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Dental Phobia Myths

kitkat

kitkat

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I am just curious about what myths or misconceptions fellow dental phobics have previously thought about dentists/dentistry but discovered were not true once embarking on their journey. It seems like many people have a lot of preconceived notions or ideas built up in their minds going into this process only to later find out that things are actually very different from what they had thought. Whether something turned out to be better, worse, or just different than what you had originally expected, please share your experiences.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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This is an interesting thought KitKat.. Now I know that through bad experiences I just fixed into my mind and thoughts , this is how it is .. I think many dentists have really proven my thoughts wrong as of recent years.. personally, though I know there are still those bad apple experiences as we are all human , we never know when we'll run into one.. but for the most part.. Here are my preconcieved motions that were proven wrong.

1. You are just a head or number.... I did have this experience in the past. up until the age of 30 I felt like a number , or manican head. I had one specific dentist who never said a word to me. they just showed me to teh room and took xrays, told me what they would do and started working . There was no exchange and I did not feel like a person at all. there were others too, but at the age of 30 I learned that some dentists truly do have compassion and you are not a number , many and probably most really do care about you as a person .

2.your feelings or thoughts don't matter... - This really was proven as a child and teen. This again has proven wrong the last years of dental experiences where my dentists have wanted to know my thoughts, feelings and questions about everything . I know for sure my thoughts and feelings do matter .

3. They make all the decisions-,,,, For many years, growing up and adult. they told me what to do, I was given no choice.. Now I know that this comes out of years of being conditioned to no boundaries with domestic abuse and not realizing it really is my decision and my dentists want my input too and ultimately it is up to me about my dental choices and treatment . and alot of dentists nowadays really are empowering about this .

4. They would severly judge me-... "the I have the worst teeth in the world and they would be gossiping about me the moment I left I'm so bad..." From what I read in here from dentists, and what I know from my last two.. it is the opposit, they don't judge or shame at all. they want to help me. They have seen worse and even if they hadn't its not their job to judge.

5. they would belittle and criticize me and scold me- ... I would get an earful and be told how awful I was.. really I didn't want to hear anymore negative.. already did from others.. especially hygeinests were feared on this.. again recent experiences have really proven this wrong .

6. The local needle was your enemy and wasn't to be had.. I'm not sure why but my own childhood dentist drilled this into my thinking and never mind what happened after. but well needles are needles and I was extra scared of these. What I found out is 95% of the time there is no pain involved and some are completely painfree, while others maybe a small 3-4 seconds of pinch. Local is definately my friend and not enemy

7. Root canals and Root scaling were especially something to be deeply feared.. my dentists have for the most part proven this very wrong.. only one dentist in my 20's didn't give me enough local and went past my tolerable zone as he had a one shot of local rule. and I didn't know any better so kept on with it in complete pain. besides that.. all rootcanals have been painfree during and even after.. Root scales also had me trembling but my hygenist at the last place showed me the opposite is true that they too are not to be feared with the right provider.

8. They are just trying to get your money,... sure as a business they do need your money to pay the bills and they deserve to earn a living like we do.. and paying patients do that.. :) however from what I've seen, they aren't trying to take any more than what is reasonable and for what will truly help you. and many give of their own time and money to help others. There are very caring and generous dentists out there in the world I know a few for sure both my dentists and those on here and others..

Not sure this is what you meant Kitkat but these were my myths that needed busting :)
 
kitkat

kitkat

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I have some very similar myths @krlovesherkids777 . Here is a collection of some of the ones that I have thought of.

1. Being just a number - I have attended large offices in the past with many dentists/hygienists (mostly dental chains) and was never given the opportunity to build a relationship with any one specific dentist/hygienist. I don’t really recall a name (or face) of a single dentist/hygienist that I met at these places. They would quickly run in to do an exam or whatever was needed and then just leave and it was always different people; they never introduced themselves or really spoke to me or explained anything or asked how I felt about the procedure or if I had questions. This went on from the time that I was a very young kid until my mid-teens and I think some of that was because of my age but even at a young age, kids can start building a relationship of trust with the dental staff and be informed using age-appropriate terminology. I think kids should be given the opportunity to ask questions (especially older kids). I was amazed by how much calmer I felt just by having my current dentist talk to me throughout procedures and explain what was happening or about to happen.

2. Painless injections are impossible - I am one of those people who’s actually always been okay with dental injections. I get slightly nervous about them but I’ve always been able to deal with them. I just always had the expectation that they would be painful (because they always were to some extent). I just would suck it up and accept them because I am more scared of the drill and I prefer to be numb. I still remember my first filling with my current dentist and just before she did it (knowing I had not had a dental injection in a very long time) she prepared me by saying “you may feel a small pinch or you may even feel nothing at all.” That statement really caught me off guard because nobody has ever proposed a painless injection before. That particular injection was actually painless (no topical applied) and that was maybe the point when she started to win me over.

3. Thorough cleanings hurt - I am an unfortunate victim of many, many, many painful cleanings that were all done with hand tools (no ultrasonic scaler). Those days ended when I found my current dentist. I used to get so incredibly stressed out about cleanings and would absolutely dread them. Now cleanings are usually no big deal for me and rarely uncomfortable but if they are it is only for a brief moment or two and still do not compare to the old days of endless scraping. I still get shivers just thinking about it.

4. Root canals are terrifying - This idea came from hearing about other people’s experiences, reading too much about them, and watching videos of the procedure on youtube (never do this!). I was convinced that I may need sedation to get through a root canal but I was willing to try it first without it. After just a short while, I was so completely chill and relaxed during my root canal thanks to sufficient numbing and distraction (virtual movie glasses with ear buds). It was actually one of my least stressful dental experiences and that was with unfamiliar dental staff because I ended up going to a specialist.

5. I should never interrupt the dentist during treatment - I went to dentists regularly for the first 15 years of my life and ended up seeing many different ones. In all of that time (too many offices to count), a stop signal was never once mentioned. NOT EVEN ONE TIME! My current dentist was the first dentist to talk with me about a stop signal. She always says at the start of treatment to let her know if you have any discomfort but she had to go a step further with me into establishing a specific stop signal because even if she unintentionally hurt me, I wouldn’t stop her (which seems crazy to me now). Initially, I really didn’t recognize that I should stop her. I just thought that this was a necessary evil and it is what it is and I just have to endure it. She had to watch me for signs of discomfort at first and stop and tell me that I was in control until I felt confident enough to stop her on my own.

6. Your feelings don’t matter/dentists don’t care about how you feel - This is sadly the case sometimes (I’ve met these people). Prior to my current dentist, I never or very rarely had any reassurance offered to me and they just seemed indifferent to my fear. They didn’t really address it at all but I’m the type to not make a scene. I just freeze and become very compliant with everything so they just went about their work and ignored me. My current dentist was the first one to show any interest in addressing my fears and put forth effort to make me feel at ease with her...and she really didn’t have to (because like I said, I’m super compliant) but she wanted to reach out and make that connection with me. She was really the first one to even acknowledge that I have fears (I always tried to hide them because I was embarrassed about it) and I think that her acknowledging them in a non-judgmental way really helped me come to terms with them myself. I think I was somewhat critical of myself and told myself that it’s not okay to have this fear, it’s childish, foolish, etc. so to have someone else come along (a dentist no less) and treat my fear with compassion and respect was a big game changer for me. It allowed me to really explore my feelings more deeply and I learned to be more patient and kind with myself as I worked through my fears. In a way, she gave me the permission that I needed to work through my fears.

I think there’s probably more but that’s all I have for now.
 
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