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Anxiety with impressions being taken

J

jon_rwr

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Jun 3, 2018
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Hi folks

Just looking for a wee bit of help as I am starting to become really anxious about up and coming impressions.

My top denture has been loose for a while and a recent reline didn't work. My dentist said yesterday I need a new full top denture.

I have never had problems with extractions, fillings etc but I struggle big-time with impressions. Apparently the surgery, this past week, changed their dental laboratory so there are now no denture trays held for me. He then said the steps were:

- An impression to allow the dental tray to be created.

- Another impression of the top bare gum (which is what I thought was all that would be needed!)

- Then a third impression taken with the 'old' denture in. He said that takes a copy of the teeth in the plate which will be getting destroyed (those teeth are an exact copy of all my own top teeth previously extracted).

I already knew I was going to be very anxious about one impression but now knowing it will be three gave me a sleepless night and more will follow.

Do any of you good folks have any advice or tips about the best way to stop the gagging reflex? I've been reading these forums hoping someone may have a suggestion of tablets to buy over-the-counter that may stop it but not found anything. All the breathing exercises suggested by my dentist, as he does the impressions, have never worked and I end up being sick.

Jon
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Hi Jon,

having to get through three impressions would be heavy even for 'normal' people. With your gag reflex I can understand that this gives you sleepless nights!

Here is a link about gagging from the common fear section here on the page: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/fears/gagging/

It is super extensive (and also got updated recently) with a lot of tips and some articles so if your find one tip there that you haven't tried yet then it would be a success.

Is there anything that you, in your past, had found helpful when it comes to impressions? How did you manage to get through this as you had your current dentures?

All the best wishes
 
J

jon_rwr

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Jun 3, 2018
Messages
9
Very many thanks for your reply, Enarete. Although I spent a long time working through the forums I missed the section you have given me a link to.

>Is there anything that you, in your past, had found helpful when it comes to impressions? How did you manage to get through this as you had your current dentures?<

Being honest, I think what happened previously is actually causing the major anxiety/phobia this time. I'd no knowledge of how impressions were done and arrived for the first set completely OK and relaxed. It went quickly downhill as each time the dentist tried to take the impression I began to throw-up. It was embarrassing and even the calmness and reassurance from my dentist didn't help. We got there eventually but I always said I never wanted to go through it again. Can you believe I fight fires for a living? Yet, this single small thing feels worse than anything I've ever had to deal with in the job.

Now to check out your link.

Kind regards,

Jon
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Jon,

I've had a bit of experience with impressions and it was one of my most feared procedures up until my current dentist. I have a small mouth and big gag reflux and I used to have to take several each time to get one that was good enough because I would gag and take it out of my mouth early.. and couldn't keep it in the whole time.

My recent impressions. My dentist stayed in the room and the assistant and they helped distract me , with talking and jokes and basically entertaining me.. my dentist is thankfully a funny guy. I can't tell you how much that helped actually because all the other dentists would load my mouth with impression tray and put the timer and leave and I would gag.. so maybe distraction is a very good technique.. When you are focusing on the goop being in your mouth its really hard.. but its hard NOT to focus on this unless someone is very good at distraction. this actually was one of my best appts overcoming this whole impression fear knowing I can actually do it in one try!! and if I can do it.. who never did in one try before. I hope you can too!
 
J

jon_rwr

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Jun 3, 2018
Messages
9
Thank you very much krlovesherkids. You've described exactly how i feel when having the impressions done. Yes, I need a distraction and I do my best but so far it hasn't worked.

A friend suggested I take some ginger capsules a few days before the appointment which may help with the gag reflex. Another suggested it might be worthwhile asking if I could be numbed up a little therefore perhaps reducing the sensation. One other thing that I will be asking is that I sit upright. I honestly have the best dentist in the world who has looked after me for years, repairing so many teeth after bumps playing rugby, but when he does impressions he has me almost horizontal in the chair. I feel 100% sure that is not helping.

Of course, it's just my luck to have three impressions for one single top plate. I still find that crazy!

Jon
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Another suggested it might be worthwhile asking if I could be numbed up a little therefore perhaps reducing the sensation.
Jon, do you have an idea where the gagging comes from? Do you have problems with gagging also during other procedures or when you brush teeth etc.? Can you localize what exactly needs to get touched in your mouth to make you gag?
The reason I ask is this: if the gagging is caused by a trauma, then numbing wouldn't be wise and could make you feel worse. After all, it's a natural reflex that is meant to protect you. Before doing anything chemical to shut it off it's important to know what kind of gagging it is.
Being sit upright might be a good idea (I am surprised he let you lied down during impressions, that would be hard for the most people) and also doing some desensitization at home to get used to the feeling of having full mouth (I only need to take a huge bite of a donut and imagine that it's an impression tray and feel like gagging, but if I do it over and over again and remind myself that I can actually breathe, it gets better). Also breathing exercises or things like concentrating on your feet for the few minutes during the impressions etc. might be beneficial. You could also ask your dentist to distract you with talking as krlovesherkids suggests.
Glad to hear that you have a lovely dentist, it sounds like he will be ready to help you with this and make it easier for you.
.. you are a fire fighter? Wow... this is amazing! :respect:

All the best wishes and keep us posted.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Jon,

Yeah I agree with Enarete in that laying horizontal for impressions would put me over the edge.. even with my dentist distracting me not sure I could do that.. They put me as far up as I go once they get the impressions in to wait for the few minutes. I would definately talk to him about that , seems like a very understanding good dentist to work with who would listen and take your anxieties into high consideration.
 
