At 31, I am FINALLY over my lifelong fear! (LONG post sorry!)

K

keikokeiko

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
20
Hi everyone! It’s been a little over 2 years now since I first started my journey to getting my life back, and I can’t believe I can say this:

I no longer fear the dentist! :yay:

NEVER in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could say that! I have ALWAYS feared the dentist, to the point of avoiding going for over 10 years at one point, no matter how much pain I was in. I've had so many bad experiences growing up, the last time in my teens being my dentist literally getting in my face because he was mad I lost my retainer and my bottom teeth were shifting after braces... because of my fear, I was quite rebellious and just didn't understand the importance (or point) in taking care of my teeth properly. The next time I went when I was around 20, I had chipped and broken teeth, and pain was so bad I had no choice but to seek help. I had an appointment scheduled to remove one of my broken wisdom teeth, but my manager wouldn't let me take the day off work, and the pain started to subside by then, so I chickened out. It wasn't until I was around 25 (2014) when the pain came back with a vengeance and my boyfriend literally had to drag me to his dentist. Pulling that tooth was honestly terrible for me (I won't bother with details haha), but I managed to go back a couple more times for fillings just to (finally) take advantage of what little insurance I had left under my mom due to my age and my own lack of funds. I honestly hated that dentist though, so it was almost a relief I ran out of insurance money! She clearly had no idea (or cared) how to deal with nervous patients and was all business. The hygienists were incredibly sweet on the other hand and probably the only reason I was able to muster courage to get that much work done.

Fast-forward another 5 years to 2019. This is where my journey truly begins.

The current state of my mouth: Broken back lower molar (giant black hole, it was so gross lol), broken upper wisdom tooth, 2 lower wisdom teeth, missing top molar, yellow spot on my front tooth I was always SO embarrassed about, lower front teeth were cracked and crowded, and later find out I needed root canal on my opposite upper molar... and a REALLY bad self-esteem and embarrassment. Oh and I have TMJ pretty bad. Yay.

Once again I find myself in pain from my lower broken molar, and noticed my cheek was starting to swell up. I couldn't stand the pain, so I knew this time I HAD to find a new dentist. Can I just say that God answered my prayers when I found her! I think I found her on Yelp, and everyone made a point to say how kind she was. I called to make an appointment, let them know about my immense fear, and the woman on the phone was so nice and told me how majority of the people who came to her were nervous patients. That did comfort me, but of course I was still scared. Pain, embarrassment from the state of my teeth... I couldn't help but cry when I got there but the hygienist and dentist were just the kindest and most encouraging souls. I managed to pull my broken tooth (I was SOOOOOO scared for this, but when she started pulling it, I felt NOTHING and couldn't believe I was actually getting BORED sitting there LOL), my first cleaning in over 10 years, and finally filled in the cracks on my bottom teeth. I was SO happy. I also want to point out, injections were probably my #1 fear honestly, and she taught me how to breathe and relax through them, which helped me SO much later.

However-- I was informed I also needed a root canal and obviously needed to take out my wisdom teeth, which she didn't perform in her office. She gave me some referrals, but because they were expensive I ended up looking for another office.

It took me a while to muster the courage to look for a new place, but I knew if I held off on my root canal I would probably lose another tooth in my smile line, and that scared me more. I was so happy to find this office. Once again, Yelp to the rescue! I feel like I had "graduated" from her office to my new dentist. Everyone had nothing but praise for this office, including many with fear like me who had endless praise for this place. I got my x-rays, a rundown of everything they suggested I get done, and part 2 begins.

I'll start with the root canal. I was DREADING this, like sick to my stomach. Part of that was the thought of the injection, but I BARELY felt it. This dentist is SO gentle, even more-so than the last dentist! Her tips for breathing and relaxing helped a LOT still. But overall the procedure was honestly not that bad at all. My jaw was sore since I was sitting there for close to 2 hours with my mouth open and having TMJ didn't help lol. But I got through it and I was so proud of myself!

