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Bad experience at the orthodontist today- need support



Jun 26, 2013
United States
Hi everyone,

I've only posted here once before about a possible cavity, which, thankfully turned out to just be an extremely small crack in one of my teeth that caused some pain, however it is too small to fill so I don't need to worry about it.

My permanent retainer on my upper teeth came loose last week, and I wasn't able to get an appointment in until earlier this morning. The plan was to have it cemented back on, but I ended up panicking so much that they decided to just remove it. Here's what happened:

I'd been dreading this appointment ever since my retainer came loose, and the week long wait did nothing to alleviate my anxiety. When I sat down in the chair I felt nervous enough, but when the assistant started to tilt me back, that's when I really got nervous, because I felt like I was going to slide out of it backwards. :o I told her that being back that far made me really anxious, so she tilted it up a little bit which helped. That is...until she had to cut the old bonding material off the wires. That's when I started to panic. I saw those huge instruments, that looked like pliers merged with scissors, and started to worry about what would happen if they accidentally cut into me, or worse, if the bonding material being chipped off fell down my throat and made me choke (I have a major phobia of choking). When the first piece was chipped off, it flew out of my mouth! This was rather scary to me, so I started to sit up. She quickly cut the rest off and let me sit up, with the wire dangling in my mouth.

I had calmed down only slightly by the time my actual orthodontist came in. I still stand by the fact that she is extremely nice, kind, and compassionate. However my own panic actually led to an injury. She was able to get as far as leaning me back, telling me she needed the chair to be back that far so she could correctly bond the retainer to my teeth. The assistant was understanding of my choking fear and held the little vacuum suction right behind my teeth so it wouldn't get in my throat. She started to put the etching material on, and that's when I had a full out panic attack. She had to put cotton between my upper lips and gums to keep saliva from getting on the material, and that made me feel like I couldn't breathe through my nose as well. Then the assistant had this huge suction, a water rinser, AND the orthodontist had to put her drill in once in a while to clean off the old bonding material. I felt like I was going to be suffocated with all this stuff in my mouth. As soon as I felt a little water drift back towards the back of my tongue, I was convinced that I was going to die if I didn't sit upright.

So, I did. And the result was that something...maybe the drill (which was a very *soft* drill type instrument, she even demonstrated to me on my finger) cut the roof of my mouth and it bled and bled. I was even more frightened by seeing all this blood and started to cry. (And actually, I cried shortly after the bonding was being cut off too.) She said that because I was having such a hard time, she would just remove my retainer for free and if I decided to want it back on, I could come in on another day.

I just feel so humiliated. They were really reassuring and didn't say anything bad to me, but I keep wondering what they were *really* thinking. I told them about my traumatic experience with my childhood dentist that left me with a fear of choking, but still.

I'd do anything to avoid getting a permanent retainer on again. (The bottom ones have still stayed on, but when they come loose I'll probably want them just removed as well.) :cry: I hate that this happened and I feel terrible.
Hi, I'm really sorry to hear about your bad experience :there-there: I can't relate to your story as such, but I can let you know that I don't think I've been to an appointment yet without crying.. so you're not alone, they must see this type of thing more then you think! so please don't feel embarrased or sad about that.

I'm terrified of when I have to have my work done soon, and have no idea what to expect.. but I'm sure the next time you have to go won't be as bad (I hope anyway).

Try not to over think about it or stress! you'll be OK :)
Thanks, Beccaa. So far my teeth don't seem to be moving, so we'll see...but if they do start to move a bit, I'm getting a removable retainer, not the permanent one! I might be able to keep the permanent one on my bottom teeth though, since I'd think they could work on that one without leaning me back so far I feel like I'm going to fall out of the chair. :( But it hasn't come loose yet, so I don't have any reason to fret.
Told my orthodontist HELL no to permanent retainer, haven't worn removeable in over 10 years, teeth are still straight.