Feeling Stuck

Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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Hello everyone,

I haven't been here in a long while. I am having a backslide with my phobia and I couldn't even face coming on here. At least now I've finally taken a big (for me) step forward by posting this.

I still have not gone back to the dentist (I know I said I would try to go back last year) and now I've been having some bad pain and what appears to be a tiny cavity next to an old filling. I'm so paranoid because the pain is so intense I think the cavity might actually be a large one hiding underneath the filling and I'm only seeing a small portion of it. I see another even tinier hole developing on the other side of the same tooth now too.

I keep telling myself it's better to get this taken care of before it gets any worse, but then I keep pushing it off ("oh, I'm busy this month, let me think about next month," "oh, my friend [who goes with me for moral support] has a lot going on now so I'll wait until she has more free time," etc.). Meanwhile the pain gets worse and worse.

I feel a little silly posting about this because I know some of you have been through so much more and have pulled through despite your fears but I am unable to do it. I feel so stuck. :(
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

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You are not only not silly, you are very brave to post here.

See: you got it all out. We are only as sick as our secrets, so you are on your way.
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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You are not only not silly, you are very brave to post here.

See: you got it all out. We are only as sick as our secrets, so you are on your way.

Thank you! I do feel better after letting it out.

I know this is the one place I can go to for actual support and not "Just get over it!" "Well I like going to the dentist, I don't see what your problem is," or the laughter that I get elsewhere.

I guess when you hear those things your whole life you learn to keep it bottled up inside but letting it out here is infinitely more helpful.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Punkerpants,

I believe in you too, and I too sometimes get down on myself for not doing things and just getting frozen about it. This is one way , writing here to kind of subconsciously make yourself a little more self accountable to take steps..it does really feel good to just put things out there to people who will understand too! you've already done the first steps, thinking about it and writing on here. . Do you have a regular dentist you trust ? or are you looking for a new one?
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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Punkerpants,

I believe in you too, and I too sometimes get down on myself for not doing things and just getting frozen about it. This is one way , writing here to kind of subconsciously make yourself a little more self accountable to take steps..it does really feel good to just put things out there to people who will understand too! you've already done the first steps, thinking about it and writing on here. . Do you have a regular dentist you trust ? or are you looking for a new one?

Thank you! I agree, it is kind of a self accountable thing. Like they say in AA, the first step is admitting you have a problem haha.

My insurance requires me to go to one specific office but there are several dentists who work there. I didn't have a great experience with the one I saw last year so I think I will ask for someone else this time if I do go.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Yes! to the first step is admitting. :) huge step.. the steps are real!

Great self care to ask for another dentist if you didn't feel comfortable with the last! I hope you get someone whose who you feel comfortable with !
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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Yes! to the first step is admitting. :) huge step.. the steps are real!

Great self care to ask for another dentist if you didn't feel comfortable with the last! I hope you get someone whose who you feel comfortable with !

Can you tell me what the next step for me would be?
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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Can you tell me what the next step for me would be?
Allow me to say what I think the second step is: doing! Taking action.
What do I mean by that? The main problem with dental anxiety is avoidance behavior. It is very natural to avoid something we are afraid of (May it be airplanes, spiders and so on) and the best way to change avoidance behavior is by taking action, by doing. Not by talking, not by planning on doing but by actually doing something that brings you to sitting in a dental chair.
Easier said than done, no doubt, it is a challenge.
Do you think you could make an appointment with a practice, and send them an email explaining about you and your situation?
I talk about that in my video on how to find the right dentist.
Hope i was not too blunt and out of line...
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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Allow me to say what I think the second step is: doing! Taking action.
What do I mean by that? The main problem with dental anxiety is avoidance behavior. It is very natural to avoid something we are afraid of (May it be airplanes, spiders and so on) and the best way to change avoidance behavior is by taking action, by doing. Not by talking, not by planning on doing but by actually doing something that brings you to sitting in a dental chair.
Easier said than done, no doubt, it is a challenge.
Do you think you could make an appointment with a practice, and send them an email explaining about you and your situation?
I talk about that in my video on how to find the right dentist.
Hope i was not too blunt and out of line...

