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Confusing thoughts about my upcoming appointment

Judythecat

Judythecat

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Mar 7, 2018
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I genuinely don't care about looking stupid with my toy! I have a stuffed tiger, who is the tiger from the Judith Kerr book "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" and he has been to all of my "difficult" appointments with me. For things like fillings, getting the crowns fitted etc I don't bother, but I'm not especially anxious about those. When I first brought the tiger I just said to the dentist something along the lines of "I know you must think I'm daft, but I brought a little friend with me". If she did think I was daft, she didn't let on, and the endodontist I saw for the root canals actually told me that it was one of his daughter's favourite books. I honestly think they see all sorts, and anything that makes the patient's experience easier must make it easier for them to do a good job.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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I genuinely don't care about looking stupid with my toy! I have a stuffed tiger, who is the tiger from the Judith Kerr book "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" and he has been to all of my "difficult" appointments with me. For things like fillings, getting the crowns fitted etc I don't bother, but I'm not especially anxious about those. When I first brought the tiger I just said to the dentist something along the lines of "I know you must think I'm daft, but I brought a little friend with me". If she did think I was daft, she didn't let on, and the endodontist I saw for the root canals actually told me that it was one of his daughter's favourite books.
This is just awesome :) thank you for sharing, so lovely..
 
F

frostgirl

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Well done for making an appointment Enarete, and I hope tomorrow goes well for you. Let us know how it goes.

:XXLhug:
 
Enarete

Enarete

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7:17 am here, woke up thousand times during the night. Did some frozen starring at the wall one hour ago trying to fight the sickness and stomach aches and now forcing myself to get up. It's just awful and it takes so much energy to make a single movement. I won't be like this all the time, I know that and the apt will go good as it always does, but the physical symptoms are awful. On the other hand - at least I do not lose the ability to understand how fear feels. It's not bad to remind oneself a bit how it feels now and then..

Felt very grateful last night.. for having a dentist. This might sound weird, but having toothache and knowing instantly what place to call, that's life changing. I moved so much in my childhood and adulthood that there have been no health care professional I would see regularly and there was a lot of doctor - hopping so always new places and new faces and with the dentist it was the same. And now it just feels so good to know that I am going somewhere where they know me. Familiar place, familiar faces and they have all my records and I can call them for any dental trouble. I feel somehow safe and belonging and that's lovely. Thinking about this my anxiety gets lower. I guess it's impossible to feel appreciation and fear at the same time.

So, but now: shower and making ready, it might be a long day today for me and my tooth..
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Back and survived ( you didn't doubt that, right? Neither did I..)

The anticipatory anxiety before the appointment was until now the worst I can ever remember. I know I was extremely nervous ten visits back at my first appointment to the point of sickness and anxiety, but this was very different and much more intense. I needed 20 Minutes for a 10 minute walk to the practice and I stopped twice to lean on a street lamp, trying to catch my breath and it felt like I would pass out on the street. At the same time I felt clear in my head, no horror scenarios or concrete fearful thoughts there, it was just the extreme physical reaction. I guess it was linked to my inability to eat properly and I was also very triggered from the breakfast - as the last days, after few minutes of eating I got an urge to cry and wasn't able to eat any further so this might be the reason for the low energy.

Arriving at the practice I took a seat and again, for the first time, I got an urge to cry. I am usually not able to cry publicly - on my way to the practice and way back yes, when I am alone also but in presence of other people I would just freeze - so I was quite overwhelmed and embarrassed and didn't know what to do with myself. I also heard the voice of my dentist in the distance which made me panicky and close to faint. I got into the bathroom to calm myself down which didn't work so went back to the waiting room, took my journal and started to write down all my thoughts - about feeling ridiculous, about feeling like wanting to die, about feeling like quitting. I texted my boyfriend telling him I felt like not being the type for a dentist and feeling like I can't make it (whatever I meant by that - after all I was already in the waiting room). Writing got difficult, I wasn't able to hold the pen properly so I just stopped trying and started to stare into space which helped immensely. The waiting room got emptier and emptier till I was the last one so I just said that and stared in a front of me and it felt like time had stopped and like I could sit there forever.

My dentist was lovely as usual. We talked for a good while before he invited me into the chair. He took a look and tested thoroughly to see if there was a crack. Then he put me up again and we talked about possibilities. We decided to do a filling. It took about 5 minutes till I understood what we would do and the offered to do it now, my mind was just too foggy. My dentist offered me to go with or without rubber dam, I decided for it, after all it's one of my last fears that I never confronted and I planned to go with it anyway so no way back for me. I asked him not to let me spot anything rubber dam related and to tell me before he would start with it so that I could close my eyes. He did so and placed it very quickly and precisely and it was ok. Weird sensation but ok, I guess not seeing it was very helpful.

