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35 and never had dental treatment - the time has come and am very anxious

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lisalittletwig

Junior member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
2
Location
UK
I've been reading this forum and decided to join in/post about my situation as I'm sure my parents (who have been brilliant at supporting me) need a break from my endless worries!

For nearly all of my life the dentist has never factored with me. I remember going perhaps a couple of times in my whole life, which was triggered by an incident of me faceplanting the floor when I used to sleepwalk in adolesence (miraculously, I didn't end up with anything more than a wonky front tooth with a hairline crack). I've never had any other issues so I just didn't go.

I am a very anxious person generally, I've had Generalised Anxiety Disorder for 20 years. Also I have emetophobia, a sensitive gag reflex/issues with gagging and just have issues about anything going on with my mouth. All perfect ingredients for being phobic of the dentist, though I never realised how much I was until something had to be done (with having avoided the place for so long it had never factored with me, but now it makes complete, and unfortunate, sense).

In January a piece of one of my lower right molars broke off when I was eating a sandwich. I had an obvious feeling of "this isn't good", and knew I'd need to get it seen too, but we were in lockdown here in the UK and I had no pain so I just carried on. The inevitable caught up with me in mid-April when I started to get intermittent pain. The pain gave me the 'courage' to find out what was going on. Because it had been 20+ years since I'd been, my dentist had deregistered me and weren't taking on new patients. I found a private practice that had good reviews, including from phobic patients, and luckily they were able to see me quickly for a consultation.

If I knew what was going to happen at the consultation I probably would have chickened out. It occured to me I'd never had a dental x-ray, and when they (the dentist and assistant) tried to use it in my mouth I panicked, felt like I was gagging and spat it out. Luckily they had a panoramic x-ray and after a few goes at using that (because I was so shaken) I got the x-rays done. The upshot was that I need 3 fillings aside from the icky tooth, which I was told required root canal. I burst into tears as soon as I heard those two words. I knew it wasn't going to be good, considering there is dark decay in the tooth and given the pain and that I'd been eating as usual on a broken tooth, but it was my worst fear. My dad accompanied me and asked the dentist if anything else could be done, and she mentioned that they could dress the tooth as a sort of temporary fix.

One thing that the dentist did say was that I would not be able to cope without sedation. The incident with the x-ray made me feel really embarrassed, and that felt like an extra bit of failure, even though she is absolutely right. I went back for a sedation consultation with the same dentist the following week (having cried and moped about my fate for a few days after the initial consultation) and the good news is that I'm clear for it. I am apprehensive as I've never had any kind of surgery/anesthesia (though I know it is different - I'll be having IV sedation). I'm a bit of a control freak, but I would rather be as 'out of it' as possible in this scenario.

I am booked in for my first treatment at the end of June. I made a plan with the dentist to have the two fillings on my left side done first, one of which is a deep filling, so I can get used to everything with the sedation, and then if it all goes well (which I really really hope it does), I will go ahead with the root canal. Realistically I know it's the best thing to do, I am really scared about this tooth detoriating in the meantime now. Thankfully I haven't had pain since the day of the initial consultation, I've been eating on the left side of my mouth and doing all I can to keep away from the bad tooth. When I use my tongue to get any stray bits of food out of it it does hurt :/

I'm doing what I can to stop thinking about it all, but it's in my head pretty much constantly. I picture myself in the chair, what IV sedation will feel like (and even if it will really work on me because I am so anxious), how much I'll be aware of everything going on...as much as I have all of my 'mouth' issues, I know mainly it is sheer fear of the unknown. Also the depression and fear I feel about just leaving this bad tooth as it is is so much worse than spending a couple of hours at a time getting treatment (I imagine I'll probably have four appointments in total). I just need to keep telling myself it's all for the best and I'll feel so much better once it's all taken care of...but I worry about being irrational and letting my anxiety get the better of me.

Reading experiences on here, especially regarding IV sedation, has helped (I do like to have information on things, which is not helpful for an over-thinker...I really wish I could be chilled out and not care about things so much but then I guess I wouldn't be here, in the first place). I'm also practicing daily meditation in the hope it will get me in the right frame of mind ahead of time, though I also I know that once the time comes I'll be super super anxious.

Thanks for reading my rambling, but I know it also helps to 'talk' to people who understand. :waves:
 
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Molar_bear

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
162
Location
England
Hey @lisalittletwig

First of all huge congratulations to taking the first steps to going to an appointment. It can be difficult especially after a pong period of time but well done you did it. You should be super proud of yourself.

So I found myself in a somehwhat similar situation. And too had fillings and RCT on my return to going to the dentist. And this was all done under IV sedation. Honestly the experience was fine and I was so relieved when I had got it all done and out the weight. A huge weight off my mind.

I Too suffer with a lot of general anxiety and a lot of those things you mentioned similary contribute to my fear of the dentist. Well done for finding things that help and to keep calmer. Like the medication. It all helps.

