Apparently need an extraction, panicking and don't know what to do

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NonCarpeDente

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I'm struggling to order my thoughts, it's just all too awful to think/write about. Basically I want to hear from people who understand what I feel like, I'd like to hear what they would do, and anything that might help. I might have to edit this later to put in relevant information, and I'll try not to make it overly long.


For years I've been unusually anxious about dental procedures. Within the last 2 years, I ended up with cavities in both upper wisdom teeth. My normal dentist is really good and I honestly feel he's the only one I can trust. He either suggested or agreed (I forget), on each occasion to fill the wisdom teeth, rather than remove them because of my anxiety. I found the first filling hell in the run up, with fear of it, but after the second I became somewhat okay about having fillings. The downside though, is that it meant the main aspect of my phobia left was losing teeth/having teeth removed, and I became much more anxious about those things.

Well in the middle of last week, I broke the filling in my upper right wisdom tooth. Just feeling the gap in the back of my mouth made me completely freak out. I went in to the usual clinic the next day for an emergency appointment, I couldn't see my usual dentist, but any port in a storm. For context, I have a number of job interviews/similar this upcoming week (14th-18th Jan), so she put in a temporary filling, as I said I didn't want to be dealing with the recovery whilst doing interviews.

She said I would need to have it removed, and referred me to another local clinic that deals with more anxious patients. My usual one say they can't do sedation because you have to walk up a flight of steps to get to it. Neither do general anesthetic. I probably shouldn't have, but I signed the referral/agreement thing, I would have signed anything to get out of the clinic at that point.

I just feel I can't have the tooth removed, it makes me nauseous to think about it. I'm not functioning well in day to day life because of this "sword of Damocles" hanging over my head. I'm paranoid I'm going to screw up a job interview because of it.

Normally I try to read about medical procedures I'm anxious about so that I understand them better. I can't even read about tooth extraction for more than about 20 seconds, without just bursting into tears and having to look away. I feel completely pathetic.

Ultimately, I suppose, I have 3 options:
1. Go and have it done at the clinic for nervous people under sedation. It would be done by an oral surgeon apparently, this is relevant.
2. Try to make an appointment at my normal clinic to have it done with my normal dentist (the only one I trust) without sedation. But he's very busy, and he may refuse to do it due to complications I don't know.
3. Either try to find somewhere that will do it under GA, or plead with my normal dentist to do another filling, or maybe something else entirely.

I don't know if it would be relevant/would cause problems, but I have some medical problems with my bones. I'm worried this will complicate the procedure. The other thing I worry is that there's so little of the tooth left, that it would be harder to remove.

The other thing, due to past events, the truth is I have a strong distrust of surgeons in particular but some doctors as well. So the idea of having it done by a surgeon, especially when I wouldn't be "in control" of myself (due to sedation), it's kind of a no-go really.

Thank you for reading and thank you in advance for any advice. I'm sorry about the cluttered nature of the post, I find it really hard to write about this.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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I had an upper wisdom tooth removed two years ago. It was so quick and easy I genuinely couldn’t believe it was over. I swear, one moment my dentist was asking if I felt anything sharp to check I was numb, the next she was offering to show me the tooth. She told me that upper wisdom teeth have short, cone shaped roots, and tend to be very straightforward extractions. My appointment was 5.15, and I was out of the surgery by 5.30, and eating normally as soon as the numbing wore off.

Unless there are complications in how the tooth is positioned, in your shoes I would have my trusted dentist do it.

In terms of losing the tooth, mine has had no impact on my bite or smile. Remember that lots of people don’t actually get their wisdom teeth at all - my partner is 42 and he just never grew any. (He is very wise, though.)
 
