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Facing up to my fears

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Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
After going round in circles getting worked up with anxiety over the state of my teeth for too long now I thought it might help to start a journal of what im experiencing.
The start of my dental phobia comes from a couple of seperate accidents at school between age 8 - 11 where i broke 2 upper front teeth.
The schools werent particularly sympathetic in either of these 2 strangely similar accidents considering i had just fallen over face forwards and smashed my teeth on the ground.
After the first accident my mum was called to the school and we were taken straight to a local dentist for the tooth to be looked at.
The dentist was very unsympathetic and quite agressive.
I think i was then referred to another dentist for treatment, not sure why.
Eventially I ended up having the broken tooth capped.
This was the start of the cap repeatedly breaking and having to go and get it replaced.
Then several years later the 2nd accident happened so now i had 2 broken front teeth.
Again i was rushed to a local dentist and received similarly poor treatment as after the first accident.
I was referered to a clinic that used gas and air sedation.
To start with this was alright but then i think i must have panicked about something, i cant remember what now.
Anyway it was decided that the treatment i needed would be too difficult and take too long. Not that i new what the treatment was, i thought i was having my broken teeth sorted out but the dentists seemed to have added other things on to this.
I was reffered to our local hospital for treatment under anaesthetic.
This went ahead and i had my 2 front teeth removed and impressions taken for a partial denture.
After that i went a few years without visiting a dentist.
I think my parents were both frightened to go to the dentist themselves as they didnt take me apart from for the treatment related to these accidents.
My next encounter at about 15 was when the partial denture broke and i had a choice of having 2 missing teeth or get a new impression done for a replacement to be made.
I went to the dentist despite having developed anxiety and fear from previous treatment.
This seemed to make things worse as they didnt have the correct size casts and i couldnt get them in my mouth.
So i ended up with no front teeth for the remainder of school and college etc into adulthood.
I have tried to go to dentists a few times in the years since but havent been able to go through with it.
Now some 30 years on at 45 i have got to the point where i really need to get some treatment.
I have an abscess on my top gum above a front tooth. It came up just over 6 weeks ago. Initially this was painful and i went to my doctors surgery and was prescribed a weeks course of amoxicillin.
This took away the pain and seemed to clear up the abscess.
I have been using diluted oregano oil on my gum where the abscess was and doing salt water rinses.
Today the abscess has reappeared with puss coming out.
My health anxiety has gone through the roof and im scared i have a bad infection going on in my gum.
I have called local dentists around the area to try and get an appointment with no luck.
Because i'm not registered with a dentist they wont give me an emergency appointment.
I went back to my doctors surgery to see if they thought i needed more antibiotics.
The doctor checked inside my mouth and said that the abscess didnt look bad at the moment and because i dont have any pain with it she didnt think it was an emergency and wouldnt be able to prescribe more antibiotics.
She advised to try and find a dentist and get an appointment next week.
I explained that i have a terrible dental phobia and havent been to a dentist since childhood.
She said not to rush and try to get an emergency appointment but find a dentist who is experienced with anxious patients and who will really look after me from now on.
So now all i have to do is get through the weekend trying not to worry, then look for a dentist and take the plunge with going to see them.
Im going to end this extremely long rant now and congratulations to anyone who has read through to the end.
 
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dentalantixtey81

Junior member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
9
Location
TN
try to remain calm, keep checking for dentist, and try to do something to keep your mind a little less stressed, i know i was stressed going my first time after many years, we tend to think of everything that can go wrong and not focus on the positive.
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
636
Location
US
You can do this.

Do you know what your local version of 211 is?

Google, if you are “motivated” (terrified) enough: non-emergency assistance.

Tell them what you told us: you are having a dental emergency.

Good luck.
 
Niall Neeson

Niall Neeson

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
140
Location
Ireland
Hi Seaside, although it may not feel like it at the moment, this has the possibility to be a really positive thing for you. Remember that you are in control of who you choose to see. When you were younger you were brought to your local dentist. This isn’t the case now. You can do your research in order to find the right person for you.

