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Are you ever embarrassed about what the staff thinks of nervous patients?

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Shakinginmyboots

Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
35
Location
New Jersey
I went to the dentist last April for the first time in years. I was a wreck, scared of what they would find, the usual.
it was not that bad at all. I picked this husband/wife practice. I told woman on the phone I was nervous and embarrassed and she was kind, but gave me the woman dentist because she has more training with “ nervous” patients.

I liked the hygienist who only works on Mondays and this dentist was a lot of fun. Talking and laughing through fillings, I really clicked with her and felt relaxed.
When I first went filled in questionnaire checking off things that made me uncomfortable. I checked a lot of things. Ha!
At a later visit I was in waiting room with a mother and teen daughter, the daughter did not appear nervous, but she checked off everything.

So my May appointment was cancelled due to covid. They texted a few weeks back and said to text if you want an appointment. I did and they gave me one for last week. they then texted a few days later to hit c to confirm and later before I saw text it said sorry, no appointments until July. I called them and they said sorry for confusion it is the June date. I get myself mentally prepared, right, go there and the woman said it’s hectic with Covid , they made mistake, and made one for the following week, today.

So I go and realize will have different hygienist. That was ok, but I wanted the other one! Lol She says Dr. G will be in in a few minutes. That is the husband and I was mentally freaking out because I was used to the wife and then worried he will find a bunch of problems. My fit bit showed my heart rate was 104, just sitting there! He must have read my chart because he comes in and is standing really far away from me and then approaches me slowly. He said I am just going to take a quick peak and i can’t describe it, but I felt so ridiculous . It was fine and lasted about 2 minutes, but I really felt embarrassed. I am glad he was nice and not brusque, but I felt silly like he thought I was a basket case.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,620
Hi there,

I can't even imagine how nervous you must have been to find out last minute that you would have a different dentist. I can totally relate to that as familiarity makes us feel less anxious and it has a lot to do with trust. I would get out of order if I was about to get a new dentist without a warning.

From what you write it sounds like the dentist wanted to look after you well and tried to reassure you. Particularly things like standing away of you, approaching you slowly and reassuring you that he would just take a quick look, those are very mindful things that show that he cared and wanted you to feel comfortable. That's a nice thing. And at the same time what I think was happening, is that the fact he was treating you gently made you more aware of your embarrassment over the fact that you have been nervous. This is very common. There are not many people who feel comfortable admitting they are nervous and showing anxiety makes us vulnerable and can feel really unpleasant and even more so with a new person.

To reassure you, most people are somwehat nervous at the dentists and mindful dentists use similar strategies with all patients. It could be that he keeps distance to all new patients and just makes sure not to overwhelm anyone. Explaining what he will be doing also sounds like something that should be always done. So maybe he read your chart and tried to put you at ease or maybe he simply knows that people feel uncomfortable at the dentist and does that every time. One thing I am 100% sure of is that he didn't think anything negative about you and certainly didn't thing you were ridiculous. Believe me, dental stuff that thinks anxiety is ridiculous really makes you feel it and that usually happens through ignoring your boundaries and not making any attempts to reassure you.

That all being said by a person who masked a panic attack at her first appointment with the kindest dentist of the world, out of shame and embarrassment over having that anxiety (as if the dentist wouldn't know after a half an hour of chat about my anxiety).
 
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Shakinginmyboots

Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
35
Location
New Jersey
Thank you. I think I was overwhelmed and then spiraled with crazy thoughts. They are very popular dentists and this 3 months off due to covid really created a mess, staff making appointments from home. When I was younger I went to one of those chains and had nice dentists and not so friendly dentists. I could never do that now. With a day to reflect, I think he was very nice and thoughtful.
 
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