Embarrassed of being embarrassed

RJayne

RJayne

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I'm not sure what exactly I'm asking here but I'm waiting for a call back from a new dentist and my anxiety is bugging me so I'm posting for distraction mostly.
I'm not embarrassed of my teeth, I'm paranoid about all sorts but they certainly don't look bad, nothing outwardly to be ashamed of certainly. What embarrasses me is my nervousness and anxiety, I feel like I'm being silly and childish getting worked up over something lots of other people manage just breezily. I get shy and feel embarrassed in the chair and just loose the ability to ask the questions I want because they suddenly seem ridiculous or paranoid. And I try not to show it all so I'm just quiet and passive.
I know there's advice about being embarrassed about teeth here, but I'm not sure how to stop being embarrassed of my nerves.
 
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ReginaPhalange

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I have a similar personality!

lots of other people manage just breezily.
But soooo many others don't. I'm just reminding myself of how common the nerves are, and how they'll understand that, probably seeing people in all sorts of states every day, whether that's openly anxious, crying, asking hundreds of questions, or passive and dumbstruck.

I was grateful at my initial consultation that the dentist seemed to not notice my nerves, although I'm sure he did - he was very gentle and calm, and told me I could get in touch if I had any questions before treatment started. I've got a feeling most of my questions in future will be via email and that I'll hardly utter a word in person!


I'm not embarrassed of my teeth, I'm paranoid about all sorts but they certainly don't look bad, nothing outwardly to be ashamed of certainly.
My goal is to get to that stage!

Hope it works out well with the new dentist.
 
RJayne

RJayne

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Thanks for the reply, I know its not an uncommon Phobia/source of anxiety but I do feel really foolish for having it and it certainly feels like you're the only one when you're in the waiting room.

If we've got similar personalities then at least I'm in good company haha :D

I've seen some of your posts and you're amazingly brave and upbeat, I'm sure you'll reach whatever goal you've got for yourself
 
Enarete

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Dear RJayne,

I so hear you!!! it's good to read that you feel this way too. I feel ashamed for having my dental fear so much that I would go extreme lengths to hide it as much as possible. My dentist has more than 20 years of experience treating nervous patients and I managed to get a panic attack in the chair during and exam and he haven't noticed a thing. I also arrive to my appointments with a HUGE list of questions and once it's my turn to ask I go over the list like 'no, this is stupid, no, this one you won't ask, no, this one is out - too awkward' and end up asking one or two questions.

What works for me is trust (which needs to get build over time so if your dentist is a new one you might need few visits) and the fact that I can write my dentist a letter with questions beforehand ( I feel less ridiculous asking something via email few day before an appointment then asking it during a visit) on an email and things get better over time.

There are a lot of people who feel that having anxiety is uncool and I know a lot who would try to hide it. The good thing is that everyone is nervous of the dentist to some degree and dentists are quite used to people hiding it, so being ashamed of fear might be more usual than we think.

All the best wishes, hope your dentist gets back to you soon and keep us updated
 
Judythecat

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This is completely out of context, but I am a lecturer and frequently have students who are incredibly nervous about doing oral presentations for some of the modules I teach. Today I had two people in tears. My job is to support them and reassure them, and make sure they are as well-prepared as possible beforehand. I tell them there are no stupid questions, and am often answering work emails at midnight to try to help people who are anxious.

Dentists are used to seeing people who are scared and anxious. If they weren’t able to support those patients, no matter how good they were at fillings or whatever, they wouldn’t be able to do their job. No-one loves going to the dentist.

I am not a phobic or particularly nervous patient, but have had a load of dental issues pop up over the last 18 months after years of just checkups which has made me really anxious. My dentist has seen me cry more often in that time than my partner. And I am a person who cries at adverts. If she’s annoyed or thinks I am a nuisance, she hides it well. That’s part of her job, and I am very grateful to her for her kindness and patience. If she wasn’t kind and patient, I would find a new dentist, just like my students would switch courses or complain to the head of school if I was sharp or unkind with them.
 
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ReginaPhalange

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Good company indeed 😂 If I'm ever nervous about anything else, no-one knows. I can't help it, I'm more likely to be silent than admit something is nerve-wracking.

But after seeing all the advice not to be like that with the dentist and realising it will only be a good thing to be open about it as they'll be more likely to treat you kindly if they know, I mentioned nerves in the email when enquiring. So I was less worried about betraying my feelings.


I've seen some of your posts and you're amazingly brave and upbeat, I'm sure you'll reach whatever goal you've got for yourself
Aww thanks. It's only because ignorance is bliss! I don't know when treatment will start yet, so I don't have a specific date to dread. That and I refuse to read any horror stories. Can't bring myself to know what can go wrong, so I stick to the success and support forums. I wasn't brave for so many years, and certainly not upbeat. But now that I've done all I can for now, I feel positive :)

Oh and those in the waiting room are probably envious of you, looking all calm on the outside!
 
