Dental Trauma

SecretSquirrel

SecretSquirrel

Junior member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
2
Hello to all here,
I’m relieved to find a place to talk about this fear, it’s a bottled-up terror I’ve carried for a very long time. Big hugs to those here seeking support and those tackling what they can. Every step is a step forward. I hope to make some steps myself, I don’t know where else to tackle this aside from here and the dental chair. (Insert sob here)

I’m a female in my late 30s, and I still cry uncontrollably just at the thought of a dentist. I will share my story in a moment, I’ve kept it to myself for a LONG time. There’s shame, there’s terror…I can’t verbalize it enough. I shared the story with those close to me in the detail that is enclosed here, but many don’t know the full story…even if I have shared pieces of it. So, it may upset others if they read on as to what happened to me. I don't wish to upset anyone with such details in any manner.

In all honesty, I'm discussing this fear now because I have oral surgery scheduled for wisdom extraction, root canals and a ton of other work. Two hours of surgery…under sedation. It’s scheduled for Jan 19th. I want to make a run for it, I want to switch bodies for the whole ordeal. I just want to disappear.

I made a scene at the checkup/consultation appointment. My interaction with this new dentist wasn’t great nor horrific. I felt a sense of ignorance on his behalf, I’m not attempting to be a jerk…but I will have to be “crystal clear” with him on the details. Which means sharing this story in detail, as opposed to a summary. It’s so complicated to explain a phobia. I wish more dentists understood this.

Therefore, I feel inclined to share HOW I got to this point of fear and absolute hysteria.

___________________________________________________________________________________

When I was young, I was always filled with anxiety about the dentist. The smells, the sounds…it’s terrible. But I was a little trooper through it, even if I scared. I always felt such relief when it was over. However, when I was about 13 years old, I needed a baby tooth extraction, so we headed to same dentist office I had been attending every summer for 4 years prior. But instead of my regular dentist, I had a new dentist along with a new dental assistant. I guess the two came as a package deal for this practice from what I could surmise.

The dentist was older at the time, mid-50s and his assistant was in her mid-30s. They seemed okay, I didn’t care for either of them based on first impressions but…I was scared, so I just wanted the whole thing over with.

Locals are given, I’m prepped, and the extraction begins. About 5-10 minutes into the extraction, the dentist loses his grip on the tooth, it is now far down my throat. I begin to reactively cough up the tooth, he shoves me back with his forearm, the assistant is told to “secure me” grappling and holding down the upper thigh areas on my legs. She was using her body weight to hold my legs down (which weren’t even moving at the time).

In turn, the dentist curses me for the fallen tooth then shoved me back with his upper arm across my collar bone. I’m terrified because he’s pressing his body weight onto me too, I felt smothered and terrified. At this point, I’m panicked. I’m choking, I can’t breathe. I shove him off and squirm the assistant off my upper legs.

I throw up the tooth amidst his continued scolding, accusing me of causing the incident. I’m hysterical despite his mouth rattling off and dirtied looks from his female assistant. I was light headed and covered in every bodily fluid known to man. I had never had a dentist do this before. And I knew something was wrong, I was so belittled and scared...I lack the words.

After being released to the waiting room, I’m a mess…I can’t talk because I’m so upset. My grandmother is waiting outside, and she could see the panic across my face. Before I could even speak, this dentist tells my grandmother a lie upon a lie regarding the procedure. She listens to him and immediately gets me out of there. She was a RN, and something didn’t seem right in how this medical professional was acting and/or speaking. For my grandmother, getting me away from him was a priority at that moment. I cried all the way home. It took me hours to tell her what happened. But when I did later that day, she called that office and raised absolute hell.

Within 24 hours, I had bruising across my collar bone. It was from where the dentist had shoved and held me back into the chair.

