Checkup, cleaning and bad news

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Patricia5

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Today was my appointment for a cleaning and checkup following my ordeal four months ago. Of course I was a nervous wreck and barely slept at all last night but I believed it would be much easier this time, I thought I had been doing so well brushing that I didn't think it would be too rough. They did say they looked much better than last time, but the cleaning seemed like torture just like last time. The cold water and high pitched noise hurting my ears, the scraping and the water running back and making my throat sore. Maybe I should have had them numb them but I didn't expect it to be so bad. When it was almost finally over though and she was doing my lower front it was the worst, and that's when she said the words I never wanted to hear, that they were a little sensitive because of the bone loss. I felt like I went completely numb and almost wanted to start crying. I didn't even have the courage to ask her about it because I was afraid to hear it, now I'm scared to death. I knew I had let them get in bad shape when I was younger but I didn't know it had reached that point. I'm afraid to even search Google because I can't take any more bad news, I'll just worry instead. I wish so much I had never let this happen, even though it's not entirely my fault since my parents never took me as a child ever. I was 20 before I ever went the first time and of course by then things were bad, and that was 25 years ago. Ever since then I've worried constantly about them, so afraid of losing them. I've actually had nightmares about it. This is the first time a dentist has ever told me those words though and she said it so casually like I already knew or something. I feel kind of sick now. :cry:

As for the cleaning it was pretty clear that I have not been doing such a great job after all, from now on I'm going to brush immediately after every single meal and try to stop eating junk food which I need to do anyway and she recommended a water pick since I'm so terrible at flossing. People with perfect teeth have no idea just how blessed they are, not to have to worry and deal with all this.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Dear Patricia5,

so sorry to read how you're feeling, there are so many things sitting there in your post: terror at the thought of the randomly mentioned bone loss, feeling you failed at taking care of your teeth and the stress from the painful exhausting procedure.. you sound so defeated.

Now let me come straight to the bone loss. I understand from your post that you see this as awful devastating news causing you anxiety and certainly something you have done wrong. Now I was wondering one thing: do you know that bone loss is a very normal gradual slow process occuring in everyone from the age about 35 on? Could it be that the hygienist was talking about this rather natural process and therefore mentioned it this randomly? Of course, bone loss also occurs if you have periodontal disease, but in this case you would have known because your dentist would have told you - it's what they check during a check-up.
By the way, bone loss doesn't mean you will lose your teeth any time soon and the fact you have been to a check-up and cleaning makes it even less probable. So just keep up doing the great work with hygiene and going to your appointments.

I was sorry to read how painful it was and was wondering whether your hygienist offered you to raise your hand in case you feel any discomfort? Getting a break can help if the stress is too high from noises and sensations and in case of pain there is always the option to get numbed up even mid treatment...

All the best wishes
 
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Patricia5

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It really was exhausting. I actually went straight to bed after posting that and just now woke up. Age is probably a small part of it but she did say that it was from all the tarter and plaque build up that I'd had before my last cleaning a few months ago. The last cleaning I had before that was over six years I think and they had gotten pretty bad, and of course my entire childhood up until I was 20 I had never even been to the dentist. She didn't say any more about it specifically and I just didn't ask because I didn't think I could take hearing any more bad news.

She did say to tell her if I needed her to stop and that if I needed to she could numb them but I tried to just get through it and get it over with; I had my hands clenched together and eyes closed most of the time. I did stop her once when she hit a really sensitive spot and it hurt. She kept saying we are almost done but it still seemed to go on forever. Next time I'll probably have them numbed.