Having heard those unfortunate experiences and emotions from your younger years, it is completely understandable that you have fallen into this negative cycle of dental fear, avoidance and worsening condition of your oral health.

the great thing is that by finding the right dentist for you, it can break this cycle and can be a real game changer for you.

Do your research. Look at reviews. Call or email the practice. It’s worth the time and effort.
You’ll get there.
good luck!
 
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S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
You can do this.

Do you know what your local version of 211 is?

Google, if you are “motivated” (terrified) enough: non-emergency assistance.

Tell them what you told us: you are having a dental emergency.

Good luck.
Hi Dg6300,
Thanks for your reply.
The doctor i saw advised that it would be better not to get an emergency appointment as i need to do some research and find a dentist that is right for me rather than just go to the first place that can give me an appointment.
 
S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
try to remain calm, keep checking for dentist, and try to do something to keep your mind a little less stressed, i know i was stressed going my first time after many years, we tend to think of everything that can go wrong and not focus on the positive.
Thanks for your reply dentalanxiety81,
Im trying to use the positive messages from this forum to help me get through this.
 
S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
Hi Seaside, although it may not feel like it at the moment, this has the possibility to be a really positive thing for you. Remember that you are in control of who you choose to see. When you were younger you were brought to your local dentist. This isn’t the case now. You can do your research in order to find the right person for you.

Having heard those unfortunate experiences and emotions from your younger years, it is completely understandable that you have fallen into this negative cycle of dental fear, avoidance and worsening condition of your oral health.

the great thing is that by finding the right dentist for you, it can break this cycle and can be a real game changer for you.

Do your research. Look at reviews. Call or email the practice. It’s worth the time and effort.
You’ll get there.
good luck!
Thank you Niall for your encouraging reply.
I would love to be able to replace the negative feelings i have about dental treatment with some positive ones.
I have been keeping this fear going for so long which has had a huge impact on my life.
This abscess issue has forced me to start to face this dental fear and reveal what i have been keeping hidden to my family, friends and work colleagues.
 
Niall Neeson

Niall Neeson

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
140
Location
Ireland
Thank you Niall for your encouraging reply.
I would love to be able to replace the negative feelings i have about dental treatment with some positive ones.
I have been keeping this fear going for so long which has had a huge impact on my life.
This abscess issue has forced me to start to face this dental fear and reveal what i have been keeping hidden to my family, friends and work colleagues.
Good stuff! That openness is a great start. You can do it.
 
S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
I have managed to get through quite a difficult weekend of trying to keep myself calm and keeping health anxiety thoughts away.
I spent some time reading through the information, advice and peoples experiences on this forum and researching dentists online. It felt so overwhelming at times, trying to work out which might be the best for me from what is written on websites and facebook.
At work today everyone was so kind and understanding of my situation.
I felt so awkward and embarrassed about my colleagues now knowing that i dont have a dentist and have't been to one for so long.
I was pleased to have plenty to keep me busy and distract me from my worries.
This evening I have emailed a few dentists explaining my fears and asking for their help and am now anxiously waiting to see what response i will get.
I decided to send the emails after closing time so it delays any responses and when I will have to deal with the next step.
Im trying to put the point of actually going to a dental surgery and meeting a dentist out of my mind for now.
 
Niall Neeson

Niall Neeson

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
140
Location
Ireland
Great start! Well done! There will be emotional moments along this path for you. And that’s okthere’s no shame in that. It’s part of the journey.

The email responses will give you a valuable insight and should help point you in the right direction.
👍
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
630
Now you’ve spoken with your friends and colleagues, I wonder if any of them might be able to recommend their dentist to you? I recommend mine to everyone (she should pay me commission!) because she is so great. I am really happy to think I am helping someone out with the recommendation, and my dentist has told me she is pleased to know that her patients think highly of her and suggest her to other people.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,839
Dear Seaside,

the way you are pushing yourself is impressive. I can't even imagine the horrible pain and suffering you have been through in your childhood and youth and what it must have done to your self-confidence. Teen age is a very fragile time and the thought of you having to go through this with a partial and then without front teeth is heart-breaking. And after all of this you still kept on going and trying to find a way to get care, that's huge.