The dentist and assistant were gone within months thereafter. Apparently, they did something to another patient as well, but details were scarce. Because I was alone back there with just the dentist and assistant, it was my word against theirs’. My grandmother believed me, but that doesn’t mean I skip dental appointments. For years since then, I cried hysterically every time I had to go. I was scolded by adults, dentists here and there and others alike. Perhaps it was my age, my gender...I don't know...but my fears are real.
___________________________________________________________________________________

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried just attempting to share this story. I cry every time, I feel sick every time. Just the thought of going to a dentist strikes terror into me, I embarrass myself. I apologize repeatedly to staff and dentists, I cry irrationally at the mere sight of the chair. I cry every day prior to the appointment.

And Lord…when that day arrives! I must be supervised to get to the car…never mind inside the dental office. I apologize to everyone repeatedly, because I’m so embarrassed by this fear. I can’t help but cry. It’s like instant fear…just add water.
I’m terrified just thinking about it.

I don’t want to go, but I’m in too much pain to avoid it now. I’m worn down with both fear and pain. I have terrible anxiety and nausea…I cannot think of a way to calm myself down. I worry about being smothered again.

Medications? I’ve overridden Valium and other oral meds before…It’s like I have “Terminator” skills. Yet, I know GA or IV sedation can work for me. I’ve been knocked out before with the GA and I did fine. But my anxiety is through the roof. I’m scared of the IV sedation. I'm so terrified I may not wake up.

My husband will be there to support me, but I’m just so scared. Bless that man, he knows how frightened I am. He’s seen the tears and heard the attempts to bribe him out of the appointment. I cannot possibly verbalize how badly I feel for the worry I cause him and others.

I don’t think many dentists understand how regretfully terrified I am about this. Including the one conducting my scheduled surgery this month. I would love to switch dentists merely based on comments this dentist has made but I can’t bring myself to wait any longer…the pain is overbearing now.

What do you do when you’re so frightened?
What are the best ways to discuss your phobia with a dentist who hasn’t had experience with "extreme cases" of dental phobia?


This isn’t just a little anxiety for me, I’ve realized this over the years despite my denials. I’m absolutely traumatized.
 
R

ReginaPhalange

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
178
I'm so sorry you've gone through all that, it sounds awful, no wonder you're traumatised.

Would it help to copy and paste all you've written here and give/send to your dentist to save you from trying to explain in person? Would it be possible to change dentist to one that is especially good with phobics? You could maybe get an idea of their manner and whether you feel like you could build up a rapport with them and the rest of the staff by how they respond to your initial queries.

I hope you get more answers to your questions. You've done so well so far and I'm sure you'll get through this.
 
R

ReginaPhalange

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
178
Sorry, just remembered you said changing dentist wasn't an option at the moment... Maybe it would still be worth emailing them the same info and asking them to take that into consideration when treating you, including reception and other staff.
 
SecretSquirrel

SecretSquirrel

Junior member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
2
Thank you Regina, I think I will try to meet with the dentist before hand and try to express it to the best of my ability. I may take what I have written here too. All this makes me so nauseated. lol
 
M

Meichan

Junior member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
15
Another terrified individual here. And omg, I agree so much with you- WHY is it so hard for dentists to understand extreme dental phobia?? I have shopped around for so many dentists. Some Ive just walked out on. It's like a prerequisite to dental school is soul extraction or something.
Last guy I spent tons of money to get work done. I very clearly explained to him that I have severe anxiety when it came to the dentist. Severe. Like, panic attacks, nightmares, cold sweats, flight or flight response in high gear. The man smiled and sure, he listened to me, but then proceeded to tell me that no is afraid of him. Like, none.. None of his patients. He said prior to me, he had never met anyone with a dental phobia. It was ego- he was saying he was SO good, and so well liked, that no one was ever afraid to see him.
Just no, dude.

As for IV sedation, I know you said you're terrified of it, but I.V sedation is usually "conscious sedation". I had that for a dental implant, and wow, is it the way to go. You're awake, but so doped up that time passes. And it causes retrograde amnesia, so you dont even remember the procedure. You're just pleasantly high as a kite, and bam. You're done.
So there is no way you couldnt wake up. You will already be awake. I was a bit nervous of it at first (I was scared it wouldnt work on me). I'm also scared of needles, but I'd do it again in a heart beat for any major dental work.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,312
Dear SecretSquirrel,

I am terribly sorry to read about how you feel, physically and mentally, and what happened to you, there are no words for it... I wished you would be able to change dentists at this point and get someone who can give you the feeling of being in good hands..

