• Welcome to Dental Fear Central! This is a place for mutual support and any questions you may have that are related to dental phobia, fear or anxiety. It is run by volunteers with first-hand experience of dental phobia and anxiety together with dental practitioners who like to help. The "Verified dentist" badges will tell you whether an answer has been provided by a qualified dental practitioner. If you'd like to use all the features of this forum and share your own experiences, or if you are a dental professional who would like to contribute, register now.

    We strive to promote a safe, friendly and trustworthy environment with our team of moderators monitoring all discussions daily.

Does anyone feel like a bother to their dentist?

T

thisisme

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
152
I’ve avoided the dentist for so long that after I completed my treatment plan, I noticed something wasn’t quite right with a filling. It took me three weeks to gain the courage to call them. I was trying to figure out what was the hold up. I had been there before (quite a few times). All successful visits. Why was it hard to call when I knew going wasn’t that bad?

And then it hit me. I feel like a bother. An annoyance. Look at the girl who avoided the dentist for 16 years and is now ringing us because she’s not happy with the work we did.

Is this a dental phobia thing? A social thing? Part of the problem is I haven’t been to the dentist in forever, and I don’t know what is normal. Plus, having a ton of work done (7 fillings and an extraction) in a short period of time would probably increase the chances of needing small corrections, right? I.E.. The likelihood for bite adjustments and for ligaments to be sprained would be much greater when an substantial amount of work is done as opposed to a single filling.

I am actually hoping the problem goes away, haha, so I don’t have to show my face in there like the problem child. My dentist has not ever once made me feel bad for frequent visits. And actually at the end of my last appointment, he said “I hope you don’t have any issues, but I wouldn’t mind seeing you if you do” or something like that. So why do I feel so bad about this?

Does anyone else feel this way?
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
538
Me! Completely different circumstances as I have never avoided the dentist or missed checkups/treatment, but a couple of years ago I had a spell of problems, largely caused by teeth clenching, and I was there practically every week in pain. I then developed a form of neuralgia, which means I have constant pain, although my teeth/gums are clinically fine.

I hate using the phone, and I feel like the receptionists must be like, god, not her again. However in reality everyone is always very kind, and my dentist always says to ring if there are any problems, and she will slot me in. Because of the neuralgia the pain can shift between teeth, then I get scared it actually is a tooth, not the nerves. My dentist has shifted me on to three month checkups which helps.

I imagine most dentists would hate the thought of patients being in pain, and would much rather they came in. When I was tripping back and forth there virtually every day, my partner said I needed to think about it as a service I was paying for as a customer. He also said I wouldn’t think twice about phoning to say I wasn’t 100% happy with my hair, or my eyebrows, after a salon “treatment”. I found that quite a helpful analogy. I still hate phoning though!
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
108
Location
Us
Yes, I know what you mean. I don’t know if it’s part of the phobia, I think it’s more psychologically tied to our embarrassment and feelings of shame that we’ve (I’ve) dealt with for so long. Sort of like thinking “Gosh, they’ve done so much for me already, I really don’t want to bother them again!” But I also think they don’t see it like that. Everyone at my dentist always tells me just call if you have any problems - that’s what we’re here for, no matter what it is. So that helps me to remember that it’s an issue for me to deal with internally, and that I’m not really a bother.
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
1,653
I feel the same way. Especially since I am going through all these issues and half the time he says I am fine. I feel like he thinks a lot of it is in my head.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,220
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Thisisme,

This is SO me too..! totally identify with this.. even after I"ve had quite a bit of work and appointments. I know its only been a year. but I feel like its been a lot longer.. anyways this is such a real feeling..

from calling to asking questions.. the feeling of being a bother just in regular interactions that they would not consider a bother. and yeah,.. you know my dental office too has not given me a clue that I am a bother, yet I feel like one... as we speak I have to reschedule an appt I got the date wrong .. I'm sure they do this all the time but.. that feeling peaks again..

I tested my previous dentist and even put it out there really sharing my feelings about this and he really reassured me I was not a bother.. even giving me his phone and email for any questions and I've used it and he was so awesome with me anytime I had a concern or question. He really made me feel so reassured and welcomed .. as does my current one..

but still...for me.. I know it is a harsh inner critic due to past trauma and abuse background.. as much therapy as I have had for it.. this one feeling of being a bother was drilled into me as a young child..

". I don’t know if it’s part of the phobia, I think it’s more psychologically tied to our embarrassment and feelings of shame that we’ve (I’ve) dealt with for so long " I so agree Boxermom

One thing that does help me ... is the fact I work for a dr's office as patient care coordinator and schedule/answer question/liason between dr/pt etc.. well. I can say.. this is so normal all my concerns or needs that seem like I would be a bother..well would never think one of our patients were ever a bother to reschedule or have a question. even if they rescheduled 3 times in a day. which happens enough :). or they've been in so many times in past.. We want them to be happy and feeling well and cared for.. so.. that does help coming from my experience on the opposite end. :).

