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Courage Needed

B

BambiChicken

Junior member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Sydney, Australia
Hi All :)
I’ve always had a dental phobia. It started when I was a child. I developed tooth decay when I was young and had the old mercury fillings done on a regular basis. At around age 7 I had a painfully bad experience at the dentist when he pulled a tooth that was infected and from that moment on I was scared and anxious about going to the dentist. As an adult I was definitely a procrastinator when it came to going to the dentist, but I used to push through the fear and anxiety and have work done only when necessary. By the time I was in my mid 40s most of my teeth had been overfilled and weakened and I needed quite a few crowns. I found a great understanding dentist who specialised in restorations and over the course of several months I had everything fixed and felt on top of the world. At that point I was well and truly over my fear of the dentist. Unfortunately, I was in an abusive marriage at that time and my husband made such a big deal about the cost of the dental work and used it to humiliate me in public by stating things like “My wife costs me a fortune. Do you know how much she’s spent at the dentist? blah, blah blah” He also claimed that I had been ripped off by the dentist, that I was a stupid sucker and that the dentist had over serviced me just to make money, etc. He was trying to blame me for his financial problems rather than take responsibility for his own financial irresponsibility through gambling and living beyond his means. Within 2 years one of the crowns broke and rather than go back to the dentist I just kept quiet about it. By this stage it was the fear of how my husband would react and what he was going to say that prevented me from going back to the dentist. Over the next 8 years my teeth have gradually started to disintegrate again as my crowns either broke or just fell out. I’ve also developed some decay. All the while this was happening I was also navigating a very difficult period of escalating domestic violence which culminated in myself and the children leaving the family home. I have been struggling financially & emotionally ever since and have just kept putting my teeth on the back burner. Now I’m at a place where my teeth are in a horrendous condition and I need to go to the dentist. I’m absolutely petrified and overwhelmed with shame, embarrassment and the fear of judgement. I am angry with myself for delaying dental treatment for so long and creating this monster that I now have to overcome. Avoiding the dentist has done nothing but fuel my anxiety and fear and made things so much worse. I am finding it so hard to pick up the phone to make this appointment. I’m thinking of going to a dentist who I know personally. Although this makes fear of judgement worse, at least I can trust him and know he will keep his costs fair. His wife works in the practice with him and I feel I need to ring and speak with her first and tell her how frightened I am and to forewarn them about the terrible condition of my teeth. I know I need a lot of work done that I can’t afford and that is stressing me out as well. Making this phone call is ridiculously hard and I don’t know if I can build up the courage to do it. Any encouragement to help me over this hump of mwould be greatly appreciated.
 
J

Jay45169

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
129
Location
United Kingdom
Hi All :)
I’ve always had a dental phobia. It started when I was a child. I developed tooth decay when I was young and had the old mercury fillings done on a regular basis. At around age 7 I had a painfully bad experience at the dentist when he pulled a tooth that was infected and from that moment on I was scared and anxious about going to the dentist. As an adult I was definitely a procrastinator when it came to going to the dentist, but I used to push through the fear and anxiety and have work done only when necessary. By the time I was in my mid 40s most of my teeth had been overfilled and weakened and I needed quite a few crowns. I found a great understanding dentist who specialised in restorations and over the course of several months I had everything fixed and felt on top of the world. At that point I was well and truly over my fear of the dentist. Unfortunately, I was in an abusive marriage at that time and my husband made such a big deal about the cost of the dental work and used it to humiliate me in public by stating things like “My wife costs me a fortune. Do you know how much she’s spent at the dentist? blah, blah blah” He also claimed that I had been ripped off by the dentist, that I was a stupid sucker and that the dentist had over serviced me just to make money, etc. He was trying to blame me for his financial problems rather than take responsibility for his own financial irresponsibility through gambling and living beyond his means. Within 2 years one of the crowns broke and rather than go back to the dentist I just kept quiet about it. By this stage it was the fear of how my husband would react and what he was going to say that prevented me from going back to the dentist. Over the next 8 years my teeth have gradually started to disintegrate again as my crowns either broke or just fell out. I’ve also developed some decay. All the while this was happening I was also navigating a very difficult period of escalating domestic violence which culminated in myself and the children leaving the family home. I have been struggling financially & emotionally ever since and have just kept putting my teeth on the back burner. Now I’m at a place where my teeth are in a horrendous condition and I need to go to the dentist. I’m absolutely petrified and overwhelmed with shame, embarrassment and the fear of judgement. I am angry with myself for delaying dental treatment for so long and creating this monster that I now have to overcome. Avoiding the dentist has done nothing but fuel my anxiety and fear and made things so much worse. I am finding it so hard to pick up the phone to make this appointment. I’m thinking of going to a dentist who I know personally. Although this makes fear of judgement worse, at least I can trust him and know he will keep his costs fair. His wife works in the practice with him and I feel I need to ring and speak with her first and tell her how frightened I am and to forewarn them about the terrible condition of my teeth. I know I need a lot of work done that I can’t afford and that is stressing me out as well. Making this phone call is ridiculously hard and I don’t know if I can build up the courage to do it. Any encouragement to help me over this hump of mwould be greatly appreciated.
First thing well done for coming on and writing about what happened & sorry to hear what happened to you ..... I myself hadn't been to a dentist in 30 years 👀until December there, ..my teeth in a very bad state aswell ... The anxiety, nerves etc are horrendous. But I keep saying to myself you can do this & it's your own health that is important...I've struggled mentally in the past and still do to this day ...I was in pain every day with my teeth still am but getting alot of work coming up 🤦,, but I have to for my own health ...I keep thinking about that....tbh I have an appointment today to get a root taken out 🤦...but it has to be done .. have recently had 2 taken out ,,a moler and a wisdom tooth , was a very big thing for me ... If I can do it you can ..keep us updated ..lift the phone and speak to them , there professionals at there job
 
