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Dentist help (how do you handle nervous patients)

S

Sarah

Junior member
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
3
Good evening

I recently got referred to a hospital to have gas and air (which I've had before with some success) for some work on my teeth, I had an assessment and was told that I would need someone to drive me home at the next appointment as I would be sedated. I got upset as I have lost my boyfriend through suicide and a lot of friends blamed me so I lost them too. I knew that I'd have no one to ask as I am isolated with PTSD. I told them that I'd really struggle to find someone to come with me but they said they could do nothing.

I ended up cancelling 3 appointments because I had no one to pick me up and they said they would have to take me off the list. I eventually asked a colleague who agreed to rearrange her childcare for me. When I arrived at the hospital I told them that my friend was on her way as she was just stuck in traffic, they refused to start the treatment as they said that she might not arrive, I offered to get her on the phone so they could speak to her and they refused saying that I could be lying. I left the hospital in tears.

More recently I tried to make another appointment at the hospital only to be told they had referred me back to the dentist so I would have to pay for an appointment to be referred back to the hospital.

With reluctance, I made an appointment and when i walked into the dentist, she was extremely stern with me and said that i would just have to have the treatment without sedation (if only if it were that easy) she stated that it'll get so bad that I'd have no choice but to give in. She gave me a check up, charged me and referred me back to the hospital. I cried all the way through the check up, neither the dentist or nurse asked how I was.

I don't know how to deal with this, when I'm at the dentist I become scared and anxious and when met with steely faces who I dont feel want to help I just freeze and end up crying. I truly feel violated when having work done. Sedation has worked in the past, I still feel scared but it is manageable. I just want someone to understand and help and guide me through the process rather than thinking I'm being awkward. I feel at my most vulnerable while at the dentist and don't feel able to stick up for myself. Is there anything I can say to the dentist that would help them understand? My teeth are becoming worse and a front one is now rotten and I'm losing my confidence and don't feel like smiling for many reasons.

Any help gratefully received.
 
drhirst

drhirst

Super Moderator
Verified dentist
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
671
Location
Welwyn Garden City, UK
Hi Sarah,
I was really saddened to read your post and all that you have been through. You were so close to getting things sorted out as well.
Unfortunately, clinicians employed in a hospital have no option other than to apply official hospital policy with regard to escorts. The general advice to dentists giving sedation would be not to proceed without the escort being present as some people do tell porkies to get round not having an escort. In private practice we can use a little bit more discretion at times. However, unless I knew the patient really well, I also would not proceed with a sedation that I felt needed an escort for safe aftercare.
My advice in finding a sympathetic dentist would be to print off your post here and sent to a new dentist as it describes your feeling so well. It will sort out the dentists who want to help you from those who do not without you actually having to sit in the chair.
Go on, give it a go.

Lincoln
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,602
Sarah.. wow.. I'm so sorry this was your experience. You were not treated well and were not heard. I can't even imagine how hard it must have been to keep on going and what this must have done to your confidence.

May I, as an addition to the advice post of drhirst, invite you to take a look around here and use this forum as a safe place to write out and vent about whatever comes to your mind? We have a journal section, a support section and many ressources and success stories. And most importantly, we are here to listen to you and help you through the journey. I am a firm believer that there is hope, no matter where you are at right now.
 
S

Sarah

Junior member
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
3
Hi Sarah,
I was really saddened to read your post and all that you have been through. You were so close to getting things sorted out as well.
Unfortunately, clinicians employed in a hospital have no option other than to apply official hospital policy with regard to escorts. The general advice to dentists giving sedation would be not to proceed without the escort being present as some people do tell porkies to get round not having an escort. In private practice we can use a little bit more discretion at times. However, unless I knew the patient really well, I also would not proceed with a sedation that I felt needed an escort for safe aftercare.
My advice in finding a sympathetic dentist would be to print off your post here and sent to a new dentist as it describes your feeling so well. It will sort out the dentists who want to help you from those who do not without you actually having to sit in the chair.
Go on, give it a go.

Lincoln

Dear Lincoln

Thank you so very much for your reply and the clarification around hospital procedures, that makes complete sense. I have fainted in the dentist before so I get them taking extra care.

That's actually a really good idea to send the dentist my post. Your post has given me the confidence to go and look for a more sympathetic practice so thank you very much.

Sarah.. wow.. I'm so sorry this was your experience. You were not treated well and were not heard. I can't even imagine how hard it must have been to keep on going and what this must have done to your confidence.