S

Spider

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I understand how you feel. That fear is always looming- from the moment I open my eyes, all day long, and even in my dreams at night. I get angry at myself that I let the anxiety basically rule my life 24 hours a day and it just makes me feel worse about myself. A long time ago I had my 4 wisdom teeth removed with IV sedation and it went really well (didn't remember a thing!), but that was before my dental anxiety began. These days, perhaps I'd prefer my trusted dentist to do the extraction since its a familiar office and I can trust him. I've been trying a new technique where I tell myself "I'm really happy and looking forward to getting my tooth fixed!" to counter every negative thought. It sounds a bit crazy, but I've tried it for the last 2 fillings/crowns that I had and I think it may have shifted my negative thinking somewhat. I hope your interviews go well. Please keep us updated x
 
M

Meichan

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I had an upper wisdom tooth extracted a few years ago (funny enough, I only grew two wisdom teeth, both upper, no lower).
I was so terrified. A lot of people have a blood curdling fear of losing teeth. I have to say though, it was pretty easy as far as the experience goes. Upper teeth are a lot easier than lower teeth. But I was drugged out of my skull. Which was great.
My opinion is different than others here. If I were you, I'd go to the surgeon where you can get sedation. They can even set it up so that they give you a pill the night before to help you from panicking, one to take in the morning, and while you're there, they can make it so you don't really care. It will also give you retrograde amnesia. So you wont remember too much of the event. You will need someone to help you back into the car and drive you home. They usually want you to eat a pudding or something (to offset anesthesia on an empty stomach), and you will be told to gently rinse with salt water for a few days and eat soft foods just case. They usually prescribe pain killers for aftercare. I personally wasn't in any pain. It healed pretty quickly.
I understand your distrust of surgeons. I feel the same about dentists. But sometimes, you have to think about it skill wise. Dental surgeons specialize in specific things. They are usually better at them than a general dentist is. If they specialize in sedation dentistry, they will know all about dental phobia and how to deal with patients fears better.

You will get through this. When you're on the other side of it, you will be so relieved. Remember that wisdom teeth aren't really needed. As has been pointed out, many people have evolved out of them and don't get them.

Best of luck! I know its so scary, but it happens to people every day. You will be taken care of, and you will be able to put it behind you.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Dear NonCarpeDente,

I am really sorry to read about your situation, I can only imagine how hard it must be to deal with your dental anxiety now that you need to feel confident and settled for your job interviews. Writing is always good to sort thoughts so hopefully sharing your story helped you to gain some clarity about your fears and options.

Reading your posts it sounds like you feel urged to act but at the same time could benefit from some other informations. Remember, it's your teeth and you are in charge. No matter what you signed or not or which dentists you have seen or not, you are the boss here and you decide what will happen to these teeth, when, under which conditions and who will do it. I am writing it in this theatralic way to remind you that you are in charge even if it doesn't feel like this at the moment.

First of all, I am wondering how urgent the procedure would be. You seem to need a procedure but not sure about in which way so a useful question to ask a dentist would be how quickly the treatment has to happen and what might be the consequences of you waiting for a bit longer. A bit of time might also help you to become more familiar with the idea of having it done and think of what might make it easier for you.

It sounds like you trust your dentist so why not getting in touch with him and let him assess the situation? He might be busy but he seems to know your anxiety so should be happy to help you. You mention he might refuse to remove the teeth for you due to complications you do not know, so it might be a good idea to find out whether there are such in the first place. Even if he couldn't do the treatment himself, he will for sure be able to give you advice and offer reassurance. He can also for sure give you answers to anything you wish to know about the procedure.

It's good to know where your fears are and what you would prefer and when being freaked out by a dental problem it's good to allow yourself some time to process things. Talking from a perspective of someone who can cry for hours because of a tiny spot on a tooth that doesn't look like I believe it should: time and being kind to yourself help.

I will keep my fingers absolutely tightly crossed for you to master your job interviews despite this situation and find some reassurance about your teeth soon.

All the best wishes and keep us posted
 
M

MountainMama

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Up until this past fall, having a tooth extracted/losing a tooth was one of my biggest phobias. I had terrible experiences with getting teeth pulled as a child (baby and permanent for orthodontia).

I had all four wisdom teeth removed surgically at age 16 (and they found 2 extra ones and removed those as well). I was out for that surgery so I just remember the recovery.