RJayne

RJayne

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@ Enarete
It actually makes me feel better that my post makes you feel better, at least we're in a confirmed group of three lol. It's reassuring to think everyone is a bit nervous, I just assume they're all chilled out.
This new dentist's has a really thorough consultation so I'm hoping I can get some trust built up quickly, I'm really unsettled by breif appointments which might be perverse but I like to feel nothings been missed. Sadly I didn't get my call today so I've emailed again and hope I hear from them tomorrow.
@ Judythecat
I've also given lectures and seminars, I've seen people completely stop functioning with public speaking and I've never thought they were being silly either, I think it's human nature to be empathic but that thought goes out of the window at the dentists!
 
RJayne

RJayne

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I mentioned nerves in the email when enquiring. So I was less worried about betraying my feelings.
I've started doing this and then letting them call me, so I don't have to explain twice and they already know who I am, it's how I even managed to make my first appointment 😅

and those in the waiting room are probably envious of you, looking all calm on the outside!
I have never thought of that! That's actually really amusing to think of lol 😂
 
krlovesherkids777

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Me to... to say it simply.. you know .. I get embarrassed about being anxious and asking questions and such My last dentist was the first one I took a chance on and thought what the heck I"m just going to put it out there and he was so great with all my concerns and questions.. and now.. I am starting all over... so ... its like I have to start at a beginning point with this new dentist in my anxiety and questions. and all the momentum and reassurements of the past dentist, well.. I have to run them by my new one now as I gain trust and momentum.

Thankfully he is the owner of the practice my old dentist used to be at and I think they know each other well and he kind of passed me off. but. its still more anxiety wondering if I will look crazy or sound crazy with any questions or concerns or anxiety. Tomorrow I have a root canal retreat with him . He's kind and competant enough. :). but.. have to build up the level of trust I had with my last dentist . One thing I can say is he has shown to want to understand and listens to my concerns which is a huge good sign.

RJayne.. me too on the hating brief appts.. and its mostly because I get the feeling they want me out of there.. whether they are wanting me out to be efficient or because they just don't like me.. I also feel safer the longer the appt is.. I also feel safer if I have to wait .. because I know they took the time needed for the person before and mostly likely would also do the same for me that makes me feel much better.

There are times I feel like the minute I walk into the dental office I go from 49 to 9.
 
RJayne

RJayne

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RJayne.. me too on the hating brief appts.. and its mostly because I get the feeling they want me out of there.. whether they are wanting me out to be efficient or because they just don't like me..
Exactly this! I particularly dislike inconveniencing people and that's just how short appts make me feel, then I feel too apologetic to ask anything that's not really breif at the end before grabbing my stuff and making a run for it. Then I still worry about all the same stuff as before the appt...

Best of luck for tomorrow with your new dentist 🤞
 
krlovesherkids777

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Me too! and wishing you the best as well with the new dentist too. HOping they are very kind and approachable for you !!
 
kitkat

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I have been on this forum since 2006 (off and on) and interestingly, I have never read a thread that touches on this topic. This was and (sometimes still is) a huge issue for me. I always say that I have “brave face” syndrome. I have mentioned on other threads that my dentist and I did not initially click because I don’t think she saw my fear right away (because I work very hard to conceal it) but when it became evident, she started treating me like a fearful patient without really bringing it up to me directly (I guess my anxiety became so overwhelming, it became obvious!). Finally during one appointment (this was a few appointments later),my lips were trembling so bad that she could not treat me and she finally asked me THE question: “Are you nervous?” It took everything in me to nod my head yes (even though I already knew that she knew that I was nervous!). Then her next question: “Why are you nervous?” I panicked and said “I don’t know” :redface:. I was so embarrassed that I just wanted to disappear! She didn’t push the subject at all with me, we just took a time-out for me to recompose and then she gave me some relaxation tips and tricks to get me through the appointment. She doesn’t seem phased by my anxiety at all and handles me with confidence so I’ve become less self-conscious about it but it is still extremely difficult for me to talk about my fears with her or anyone (that’s why I love this forum because it’s anonymous! :grouphug:) . The issue I have as a veteran dental-phobe is that I’m pretty good/calm on a lot of days but I still have bad days and while my dentist is always kind she doesn’t always “baby me” as much as she used to in the early days because I think she feels that I don’t need that anymore (and most of the time I don’t) but I have really hard time showing it on the days that I do.
 