It looks like you are doing a great job, keeping going on and at the same time being aware of how it feels and when you need a break or more of a distraction. Not sure whether you have learned this in therapy, but you seem to be taken great self-care and I love to read that you keep on focusing on things that make you feel better, such as stories here on the forum, instead of dwelling on what your anxiety is telling you.. wow, just wow :respect:

Really glad to read that your work colleagues have been understanding and hopefully this made you feel a bit better. I get the sense of awkwardness and embarrassment, but wondering which one of your colleagues who see a dentist regularly went through what you did? You know, everyone has fears but the most people never have to conquer it. Most of the phobias are taken care of by simple avoidance and that's fine for most people. What you are doing here is incredibly brave and courageous and indeed scary and uncomfortable and you are keeping on stretching yourself anyway.. so I hope you are aware of this and keep on cheerleading yourself.

I can't say anything else than: you are doing great, please keep on going and stay kind to yourself, and if you feel like crap at moments that's fine, we all did or still do along the way, I guess it's a part of the package, as Niall mentioned.

Look forward to read how you get on and keeping my fingers crossed for you to get a really really kind caring gentle dentist who will offer you support and the care you need and deserve.

:grouphug:
 
S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
Hi Enarete,

Thank you so much for your very kind and supportive message.
Im so glad that I found this forum it's so good to be able to read about other people's experiences and get advice and support through this difficult journey.
 
S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
Today I have had some replies from the dentists.
One was from the manger / dentist of a surgery about 20 minutes drive away.
They seamed very understanding and caring about my circumstances.
They had taken the time to answer my questions about specific worries and suggest ways I could be helped with these.
I have been offered the opportunity to go and have an initial chat to talk through things at the end of surgery one day.
So I am going to go and see the Dentist on Friday evening after work.
When I started this journal last Friday I didn't think I would have managed to get to this point within only a week.
What is driving me forward is knowing that I need to get the abscess on my gum sorted out sooner rather than later.
Im just taking one day at a time and am so grateful for all the kindness and support I have had.
At least I can stop worrying about finding a dentist for now and try to put Friday evening to the back of my mind.
Also I have a lovely night out on Saturday to look forward to so Im focusing on enjoying this.
Im going to a show at a local theatre which a few of my work colleagues are performing in.
Its amazing how much typing my thoughts out like this helps.
 
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Shakinginmyboots

Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
35
Location
New Jersey
Congrats , they sound like a very understanding place! It is amazing what we can accomplish once we take the first step.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,926
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Seaside..

Sounds like some really positive good signs for the place on Friday. I went to a couple meet and greets when my previous dentist left and I was looking for others.. emailing and then they offered to meet like your potential..! I hope it goes really well and you feel a good peace before you even get in the chair!!
 
S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
Im telling myself its just a normal Friday and trying to stay calm about my first time visiting a dentist in a very long time this evening.
Im really hoping it goes well and is a positive experience.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,839
May all go well today :) I love the fact they invited you to come in at the end of the working day. This shows they really care and want to have enough time for you. The show on Saturday sounds lovely!
 
S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
Well im here now, about to go into the surgery and meet the dentist.
The taxi driver that brought me over was very nice and he said he had a fear of the dentist and had a period of about 20 years when he hadnt been so understood what i am going through.
 
S

Seaside

Junior member
Joined
Nov 6, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Bexhill
I went in and there were several people sitting in the waiting room.
I thought this was a bit odd as the dentist had said surgery would be finished at 5.00.
The receptionist greeted me and then said, im really sorry but something has happened beyond our control which means the dentist is very behind schedule with appointments.
It will be over an hour before he is finished.
You are welcome to rearrange something for another time.
I was just struck dumb with this and then said that I would get in touch to arrange something and then left.
I got the bus home and have emailed about going back tommorow as it shows them as been open on Saturdays on Google.
I cant believe this happened after I had forced myself to do this.
So now I have to go through it all again tomorrow if the dentist is able to see me then.
Part of me is now worried about going back in case the same happens again.
 
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