By March 2020, I was mustering up the courage to finally get out my wisdom teeth, but then covid happened. :waiting: So I used that as an excuse not to go back lol. Eventually my tooth where I had my root canal done started hurting, so I panicked and made an appointment. I just remembered, I was actually supposed to get a cleaning in October 2020, but I was busy the day my appointment was scheduled, so I canceled. I think it wasn't until early this year I finally started going back. I got my teeth cleaned, more fillings (including the last being the yellow spot on my front tooth, THAT was my happiest moment!) Oh and my root canal tooth was just sensitive, nothing happened lol. BUT thank GOD it was sensitive, because it put me back in the habit of going back!!

My biggest accomplishment was FINALLY... getting all my wisdom teeth taken out. I got each lower tooth out separately. The first one literally took like 5 minutes since I was missing a tooth in front. The other one I was told would be more complicated because one of the roots was crooked, and they estimated it would take 2 HOURS. It ended up taking 15 minutes tops LOL and... I was NOT AT ALL NERVOUS FOR BOTH PROCEDURES!!! The thought of taking out my wisdom teeth literally HAUNTED me for YEARS.... my heart would SINK at the very thought. What worked for me was simply taking things SLOW, and my dentist was NEVER in a hurry for me to take them out either. They ALWAYS said I could do it whenever I was ready, and that gave me courage to finally get it over with. I got my last wisdom tooth out last Thursday, and it was honestly SO easy. The worst part has simply been recovery. I get random flare-ups of pain, but I've been through MUCH worse as you can probably tell by now haha!

I've literally dreamed of being where I am now... and I know it's totally cliche to say, but HONESTLY: If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!! The BEST way to get over your fear is to face it. It's 100% TRUE! My heart would sink immediately even at the word 'dentist' or anyone talking about their teeth. It doesn't scare me anymore. I'm not finished with my journey, but now it's all cosmetic going forward.

I'm hoping I can finally get implants, and my dentist also suggested invisalign beforehand if I want to fix my crowded lower teeth (YES I DO). I have a follow-up appointment on Friday, and hope I can get some more answers about Invisalign. I really cannot believe I am here. One of my biggest dreams in life is having a family, and I'd think about it every single day. I recall when I was in my early 20s reading that it's important to have healthy teeth if you become pregnant, so that also haunted me every single night. I really can't believe I finally did it!!


And I'm sorry my post is SOOOOO long, but I also failed to mention: THIS forum and website is also what helped me face my lifelong fears! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!! I've been lurking these forums for years, and everyone's testimonies helped me. I wanted to share as much of my story as I possibly can in hopes it can help someone else! :XXLhug: If you made it this far, thank you SO much for reading! And I'm sorry LOL. :thankyou:

If you're feeling fearful and anxiety, I WAS THERE. My suggestion is to lean-in to these forums, find a good support system, and just know you CAN get through it! I was fearful for over 20 YEARS, and I did it! And Yelp. Yelp was a LIFESAVER for finding the RIGHT dentists for me!!!! Good luck and thank you for reading my story :-*
 
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T

TKB1974

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
123
Well done! Your story will help many! Congratulations. 😊
 
M

Mageris

Junior member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
17
Your story is helping me muster the courage I need in the coming week. I have a badly infected front tooth that also is causing a lot of sinus pain and headaches that I need root canal treatment on and I've been dreading that as it's my worst fear. They put me on Clindamycin since amoxicillin didn't work to clear the infection. I want to get it taken care of so badly because I'm tired of the pain and feeling sick and anxiety 24/7. I'm just over the suffering at this point. I've never had one done before and I'm hoping to find a good endodontist that does iv sedation so I can just go to sleep and be done with it.
 