B

BambiChicken

Junior member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Sydney, Australia
First thing well done for coming on and writing about what happened & sorry to hear what happened to you ..... I myself hadn't been to a dentist in 30 years 👀until December there, ..my teeth in a very bad state aswell ... The anxiety, nerves etc are horrendous. But I keep saying to myself you can do this & it's your own health that is important...I've struggled mentally in the past and still do to this day ...I was in pain every day with my teeth still am but getting alot of work coming up 🤦,, but I have to for my own health ...I keep thinking about that....tbh I have an appointment today to get a root taken out 🤦...but it has to be done .. have recently had 2 taken out ,,a moler and a wisdom tooth , was a very big thing for me ... If I can do it you can ..keep us updated ..lift the phone and speak to them , there professionals at there job
Many thanks for your words of encouragement. I intend to make that phone call this afternoon if my procrastination doesn't interfere. I am very impressed that you were able to overcome your fear and anxiety after such a long time. Well done! :respect: It's inspiring to hear from another who has lived to tell the tale. I hope to be able to post that I also crossed that bridge of fear and did it. Thanks again:)
 
M

MumOfBoys1985

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Messages
193
Location
Uk
Hi and welcome.

First of all, well done for sharing your story. It takes alot of courage to do that. I am sorry you've had such a hard time. There are some really great resources on this site about fear, embarrassment etc so take a look, some might help.

If you're struggling to telephone the surgery, I wonder if you could put it in writing and email them instead as that might help. Often I find writing things down much easier than having to make that First call etc.

You shouldn't feel embarrassed about your mouth, no matter what, the dentist will always have seen alot worse. I hope you're able to call or email them and try to build the confidence and courage to make an appointment.

Keep us updated
 
B

BambiChicken

Junior member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Sydney, Australia
Hi and welcome.

First of all, well done for sharing your story. It takes alot of courage to do that. I am sorry you've had such a hard time. There are some really great resources on this site about fear, embarrassment etc so take a look, some might help.

If you're struggling to telephone the surgery, I wonder if you could put it in writing and email them instead as that might help. Often I find writing things down much easier than having to make that First call etc.

You shouldn't feel embarrassed about your mouth, no matter what, the dentist will always have seen alot worse. I hope you're able to call or email them and try to build the confidence and courage to make an appointment.