Thanks very much for your reply and I hope you are right, I really do want to take better care of them from now on and have regular cleanings every six months as much as I dread the experience.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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Speaking as someone who’s had some difficult cleanings in the past I can really sympathize with your experience. It upsets me to read that you were a bit brushed off by the hygienist when you did try to express your discomfort. The experience doesn‘t have to be (nor should it be) dreadful with the right hygienist..do they have others working there that you could try next time? I had many dreadful cleanings over many years and thought that maybe that‘s just how it is until I met the right dentist/hygienist who were able to keep me comfortable. Offering the numbing and encouraging the stop signal and then shrugging off your obvious signs of discomfort does notHong to help dental anxiety...if anything, it can really damage trust and leave you feeling more helpless and vulnerable than you already feel. I know how it can be trying to just grin and bear it and feel like a bother for speaking up...being told things like “I’m almost done” does not help matters and makes you less likely to speak up again. I think numbing may be a good idea next time just to ensure a more comfortable experience ...you could also ask for just topical to take the edge off vs injections. Topical wears off quickly but is fairly effective for managing soft tissue pain (i.e. the gums). I hope that your next cleaning is easier...I so remember the days of white knuckling through appointments. The day that all changed I had tried a new dental office and assumed the position (eyes shut, fists clenched) and to my surprise before even starting the hygienist said to me “you can relax honey, I’m not going to hurt you.” I opened my eyes and unclenched my fists...I remained skeptical but with some encouragement slowly let go of the tension in my face, mouth, and jaw and she kept her promise and did not hurt me (this was done without numbing). I ended up moving to another dental office 6 months later due to insurance reasons but that woman changed my life by showing me how cleanings can and should be. Please don’t settle for dreadful cleanings...there are better hygienists out there!
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Patricia,

I am so sorry you went through that at your cleaning . No one should have to grit and bear it going through a cleaning.. I wish she would have stopped.. and respected your stop sign.. Its not your fault any of it. Cleanings don't have to be painfl.. I know I thought it was normal and fine and just had to deal with it all my years before finally geting my last hygenist. (at the age of 48).. all those years suffereing hard painful cleanings.

Whether its a dentist, hygenist, or assistant, your stopsign should be respected right at the time and your needs placed at top priority and ultmately that is best for you and them too. as it gains trust if they do prove to stop when you need them to. and that is good for everyone..

I'm glad you went to bed and got some rest and took care of yourself after that exhausting trip. I know I tried the numbing for the first time with cleaning when I got my best hygenist Judy.. and nothing hurt a bit.. it was the best exprience and it was scaling and root planing which I was terrified of before hand.. She made it so much easier than I ever knew it could be.

Could you ask for numbing and possibly a different hygenist ? to start fresh next time?
 
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Patricia5

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Yes, I'll definitely ask for numbing next time. Strangely the shots don't really even bother me, it's just a sharp pinch and it's over. Anyway I'm hoping that they won't need cleaning so badly next time too, I thought I was doing a pretty good job brushing the last few months but apparently I need to improve, but the main problem was not flossing. I've tried to but ugh, I'm terrible at it. I think that's why she suggested I might want to try getting one of those water picks.
 
Enarete

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Out of curiosity, what do you mean when you say you tried, but are terrible at flossing? It definitely sucks, but there is a different challenge for everyone.
 
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Patricia5

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I just don't really know how I guess, I never did growing up and no one ever showed me. I can sort of get the front but it's hard to hold and I'm sure I'm not doing it right.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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I have been told that when you floss you should form a letter “C” around the tooth and gently press up into the gums. There are lots of flossing tutorials on youtube if you want to hone your skills but I know some people are triggered by watching dental videos so word of caution on that.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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So sorry to hear that you had such a horrible visit (just reading back over your last post, it seems to be a repeat from the last time you went there 4 months ago) :(. I'm actually surprised that you managed to force yourself to go back - don't think I could have been as brave!! Is there any reason why you need to stick with this particular dental office? Visiting your dentist shouldn't have to be such a chore, never mind a medieval torture experience :cry:.

Now, I'm not a dentist, but a few things strike me as odd: in the normal way, if you haven't seen a dentist in a long time and you need a longer cleaning, it would be almost unheard of to do what happened to you 4 months ago and do everything in one visit.

What normally happens is that the emergency gets dealt with first, and one or more appointments are made where either your dentist or hygienist takes the time to remove any hard deposits off your teeth, and shows you exactly how to clean your teeth for maximum effect. Because everyone's teeth are different, this advice needs to be tailored to you as an individual. I'm not sure about the U.S., but in the UK and Europe, nowadays TePe brushes (or other interdental brushes) are recommended, and floss in areas where these don't fit. But you really need to be shown by someone in the know how to use these devices, and which types and sizes are right for you. After all, it's their job to stay informed and up-to-date with science, so they can offer you the best advice possible.

It doesn't sound as if any of this happened :confused:

P.S. we actually do have a page on DFC with some tips and illustrations for keeping gum disease at bay - you can find it here

P.P.S. I don't think any of the dentists on our forum have a high opinion of the waterpik, apart from maybe dislodging food particles in an implant situation.
 
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