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J

jon_rwr

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Jun 3, 2018
Messages
9
Hi Enarete and krlovesherkids.

Thank you both.

I've no gagging reaction with anything else I do. It only seems to happen when the dental impression paste touches close to the back of my mouth, top or bottom. I'm going to hold back from the numbing up but perhaps will try some ginger. I know it works for some folks prone to sea sickness so I figure because it is a natural product I have nothing to lose.

I am still sure that not sitting upright is the problem. With fillings and extractions and even my regular hygiene appointments he lowers the chair really far back until my head is only around six inches above base. He sits behind my head a little to the right and works from there. This might work best for him but I'm beginning to feel it's causing me a major problem with impressions.

For sure I will be discussing this with him but will make it clear we need to try it with my head much higher.

>you are a fire fighter? Wow... this is amazing!<

It's the only job I've ever had Enarete and taking into account things I have seen and NOT gagged is maybe why I struggle much more with this problem. If I mentioned it to the guys I work with they'd crease up!

I will let you both know how it all works out.

Jon
 
Enarete

Enarete

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I am still sure that not sitting upright is the problem. With fillings and extractions and even my regular hygiene appointments he lowers the chair really far back until my head is only around six inches above base. He sits behind my head a little to the right and works from there. This might work best for him but I'm beginning to feel it's causing me a major problem with impressions.
I got a chance to ask two dental nurses how do they take impressions with someone who has an extreme gagging problem. One of them said 'very quickly!' :giggle: she explained that they can make the mold a bit thicker so that it hardens quicker and that there is a critical point when the impressions are stable enough to get out even before the 'official' time is over - she said that with a combination of these two she could get impressions done in 20s if the situation is critical. It's also good if you could try to insert the empty trace yourself first to get a feeling of the size of it and what it touches. She told me that she once even let a patient take impressions himself, after a good explanation - it worked and the impressions were good.
What both nurses told me is that they use to let their gagging patients bend forward - they would start with the patient being upright, head leaned (which is necessary for the part of inserting the trays) but then, as soon as it's in, they would ask the patient to bend forward which helps immensely. They also use a lot of distraction.. I bet if you talk to your dentist and make clear that you might throw up if he won't find out how to get you through the impressions then he will offer you the best collection of his techniques:) gagging patients are not so rare in dentistry.

By the way, few of your colleagues might not only have problems with special parts of dental treatment but even suffer from severe dental fear. You would be surprised how many soldiers, policemen or other 'tough guys' really have difficulty to deal with dental treatment so there must be some phobic fire fighters too. And they might probably all feel too embarrassed to talk about it.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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I so agree with Enarete!! My dentist also had me lean forward.. and that was the first time I did it first time around! So the leaning forward does work well!
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Thanks for the great tips :thumbsup: - they've been added to the gagging tips page - hope that's ok?
 
J

jon_rwr

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Enarete, I really appreciate you speaking with the dental nurses. Their replies confirm what might be the problem for me. No matter what, I won't be almost horizontal this time around!

A big smile here about what you say about the possibility of some of my work-mates having similar phobias. If they do I've never heard them mention them BUT I've seen some of them clear from a room at the sight of a large spider :D .

Kind regards,

Jon
 
J

jon_rwr

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Guys, may I ask one further question?

My dentist said the first impression is for dental trays, which are sent with the next two impressions he will do that day to the lab. He also said he plans to let me take home the trays when the lab returns them with the new denture. If I ever need any changes to the denture, I've been told I need to bring the trays to him when I visit. This has puzzled me and I cannot figure out what the trays are actually used for. Does anyone have any ideas?

When I google looking for an answer all I seem to find are entries are teeth whitening trays!

Jon
 
J

jon_rwr

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Folks, just to let you know that the impression was done today, I sat almost completely upright in the chair and didn't gag once. I think my dentist did though when he realised that this time around was no way I was prepared to be almost horizontal.

If it's of any interest regarding the trays I was curious about, he explained they are used to put the dental putty on and then the tray is inserted into the mouth for the impression to be taken.

Jon
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Wow!! This is awesome to hear Jon!! Sounds like nearly upright was alot better ! and that is kind of cool to do an impression for a tray that you do impressions in the future. Which I"m sure is so much more accurate if you need them in the future than not having this. That is interesting ! Thanks.
 
T

tazey

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I have impressions again soon which I'm really not looking forward too,they should have been done in april instead I've had to stress for 3mths. :-\
 
J

jon_rwr

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I have impressions again soon which I'm really not looking forward too,they should have been done in april instead I've had to stress for 3mths. :-\
Sorry to hear that, tazey and I hope all goes well which I am sure it will. If you've read this thread you'll know how anxious I was but the advice I got here, plus the sitting upright when the impressions were done, really helped.

Jon
 
T

tazey

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I'll take some diazapam this time+will sit more upright (can't remember if I did last time).
 
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