This past fall, I had my first tooth extraction since I was a child. I actually had two 2nd molars extracted, and an impacted wisdom tooth (yes, another one!) although not at the same time. I was terrified, but it was much easier than I had thought it would be. Not that I want to lose anymore teeth, but now that my worst fear has happened, it doesn't control me anymore.
 
N

NonCarpeDente

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I don't really have the time to write up a proper post right now, but I just wanted to thank everyone for the replies and advice. I've been reading the replies and hearing your experiences has been helpful and there's some really useful insight.

As a small update (although not so small for me), I had an unexpected success with the interview today for my first choice job, that means I won't need to attend some of the others, freeing up my week considerably.

What's relevant is, I was expecting to be busy every day this week, and only free to start making phone calls etc from next Monday. Since, also, my initial meeting at the "Clinic for nervous people" is next Monday. With this change, I can make a call to my regular dentist tomorrow (or well, today now) without needing to worry about scheduling around interviews which is one small good thing.

I'll write a proper post tomorrow. Thank you again everyone!
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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Hi,

Please allow me to share with a video I made about fear of pain during dental treatment:

Hope it helps.
 
S

StHelensFan1

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Hi there,

I joined this forum 2 years ago, was asking people questions constantly about how certain teeth would be removed and how I could possibly be helped as I suffer from anxiety in everyday life, not just when I have a dental op looming.

I am without doubt the biggest wuss going, I'm needle phobic, everytime I have had an injection I have passed out then vomited when I have come around.

I had never been to a dentist since I was a kid, I'm now 33.

Anyway, after 2 missed appointments at the hospital, last Friday I had 17 teeth removed, 2 of which were wisdom teeth, another 2 were supernumerary teeth (one was in the roof of my mouth, another was growing out of the top part of my gum under my top lip), most of the rest were broken to the gum line or stumps.

My upper left wisdom tooth was huge (size of a 20p coin!) though there was very little of it left above the gum, still managed to get it out though.

I also had 7 fillings, a root canal and a scale and polish.

I was out under GA for just over 2 hours, placed in a recovery area (don't remember any of it) then came around in a waiting area sat next to my mum.

30 mins later, in very little pain, I walked out of the hospital and went home.

I always thought I'd have panicked when I came around from the GA, remember weeks before the op I'd gag just at the thought of having my teeth removed.

But I didn't, the relief that it was all over was the best feeling ever, trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.

Remember, surgeons do this every day, it's their job, and if anything should go wrong, you're in the right place if you're having the procedure done in a hospital.

Mark.
 
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NonCarpeDente

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Finally I do have an update on this.
But first, I'll apologise. I tried to post an update before now, and I'm really sorry I couldn't. I would get so upset and anxious when trying to think what to write.
I'm grateful to all of you for your suggestions, and there's been some really detailed and helpful posts.

So here's the update: I had the tooth out this morning. I'd known it was booked today for a long time, and I tried to prepare. I had a double session booked so I could take it slowly and ask questions etc.
I suppose that helped, taking the time to ask things and have him check for any other issues with my teeth, but overall it was worse than my worst nightmares about it.
Before having it I'd read about how it is they take wisdom teeth out, and although it made me panic reading it, I did actually feel a bit better. In particular, I read that they often cut the tooth into pieces and pull those out separately.

Just for context here, I'm not scared of being in pain, I can handle that. It's the permanence of any damage to teeth that is distressing. So in particular, for the context of an extraction, it's the wiggling and pulling that sets me into full blown panic mode.

I do still trust this dentist, and probably only him, and I'm sure he did a good job of it, certailny it only took a couple of minutes.
Before starting, I asked if he would cut the tooth up like I'd read, I thought he probably wouldn't know before seeing it, and I'd expected that answer.
However, I did try to explain that it was the wobbling and pulling that freaked me out, and that I'd really prefer it if it was cut into pieces and removed like that.