May I, as an addition to the advice post of drhirst, invite you to take a look around here and use this forum as a safe place to write out and vent about whatever comes to your mind? We have a journal section, a support section and many ressources and success stories. And most importantly, we are here to listen to you and help you through the journey. I am a firm believer that there is hope, no matter where you are at right now.
Thank you very much for your support, I'm glad I was able to get across how I felt and was heard. I shall be looking up those support sections, it's so nice to know that people are around who may be feeling the same way.
 
C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,882
Location
Miami, Fl
Rules are rules but I don't think an escort is needed for local anesthesia and nitrous oxide
 
M

Mike

Member
Verified dentist
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Scotland
Rules are rules but I don't think an escort is needed for local anesthesia and nitrous oxide
I agree - we certainly don't require it routinely but some areas have different local policies. For IV sedation I certainly wouldn't start without the escort present (been burnt before!)
 
M

Mike

Member
Verified dentist
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Scotland
Sarah - sorry to hear about the experience you've had. Can't add much to what Lincoln said but hopefully you find a dentist you're comfortable with, not one that lectures you and makes you feel worse.

What I would say is the gas may have helped you in the past but the hard work was all you! It's wonderful stuff but only works with those that really want it, if you find a dentist you trust and you're happy with you might surprise yourself :)
 
S

Sarah

Junior member
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
3
Rules are rules but I don't think an escort is needed for local anesthesia and nitrous oxide
Oh that's interesting, they quoted policy at me but I never did understand why the policy was in place particularly as it was creating a barrier.

I agree - we certainly don't require it routinely but some areas have different local policies. For IV sedation I certainly wouldn't start without the escort present (been burnt before!)
Again, very interesting. Funnily enough I had IV for a wisdom tooth and they actively encouraged an escort to not attend. It seems like you say the local policies differ. It makes me wonder why.

Sarah - sorry to hear about the experience you've had. Can't add much to what Lincoln said but hopefully you find a dentist you're comfortable with, not one that lectures you and makes you feel worse.

What I would say is the gas may have helped you in the past but the hard work was all you! It's wonderful stuff but only works with those that really want it, if you find a dentist you trust and you're happy with you might surprise yourself :)
Thank you so much for the reply, I am on the lookout for a new dentist, even if i have to go further a field. This dentist actually started out quite nice but after the saga at the hospital I think they thought I was just being obstinate and I am really not.

It's so nice of you to say about the hard work, it must have just relaxed me enough to not trigger my fight/flight/freeze response. I had a really successful course and it worked and a student dentist there really took his time to get to know me and the reasons why I was so worried, he made a huge difference to my experience.

I really do hope I find another sympathetic dentist, I would love to be able to just book an appointment when I get an ache rather than reaching for the painkillers and hoping it goes away.

From what you guys in here are saying is that it doesn't need to be this way and that gives me some hope.
 
M

Mike

Member
Verified dentist
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Scotland
Again, very interesting. Funnily enough I had IV for a wisdom tooth and they actively encouraged an escort to not attend. It seems like you say the local policies differ. It makes me wonder why.
We don’t usually like them in the surgery but it would be a bit of a no-no not to have one at all. As Lincoln said sometimes people would trust patients to have someone arranged to pick up so maybe that was the case then?


From what you guys in here are saying is that it doesn't need to be this way and that gives me some hope.
Not only does it not have to be, it never should be!

Good luck with getting back on track with it and keep us posted :)
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,602
There is and interview with Gordon, one of our forum dentists, if you like to read some funny stories on the topic of having an escort person for IV, take a look at the PDF version here (p.16/17).
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,852
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Sarah,

Just want to say too, I"m so sorry for the way they were stern and did not treat you compassionately or kindly. No one wants to be shamed and blamed especially with all you were going through , trying so hard to get someone to help you , and not being able to , then finally doing it but it not working out, that all had to be so stress ful only to go back to getting a lecture and stern treatment.. yikes.. You are handling all this amazingly. I'm with @Enarete keep writing here and sharing and venting as you go through :) also love what @Mike says about "It should never be this way"....

"I had a really successful course and it worked and a student dentist there really took his time to get to know me and the reasons why I was so worried, he made a huge difference to my experience.

I really do hope I find another sympathetic dentist "

I'm really so glad you had that good experience with that student dentist . He actually sounds alot like my previous dentist making a huge difference in my journey! I hope you find another like him!!

All the best in your journey!!
 
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