• Dental Phobia Support

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2nd Visit Looming

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bigg9058

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Jul 30, 2012
Messages
111
I had my first dentist visit in 7 years last week. It went well, except for the part of all the work I'm going to need to have done. But I managed to get in the office, sit in the chair and actually show a dental professional all my problems.

Now I have the 2nd appointment coming on Monday morning. The familiar anxiety is starting to rise again. I know they aren't doing anything major this time, the doctor said he wanted to do a full panel of X-rays (anybody know what that means?) to get a better look at each tooth. He said it would take about an hour (!). I don't want to spend all weekend freaking out. Should I call the office and see if I can get something to calm me down? I thought I would be better after the first visit....
 
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blackhound

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Jun 23, 2012
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249
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
I just went through this yesterday. When they take xrays they put a gadget in your mouth that is loaded with xray film and ask you to bite down and ZAP! an xray is taken. The process will be repeated multiple times repositioning the gadget throughout the different areas of your mouth so they can see all the teeth. Some dentists also use a panoramic xray which is nothing more than you just standing there are the machine rotates around your head.

After seeing the xrays and undoubtedly doing a visual exam of your mouth, then the dentist can come up with a treatment plan.

My belief is that you should never hesitate to ask for pharmacuetical help to get through an appointment. If you think you need something to calm you down, by all means be your own advocate and ask for it.

Take a deep breath and try not to worry (and believe me I know it is easier said than done). You've already done the hardest part -- taking the first step. :jump:

BH
 
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bigg9058

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Joined
Jul 30, 2012
Messages
111
I hope this doesn't make me sound like a horrible person - but I managed to get my wife's grandmother to "donate" two atavan to my cause for Sunday night/Monday morning. Hopefully that is enough to calm me down. I think that when I'm there on Monday I will mention my anxiety and see what they say. (I'm sure it was pretty obvious last time how anxious I was, but maybe not). Thanks for the info about the X-rays, that doesn't sound TOO bad.
 
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Marie C

Junior member
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Aug 10, 2012
Messages
4
Hi Bigg,

i am going through the same thing,, my second visit is Monday also, but to have a tooth out :o pooping myself is an understatement!!!!

I had the full panel xrays done two weeks ago and it was totally fine, as blackhound said, it is a very quick procedure and then they show you what they have taken. well they did when i went.

I haven't been for 7 years after a few bad experiences that put me off, but out of everything, i think the xrays are the easiest thing to have done.

you have achieved a goal by going for your first visit,

it is a great sense of achievement!!!:giggle: well it was for me.
 
J

JayCee

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
27
Hi Bigg

I guess a lot of us hope that once you take the huge step of going to a first appointment it will be plain sailing after that! Of course it isn't and the stomach churning starts to build up as the day gets nearer. I'm one of the phobics on this site who has a control issue, so like to be 100% (or more!) alert when getting any treatment, and like a running commentary as to what is being done, so I haven't tried stuff like Ativan before an appointment. I tend to resort to relaxation techniques I got from yoga. Admittedly that doesn't always do the trick

But being married to someone in the pharmaceutical industry can I be boring :innocent: and say please check with someone that Ativan is ok for you to take along with anything else you may be prescribed? I believe in some cases other medicines can reduce the effect of the drug, whereas other can heighten it.

Goodluck on the day.
 
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bigg9058

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Jul 30, 2012
Messages
111
Ok, so here is what they are supposed to do tomorrow. Anyone have any additional info/experiences with any of this?

Exam: Comprehensive oral evaluation
X-ray: Bitewing-two films
Exam: Blood pressure check
Exam: Oral Cancer Exam
Exam: Periodontal Evaluation
Exam: Photographic Imaging
Exam: Velscope Examination
X-Ray: Panorex

Currently I am spending my Sunday trying not to freak out and telling myself that I've already been once, that they've seen everything that is wrong and that I shouldn't worry. I not being very successful.
 
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blackhound

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Jun 23, 2012
Messages
249
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Ok, so here is what they are supposed to do tomorrow. Anyone have any additional info/experiences with any of this?

Exam: Comprehensive oral evaluation
X-ray: Bitewing-two films
Exam: Blood pressure check
Exam: Oral Cancer Exam
Exam: Periodontal Evaluation
Exam: Photographic Imaging
Exam: Velscope Examination
X-Ray: Panorex

Currently I am spending my Sunday trying not to freak out and telling myself that I've already been once, that they've seen everything that is wrong and that I shouldn't worry. I not being very successful.