Well I'm sure there's a good reason, but that's not how it happened.
After the anaesthetic (fine, basically painless), I started to freak out at the reality of it and asked for a short break, which was okay.
Then we start again, I kept my eyes shut the whole time, even though I'm mostly shaking violently I manage to keep my head still. I asked if there was any way we could do something to hold my tongue at the bottom of my mouth as it was freaking me out, being able to feel the instruments and know what he was doing, but apparently it couldn't be done (or at least not without causing a problem).

Then I feel him start to pull on it and wiggle it, and that's it, panic attack. I've had a few in the run up but this was unsurprisingly worse than usual. Just all the usual sweating, shaking uncontrollably, overwhelming fear/panic, not really knowing what's going on etc.
Nurse and my mother try to calm me down but it's too late, it's beyond that stage. I keep feeling the wiggling and pulling and that just makes it worse.
Then I feel a sickening snap and crunch, and presumably blood gets sprayed down the back of my throat. Bite on the gauze. Get asked various questions "Where are you?", "What have you had done?". I can answer them, I just want to get away and be left alone.
Mouth doesn't stop bleeding for a while (I guess because blood pressure).

Anyway I kept it together enough until I was out of sight, put a charity donation in to the pot for the dentist's charity (as an apology for me being such a difficult patient), and get a lift back.

A few times, it stopped bleeding, but then I can't help bursting into tears agian or getting upset and it just starts up prolifically.

I don't know how often I'm supposed to use the gauzes, or what the limit is on them. Not only that it seems every time I take it out, I'm sure the blood clot is coming wiht it, because the blood is so dark.

I just want to sleep, but I'm too upset. It was worse than any of my nightmares/fears of it.

I'm sorry for leaving so long then writing such a negative post. I just had to put it somewhere and my good friends and close family who understand, I don't want to upset more or make htem more anxious. Then I know as well that nobody wants to hear it.

I can't do this again, I just can't. Once I knew the date I rang my psychiatrist and got prescribed valium, and I took that as much as I could and anything that would help before going to the dentists and, I guess it did help in that I didn't scream or run away (just lay there shaking uncontrollably), but I can't do that again. I don't know what I'll do if another needs removing.

EDIT:

Maybe I should have gone to the hospital, but I just can't trust surgeons.

I'm not drinking alcohol or smokming, or blowing my nose, or rinsing my mouth and I'm probably not going to eat for a day or two to be safe. But is there anything I can do to get it to stop bleeding, I fdunno.
They say the wet gauze, but apart from it hurts when I clamp down on it, it's this dark blood on it which I feel like must be the blood clot and I'm just screwed.
I just don't know what to do, this is just all too much
 
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S

Scared all the time

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The hardest part was opening my mouth for them knowing the outcome. Then the wiggling and crunching sound. I so wanted then to just stop and leave it but at that point I knew it was too late for that I had to endure. I still don’t now how I got the courage to do it, I just pain won out for me and up the fear of that infection spreading and causing more damage. So I get where your coming from 🤗. For me the gauge was a security blanket of sorts. Didn’t want to feel the loss just yet, but on the same note it took awhile for the bleeding to stop 100%. Longer then that 30 minutes that said. I thing for me I was on and off gauze in my mouth for about 4 hours but again I felt more comfortable waiting. If your tired, then just sleep it helps. I slept most of the day afterwards. I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth cut out in my 20s the surgery went fine stitches were a pain but doable, took awhile to heal but my other teeth were just fine. Your over the hardest part relax and heal now pulling the gauze out to change it won’t pull the clot if your worried though when the bleeding lets up and you change the gauze just dampen the new gauze a bit before to put in in your mouth.
 
S

Scared all the time

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You can also try a tea bag to stop bleeding
 
N

NonCarpeDente

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I had it done at around 9am this morning, and it was still bleeding at about 3pm when I calmed down enough to sleep.
Now I've just woken up at midnight and it's still bleeding. I guess I'll have to ring them again tomorrow or Monday then?
 
M

MountainMama

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I had it done at around 9am this morning, and it was still bleeding at about 3pm when I calmed down enough to sleep.
Now I've just woken up at midnight and it's still bleeding. I guess I'll have to ring them again tomorrow or Monday then?