If you feel like your dentist doesn't really get the amount of your terror, the best idea at this point would be to let him know. You might send him the description of that past visit via email or, if you feel up to, let your husband call on your behalf and let him explain everything, in the hope that he will treat you as compassionately as possible during your appointment. Meeting the dentist beforehand to talk about your worries also sounds like a great idea.

As you do not have the chance to change dentists, the even more important thing than telling your story might be to think of ways that would make the treatment easier for you and let your dentist know. You know the best what you need and what would make you feel better and your dentist should be happy to do you that favor. You know, in every pforession, one can only act from their own point of experience and knowledge. The things that had happened to you were so awful that the most of people may have difficulty to even imagine what it means to you so maybe your dentist just lives in a universe that makes it impossible for him to grasp what you are going through. This can happen in any area of life and is the reason why we enjoy working/dealing with some people and with some we don't. In my own experience, having a dentist who can put you at ease is the most important thing. If changing is not possible right now, you might do your best to get past the appointment on 19th and maybe look for a kind dentist who can work towards building trust step by step with you in the future. Positive experiences are the thing that can gradually make you able to cope with treatment long term.

If you haven't yet, you might also consider a help of a therapist/psychologist/counsellor to get to a stage of a little bit less hysteria, maybe to process the trauma a little bit. There are a lot of approaches and possibilities out there.

One of the things that helped me dealing with terror in the past: writing, writing, writing. I was using the journal section here on the forum extensively and just wrote about my feelings and all that was going on in my mind. I did this several times a day and even writing was really scary at first, however it really helped me to sort my thoughts and of course I got a lot of support from other forum members. I also noticed that the more I wrote the easier it became to talk about it and gradually I achieved a place of being able to admit my phobia (which I was too ashamed to in the past) and even mentioning it to my friends.

All the best wishes and keep us posted, I will keep my fingers tightly crossed for you to find a way to deal with this and for your dentist to become maybe a bit more responsive to your needs.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,966
Secretsquirrel,

You have survived an absolute dental nightmere .. and good for you for even being able to sit in the chair at all . I am so sorry you had to go through that. I cried just to read the experience. as choking is my worst fear at the dentist. I can't imagine to choke and the dentist being so unkind and mean at the same time blaming you. I can imagine having trauma everytime you even think of it.

You mentioned this dentist/surgeon that is doing the work on 19th wasn't great nor horrific, was there any assistants or people in the office that may be more empathetic and supportive as you can also explain to them. ? I know sometimes it really helps to have a kind assistant that understands and advocates for you during treatment.

I agree with the others in communicating. It can't hurt as you really need them to understand the severity of the situatin and how important it is they be gentle, patient and compassinate in their care of you. I do remember one time I went to get another medical procedure I was afraid of . (upper endoscopy where they put the tube down your throat) well I was literally scared to death because I'm very afraid of choking, the dr I had just met, seemed very neutral and not overly warm by any means.. and mentioned i would be awake with sedation just a little relaxed. I told him at that point.. I need to be OUT.. totally OUT. I have a fear of choking and i will not be able to stand it at all , I cannot do it.. and then he connected with what I said.. he looked me in the eye and said "I promise you, if you ask for me, I will make sure to give you medicine you will not know what is going on at all"....he totally got it after I made myself crystal clear. well.. i made it through, and I really hope he doesn't retire too soon if I need another. but I really hope that by sharing your fears again and making it clear that they would click and get it and treat you very kindly!

Also good point from Enarete about maybe if you need this work done now maybe getting through this one appt with sedation until you can find someone who is very good with anxious patients and can really build a trusting , kind relationship with you for the long run might be something to think on.

I really hope that this dentist and his staff can look at your experiences and treat you with much kindness for the 19th.. !