An oral cancer exam and comprehensive oral evaluation means the dentist will take a close look at all areas of your mouth -- teeth and soft tissue. The dentist will take an instrument that looks like a dental pik and use it to manually look for cavities. They run it around and over the tooth surfaces, check exisiting fillings and dental work, etc. Bitewing xrays are easy. Those are the small holders for the xray film that they will place in your mouth, you bite down and the tech takes an xray. A perio evaluation is a specific evaluation of your gums. They will look for bleeding, deep pockets or any other defects. There is a special perio probe, which again looks like a dental pick with markings for them to measure the depth of any periodontal pockets. I've had that done repeatedly and have never felt any pain or discomfort.

At this stage of the game they are just looking to get a master plan in order. It can be nerve racking because of all the unknowns. I just went through this last week so I can sympathize. Truthfully? The anticipatory anxiety is always, always, always the worst thing.

BH
 
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bigg9058

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2012
Messages
111
An oral cancer exam and comprehensive oral evaluation means the dentist will take a close look at all areas of your mouth -- teeth and soft tissue. The dentist will take an instrument that looks like a dental pik and use it to manually look for cavities. They run it around and over the tooth surfaces, check exisiting fillings and dental work, etc. Bitewing xrays are easy. Those are the small holders for the xray film that they will place in your mouth, you bite down and the tech takes an xray. A perio evaluation is a specific evaluation of your gums. They will look for bleeding, deep pockets or any other defects. There is a special perio probe, which again looks like a dental pick with markings for them to measure the depth of any periodontal pockets. I've had that done repeatedly and have never felt any pain or discomfort.

At this stage of the game they are just looking to get a master plan in order. It can be nerve racking because of all the unknowns. I just went through this last week so I can sympathize. Truthfully? The anticipatory anxiety is always, always, always the worst thing.

BH

Yeah, the anticipation is killing me right now
 
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

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Apr 10, 2012
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Cleveland, OH (USA)
Hi bigg9058.

First of all, congratulations on working up the courage to finally see the dentist. :welldone: You should be very very proud of yourself for taking the first big step.

I think the most important advice I can give you about tomorrow is just to remember that YOU are in control at all times. It's your visit and if there's ever anything that you're uncomfortable with or feel you need to stop, you can stop. None of the exam should be painful or difficult, but for a phobic, just sitting in the chair can be a major panic. Let the dentist know you're extremely nervous, and work out a signal you can give him to stop if you feel any pain or panic at any time. If there's some part of the procedure that you just don't feel like you can handle, say so, and the dentist will stop. All of this is pretty standard diagnostic procedure, and you should get all of it done just to get a good understanding of what's going on in your mouth. But there's nothing that says you have to get it all done tomorrow. If you need to stop and take a break to breathe and get yourself calm(er), you can do that. If you reach a point where you just don't feel like you can go on, you can say so, and you can go home.

I really can't stress this enough. You'll probably feel like you want to just tough it out and get it over with, and that's fine. But it should always be YOUR decision to continue. The dentist will not do anything at all to you without your consent.

You can certainly talk to your dentist about "laughing gas" (nitrous oxide) or any other sedatives they can give you to relax you. LOTS of people are really nervous about the first exam, so don't be ashamed that you need a little help. Regardless, definitely mention your anxiety: the dentist can take extra care to keep you calm and explain what he's doing, and also I think dentists tend to be extra compassionate when they know you're nervous.

Most of the procedures you have are really simple and don't even involve touching your teeth at all. The x-rays both involve you holding a little plastic gadget (which holds the x-ray film) in your mouth by biting down on it, just like you'd hold a pencil in your mouth. The panorex is a big machine where you'll stand still and it will rotate around your head and take one big panoramic x-ray of your whole mouth. This is really easy and way nicer than having individual x-rays. Blood pressure check is just like at any doctor--usually a cuff around your arm or wrist which squeezes a little and measures your blood pressure. Photographic imaging is just what it sounds like: taking digital pictures of your teeth. The oral cancer screening and velscope are just the dentist looking all around your mouth for any unusual lumps or bumps. The velscope is a blue or green light that they shine in your mouth to see any cancerous cells. Usually the dentist will use their hands to feel along your jaw and throat, also looking for lumps. The comprehensive oral exam usually involves the dentist just carefully looking around your mouth with a mirror and a "probe", to identify visually any problems. They're also looking for loose teeth, so they may gently push on each tooth with a finger or the blunt end of a tool, just looking for movement. Finally, the periodontal exam is probably the least fun part. The dentist or hygienist will poke at the edge of your gums with a blunt pick, which tells them how much of a gap there is between the tooth and gum. They move pretty quickly and it doesn't hurt, but it's a little uncomfortable. They'll go all along the inside and outside edge of each tooth, and call out numbers. Smaller numbers are good (1-3), bigger numbers are not so good. If you're nervous or uncomfortable about this part in particular, ask if they can give you a little topical anesthetic first, which is just a little numbing gell that they can apply with a q-tip to numb the gums a little.

