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Don't know. Venting, need advice? I don't want to post anything but I'm struggling.



Junior member
Nov 13, 2022
South Australia
Long post I'm sorry but I appreciate the anonymity of this site. Heads up for sa/past trafficking.
It is killing me even posting this because I don’t want to burden people with this, or people think less of me….which makes all the sense in the world when its anonymous.
This is my first post, but I've been lurking for a bit and can't even begin to thank so many of you for success stories and tips that have helped immensely. But I am in a dilemma now.

Wisdom teeth consult with an oral surgeon, yay. I was apprehensive but okay at first, my teeth were looking great, I am now freaking out.

So I have struggled with seeing a dentist for many years, and I was so lucky to find a wonderful, caring dentist, who gave me lots of appointments every few weeks to clean my teeth and didn't charge me the full amount, basically going way way above and beyond and I am so very very grateful. The whole team were so accommodating and would block out appointment times for me while I was still making up my mind so the slots were available when I was ready to begin my first appointment. She was very comforting and even told me she was proud that I had made this step which I wasn’t expecting. I've gotten to the point where I can make a few jokes and smile and be pretty relaxed around the staff (all female). I've gotten much better with pain, I think the initial cleaning (of like 6 teeth) was so painful because I was stressed, but now it all seems like a familiar and easy part of life. At the moment, she's pretty much the only health worker I have any contact with. My teeth are feeling much better and I'm due to go back in February for a 3 month visit. So it’s a great success story. She is also aware that I have a history of sexual abuse and has worked that into my care. There are still things I struggle with, and I think that’s on me expecting too much from myself. Dental care has become a little island of safety in the chaotic world of medicine that is still really terrifying and unsafe. The world in general actually. So I really really need this to be a thing that is constant, that I can count on.

She is not aware of the exact nature of exactly what happened, neither is the therapist I see as I'm really afraid she'll have to report it and it makes me a horrible person but I just don’t have the strength to go through that yet. Basically, I was 14 when the guy I was seeing sold me into a life that has been very difficult to get out of and it was by escaping not earning my freedom. I don’t really want to say anything because I'm afraid no-one will want to treat me anymore. I'm also afraid to speak up because I am aware that one man works as a surgeon and I don’t know in what area. I don't want any repercussions, or anyone to have to report it, and I don’t want to put my safety in jeopardy. It's an unfortunate realisation that people in power can be horrible, and while I'm sure a lot of doctors/dentists/specialists are great, there's a bunch that really aren't.
I have some health concerns that make any kind of surgery a bit more tricky, but I also have a huge gap in my medical history because we seldom used our names or got to speak and only got treated when really necessary and its been a thing I've continued in the 5 years I've been out. My dentist works around these concerns without the input from a specialist and does an amazing job (a lot of dental drugs are dangerous) and there are some great sites for doctors to run drugs through and see if they are harmful, and this works really well. This may not be so easy when surgery is in question. I am aware of some conditions, but many health concerns I have no idea what they were, which makes answering those pre surgery forms almost impossible because I just don't know and there's no way to check. Some questions are also mentally hard to answer because I don’t want people to judge. I also know I have no problems that can be passed on. I endured hell so no-one else would be at risk. But people will judge.

Also, while I am getting a lot more comfortable with the dentist that I see, I am not comfortable with anyone else and it takes me a very long time to build up trust and speak. Which is why my dentist is absolutely amazing for giving me so many appointments over the course of those few months. This isn't a luxury I'm going to have with a surgeon and the waiting times can be really long. I lose all ability to speak or make eye contact when I'm in a new situation with new people and combined with a really pot holed medical history, I'm sure it's going to be a frustrating situation for the poor surgeon and I don't want to upset anyone.

I also don't want to run into any familiar faces at the clinic. I was shamefully caught up in all of this for 6.5 years and there's a huge fear in the back of my mind that I'll recognise people when they are standing over me as my doctor. Or they'll see me or my file and want to harm me. This is an oral surgery clinic and has the only female surgeon in the state. So, it’s a different thing than walking into an all female dental clinic, which was hard enough. I don't know if I'll be able to meet with anyone else who might put in IVs beforehand, but it doesn't matter, being under sedation is an absolute no go. I did my cleanings with penthrox because I had it outside of anything traumatic and it was safe and its the only thing I will allow. That alone took about a year to consider as an option, and granted it gave my brain a split second to realise panic memories were only memories and not happening in the moment. But it's the upper limit of my boundaries. I wouldn't consider nitrous or pills, I get very much stuck on what's worked, what's safe. Anything more is not a thing I want to happen. I would consider local and would, given the options, be happy to do it under a local, but I have no way of communicating this. Also, I freaked out when the dentist offered a local as an option for pain during the next cleaning. I went home and had nightmares and flashbacks and memories that mixed with my fear of being injected with something by force, and I nearly cancelled. So I'm not even at that point yet. I have zero ability to say no to anything and I'm afraid I'll agree to surgery I don't want and then panic on the day. I had elective surgery booked once, ended up ripping out IV lines and bolting out half drugged. Adrenaline is a hell of a thing.
I desperately want to cancel because this consult is going to be a session in awkward silence, but I also have a dental visit scheduled a few days after which will be a good debrief. I don’t want to reschedule my consult and then be in a situation where I cant follow up with the dentist shortly after, because she's a sounding board that I trust and can talk about any concerns that will arise that I can't talk about in the moment, but this is a different thing.
I don't have any issues with my wisdom teeth yet, but she seems really keen to take them out so I'm not in a situation where they are causing problems and I freak out and endanger my health is my guess as to why she's pushing for it. But also, I don't go to the doctor or dentist unless I am in pain or really unwell. I don’t see a regular GP or a specialist for a condition that really needs me to do a lot better. I haven't done anything preventative before, being on deaths door is more of a motivator, but also leaves very little room to establish report with medical staff. So this has been somewhat of a change, although I did come in very much in pain.
I still occasionally get moments where I just can't handle anything in my mouth, so brushing my teeth is impossible. Its lead to a bit of a build up again on my teeth which I am really ashamed of. I am getting much much better at staying on top of my oral health and I do have a new perspective of keeping my teeth healthy because looking after myself is an act of rebellion against those horrible people, but sometimes it's easy to slip back into old patterns. I am really really afraid that if I don’t get this done, combined with my teeth not being cared for as well as they could be after all that work, then she'll drop me as a patient or be upset with me. She's gone so much out of her way to help me and I don’t want to go back to her office as a failure. I'm afraid of what she'll think just with my lack of care, it's throwing me back into wanting to just cancel because it's too much and I can't keep good care of my teeth.
I guess I had this idea that once my teeth were cleaned I'd somehow be this complete person, and never struggle again, but the reality of recovery is a bit harsher.
This is also doing a number on my head and I've crossed the line between suicidality being a comforting thought and actually actively thinking about it. I know the office is on the second floor and I've driven past and thought I could easily clear the balcony.
I don't know how to mention to my dentist who has worked so hard why it is I cant do this, but maybe its important info to know??
My therapist has said I have no capacity but not because I say no, because I say yes and don’t mean it. I'm afraid no one will want to touch me out of fear of legal issues if I mention it. I have a great partner who has advocated for me and said no on my behalf before when I've mentioned I absolutely don’t want something prior to an appointment (the local anaesthetic). He's really concerned about me going through with this consult as is my therapist, who I haven't given the details of the dentist office to, so granted can't have a conversation with on my behalf. Ultimately its my choice and I may not get another opportunity this year, so I feel I should at least try. It could be a situation of empowerment but also could be something that devastates me and crumbles the little safety zone that dentistry has become.