I did take my son to a dentist maybe a month or so ago and had a very quick exposure to the dentist, because it was busy and he didn't spend alot of time, I didn't know what to take of him . He was my dentists partner.. well.. then when I went for an appt myself, he was less busy and kind to me and understanding so I am hoping it will be the same for you! You deserve kind and compassionate care!

I also agree with Enarete in the writing and journaling, it has helped me alot personally to write and get it out and process the experiences..

Really wishing you the best as you go through this. and we are here for you. You have alot of people who understand and care here.!
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Messages
225
Hello to all here,
I’m relieved to find a place to talk about this fear, it’s a bottled-up terror I’ve carried for a very long time. Big hugs to those here seeking support and those tackling what they can. Every step is a step forward. I hope to make some steps myself, I don’t know where else to tackle this aside from here and the dental chair. (Insert sob here)

I’m a female in my late 30s, and I still cry uncontrollably just at the thought of a dentist. I will share my story in a moment, I’ve kept it to myself for a LONG time. There’s shame, there’s terror…I can’t verbalize it enough. I shared the story with those close to me in the detail that is enclosed here, but many don’t know the full story…even if I have shared pieces of it. So, it may upset others if they read on as to what happened to me. I don't wish to upset anyone with such details in any manner.

In all honesty, I'm discussing this fear now because I have oral surgery scheduled for wisdom extraction, root canals and a ton of other work. Two hours of surgery…under sedation. It’s scheduled for Jan 19th. I want to make a run for it, I want to switch bodies for the whole ordeal. I just want to disappear.

I made a scene at the checkup/consultation appointment. My interaction with this new dentist wasn’t great nor horrific. I felt a sense of ignorance on his behalf, I’m not attempting to be a jerk…but I will have to be “crystal clear” with him on the details. Which means sharing this story in detail, as opposed to a summary. It’s so complicated to explain a phobia. I wish more dentists understood this.

Therefore, I feel inclined to share HOW I got to this point of fear and absolute hysteria.

___________________________________________________________________________________

When I was young, I was always filled with anxiety about the dentist. The smells, the sounds…it’s terrible. But I was a little trooper through it, even if I scared. I always felt such relief when it was over. However, when I was about 13 years old, I needed a baby tooth extraction, so we headed to same dentist office I had been attending every summer for 4 years prior. But instead of my regular dentist, I had a new dentist along with a new dental assistant. I guess the two came as a package deal for this practice from what I could surmise.

The dentist was older at the time, mid-50s and his assistant was in her mid-30s. They seemed okay, I didn’t care for either of them based on first impressions but…I was scared, so I just wanted the whole thing over with.

Locals are given, I’m prepped, and the extraction begins. About 5-10 minutes into the extraction, the dentist loses his grip on the tooth, it is now far down my throat. I begin to reactively cough up the tooth, he shoves me back with his forearm, the assistant is told to “secure me” grappling and holding down the upper thigh areas on my legs. She was using her body weight to hold my legs down (which weren’t even moving at the time).

In turn, the dentist curses me for the fallen tooth then shoved me back with his upper arm across my collar bone. I’m terrified because he’s pressing his body weight onto me too, I felt smothered and terrified. At this point, I’m panicked. I’m choking, I can’t breathe. I shove him off and squirm the assistant off my upper legs.

I throw up the tooth amidst his continued scolding, accusing me of causing the incident. I’m hysterical despite his mouth rattling off and dirtied looks from his female assistant. I was light headed and covered in every bodily fluid known to man. I had never had a dentist do this before. And I knew something was wrong, I was so belittled and scared...I lack the words.

After being released to the waiting room, I’m a mess…I can’t talk because I’m so upset. My grandmother is waiting outside, and she could see the panic across my face. Before I could even speak, this dentist tells my grandmother a lie upon a lie regarding the procedure. She listens to him and immediately gets me out of there. She was a RN, and something didn’t seem right in how this medical professional was acting and/or speaking. For my grandmother, getting me away from him was a priority at that moment. I cried all the way home. It took me hours to tell her what happened. But when I did later that day, she called that office and raised absolute hell.

