar cleaning... apart from my friend telling me they take a sharp pointy thing and scrape right under your gums--As you can tell, I have little support...) and so I can forget the experience afterwards. I know about the IV Sedation thing, but I don't think that'll be enough... But I don't know what else to do, so I'm appealing to the people in this site to help me get over this fear somehow I want to eventually have braces and get my teeth straightened out, but with all the stories about pain after "tightening" braces and, I don't know, getting them snagged on something while eating and getting torn off, they're really scaring me. I can't even get my teeth cleaned, how on earth am I gonna get braces..?

    2. #2
      Join Date
      Jan 2009
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      9

      Default Re: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      I went for my first dental visit in 12 years just last week! I am 23 years old. My parents took me to the dentist once, when I was 11, but never thereafter. It wasn't my choice, I didn't have any phobia or anything like that, they just thought that it was a waste of money to fill cavities and such because they're just 'teeth'. I don't know, maybe they were expecting the teeth would rot out and I'd get dentures. Anyway, I went to the dentist and luckily all I need are 6 fillings, a crown, and then I'll proceed with braces. My guess is that if you haven't seen a dentist in a long time, you'll have some cavities that need to be filled, as well. Don't worry about the cleaning; it really isn't as bad as it sounds. Yes, it feels like the hygienist is chipping at cement when they scrape the teeth, and the baking soda and salt stuff they spray on your teeth to polish them or whatever does feel weird, but it doesn't hurt. It goes by very quick, trust me. I think you should make an appointment and see a dentist. Don't put it off! It really isn't as bad as you think; our imaginations and fear tend to get the better of us and the anticipation is a lot worse than reality! I thought that I was going to have to have all of my teeth removed and get dentures put in! I look back now and can't believe I actually convinced myself into thinking I was worse case scenario. In truth, I'm far from it. You are, too. But you need to go now, if you keep delaying it, any cavities or other problems will be compounded, they will not magically go away, although a lot of us try and trick ourselves into believing that things will take care of themselves. As for the braces? I'm not sure if they're available in your country, but in the US we have something called Invisalign. They're clear retainer-like trays you put on your teeth and they're invisible! Look into it.

    3. #3
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      Jan 2009
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      Default Re: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      God, I'd love to have invisalign. They are available here, but as always, cost is an issue... The othodontist that looked at my teeth told me I didn't have any cavaties to worry about (don't scare me like that!! ) thank god, but the chipping and hacking away at tartar doesn't sound appealing at all (what if they slip? what if they accidentally chip off some tooth or hack into my gums?). I know it's an irrational fear, but I'm still worried about this stuff Six fillings and a crown sounds like a HUGE deal to me

    4. #4
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      Dec 2008
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      830

      Default Re: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      I agree, the fear and dread are far worse than the actual treatment. The thing about anxiety is, it is always future based. Not about something that is happening but the fear of what may or might happen.

      Anxiety is like anything else, the more you feed it the stronger it becomes. You can learn to control the anxiety and get some peace back in your life with simple relaxation techniques. The dentist can also prescribe a pill that will take the edge off the anxiety. The fear does not have to control you. You have taken a big step by acknowledging it is there and seeking help, well done!

      Dental treatments improve immensely evey year and many dentists are sensitive to people with dental fear as this is a very common problem. Based on what you said the orthodontist told you it sounds like your teeth are in very good condition and probably just need a cleaning.

      In regard to teeth cleaning. It is usually done with an ultrasonic machine that uses high frequency sound to remove the tartar, small hand scalers are also used. The whole procedure is done slowly and carefully with no danger to the teeth or surrounding areas. If you are very sensitive, a numbing paste (usually tastes like mint or pina colada) can be put on your gums with a cotton swab. This numbs the area and you will not feel anything. Today, dentistry is all about patient comfort and peace of mind. Dentists are dedicated to helping you. If you every feel uncomfortable with the dentist or dental staff you have the right to tell them to stop. The patient is in control and you cannot be forced to have anything done to you. This rule is followed much closer than it was even a year or two ago.

      When you look for a dentist tell them about your fears and concerns and see what they say. Dental care can be a very discomfort free experience. I am a psychologist and work with a dentist in the USA helping patients with dental anxiety. I will be happy to provide whatever help I can, just let me know.

      Take it one step at a time. This is the first step to beautiful smile. You will get lots of support from this fourm with everyone encouraging and supporting you.

      It takes courage to acknowledge and take actions when you are afraid. This is what heros are made of.

    5. #5
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      Jan 2009
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      Default Re: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      Thank you, that post really helped!

      I have a constant fear that there's something inherently wrong with my teeth that will need hours of hacking with a chisel or something, and I just keep amplifying fears by watching movies like "Novocane"

      Ultrasonic machine? How does that work? Do they do it to remove all the tartar--can they? The way people describe cleaning tartar off is using something like a chisel to chip it off and that idea *really* frightens me. Not only that but the fear that they'll chip off some tartar and inform me that there's a hole underneath it the size of the grand canyon.

