Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is very afraid of dentistry or who suffers with dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a general dental forum! You can find a list of them here.
I read your post earlier but wanted to re-read it (because it did contain a lot of information to digest and touched upon some big issues like managing the self concept when faced with major losses)... don't be put off if people don't reply immediately, sometimes it takes a bit of time to think about it first .
Thanks for your welcome and response. I thought my post was too long and contained too much information, so wanted to start over. Mainly, I'd like to know what the self-help measures are for dealing with panic at the actual dental procedure. My fears are more about what comes after that, but it begins before, so I need help all the way through.
In short, I'm losing the last of my own natural chewing teeth and am very afraid because I don't know if I can learn to use a denture due to swallowing problems. It has been a long road just to get my swallowing as good as it is now, and I'm terrified it will go bad again when I have to use unnatural things in my mouth. I also have to process liquids the same way, needing all the feeling and control in my mouth with no obstructions.
My issues seem to be mostly the opposite of a lot of others'. I have trouble keeping enough weight on and also have problems with staying hydrated. I don't want to lose any weight during all of this, but feel it may be inevitable. I'm having panic attacks too much of the time, and very bad dreams with anxiety attacks.
I read on another post that Stress Doc has some techniques to use for anxiety. I'd like to know how I can get a copy of that. I went through a whole program of recovery for panic disorder during the 80s, but it just doesn't seem to fit with this particular situation.
Thanks for any help. This is a very nice forum, and I'm glad I found it.
Edit: I just wanted to add that I tried an implant a year and a half ago. It got infected and fell out - could have been due to surgeon error. I may try one again with a different oral surgeon. The partial I've been wearing (upper only) has been very invasive, but is an extremely odd design, so I'm hopeful that a correctly made one will be an improvement. I have not been able to talk or eat with my current partial.
Hi LadyPinkSwan - I'm sure that once Stress Doc spots this thread, he can send you a private message with the techniques for dealing with the panic (if for some reason he shouldn't spot it, you can send him a private message to ask for them). Let me know if you have problems figuring out how the PM system works (don't know if you're a regular user of internet forums or not).
One thing I was wondering about when I read your post is - have you been or are you currently seeing a doctor about the swallowing disorder? Have you seen any other specialists (e.g. a speech-language therapist) for swallowing treatment? If so, have you been able to discuss this latest development about losing the tooth with them (and in case you have, what did they say)? Do your doctor/physician communicate with each other regarding your treatment? From a layperson's perspective, I would think that in a case like this, communication between your doctor/s and dentist would be of vital importance.
I've been through speech therapy and other things, but it was a very long time ago. Right now the doctor I'm seeing doesn't believe I could really have these fears or at least just tells me "that won't happen", so of course I'm looking for another doctor.
I've had nothing but problems and mega frustration with doctors about my swallowing issues, and it's a very tender and sore subject with me. They say I am "crosswired" and am "inhaling liquids", but no one knows how to help with that. I've tried everything, including hypnosis. I have worked it out the best I could on my own, and now even that is going to be all broken apart with the removal of this tooth, so that's why I'm very frightened. If I can't feel where the food is in my mouth, or control where it is, it will be a whole different process to manage the liquid in food. I also have my own special way of dealing with food in my mouth, and I don't know how I'll start over with a denture and make it work.
I'm really sorry to hear that you've had such bad luck with your doctors . Perhaps it's quite a specialist subject that general doctors/physicians don't know enough about? I don't know... Maybe a speech therapist might be better qualified to advise you on this matter (assuming the problem is in the oral and pharyngeal stages of swallowing, rather than oesophageal - do you happen to know)? As far as I understand from looking around on the internet, speech therapist are actually trained to help with swallowing problems/dysphagia (you learn something new every day ) and it seems to be quite a big part of their job. Do you think it might be useful to set up a consultation with a speech therapist who specialises in dysphagia and get their opinion?
Well, like I said, I've had speech therapy in the past. It really didn't do much good, so I've done the best I can on my own, and have really been my own best help over time. Now I don't want anyone or anything to tamper with it, but don't have much choice.
I have to say that the more root canals I've had removed (due to teeth breaking off at the gumline and then being extracted) the better my swallowing and other throat issues have gotten. Go figure. With some of my other health issues, root canals are just not the right thing for me, either.
Apologies - because you said that you'd seen the speech therapist a very long time ago, I thought it might have been in relation to something other than the swallowing problem (doh!). I get it now.
I'm not entirely sure what the set-up is you have at the moment, apart that you have one natural chewing tooth left. By "chewing teeth" do you mean molars and premolars, or just molars? Is it just one side of the mouth or both sides? Sorry, just trying to understand the situation a bit better... would you be unable to eat if you lost this tooth and didn't replace it? (for all I know it might not make that much of a difference). Is the tooth that is left the one closest to the non-chewing (front) teeth? Or is it further back and you are wearing a bridge at the moment? Are there aesthetic considerations involved? I suppose question I'm asking is would it be possible to simply do nothing (i.e. not replace the tooth)?