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Can dentists choose to avoid anxious patients?

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Suzie

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2012
Messages
51
Iv'e been struggling to find a dentist that makes me feel comfortable enough to tell about my fears and concerns about dental treatment.

My fears predominateley center around the effectiveness of local aneasthetic. Ive had problems with the lower teeth not getting numb and a dentist not stopping when I was in pain when he was drilling on the tooth. I grabbed his hand and he got very upset and shouted at me. I dont see him anymore but his lack of understanding at that time has left me with fears that this will happen again and zero confidence in the profession.

He may have just had an off day but his attitude and behavior was very distressing. I dont understand how he could not have known that I was in pain during the drilling. I raise my hand, then went for his hand in the same action which I feel guity about. This happened several years ago but it still bothers me and so does the quilt that it was my fault. He certainy made me feel I was wrong. I also feel that he was wrong not stopping at my stop signal.

I dont think he likes treating anxious people but every dentist must come across patients like me, how can they pick and choose?
 
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Tink

Well-known member
Joined
May 14, 2013
Messages
755
Location
UK
Hi Suzie -

Patient here, not a dentist, but I've had a similar experience.

This was absolutely, certainly, not your fault. The dentist was in the wrong there. Not stopping at a stop signal is totally out of order, and shouting at you is totally out of order. Please don't blame yourself, even if he did :XXLhug:

To answer your question, yes, some dentists choose not to treat very anxious patients - sometimes it's just because they're ****s (insert preferred insult here with whatever degree of swearing you consider appropriate), but in the case of the more self-aware ones, it's about knowing their limits and knowing that managing anxious patients is maybe something they're not so good at that. In that case, a good, self-aware dentist might suggest you look elsewhere or refer you on to somebody with the right skills to help you. In fact, that's what your old dentist probably should have done because he clearly wasn't up to dealing with it.

The good news is that there are many other dentists out there who are really, really fantastic at working with anxious or phobic patients, and they will be happy to give you whatever help you need.
 
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Suzie

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2012
Messages
51
Hi Tink,

Thanks for your reply. I struggle to understand how some dentists can feel comfortable ignoring the concerns of people like us. I felt ignored and blamed for disrupting his conveyor belt of patients and I get really stressed about that. I dont want to feel stupid but I worry it'll happen again. I tried explaining to him about how i felt but he just didn't acknowledge what I was saying to him. I feel embarrassed to say anything and then when I do its ignored. Really humiliating, but thank you for you reply its good to have the support tofeel understood.
 
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Tink

Well-known member
Joined
May 14, 2013
Messages
755
Location
UK
Hi Suzie -

Are you still with this dentist? The way he apparently feels comfortable ignoring your concerns is a really bad sign. I think it's often down to just straight up lack of empathy and compassion - or possibly stress and being overworked leading to compassion fatigue.

If I was you I'd definitely be looking to leave and go somewhere else, he's certainly not taking care of your needs at all. You need better care and you deserve better care than that x

Totally get the humiliation thing, I've felt that too.

Please be reassured that they're not all like that, and there will be a dentist out there who can take you on, will take your concerns on board and work with you in the way you need. I know those dentists exist because I've met a few of them. The best way to find them is by word of mouth and reading reviews on places like this forum - see who the ones are locally to you that other anxious patients have had good experiences with. When you've found one who you think might be able to help you, if you felt up to it you could try contacting them by phone or email to explain your concerns before you visit. If they respond well to that then give them a go, otherwise try elsewhere.
 
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