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afraid of reliving bad experience with filling



Junior member
Mar 13, 2017
I'm due to get a filling in a couple of weeks and the anxiety in anitcipation is taking over my life. I had a horrendous experience getting a filling done years ago. The injections were excrutiating, the dentist didn't wait for them to kick in before he started drilling, and he completley ignored me having a panic attack and crying and shaking.

I never really dealt with that experience. I just blocked it out of my head and went private hoping I'd never have to go through that again. Then my current dentist gave me the news that I need a filling. I don't know how I can go through with it. I've told him about my previous bad experience. He seems a lot more competent and professional, but he's quite cold and I don't think he's really taking my fears seriously. I told him that the previous dentist didn't wait for the anaesthetic to kick in, but he didn't seem to believe me.

Finding another new dentist isn't really an option right now because that would take too long and I'm already worried that it should have been caught much sooner. It was actually the hygienist who noticed the problem and I think the dentist should have noticed sooner, but he seems obsessed with the fact that my teeth aren't straight. (I don't care if they're not straight, I just don't want holes in them!)

I know I need to go through with it and get it over with. But it's all I can think about. I'm struggling to work and sleep, and I've started having bad dreams when I do sleep. My mind is a jumble of memories of the bad experience and visualising having to go through it all again.

He told me that I won't feel the drilling, but I don't know if I believe him.

I just really want to be able to stop letting this dominate my every thought in the next few weeks but I don't know how to make it stop.
Hi @Alliandre, in all likelihood, his assertion (promise?) that you won't feel the drilling is correct, so if you feel more comfortable with him than your post suggests, go ahead by all means 🙂.

Having said that: are you sure that finding a new dentist would take too long? Decay in adults tends to be a slow process, and one that can be halted if necessary to buy you time (you can find out how to halt tooth decay here). Unless you're currently in a lot of pain, there's no real reason why you shouldn't at least consider looking at other options. Having a dentist you like and trust is not just a bonus when dealing with this filling, but also in the long run.

We've got lots of tips on finding a good and caring dentist on this website - the following pages might be useful:

Personally speaking, I feel that having the right dentist makes all the difference, so that would be my advice (and what I'd do if I found myself in the same situation).

Wishing you all the best whatever you decide to do :grouphug:
Thank you, that's useful information about halting tooth decay, however for now I don't think it would help to start obsessing over what I'm eating/when I eat it as I really want to stop contantaly thinking about the dentist.

My appointment was already pushed back a bit, and the delay hasn't been helping as I feel that my anxiety gets worse every day. I don't think trying to find a new dentist would ultimatley help with this. I would still need the filling, I'd still be terrified, and it just prolongs the period of not sleeping or being able to function.

I guess what I really need is to find a way to not let the anxiety control me in the run up to it and also find a way to get through the procedure.
No prob, there are some tips for getting through dental procedures and for the run up here on the website:

How to deal with anxiety before an appointment

Tips for coping with dental treatment

Hopefully some of the tips there are of use 🙂 . To help with the falling asleep and the nightmares, maybe try some relaxation apps when falling asleep? I haven't been keeping up with what's available, but Calm used to be a very popular app for that purpose (probably still is).