The treatment was challenging and it was my first invasive treatment after the desensitization sessions. I got a bit panicky as the drilling started, but after a while I was able to focus on taking nice long deep breaths and also on doing circles with my feet to stay as far from my mouth as possible. With this strategy the treatment didn't really bother me. My dentist kindly let me know any time he would do something with the rubber dam so that I could close my eyes again. He also kept explaining what he was doing, how it would feel and what to expect, telling me how well I did and I have the suspicion that he tried to work as quickly as smoothly as possible for me to get rid of the rubber dam soon. Needless to say that we had a sign for 'remove the rubber dam NOW' and I knew he needs about 5-10 seconds to do so and can remove it at any point. I didn't need to make use of it though.
It was somewhere around the end of the treatment that I lost the track of my breathing and got very panicky and kind of disoriented and had the urge to cry, but this was two minutes before the end of the procedure so I held on. The most challenging part was as I was upright again and the procedure was done. It was here that I noticed the numbness which triggered anxiety and urge to cry so I needed few minutes to calm myself down again.

Putting it all together: I survived an emergency, finally got a filling, rocked the rubber dam and gained further trust in my dentist.

What does it teach me? Well.. it seems that in some anxiety never dies, no matter how much you read about it and how many treatments you have been through. A little frustrating but at the same time.. who cares. The main thing is for me to get into the practice and into the waiting room no matter what. After all, it's only about enduring myself and my emotions.

What else does it teach me? It's great to start to look for a dentist before big problems occur to have enough time to gradually build trust and rapport. My dentist and I we both agreed that if I needed the filling last year, as my journey began, I would certainly be able to push myself through it, but would likely end up in a traumatized state and huge difficulties to see a dentist again in a longer period of time.

Oh yeah, and last lesson: numbness makes you able to do faces that you usually wouldn't be able to do.. I made sure to have some fun in a front of a mirror before it wore off ... how many times in life one gets a chance to smile with one mouth corner up and the other down? :silly:

So this was it, getting back to life again and looking forward to my apt in September.. just a checkup.. how boring :grin:

Thank you very much for all your support :grouphug:
 
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letsconnect

letsconnect

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Congratulations :perfect: - great to hear that it went so well! Well done :claps:
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Back to my journal.. siiting in a hotel ready to check out. Had my dental appointment yesterday and feel so insecure and confused.. already bothered everyone who was willing to listen with this topic and still feel the urge to vent so here I am.

Yesterdays appt was made few months ago and was meant to be an exam and maybe a scale and polish. The challenging part should be the break - I had seen my dentist once every two to three weeks up to then and this was meant to be the first break in order to see how well I cope. This break never happened as I had toothache just two months later and went in for an emergency appointment. Sadly, I got toothache again just few weeks later so my yesterdays apt was to find out what's wrong and to do a night guard.

I felt entirely out of my mind. I was shaking during the whole appointment. After few minutes, my dentist was just explaining to me that the cracked tooth might need a crown or rct and I just got so overwhelmed that I stood up, walked out of the surgery and the practice and then got in again. I apologized and told them I really had difficulties to cope today. In the chair I was shaking all the time, despite my dentist only having a look and nothing more. There have been also some funny moments and we laughed few times, but my overall impression was like I just failed massively. Understanding what was being said was a huge challenge too, I basically asked my dentist to repeat almost every sentence as I just wasn't able to keep track of his words. I fell into just staring at him several times, seeing him talking but not being able to grasp what he was saying.

We found out which tooth was guilty of my pain and agreed to do a night guard to buy us some time to treat the tooth. We did impressions. We also managed to have a brief conversation with me in the chair and my dentist right next to me which in the past, due to the proximity wouldn't be possible.

I asked him if he needed to numb me up in a different way if we did a root canal treatment. He said no and explained some details about the numbing. Then he said he would numb the roof of my mouth which was exactly what I wanted to find out. Just mentioning this freaked me out in a way that I jumped out of the chair again, switched into the normal chair, talking without breaks just to prevent my dentist from keeping talking about it. He then explained something to me and I was just staring at him unable to grasp what was happening.

Alltogether there have been some small victories today, after all I managed to get through the diagnostic process, did impressions, coped with my dentist wearing a mask and we evened a surface of a tooth, without anesthetic. It's just that I feel like a loser. I particularly feel like having acted in such an awkward way that they all must think something bad about me. I am tempted to shoot my dentist an email again to apologize or test how bad the situation is and at the same time I appreciate the fact that he already helped me so much and deserves some peaceful email-free time from me. I am also worried he would once refuse to work with me if the progress we are making was too small and the last visit particularly feels like a step back.

I love my new night guard. It is a reminder of how far I came and its my very own trophy. It's also a reminder of having a dentist and a practice, which is such a luxurious thing. It's so awesome to have a place to go when it comes to teeth and knowing the staff and the dentist.. also a whole new experience for me and I feel deeply grateful for it. This might be a reason of my fear of losing it all because of not making enough progress.

Sometimes I read the reviews on google.. people writing things like 'XY helped me to finally beat my dental fear' or 'I am happy to say that I don't fear the dentist anymore'. I keep asking myself, what do I do wrong because after so many visits, I am still terrified. There are better moments and there are worse moments, but it still feels like a battle and I don't see it coming to an end at the moment..
 
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