I don't know, any advice? Any tips for people with tricky histories? I'm just starting to build myself back up and I don't know whats appropriate to struggle with, and what I'm just being silly over. And how do you even approach these conversations? It's not like I have anyone who can relay these concerns, because people don't know the extent of whats happened. I have a great dentistry team, but this is a wall and I dont know what to do. Sorry. Sorry I posted this. I just dont know. This is a hard thing to post, and a hard thing Im sure to deal with. I'm so sorry.
Hi CoffeeBeanJane:welcome:,

thank you so much for the trust you gave us by sharing your story with us. You took the risk and hopefully you'll see that first, we are all here to help and second, nobody here won't ever judge you for anything. You have been through awful things and I only can imagine how it seems to separate the worlds - the one you live in and the one others do. It must be very tough and isolating having to be guarded all the time and wanting to talk but not being able to. I'm glad you have a few people who you trust and who are supportive, advocating for you when you ask them to.

When it comes to reporting and your fear of sharing that is connected to that, I am not sure how legal stuff works in your area, but here is how it works where I live: a health professional or a mental health professional is obligated to keep stuff confidential and the only reason where they can / have to break it is if that breach would prevent a crime that could be prevented by them reporting. With that being said, there is a list of crimes that fall into that category and it's held very strictly. If you reached the age of an adult and what's being done to you is over, it would be strictly prohibited to break confidentiality. So if this is a concern, maybe asking your dentist about any exceptions from confidentiality may be a good idea or you could ask your therapist or research the law. Needless to say how immensely harmful it would be for your safety or ability to make progress in processing what happened. Also, remember that it is entirely your choice what you share and how much. Maybe there is something that would be vague enough to keep you safe but sufficient for them to understand what the impact is? With your past, it's clear that safety, control, and having things done on your terms are far, far, far more important than taking out your wisdom teeth. Maybe the goal could change a bit, from "how to take care of the wisdom teeth" to "how to buy you as much time as possible" so that you can figure out the other stuff first. There will be a time when things won't feel that daunting or when you may feel more able to communicate. Maybe thinking about the wisdom teeth at that time may be good...

A lot of the stuff you are struggling with is a direct result of what happened and it's impressive how far you have come and how you are trying. This is a thing of many little steps and your feeling in control and safe at any point of the process is the most essential thing. I am glad that you are using this and have clarity about what is acceptable and what not, what you'd like to do and what not.

Does your therapist know about your thoughts on suicide and how this is a topic that comes to your mind often?

I will leave it here for now and looking forward to read again from you. Writing helps and we are here to listen. You're not bothering anyone here, you're not too much, you're not overwhelming to us. You are at the right place here and you are allowed to be whatever you are at the moment. You are allowed to have ugly times, better times, vent, ramble, wanting to do something about your teeth, not wanting to... whatever is there is allowed to be there and whatever is not there is allowed not to be there.

All the best wishes:)
Hi! Welcome.

Thank you for posting.

Unfortunately I don’t have time right now to give your post the reply it deserves, but please know that you are not alone.

We will be happy to stand by you during this journey.
@CoffeeBeanJane You have a really complicated situation and please forgive me if I have gotten things wrong or misunderstood, but I wanted to try and provide what I picked up in case it is any help. It sounds to me like it might be OK to wait to take your wisdom teeth out if they aren't causing a problem? It sounds like you are worried she will drop you as a patient if you don't remove your wisdom teeth now. I can tell you I refused every recommendation to remove my wisdom teeth until I was ready, and none of the dentists who I did that with dropped me as a patient, or were even upset. I think people often don't follow all the suggestions a dentist makes, and they are used to it. I think she should be able to talk to you and tell you why it is urgent to remove them, and shouldn't drop you if you want to wait. Also it is possible to have wisdom teeth removed with just local, my partner and I both had it done that way. Maybe your partner could join you at the dentist to talk about the wisdom teeth situation with her?