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RJayne

RJayne

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"Brave face syndrome" is just the perfect name for it, even if I've mentioned being anxious in an email my default response in person is to pretend otherwise, I never mentioned it to a past dentist and was mortified when it became obvious I was a nervous wreck in the chair (so much so I never went back...) 😱

I'm trying to be upfront about it now but I do feel ridiculous when doing so. Since you mentioned being babied I'm just going to add that the hygienist I saw recently absolutely babied me, I've never been praised so much for doing so little, I begrudgingly admit I actually loved it but part of me just wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. I honestly don't think I could face bumping into her outside of the clinic lol 😂
 
kitkat

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Since you mentioned being babied I'm just going to add that the hygienist I saw recently absolutely babied me, I've never been praised so much for doing so little, I begrudgingly admit I actually loved it but part of me just wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. I honestly don't think I could face bumping into her outside of the clinic lol 😂
I relate so much to this! I was always very torn about accepting reassurance in the beginning because while I think I really needed that it also for me, was like admitting that I was scared and showing vulnerability. Also, I felt like I had been “found out” and then wondered how terrified I actually looked :unsure: (sometimes I thought I was doing an ok job on the brave face but I guess I was wrong or she’s just really good at reading body language! :dunno:). Now that I don’t get it as much, I do miss it sometimes. Yes, I agree about running into her in the outside world. I feel like such a different person in the dental office. I’m usually very assertive, confident, independent, and in control in my everyday life but in the dental chair I am the exact opposite! I also struggle a lot with lack of control so it makes sense really!


Oh side note: the dentist actually told me she could tell if I was very nervous because apparently it changes the consistency of your saliva and makes it very thick and ropey; it’s some sort of automatic response from the nervous system when you’re stressed...who knew?! So brave face or not, your spit doesn’t lie! :toofunny:
 
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Dr. Daniel

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Hi,

Please allow me to share with you my video that deals with fear of embarrassment in a dental context.
 
RJayne

RJayne

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I relate so much to this! I was always very torn about accepting reassurance in the beginning because while I think I really needed that it also for me, was like admitting that I was scared and showing vulnerability.
Its the admitting it part that gets to me too, a bit of how I self identify is that I'm independent and level headed and it strips away both of those things, to be vulnerable and about something generally routine for most

Oh side note: the dentist actually told me she could tell if I was very nervous because apparently it changes the consistency of your saliva and makes it very thick and ropey; it’s some sort of automatic response from the nervous system when you’re stressed...who knew?! So brave face or not, your spit doesn’t lie! :toofunny:
Ha that is something I did not know, betrayed by spit! No fake it til you make it with biology 🤣
 
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Meichan

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Reading all this has been helpful for me. I have anxiety/panic disorder that I have to take medication for just in day to day life. My dental phobia is just an added layer on the cake. A few years ago, I had broke a tooth, and I went to my parents dentist to sort it. I was so terrified that I literally froze lol. I was almost in a catatonic state, only able to nod. He was kind of a jerk though, because he seemed to get annoyed at me, and told me I should be taking the situation more seriously, which drove my panic past catatonic, and a tear came down my cheek and I told him I AM taking it seriously, it's just I'm so scared that I can barely talk.
Then he felt bad lol (as he should? It's not like I was talking on the phone having a laugh).

I don't see him anymore. But I researched a dentist that had a whole write-up on their website about dental anxiety and their sedation dentistry options. They even had me fill out a large questionnaire to get a greater understanding of how my anxiety worked, and what would help me out. I thought that was a great idea.
Now though, when I make an appointment, I am shameless. I tell the secretary I'm petrified. I was in the other day for a cavity, the dental assistant introduced herself, and I shook her hand, smiling and "Hiya, nice to meet you. I am terrified :D ".
Then the dentist came in, saw my questionnaire, and said; "So, you have quite a severe phobia.."
I said; "Ma'am, if you walked in here eating a human arm, I could only be marginally more petrified than I am now. Gassing (nitrous) me is probably the best option for everyone involved :D".
And they both had a laugh at that, which broke the ice. Then during the procedure they were very attentive, always asked if I needed to sit up and breath, needed a break, if I was ok.

So I think a lot of dentists have seen the gauntlet of people's anxiety and fear. Just remember, they've probably seen it all!
 
RJayne

RJayne

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.Now though, when I make an appointment, I am shameless. I tell the secretary I'm petrified. I was in the other day for a cavity, the dental assistant introduced herself, and I shook her hand, smiling and "Hiya, nice to meet you. I am terrified :D ".
Then the dentist came in, saw my questionnaire, and said; "So, you have quite a severe phobia.."
I said; "Ma'am, if you walked in here eating a human arm, I could only be marginally more petrified than I am now. Gassing (nitrous) me is probably the best option for everyone involved :D".
And they both had a laugh at that, which broke the ice.
That is one of the funniest and useful responses ever, thank you so much lol 😂
 
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