• Dental Phobia Support

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Afraid and anxious, but determined...



Junior member
Feb 20, 2011
Well, I say that I'm determined, but when push comes to shove (or when I walk into the dental office), I could be running out the door screaming before they even get near me.

A bit of background: I was six when I had a bad experience. Two teeth of mine had grown in rotten, black marks, hole through one, the whole nine yards. As they were baby teeth, my parents decided to have them pulled. I have hazy memories of this, but it affected me greatly. I remember the big foam blocks they had in my mouth, which I think is now related to my bad gag reflex for fear of choking. I remember getting multiple needle stabs on the back of my hand, so I'm assuming they were trying to sedate me. It didn't work, and I walked away with an intense fear of needles. And then they pulled the teeth anyway, while I was screaming and crying and with no anesthetic whatsoever. In my teens, I got through a few fillings. I went to a dentist for "difficult young patients", which we had to make a trip out of town for, but their way of working around it was to have my mother hold me down while they drilled. There were many appointments where I walked out either just before or just after getting the numbing needle and had to rebook.

Fast forward to now. I'm twenty seven, and haven't been in since I was seventeen (when my father's dental no longer covered me). My teeth have been in a bad state most of my life and I've known for years that something has to be done. I live in Canada and have no dental insurance, so everything comes straight out of my pocket. The other week, while eating pizza, I felt a hard chunk in a bite and thought, "Well, pepperoni doesn't have any hard bits in it", apologized to my boyfriend for being very unladylike, and then spat it into my hand. Turns out I had broken a back molar in half, on an angle, at the gum line. I had broken teeth before. It was no big!

Until the infection set in and the tooth started to hurt worse than anything I had ever felt in my life. I had an almost futile search on Friday, looking for a dentist to pull my tooth, since I assumed that was what I needed. I found a fantastic place that took me in right away (literally, five minutes from my phone call), and they said that they not only dealt with the "problem" patients, but assured me that my fear wasn't my fault. When I say I'm terrified of dentists, I mean it. It took over forty minutes to get three x-rays done of my teeth. The whole time, the hygenist talked to me calmly and kept reassuring me that I was doing great (on a side note, turns out I went to high school with her). The dentist followed and explained my x-rays to me. She explained that aside from the one tooth, my back molars had never come through the gum line when I was younger, and they want to pull four teeth in the back to let those have a chance to come up, since my mouth is too crowded. I also need one crown and one filling.

We're just dealing with the single extraction to begin with. This is where the fear set in. I once had dental surgery at a children's hospital, and was knocked out for a good four or five hours. Most stress free dental appointment ever! But now, after ten years of swearing up and down I would never step foot in another dental office, I have an appointment on Wednesday to remove this tooth (they did offer to do a root canal over two appointments and fit it with a crown, but because it's such a large break, they don't know if it'll take; I opted for extraction). I KNOW that I have to go through with it. I never realized how badly tooth pain can be. I couldn't afford the IV sedation, which I would have preferred, and am getting oral sedation instead.

My appointment is booked for two hours, the first hour dedicated to getting me loopy. Everyone I've talked to, who has gone to this particular dentist, and to people who have gone elsewhere, have told me that oral sedation is good enough to knock me for a serious loop and not even care. Yeah, right, my mind tells me. I've read, and heard, that extractions generally take no more than five minutes and you can't feel it anyway. I'm terrified of Wednesday morning. I booked as early as I could to get it over with quickly. I plan on calling Monday in order to find out what exactly they're giving me so I can research it and know the effects.

But that doesn't take away much of the fear, and I'm terrified that this is going to be another case of, "Oh, look how fast Speedy Gonzalas can run out of the office!" with a cloud of cartoon dust behind me. Any advice or support would be lovely. I haven't felt like this much of a wreck in ages.
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Hi Callaphera
It really does sound as though you have found a great dentist to take care of you from now on. You have done the hard bit already...you just don't realise it.

Your account of what was done to you as a child makes my toes curl - it was outrageous, all of it...it is no wonder you suffer from dental phobia.

A single extraction should be no big deal...even with just local but the oral sedation means it won't just be with local...it will be even easier. Obviously unlike in the past if you are not numb or you need a break, you signal with a raised hand(pre-agreed) and they make sure you are comfortable before continuing.
You may even feel you prefer to just use local so that you retain complete control of proceedings. Remember you are paying the dentist to do a service for you, if she is not doing it to a painfree standard (which she will be) you stop her and go somewhere else. No one can force you to stay against your will now you are an adult. You are in control, it just doesn't feel like it.
The positive feedback you have had from others about this dentist plus your own good experience so far makes me strongly suspect you are finally 'in good hands.'
I feel your pain believe me. My appointment is today -- and I feel like I am on death row waiting for the executioner.