      Either way, I'm probably going to end up taking lots of prozac before my dentist's appointment

    6. #6
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      Dec 2008
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      830

      Default Re: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      I am glad that was helpful. This link will talk about teeth cleaning:

      http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/dental_cleanings.html

      Some people say the ultrasonic scaler tickles or produces a buzzing sensation. This machine can remove a high percentage of the tarter. The hand tools remove the small bits that are left. The hand tools are very small and are used to carefully scrape the tooth. They do not "chisel" or beat on your teeth. The ultrasonic scaler does the majority of the work.

      You have probably inflicted more pain on yourself using your nails to clean your teeth than the hygienist would ever do, they are very careful

      When you are selecting a dentist it is wise to write out a list of questions to ask them, like do you use ultrasonic scaling for teeth cleaning or do you do digital xrays. You can also ask what they do for people with dental anxiety and you can meet the dentist before having an appointment. If you have specific concerns or fears have them on your list so you can ask about them.

      Also, Prozac is not used for anxiety it is a medication for depression and would be ineffective for anxiety. If you are very anxious you can ask if they can give you an anti-anxiety medication to take before your appointment (good question to have on your list) or if they have other things they do like hypnosis.

      These are mild sedatives that take the edge off the anxiety. They start to work fairly quickly (30 minutes) and last for 8-10 hours, depending upon type. Typical anti-anxiety medications are Valium (older medication but still used was first used as a muscle relaxant), Ativan (newer and used for anxiety and as a mild sedative), halcion (sleep medication also used for anxiety), these are the most common but there are others. When you use these with relaxation techniques the results are incredible.

      Dentists also use Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) to take the edge off. You can ask your dentist if they use this for patients.

      The focus of dentistry is to make it pain free. Forcing or restraining people against their will is abusive and can be a great way to lose your license. Most people set up a signal to tell the dentist to stop if they are feeling uncomfortable or their anxiety level is going up. This can be raising a hand or finger, the whole idea is you are in control.

      Write your list and interview some dentists. You can tell them about your past experiences and fear. I am sure you will find one that will be perfect for you. You do not need to feel embarassed about having dental anxiety/fear, it is very common. In the USA 20% of the population has dental anxiety to the point of not seeking dental treatment. You have had some poor treatment from past dentists, but the anxiety/fear does not have to control you. You can beat it.

      All the best
      Last edited by letsconnect; 29th January 2009 at 02:15.

    7. #7
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      Jan 2009
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      11

      Default Re: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      Thank you so much for the help, Stress Doc!
      I think I'm going to go right now and email a few dentists tonight! Hopefully by the next time I post, I'll have tartar-free teeth

    8. #8
      Join Date
      Dec 2008
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      830

      Default Re: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      Excellent! You are going to be pleasantly surprised how much dentistry has changed. Be proud of yourself for taking action. Keep in touch and can't wait to hear your report.

    9. #9
      Join Date
      Apr 2008
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      328

      Default Re: Haven't been to the denist in 10 years

      And go for it, with the braces!

      My 15 year old son is autistic and lots of things scare him but dentists are one of the biggest fears (he knows he became autistic after having the MMR vaccine so anything to do with needles horrifies him). He ended up having about a year's worth of orthodontic treatment and was really surprised because nothing ever hurt or was even uncomfortable - and he has ended up with spectacularly perfect looking teeth which he knew, all along, will give him less problems in the future! Braces are really nothing to worry about AT ALL - if an autistic, dental phobic 15 year old can do it, trust me, anyone can! You won't regret it.

      I sat in with him trough all the earlier appointments and saw everything - nothing bothered him at all. And by the last couple of appointments, he was happy to go in on his own.

      First thing he did when he got the braces off was make me buy him a Sub!
      Never use one word where 47 will do....

    10. #10
      Join Date
      Jan 2009
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      11

      Important Appointment in two days!!

      I posted here months and months ago and promised myself that I'd book an appointment but I've been putting it off for ages now and just recently I popped half a Valium and summoned the courage to book myself an appointment at the local dentists and I am, for lack of a better word, pissing myself.

      Now, although I'm pretty sure I have no holes in my teeth despite not going to the dentist's for almost a decade now (I'm only 19 but nothing hurts and an inspection by my parent suggests that they see no holes), I do require a good scale clean, but for me, walking to the reception desk was a challenge in itself.

      I have a few questions to ask you guys, just to see if there's anything I can do to help myself endure the process...

      1. Does watching a movie above you make you feel any less freaked out? (I've been offered the movie Monsters Inc.. )
      2. How does laughing gas work; what does it feel like? And my family also has a history of waking up/being aware during gassing procedures (not laughing gas, but the gas that actually is supposed to knock you out) so do you think it's possible for me to ask them to up the dosage a little for me? (Like, what if it doesn't work???)
      3. I have 5mg Valium tablets prescribed by a doctor for this anxiety.. A whole pill makes me feel a little drowsy and comfortable enough to take a 4-5 hour nap in about ten minutes (and remember, this was a pill taken during the stages when I was already pretty calm), so do you think it's safe to take two whole pills or will it put me in a coma?
      4. Should I bring anything in with me while I'm there? (I was thinking boyfriend or mp3 player or something but now I'm not sure if that will help)

      I'm... really scared. Anything support would be really appreciated. I'll immediately post back on these forums to tell you guys how it went. Hopefully it will be a success story and not a horror one.

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