"I imagine most dentists would hate the thought of patients being in pain, and would much rather they came in " So true Judythecat. I believe this too, Actually I have a very wise and kind friend that worked at a dental office tell me.. they would be more bothered if you did not come in or tell them you were having issues.

"And actually at the end of my last appointment, he said “I hope you don’t have any issues, but I wouldn’t mind seeing you if you do” or something like that. "

This is great and really reassuring.. :).

myself ,, honestly a little nervous of getting these feelings when I go through my rounds of treatment I have coming up. I'm doing alot of work and will get ample opportunity to work through my insecurites about this ...
 
P

PetLover

Junior member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
9
Location
USA
My dental office sys "please call if you have any problems", yet all of the messages go to a general voice mailbox. You leave the name of the general dentist you want, and their assistant calls you. 50% of the time, the information they give you when they call you back is wrong!! My periodontist, however, will call me back. I feel like my general dentist screens her calls not to have to deal with the patients. I have to see her in two weeks and at that time, I'm going to ask her the best to reach her, as I am ever able to get hold of her. Another reason to just keep looking for a dentist....
 
C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,772
Location
Miami, Fl
My patients all have access to my cell phone and home phone so what more can I do? Well last week I did a surgery on a patient and he changed his mind at night and wanted a controlled rug for pain. Okay but now the rules have changed so I had to drive to my office look him up on the state data base then write a Rx and take it to him at the pharmacy.
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
108
Location
Us
My patients all have access to my cell phone and home phone so what more can I do? Well last week I did a surgery on a patient and he changed his mind at night and wanted a controlled rug for pain. Okay but now the rules have changed so I had to drive to my office look him up on the state data base then write a Rx and take it to him at the pharmacy.
I certainly think that’s there’s not much more you can do, as you already go quite out of your way to help your patients. Not every dentist would do what you did for that patient. I’d imagine some dentists have very definite boundaries on patient contact, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is frustrating when you leave a message and no one returns your call or they call back with the wrong info. My dentist gave me his cell number, and I’ve never needed to use it. But I really appreciated that he gave it to me.
 
T

thisisme

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
152
Wow! Thanks for your input everyone. I’m so glad I’m not alone. I haven’t cancelled my appointment for Tuesday. I really, really want to, though.

The issue I have isn’t that bad, so it feels like I’m just being annoying to go in for it. I can almost chew on anything on that tooth, but something extra crunchy or hard and I remember it still hurts. It’ll be four weeks, so I felt like I waited a long enough time, but I don’t know. I still feel like a bother. So many other people are in much more pain and have bigger issues. I dread walking in and seeing the receptionist greet me for the sixth time in two months. And worse. It turns out to be a bigger issue and I’d have to go back again.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,154
Really glad you haven't cancelled as going is the only right thing as you probably know.

The thoughts like "the girl who avoided the dentist for 16 years and is now ringing us because she’s not happy with the work we did," is just your very own feelings about yourself and you are projecting them on your dentist. It is ok, we all project our own fears and insecurities on others all the time, some scientists would even go as far as saying that the whole world is just our projection. So while nothing unusual is happening here, it is still good to think about it and look at it, particularly if it makes you enduring a dental problem you do not have to endure.

Here are some thoughts to reframe: you are a customer and the dentist is responsible for you to feel well with your mouth and your teeth. There is no reason you should endure pain or discomfort, no matter how small. Your mouth should feel well no matter what you eat and if that is not the case, your dentist shall take a look at it. Also, you do not know what is causing the issue and whether it could potentially be a start of something bigger in the future or not so seeking a professional (your dentist) is the only way to go. By the way, people coming back with fillings that need to be adjusted is a normal routine for every dentist. It is hard to say whether a filling is ok when you are numb so it is ok to use first few days to see whether all is ok and go back if it isn't.

Altogether this might be a good lesson of self-confidence and learning to ask for what you want. Taking care of yourself is the base of well-being and happiness and I am convinced that seeing your dentist and saying 'this thing is bothering me', no matter how small it is, is a great practice.

Let us know how it went!
 
T

thisisme

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
152
I went, Enarete! It was okay. The only person acting annoyed to be there was myself. 😂 I try to be happy but it’s so hard when you get in that chair and they put the bib on you.

Not exactly a fun visit. A series of tests like dropping some icy cold stuff on each tooth and then biting on a ball thing. I don’t really know what it looked like but it felt round. 🤣 I cussed for the first time in the chair. The s word slipped out when I bit on the ball and it hurt. Duh! I knew it would hurt and he said, “well it’s definitely that tooth.” Yup.

He said that pain was typical for cracks but couldn’t see any. He said it could be a bite thing and adjusted it. Unfortunately, my bite is “funny” as I’ve never had braces, so he says sometimes it takes a bit to get it right.

He said give it sometime and let him know if it gets worse. Fingers crossed. 🤞🏻
 
T

Thephilsblogbar

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
586
Location
United Kingdom
The dentist practice I go to, dont mind up bothering them, if we think we got a problem, and treating the problem whilst it is small.
 
Top