Within 24 hours, I had bruising across my collar bone. It was from where the dentist had shoved and held me back into the chair.

The dentist and assistant were gone within months thereafter. Apparently, they did something to another patient as well, but details were scarce. Because I was alone back there with just the dentist and assistant, it was my word against theirs’. My grandmother believed me, but that doesn’t mean I skip dental appointments. For years since then, I cried hysterically every time I had to go. I was scolded by adults, dentists here and there and others alike. Perhaps it was my age, my gender...I don't know...but my fears are real.
___________________________________________________________________________________

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried just attempting to share this story. I cry every time, I feel sick every time. Just the thought of going to a dentist strikes terror into me, I embarrass myself. I apologize repeatedly to staff and dentists, I cry irrationally at the mere sight of the chair. I cry every day prior to the appointment.

And Lord…when that day arrives! I must be supervised to get to the car…never mind inside the dental office. I apologize to everyone repeatedly, because I’m so embarrassed by this fear. I can’t help but cry. It’s like instant fear…just add water.
I’m terrified just thinking about it.

I don’t want to go, but I’m in too much pain to avoid it now. I’m worn down with both fear and pain. I have terrible anxiety and nausea…I cannot think of a way to calm myself down. I worry about being smothered again.

Medications? I’ve overridden Valium and other oral meds before…It’s like I have “Terminator” skills. Yet, I know GA or IV sedation can work for me. I’ve been knocked out before with the GA and I did fine. But my anxiety is through the roof. I’m scared of the IV sedation. I'm so terrified I may not wake up.

My husband will be there to support me, but I’m just so scared. Bless that man, he knows how frightened I am. He’s seen the tears and heard the attempts to bribe him out of the appointment. I cannot possibly verbalize how badly I feel for the worry I cause him and others.

I don’t think many dentists understand how regretfully terrified I am about this. Including the one conducting my scheduled surgery this month. I would love to switch dentists merely based on comments this dentist has made but I can’t bring myself to wait any longer…the pain is overbearing now.

What do you do when you’re so frightened?
What are the best ways to discuss your phobia with a dentist who hasn’t had experience with "extreme cases" of dental phobia?


This isn’t just a little anxiety for me, I’ve realized this over the years despite my denials. I’m absolutely traumatized.

Hello Secret Squirrel. So sorry to read about this dreadful experience; this has made all of us feel somewhat sick and angered that anyone could treat someone so badly. I concur with several others on here that it would be a very good idea to print out your story as written here and show this to any dentist and their staff, so they are best placed to give you the care and support you need and clearly deserve.

I also agree wholeheartedly that at this stage IV sedation is absolutely the right pathway to use given your past trauma, as it will remove any sensation from your session and indeed you will not remember anything about it! Somebody wrote back explaining about what happens with the sedation; I would also like to add, having had this myself several times, that there is nothing to fear regarding safety; you do in fact remain technically "awake" but what happens is that you lose all recollection of what happens during your time in surgery, all you will be aware of is a few moments from when the drug was given to a kind voice telling you that all went well; it is like seeing two snapshots from a film but missing out the middle!

Moving forward, as I have done, the secret to eventually being weaned off sedation is finding the right person with who you love and trust implicitly. Regard the onward search for your future permanent dentist in the same way you might look for a date; once you can trust that someone, things will usually sort themselves out. Ironically, it was actually speaking initially and honestly at great depth with my dentist a few months back that not only alleviated my phobia, but also cured me of some awful flashbacks that had been haunting me since my teens! It really is good to talk initially.......

Hope all goes well for you, and happy to talk privately if that would be of help to you. Lots of hugs down the screen from the UK. Simon XX
 
S

Spider

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
142
Please let us know how it goes and keep us updated on your feelings leading up to the appointment especially if you need a place to unload. It sounds like you may have ptsd from that awful experience when you were 13. I wish I knew more about trauma and healing and could offer some good advice. Just know that you have lots of people here who truly understand and we're all rooting for you xx
 
Top