Is it bleeding heavily or just seeping? I had trouble with contined bleeding with my molar extraction. It bled heavily for several hours, then was seeping. They called later that day to check on me, and I mentioned the bleeding. The oral surgeon said seeping blood was normal for about 48 hours, but if the blood soaked a guaze pad in less than 30 minutes I needed to call them. Mine eventually quit, but it did seep overnight, because I had blood taste in my mouth the next morning.
 
N

NonCarpeDente

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It's mostly seeping at the moment, and it seems to sort of come and go. Like it'll start and almost squirt a bit (not enough to cover a gauze though), then stop entirely. Then maybe 20 minutes later start again.
IF 48 hours of just seeping is okay, that honestly makes me feel a lot better. Thank you
 
M

MountainMama

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I tried to upload a picture of the section in the pamphlet they gave me that says bleeding is normal for 24 to 48 hours, but I can't get it to load.
The oral surgeon said to actually take the gauze out once it is just seeping, to allow the air to circulate. If it starts up bleeding again to apply pressure with a black tea bag. I did the tea bag and it made me gag, but it did work.
 
N

NonCarpeDente

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Thank you MountainMama, I'm going to try the teabag thing now that you and
Scared suggested.

Honestly I'm just despairing of this. I spent all of the first day following it (yesterday) asleep, and woke up still bleeding, so I used a gauze and drank plenty of water. Then when trying to take it out, the gauze was kind of stuck, I put some water in my mouth to help loosen it. When it came out it had really dark brown blood on which I think must have been the blood clot.

So I spent all of today asleep, and when I woke up, it had stopped bleeding. I finally felt a bit better and went to get something to eat at last (if it's sunday evening now, I last ate on Friday evening, for fear of dislodging something).

Before I even get that far, I was just drinking water and it's started bleeding again. I just despair, this has been an entire nightmare start to finish. I'm going to try the teabag thing but I just don't know what to do.

I guess since it will be over 48 hours I'll have to ring the surgery again tomorrow.
 
N

NonCarpeDente

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I have another, and hopefully a final update as it's now about 2 and a half days since I had the op. I'm feeling a little better about it now, and the most important thing I wanted to say:thank you to everyone who posted!!! :thankyou:
The information on the website was useful, but it really helped to hear advice from other people who understood or who had been through similar, and just knowing you're not alone.

As for the wound, I tried the teabag technique, and that did actually seem to stop the bleeding. A few hours later it started to ooze again, but probably less than before. I did repeat using the teabag, but the bitterness got to me so I think I probably didn't hold it as long or bite as hard.
It's been 2 and a half days, I don't think the swelling has gone down really, it's still oozing occasionally. I think at this point it'll be okay though.

This is a graphic question, so I apologize if anyone's squeamish. Does anyone know what the conditions/reasons would be for pulling a wisdom tooth out whole vs cutting it into pieces and taking it out like that? I was really hoping it would be the latter but ended up with the former, so now I'm just wondering.
 
grumpybear

grumpybear

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I'm sure there are a few reasons, but a couple of them I know of is if the tooth is in a weird angle that would make extracting it whole difficult. Also, surgeons sometimes section the wisdom tooth before extracting when the tooth is sitting on a nerve and an extraction could cause nerve damage.
 
M

Meichan

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I'm not a dentist, but I think it's because wisdom teeth are often impacted (not fully erupted from the gum/bone) and come at weird angles, even have long curved roots. They sometimes cut them into pieces because if they don't, the tooth might break unpredictably while being removed as a whole. If the tooth breaks on them they would have to use more invasive surgical techniques to retrieve the pieces left behind (cutting gums/going into the bone etc).

Anyways, I'm sorry you had such a hard time with this. No one likes it :( . But I think you're past the critical stages.

You sound a bit like me (dental paranoia) and I'm sure you are so anxious that you are babying that area even more than you have to.
I think it's going to fine, especially by now.
 
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