I am determined to go through with the four extractions. What I have been doing to prepare myself is trying to look on the positive side -- after all many many people go and do this and have good experiences ( well they dont exactly rave about how much fun it was but they do not seem to be overly concerned about it either )

Much of what we fear is based on the past not the present -- today does not have to be the same as the horrors we experienced in the past -- and it helps to try to keep consciously remembering this. In the past we were helpless - now we are strong -- in the past we had no choice now the choices are our own.

I prepared music on my phone so i can listen to that -- and I have talked to the office and told them the things I need to be in place -- like asking the dentist to not show me the instruments or tell me blow by blow what he is doing -- this is not a project for the science fair - lol - ---and ensuring they understand it is important to numb my gums prior to injection - ekkkk hate that word.

I too will have oral sedation -- and from my experiences in the past I can reassure you that it really does help. I once many years ago had a great deal of work done taking ativan -- and all I could remember was the tree outside of the dentists window. So try to mentally prepare by settling into your own power -- head off your anxiety with positive thoughts -- and know that I am praying for a good result for both of us.

Thank you, both of you, so much! Every time I hear positive words, it pumps me up just a little bit more and makes me think that I CAN actually do it this time. I'm still terrified, but I'm trying to work through it. And thankfully, my friends seem to be doing everything they can for me. Last night, when they came over for dinner like they do every Sunday, it was nothing but positive words and encouragement, including from another person who freaks out and has gone through it. My boyfriend even booked the day off from work, since he works in another town, to extend his weekend, and is coming up to stay with me after my appointment. The person picking me up is even joking that they have a wheelchair, which they plan on tying balloons to the handles, in order to take me out after my appointment.

Laughter really is the best medicine, I guess. Mixed with a handful of antibiotics, Advil, and Tylenol with codeine. :)

This is the first time that I've found a dental office that doesn't tell me that my appointment is a set time, and they'll work as quickly as they can. Right down to the receptionist, they're actually telling me, "Hey, however long it takes, it takes. We can sit here with you and chill until you feel ready."

Sparrow, I wish the best for you, honestly. We're both going to do this, and we'll both come out so much happier because of it. You're gonna power through your appointment, and because of that, I'm going to be inspired to do the same. You sound a LOT like me and how I want to have my appointment set up as well.

The music sounds like a good idea, too. My dentist offers a television set into the ceiling and a pair of headphones, but I have a feeling Metallica or music from Glee will grab my attention more than Food Network (much as I love that channel). Besides, I've learned not to look up, since I used to be able to see my dentist's view in the reflection from his glasses when I was a kid, and that is the last thing I want to see again! :)

You're going to do great and so am I.

Now to keep reminding myself until Wednesday morning. lol :)
(I hate double posting, but...)

I am so very very proud of myself. Rather than freaking myself out more about my upcoming appointment, I made a surprise visit to the dentist office and spoke to the receptionist and the dentist. They reassured me, again, answered all my questions and concerns about the sedation process and the procedure, and I was even invited to the back to see everything they will use during the procedure. I declined. lol

But as small and insignificant as it seems, it was a big step for me. I walked in calm, and walked out calm. I was a bit shaky, but it was in a, "Oh, I got through it! I can't believe it!" smiling way. I just have to keep this mindset going until Wednesday morning when the Ativan kicks in. :)
So. Tomorrow morning is the appointment. And I'm starting to freak, just like I knew I would. I know, rationally, that I made a huge step forward by actually going to the offices twice with minor freak outs, but they're going to be taking a tooth out tomorrow! And yeah, I get Ativan and an hour to an hour and a half for it work, and more if it doesn't take effect, but still.

It sucks when the panic sets in and you know you should be able to get passed it, but you can't.

If I get ANY sleep tonight, I'll be shocked.
Just got back from the dentist. It was WAY easier than I had ever imagined. After a nasty mouth rinse, they passed me two small Ativans. I chilled in the chair, reading Harry Potter, and was out like a light in two hours. Woke up post freezing injections, and while there was a bit of pain, due to the infection still in my teeth and gums, I got through it. Mainly thanks to the dental hygenist and dentist, who were quite supportive and gave me not only all the breaks I needed, but encouraged me along.

Even took the nasty little bugger home with me to show off. I couldn't be more proud or pleased with myself. :) If it wasn't for scouring through this site for the past few days, and reading everything I did, I doubt I would've gone through with it, so thanks all! Here's hoping recovery is good.
YAY!!! :jump: you did fantastic!! I'm so glad you got through it okay. And imagine this no more toothache :jump::jump::jump: