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All journeys start with the first step

B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Sitting here waiting for my first dental appointment in 6 years, I thought I might as well start up a journal to help ease the wait.

I was never a great fan of going to the dentist but I was never phobic until about 10 years ago. We moved to a new state and I didn't think much about a new dentist until I had some problems with an old amalgam filling. Asked a friend and she recommended a dentist in the neighborhood.

I didn't like his attitude. The type of person who thinks he is wittier than he really is. But I can overlook a lot of personality if there is competence. I never figured that repairing an old filling could leave me with permanent damage.

I never felt anything unusual with the anesthetic shot. The filling was repaired but the anesthetic didn't wear off. My tongue, lip, parts of my cheek and parts of my chin stayed numb. Over the course of 6 weeks the feeling returned except on one side of my tongue. I have no idea what went wrong primarily because this guy would never return my phone calls. He passed useless messages through his receptionist and kept claiming he was too booked up to see me in the office.

I did all the followup I could medically with my family doctor who sent me to a neurologist. Thankfully the damage wasn't worse, but it created an anxiety about dentistry that has me in its grip.

Six years ago I bucked up my courage and went to see a new dentist. We researched him well and found he had a good education, post grad training, the latest tools, and he catered to phobic patients. I went in for an exam and ended needing a root planing and scaling but that was all. I was home free! It was a great experience.

So why the 6 year absence? Because this phobia is so strong that even the good moments can't outweigh the fear of being injured again.

So now I'm sitting here with 30 minutes to go before I leave for my appointment. Six years of neglect have left me with a broken maxillary bicuspid needing RCT, post & core, and crown lengthening. (And yes, the implant option was offered and is quite possibly the better choice but I cannot go there mentally so I am going to roll the dice with this procedure and if further down the road I need an extraction so be it.) Also the two adjacent maxillary molars are needing cavity work. After the urgency of fixing this broken tooth is past, we are going to make a full treatment plan for the rest of my mouth. I shudder to think.

So hang on .... here we go.

BH
 
B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
I did it!

I actually threw up this morning before I went the fear was so paralyzing. Now? I wonder why. This was a marathon appointment. I was in the chair for 90 minutes with all the work that had to be done. But the staff were so kind, and the dentist is so skilled and caring that once the work started I settled in as best I could and just went with it.

It was a long procedure but totally worth it. I had a post and core buildup with a crown lengthening and instead of just leaving me with a stump for weeks while the gums heal back up, he actually sculpted a bicuspid from the core material that looks better than the one I lost! My original tooth was grey from all the amalgam shining through.

Thankfully I do not have stitches where the gum was repositioned because that work was done with a laser as was some of the RCT process. I know he also used the laser to hone down the tooth for the buildup.

Now the next step in July 11th when I go back to have the two adjacent molars treated for decay. I keep hoping that I can carry this success forward and keep the fear at bay.

BH

I thought I would freak at the numbing shot but I didn't even feel it. Jellyfish was right. The maxillary shots are not such a freakout because they don't numb half your face.
 
chickenjen

chickenjen

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
1,331
Location
Illinois, USA
Well done and :welldone:!!!!!
You had a positive experience today with the dentist, and hopefully, the next experience will be a positive one as well!! With more and more positive dental experiences, your fear will lessen!!
Congrats!!
 
mikey boy

mikey boy

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 4, 2009
Messages
948
Location
Pinellas Park, Florida
Congrats blackhound great job on conquering your fears hey I've decided to go with the RCT
 
B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Congrats blackhound great job on conquering your fears hey I've decided to go with the RCT
Good luck, Mikey! RCT really isn't that bad. For every horror story you read on the internet there are thousands of routine RCT's that never get mentioned.

:XXLhug:

BH
 
B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Wednesday, July 11th, is the next step in my dental rehab. A crown repair and a 4 sided restoration on my right sided 1st and 2nd maxillary molars. Right next to the tooth that had the RCT and post & core 2 weeks ago.

You would think that after having an RCT as an introduction to my lapsed dental work the idea of this procedure would not have me getting all shaky. Wrong. Although I think it's not this actual appointment that has me spooked.

The fear seems to be swirling around my upcoming appointment for a full evaluation and treatment plan. Fear of the unknown. All the 'what if' stuff. I know I need a deep cleaning and that doesn't freak me out. I know there is a cavity on the left side of the maxillary back in the molar zone. I'll deal with it. The fear is what if there is something wrong with the teeth in the lower jaw. Odds are high that something needs to be done after 6 years. And that is the freak out zone -- the mandible.

The fear of another shot in my lower jaw that might lead to parasthesia is basically overwhelming. Even with the discussion about not using articaine/septacaine and not using a 4% solution. Even with the knowledge that the dentist is kind, caring, and competent. Even knowing that he has nitrous and IV sedation at his disposal. Even knowing that neurotoxicity is a debatable point. It still boils down to WHAT IF. And the lingering emotional trauma from 1999 when I had a problem with a lower mandible shot and a cravenly dentist who wouldn't even return my phone calls. That moment is the crux of my problem.

It's really amazing at just how much damage one jerk can do to your psyche, and how difficult it is to reclaim it. Thank goodness for this forum because I know it's not just me. Bad experiences abound, but there are also lots of folks who have had a 'recovery'.

Sometimes I feel like I'm crawling towards the finish line.

BH
 
K

kittykat

Guest
It's really amazing at just how much damage one jerk can do to your psyche, and how difficult it is to reclaim it.
I, too, was scarred for life by one mean and incompetent dentist. I've been so worried about going to a new dentist, because I wonder if he will be the same. I go back for the first time in 5 years tomorrow...
 
B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
I, too, was scarred for life by one mean and incompetent dentist. I've been so worried about going to a new dentist, because I wonder if he will be the same. I go back for the first time in 5 years tomorrow...
Good luck tomorrow kittykat. That first step is so hard, but you're doing it!

I figure the best way to get even with the jerk dentists that do this kind of emotional scarring is to work to overcome it. I'm not going to let some *insert nasty curseword of your choice* dentist stop me from having a healthy mouth.
Clearly it's not an easy path, but we're all on it.

:XXLhug:

BH
 
B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Why is this so HARD?! I have an appointment in an hour for what is basically routine work -- fix a crown and replace the old silver with resin in my back molar. I already did the RCT and post & core. But still .... I'm sitting here just frozen with fear. Ugh.

Nothing for it but to get in the car and go.

BH
 
carol999

carol999

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
478
Location
Yorkshire
Well done I am presuming you went :jump:I really hope it all went ok for you. It always surprises me how my brain doesn't seem to recall that the last visit was fine so this one will be as well. It only seems to register the fear. Hey Ho!
 
B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Well done I am presuming you went :jump:I really hope it all went ok for you. It always surprises me how my brain doesn't seem to recall that the last visit was fine so this one will be as well. It only seems to register the fear. Hey Ho!
Thank you, Carol! It went well! :) I now have a restored molar and all's is well with my right upper quadrant. As usual, all the anxiety was for nothing at all.

And you are so right. Why doesn't the brain overwrite the fear with the good experience! My next appointment is August 9th and it's a guarantee I will work myself into a froth over it.

BH
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
2,193
Location
Massachusetts, USA
I also can relate to working myself up even though my rational mind knows it has nothing to fear (and lots of evidence of positive dental experiences in the last for years to back that up). My next appt (just for a cleaning) is Aug 6th and I'm already a mess about it!
 
B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
The anxiety is starting to ramp up for my appointment on Thursday (Aug. 9) for the dreaded full mouth evaluation and treatment plan after a 6 year absence.

The emergency work on the #4 busted cusp (RCT and buildup) went perfectly well. So far the tooth seems to have settled nicely. The 4 sided restoration of #2 also went well. (Note: any further mischief and #2 will need a crown as it has been so heavily filled/restored/etc.)

You would THINK that having survived emergency work this would be easier. It is not. I keep trying to remind myself of good things: (1) all of my teeth are in my mouth (minus the wizzies), (2) none of my teeth actually hurt, (3) there are no broken teeth (outside of #4 which is on its merry way to full restoration).

But the evil demons just keep whispering in my ear that doom awaits. Perio doom, specifically. And the possible doom of the dentist finding cavities in the lower teeth which would mean a mandible block -- the ultimate freak out scenario.

I know I have gum pockets. And I know there will be the inevitable moment when the hygenist probes them and calls out the numbers to the assistant. It's like the Walk of Perio Shame. And I do clean my teeth. I floss, I brush, I waterpik. But I'm one of those people who needs 3 month recalls and I've left it for 6 YEARS. I don't have to tell anyone here why that happened. F.E.A.R.

This site is a blessing and a bit of a curse. Until I get this evaluation done I just can't read anyone else's posts and offer support because reading someone else's dental problems invariably starts wild 'what if' scenarios in my own head. So, my apologies to the folks who are so good at the virtual handholding. I hope that I can do better with that once I get past this Thursday and find out what is right and what is wrong in my mouth.

And I should add ... the pesky husband? Another 6 year dental MIA. He went in last week and sailed home needing nothing but a cleaning. There's no justice. I swear. :D

BH
 
Last edited:
mikey boy

mikey boy

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 4, 2009
Messages
948
Location
Pinellas Park, Florida
Hi blackhound how are you doing I am just woundering how long it took you to find you're dentist i am having a hard time with it
 
carole

carole

Super Moderator
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
7,917
Location
UK
Hi Mikey boy you've changed, good look.

I can't help you with a dentist but have you looked on the links on here. :butterfly: Sorry if that is a silly question you probably have. I hope you get sorted soon.
 
B

blackhound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2012
Messages
247
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Hi blackhound how are you doing I am just woundering how long it took you to find you're dentist i am having a hard time with it
Hi Mikey,

It didn't take long to find this dentist. We goggled for a dentist in the area that offered IV sedation, nitrous, and dealt with nervous patients. I looked at his credentials and he went to a very good school for his dental degree and then spent a year post-grad at a very prestigious ivy league school which gave me more confidence. I called his office and the staff was very warm and welcoming so I went in for a general appointment and I felt okay in the office. I'm still terrified but I know the problem is something I have to work through and not the environment.

BH
 
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