None of this will be painful, and the dentist or assistant should tell you what they're doing at each step. Remember, you can ask to stop or just take a break at any point.

And then you'll be done! The dentist will probably sit with you and talk about what treatment is recommended, and they can show you the x-rays-- if you don't want to look at your x-rays, just tell the dentist, and you don't have to. Try not to get too overwhelmed at what they tell you. It's probably not as bad as you imagine anyway, but whatever treatment you need, it can be done a little at a time, and you don't have to figure all that out tomorrow anyway.

Then, give yourself another big pat on the back, and come back here and brag about how easy it all was and how good you feel to be over with the worst of it.

Good luck tomorrow, we'll be thinking about you and sending happy vibes your way...
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Smaller numbers are good (1-3), bigger numbers are not so good.

Just wanted to add here that there can be much confusion with the numbers being called out, because numbers can refer to either teeth numbers, or gum score numbers. To make matters worse, there are 3 different tooth numbering systems and two different gum scoring systems... This can lead to a great deal of confusion at times and unless you know which system your dentist is using or what they are actually referring to, it's probably best to ignore the numbers for the time being :) (I can vaguely recall someone freak out over number 7's being called out, when all they were referring to were the second molars...).

Personally, I had such a bad phobia of the numbers being called out that I requested not to have them mentioned out loud (and my dentist at the time kindly obliged, for which I am eternally grateful :giggle:).

Best of luck for tomorrow Bigg :grouphug:!
 
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bigg9058

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Jul 30, 2012
Messages
111
So I managed to survive vist #2.

It went well, I think they hygenist could tell right off the bat how nervouse I was and she talked me through everything. She was sooooo nice.

Just like everyone said, everything was super-easy and not a big deal. The part where they checked my gums was a little uncomfortable and I felt some pinches but nothing too bad.

I am due to go back on the 27th for a cleaning (yuck) and root planing and scaling (which sounds like it might suck). Anybody have an details on those? Any experiences?

The dentist says "he and I are going to be good friends" so I guess I have a lot of visits to look forward to. Lots more posts to follow
 
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

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Hooray, congrats bigg9058! :jump::jump: It's such a great feeling to know that you can go to the dentist and be treated kindly and compassionately.

Root scaling is just a fancy (and I think, scary) way of saying that they're going to do an extra-thorough cleaning of your teeth below the gumline. For me it just felt like an extra-long cleaning appointment. Somewhat uncomfortable, but not painful. It's usually done by the hygienist, sometimes with hand tools and sometimes with an ultrasonic tool, which is like an electric toothbrush.

One thing that I can't recommend enough is asking lots of questions while you've got the dentist in the room, particularly when he's prescribing followup procedures. It took me a long time to realize I'm allowed to ask, "What's that?" or "Describe what that's like for me." I think we just tend to take the dentist's instructions as if they were an order, and get the heck out of there. Then we come here and ask each other. :hmm:

The other thing you can ask is things like, "How important is that?" and "How soon do I need to do that?" or even, "What would happen if I didn't do that?" Again, it's your mouth, so you should feel empowered to make your own decisions, based on the dentist's opinion of course. I've asked this and sometimes gotten the answer, "It's something you should do, but you can put it off for a while if you want to."

I ask my car mechanic questions like this all the time, but somehow the dentist seems to be more of an authority figure or something, plus I'm usually all nervous in the dentist's office, so I forget to ask.

Great job on getting through your exam, and don't worry too much about the cleaning, it'll be a piece of cake!
 
mikey boy

mikey boy

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Dec 4, 2009
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Location
Florida
Hi bigg I just wanna say welcome

And congrats on taking that first step I know it must have been gut renching I know when I went back to the dentist for the first time they did what blackhound said is a X-ray that goes around you're head they told me to stay still and to keep my eyes closed it didn't hurt but it's not that bad not to freak you out but that's what they did for me and I felt awsome after that appointment like I had completed my mission lol

Anyways let us know how it all goes
 
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