Keep us updated
Hi MumOfBoys :)

Thanks so much for your reply. Despite delaying my visit to the dentist for so many years I've also known that one day I would have to cross this bridge of fear/shame. It feels terrible, but I have to keep reminding myself that they are just feelings coming from past experiences and that they do not represent reality 2021. I'm going to write down what I want to say, but I think I'd prefer direct communication over the phone. The problem with an email is that I am so fearful of judgement I wouldn't want to risk anyone else reading it, other than the wife/practice manager. I also think an email would escalate my anticipatory anxiety waiting for a reply, plus my imagination would run wild trying to work out how it was received and what they were thinking and when/how they are going to respond. Over the phone would at least alleviate a lot of these concerns. It's afternoon here where I am and I'm trying to pluck up the courage and psych myself up to making the call this afternoon so I only have a couple of hours left. Wish me luck :clover: and I hope my next post here says "I did it"😂
 
B

BambiChicken

Junior member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Sydney, Australia
I am proud to announce that I made an appointment to see the dentist for next Tuesday @ 1pm. I spoke with the wife and she seemed fairly understanding, although I'm not sure she truly understood the severity of my fear. I almost didn't make the call because just as I was poised to make it I chickened out and a voice said "I can't do it .... I'll do it tomorrow... I'm not ready". Then all of a sudden another voice said "Wait! If you push it off you're making it worse. Do you want to spend another evening/day with this anxiety hanging over your head?" The answer to that was a big NO so with that I courageously grabbed the phone and dialled the number. Now I just have to get myself there 😬 Reading about other people's fears and stories has definitely helped, as have the gentle words of encouragement. Thank you💚
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,313
Hope things went well for you today 🤗
 
B

BambiChicken

Junior member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Sydney, Australia
Hope things went well for you today 🤗
Yes thank you everything went well. I'm really proud of myself and how well I was able to hold it together ahead of my appointment today. The dentist was really good and made me feel at ease. He mapped out my teeth, took a full mouth x-ray and then proceeded to deal with the broken tooth which brought me there to begin with. I ended up having root canal treatment and a temporary tooth made. There's a lot of work that needs to be done - some cavities and removing the root stumps of several crowns which have broken off and dropped out over the years. I'm so relieved that I have finally taken the first step and wish I would have had the courage to do this before. I was most impressed with the dentist and his assistant as they never once made me feel uncomfortable in any way. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and slept so soundly last night because that background dental anxiety in my mind was gone. I realise that my fears were not about the procedures as such, but all about the fear of judgement and associated shame, embarrassment and humiliation. From this day forward I am going to stay connected with the dentist on a regular basis so that I never put myself in this situation again and can stay on top of my oral health. I now realise that "There is nothing to fear except fear itself". I have another appointment on Thursday afternoon to continue with more dental work. I'm so grateful for finding this forum as it most definitely helped push me over the line and hope that my experience helps others find the courage to overcome their fears :)
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,313
That's pretty amazing :perfect:!! That must be a huge weight off your shoulders 😊. Well done!!!!

And thanks so much for the update and giving hope to others!
 
J

Jay45169

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
129
Location
United Kingdom
Very well done to you brilliant ...I myself have to go to another appointment on Tuesday 🤦🤦🤦
Yes thank you everything went well. I'm really proud of myself and how well I was able to hold it together ahead of my appointment today. The dentist was really good and made me feel at ease. He mapped out my teeth, took a full mouth x-ray and then proceeded to deal with the broken tooth which brought me there to begin with. I ended up having root canal treatment and a temporary tooth made. There's a lot of work that needs to be done - some cavities and removing the root stumps of several crowns which have broken off and dropped out over the years. I'm so relieved that I have finally taken the first step and wish I would have had the courage to do this before. I was most impressed with the dentist and his assistant as they never once made me feel uncomfortable in any way. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and slept so soundly last night because that background dental anxiety in my mind was gone. I realise that my fears were not about the procedures as such, but all about the fear of judgement and associated shame, embarrassment and humiliation. From this day forward I am going to stay connected with the dentist on a regular basis so that I never put myself in this situation again and can stay on top of my oral health. I now realise that "There is nothing to fear except fear itself". I have another appointment on Thursday afternoon to continue with more dental work. I'm so grateful for finding this forum as it most definitely helped push me over the line and hope that my experience helps others find the courage to overcome their fears :)
 
B

BambiChicken

Junior member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Sydney, Australia
Well I've definitely been launched into some serious dental work and am taking it in my stride. I had another appointment yesterday and thought it was just a follow-up from Tuesday and that he may do something simple, such as a filling, but oh no he extracted 4 root stumps - 3 from the upper left side and 1 from the lower right. I can't say that it was a very pleasant experience, but its all over now. I'm in some pain today, mainly on the left side, and there is some slight swelling, but nothing a couple of Panadol and bowl of jelly and ice-cream can't fix :p I seriously can't believe that around this time last week I was so anxious and that I've progressed so far. Thanks for all your words of support:thankyou:
 
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