The tooth is unlikely to deteriorate much between now and June for your appointment too. So try not to worry to much.

Here to help if I can
 
L

lisalittletwig

Junior member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
2
Location
UK
Hey @lisalittletwig

First of all huge congratulations to taking the first steps to going to an appointment. It can be difficult especially after a pong period of time but well done you did it. You should be super proud of yourself.

So I found myself in a somehwhat similar situation. And too had fillings and RCT on my return to going to the dentist. And this was all done under IV sedation. Honestly the experience was fine and I was so relieved when I had got it all done and out the weight. A huge weight off my mind.

I Too suffer with a lot of general anxiety and a lot of those things you mentioned similary contribute to my fear of the dentist. Well done for finding things that help and to keep calmer. Like the medication. It all helps.

The tooth is unlikely to deteriorate much between now and June for your appointment too. So try not to worry to much.

Here to help if I can
Hi @Molar_bear ! Thank you so much! Anxiety/fear makes you feel so alone, like you're the only person in the world going through these horrible feelings, but of course the amount of users on this forum makes me know that I'm not.

It's great to hear about your similar experiences. I have done a lot of googling about IV sedation / RCT, and sometimes I wonder if it's counter-productive, but it is reassuring to know a lot of people have had good experiences with both. When it comes to the sedation, my main worry is that it might not work on me for some reason, like I'll just be too anxious/hyped-up on the day of the appointment. I'm a very self-aware person and so I'm thinking 'what if it just makes my body relax, but my mind is still in overdrive?', or that I'll still be aware of things happening in my mouth and it'll make me flinch like a reflex. The dentist when she first mentioned that I would definitely need sedation mentioned that if the drill or other tools went in my mouth they could cut my cheek or tongue with me panicking, and that's why I would require it. I suspect I am just overthinking every possible scenario, and I know with general anxiety 9 times out of 10 what you expect doesn't happen at all. And also I just won't know what's going to happen until it happens, and everyone experiences it differently - the dentist mentioned that some people feel 'floaty', some feel distant...the perils of wanting to be reassured about everything...!

I've never had any kind of surgery, and I do wonder whether while I'd still be nervous that I wouldn't feel quite so anxious and thinking about it every day if it wasn't to do with my mouth, which I associate with my most extreme phobias 🤔 As it is the anxiety is absolutely amplified.

The RCT isn't yet scheduled, the first appointment is to do separate fillings. I got a paper copy of my x-ray to show the teeth that are affected, and I can see the damage has gone down really far. The dentist told me also that there isn't an abscess there, but one could develop (I guess she means if the RCT is left for a very long time). My other fear is that one will and I'll need an emergency RCT before my first appointment for the two fillings. Again I think I'm just majorly looking at worst case scenario here. I really hope that I can get the RCT done relatively soon after the first two fillings, because I don't want to leave it much longer. The thought of having a really bad tooth in my mouth brings me down every day at the moment.

I'm caught at the moment between worrying about the molar and worrying about the treatment, and also wishing the first appointment was a week away but also feeling like I need more time to process everything! Logically I know this period of anticipation and thinking is the worst. The appointment is five weeks today, and I can't help counting down even though I want to just put it to the back of my mind. Anxiety has really flared about it this week, bleh.

Another good thing is that the dentist said that I could bring in my mp3 player and listen to my own music if I want to during the appointment, and music generally does really help me take my mind elsewhere (they do have their own music in there too). The only thing is that I don't know whether I want the distraction of the music, or hope that I might be lucky enough to doze off 😁
 
M

Molar_bear

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
162
Location
England
Hi again.

I agree music does help me too at the dentist. To take my mind off it! Or I find my dentist just chatting helps too even though I can’t reply with things in my mouth 🤔

It definitely does feel horrible and very lonely when you have fears, but trust me you really are not alone and there is a whol community of like minded individuals here to support you.

With regards to the sedation I have had it 4 times and I would say each one did feel slightly different in experiences but all were okay and positive. I too am an over thinker and very aware of things like that. One sedation I had when I was more nervous. I don’t have much memory of it but I was informed I had asked to be sedated more when I was already ‘under’ as I felt to aware. And the dentist obliged 😂 so all sorted. I also didn’t like the dental dam they were trying to put in my mouth apparently (little to no memory) but I do remember someone saying to the nurse to to stop me moving my head for that bit. Not like any form of force of restraint in that sense so don’t worry, I think more like reminding me not to move at that moment. But for any bit you might flinch you could ask them to be more careful and almost prepared.

How would you feel doing it without sedation? Would you feel more in control and less worried about moving or any other fears if your aware of what of what’s going on?

It’s hard when you are worrying about both sides of the coin. The fear of the issue but also the fear of the treatment. I try to remember the treatment is short lived and without it I’ll worry much more over a longer period if I leave it. Any once it’s over and done with you will be so much more relaxed.

Here to answer any more questions etc
 
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