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Appt tomorrow, struggling with nightmares & flashbacks


Devon's mum

Junior member
Mar 9, 2018
Hi All,
So I have my 3rd appointment inside 5 weeks tomorrow morning & nerves are getting the better of me again.
I've already had an extraction & deep cleaning of my top front teeth & neither were as bad as I expected.
Tomorrow is more deep cleaning & a small filling. A filling as a child, carried out without anaesthetic was the cause of my phobia. I've been struggling with nightmares over the last few weeks, to the point of screaming & waking the whole house. I'm terrified of having a flashback in the chair, losing all semblance of control & making a right idiot of myself.
Right now I almost wish I'd never started this journey as it's taking over my life.
I'd be really grateful for any tips to try & calm myself down.
Thank you in advance
Hi Devon's mum,

sorry to hear about the nightmares and the high anxiety. When trying to beat dental fear there are things that are easier than others and there are some things that are real roadblocks and can make you going crazy. Getting a filling is obviously one of these things for you. You got traumatized during getting a filling as a child and you are now heading towards the same procedure so your subconscious expects the same experience again and basically screams 'please, don't go'. Things can get quite heavy before an appointment. I had flashbacks at night. Wouldn't scream and wakes the whole house like you, but jump out of bed and run out of the bedroom thinking I was in a treatment room.

Losing semblance and making an idiot out of you.. well, it is likely that you will behave differently than you usually do when not being in a dental practice and not being in panic, but I am sure your dentist have seen a lot of nervous patients and can handle it and is also aware of the fact that your behavior in a treatment room is not how you would behave normally. You can demonstrate being a relaxed authentic human being on your furhter appontments when things get easier.;)

Does your dentist know about your past experience with a filling and what exactly are you scared of?

You mentioned fear of a flashback in the chair. Have you ever experienced one and if so, do you know, what exactly triggered it?
Hi Enarete,

Thank you for your reply & your kind words.

I have told my dentist that my phobia stems from a sadist who enjoyed inflicting pain on children, but I haven't gone into detail as I still (37 years on) find it very difficult to talk about without getting incredibly upset.
I haven't had a flashback in the chair yet, but each time I feel like I have regressed to a powerless 12 year old, instead of a 49 year old woman who is confident in every other area of my life. I guess I am just waiting on the bad experience that will make that happen.
When I went for my 2nd appointment, my dentist commented that I was a completely different person from the shaking sobbing uncontrollable wreck she saw for an emergency extraction so she does know I'm not like that as a rule. :)
Hi Devon's mum, I can relate re. your past experience. As a result, the thought of "the drill" (and the thought of the sound of it, even more so than the actual sound, which seems less shrill nowadays) is rather nerve-wrecking to me (to put it mildly ;)).

The big difference now is that (a) you will be given local anaesthetic and (b) you will be in control to stop anytime you like. Also, this is not something which is forced on you against your will, but a positive step you are taking to look after your health. It sounds as if you have a good relationship with your current dentist, is that correct? I'm wondering if you have already worked out a stop signal with her, and if you feel confident using it. You could also ask your dentist if she could use the handpiece in short increments and check on you in between to see if you're ok.

My gut feeling is that you will be fine tomorrow :grouphug:.
Hi Letsconnect,
Thank you so much for your reply. It is the drilling that I fear most. Once that bit is over I will be a lot less panicky. My dentist has already said she will make sure I am numb before she does anything.
She is very understanding & I arranged a stop signal at my last appointment which she respected & stopped instantly when I raised my hand.
I am trying to think of the positive & that I am doing this through choice & for the benefit of my health. I'm thinking about how positive I felt after the last appointment when I saw clean front teeth that I'm not embarrassed about any more :)

Thanks for your good wishes, it's much appreciated :)
That all sounds perfect :thumbsup:. Sending you lots of positive vibes for tomorrow!

Take a deep breath - you’ve got this!!
Thank you for the good wishes :)
It's done & you were right, it was a good appointment. There was no pain & the only part I struggled with was the slower drill as that was a pretty intense! I only used my stop signal once.
Waiting now to be able to feel my face again but really feel I may have turned a corner today.
Thanks again :)
That's excellent news :jump:!

Enjoy the Easter holidays and thanks so much for letting us know how you got on!