K

keikokeiko

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
20
Your story is helping me muster the courage I need in the coming week. I have a badly infected front tooth that also is causing a lot of sinus pain and headaches that I need root canal treatment on and I've been dreading that as it's my worst fear. They put me on Clindamycin since amoxicillin didn't work to clear the infection. I want to get it taken care of so badly because I'm tired of the pain and feeling sick and anxiety 24/7. I'm just over the suffering at this point. I've never had one done before and I'm hoping to find a good endodontist that does iv sedation so I can just go to sleep and be done with it.

Awww I'm sorry you are in so much pain! I was absolutely petrified when I had to finally get my root canal done. I had put that off for YEARS (at least at the time I was told I might need one, I just stopped going to a dentist for years) until I finally having pain that I couldn't ignore. I was dreading my root canal treatment too, but honestly it wasn't bad at all! I think the anticipation was the worst bit, to be completely honest, it was rather boring LOL. The pain scale was literally maybe 3/10 ONLY when I could actually feel something, then they immediately numbed me up more (which I didn't feel either) so it wasn't nearly as terrible as I chalked it up to be in my mind. I absolutely thought I would need to be put to sleep for any type of procedure too, including wisdom teeth, but I learned finding a good dentist you trust is KEY. I really hated the dentist my boyfriend took me to 5-6 years ago when I was in pain from a broken wisdom tooth (same one who told me I needed root canal treatment), which is why I put everything off so long. If possible, look around on Yelp for dentists in your area and really read the reviews. That's how I found my current dentist and the one right before who intitially helped me alleviate a lot of my fears (she specialized in helping dental-phobic patients!) and she was WONDERFUL.

Btw I can totally empathize with infection pain, ouch! I had a broken molar that I needed extracted because of infection and I think I was also prescribed Clindamycin for that. My cheek swelled up like a bullfrog, it was insane! It was super relieving to finally get that nasty, black hole of a tooth finally gone though...

In any case I truly hope you can find a good endo to help you and I hope my words can offer any further comfort! Believe me, I was TERRIFIED of even going in for a simple cleaning for years! You can totally overcome this and you will feel AMAZING once you do!
 
M

Mageris

Junior member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
17
Awww I'm sorry you are in so much pain! I was absolutely petrified when I had to finally get my root canal done. I had put that off for YEARS (at least at the time I was told I might need one, I just stopped going to a dentist for years) until I finally having pain that I couldn't ignore. I was dreading my root canal treatment too, but honestly it wasn't bad at all! I think the anticipation was the worst bit, to be completely honest, it was rather boring LOL. The pain scale was literally maybe 3/10 ONLY when I could actually feel something, then they immediately numbed me up more (which I didn't feel either) so it wasn't nearly as terrible as I chalked it up to be in my mind. I absolutely thought I would need to be put to sleep for any type of procedure too, including wisdom teeth, but I learned finding a good dentist you trust is KEY. I really hated the dentist my boyfriend took me to 5-6 years ago when I was in pain from a broken wisdom tooth (same one who told me I needed root canal treatment), which is why I put everything off so long. If possible, look around on Yelp for dentists in your area and really read the reviews. That's how I found my current dentist and the one right before who intitially helped me alleviate a lot of my fears (she specialized in helping dental-phobic patients!) and she was WONDERFUL.

Btw I can totally empathize with infection pain, ouch! I had a broken molar that I needed extracted because of infection and I think I was also prescribed Clindamycin for that. My cheek swelled up like a bullfrog, it was insane! It was super relieving to finally get that nasty, black hole of a tooth finally gone though...

In any case I truly hope you can find a good endo to help you and I hope my words can offer any further comfort! Believe me, I was TERRIFIED of even going in for a simple cleaning for years! You can totally overcome this and you will feel AMAZING once you do!
Thank you for the encouragement. This forum has helped me in the past and I know it will now. Still have a long long way to go to being comfortable at the dentist. Probably won't happen until I'm only doing cleanings and ortho work if I'm honest lol.
 
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