This is exactly where I'm stuck. I just can't make that step. I can think about it, plan it, but I just can't actually do it. I'm not brave. :(
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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This is exactly where I'm stuck. I just can't make that step. I can think about it, plan it, but I just can't actually do it. I'm not brave. :(
You are just in true right place to do so. The members of this wonderful forum can really support you by providing a good advice and motivation.
Here is an idea: do you think you can go and visit a dental practice without an appointment, just to have an impression from the place and it’s people? You might find the practice horrific so you know where not to go back to or you might have a good impression. Is that a good idea?
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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You are just in true right place to do so. The members of this wonderful forum can really support you by providing a good advice and motivation.
Here is an idea: do you think you can go and visit a dental practice without an appointment, just to have an impression from the place and it’s people? You might find the practice horrific so you know where not to go back to or you might have a good impression. Is that a good idea?

Yes, it really is helpful to have a forum like this. :)

My insurance only allows me to go to the clinic I went to last year, and I can't afford to go to a different one that's not covered by insurance. It's not a wonderful place (from my perspective, I guess no dentist office would be a wonderful place) and the people are not that understanding.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Hi Punkerpants and welcome back :)

I'm sorry to read you are in pain and struggle with anxiety again, on the other hand, if it's a while since you have been to the dentist and if the experience wasn't too good then it's not a surprise you struggle with going back. Trust needs to be build over a series of visit and the chemistry with your dentist needs to be right, if it's not, things are harder. Anyway, it sounds to me that you are back on track now and writing here is a step forward as others suggest so in this regard you are doing well. I'm glad you have someone to come with you.
Would it be an idea to contact your office and tell them what you told us?
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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(from my perspective, I guess no dentist office would be a wonderful place)
That notion is worth changing because it disable you from letting yourself having a new experience, hence blocking the chance for a positive dental experience.
I think there are two problems that make it difficult for you to be open for a new experience:
1) you never had a positive experience. You shared with me that from a young age you had a trauma that established your fear
2) the insurance does not give you much choice in being picky on who will be your dentist.
Would you agree on that? Am I on the right track?
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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Hi Punkerpants and welcome back :)

I'm sorry to read you are in pain and struggle with anxiety again, on the other hand, if it's a while since you have been to the dentist and if the experience wasn't too good then it's not a surprise you struggle with going back. Trust needs to be build over a series of visit and the chemistry with your dentist needs to be right, if it's not, things are harder. Anyway, it sounds to me that you are back on track now and writing here is a step forward as others suggest so in this regard you are doing well. I'm glad you have someone to come with you.
Would it be an idea to contact your office and tell them what you told us?

Thank you, feels good to be back :)

My friend told them everything when she called to make the appointment for me last time, and they were apparently very reassuring and said they get "people like me" all the time and everything will be fine. Once I got there though, they were shocked at my reaction (crying, panicking) and suggested I go somewhere else. That was a little discouraging.
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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That notion is worth changing because it disable you from letting yourself having a new experience, hence blocking the chance for a positive dental experience.
I think there are two problems that make it difficult for you to be open for a new experience:
1) you never had a positive experience. You shared with me that from a young age you had a trauma that established your fear
2) the insurance does not give you much choice in being picky on who will be your dentist.
Would you agree on that? Am I on the right track?

Yes, I would agree that's true. Because of my experiences I just expect every time I go will be the same thing.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Once I got there though, they were shocked at my reaction (crying, panicking) and suggested I go somewhere else. That was a little discouraging.

This sounds hard, so first they reassure you and put you at ease just to reject you once you pluck up the courage to get there? Wow. This would make me wanna quit altogether. :( As Dr.Daniel suggests, the point of not being able to get to a different practice makes things harder, having a good dentist who is worthy of trust is very important.
By the way, crying and panicking is no shocking reaction, it's what people in a dental practice do when they are stressed and it's definitely not a reason to send people away:mad:
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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This sounds hard, so first they reassure you and put you at ease just to reject you once you pluck up the courage to get there? Wow. This would make me wanna quit altogether. :( As Dr.Daniel suggests, the point of not being able to get to a different practice makes things harder, having a good dentist who is worthy of trust is very important.
By the way, crying and panicking is no shocking reaction, it's what people in a dental practice do when they are stressed and it's definitely not a reason to send people away:mad:

That's what I thought too. If they were so used to it, why the surprise? Maybe it was the degree of panicking that they weren't expecting.

They did eventually agree to see me, but only after we argued for a few minutes. And only after I agreed to get clearance from a doctor that I was "stable enough" to handle a cleaning. But that was an ordeal too because I have a phobia of all doctors. Then I had to make another appointment to go back!
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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That's what I thought too. If they were so used to it, why the surprise? Maybe it was the degree of panicking that they weren't expecting.

They did eventually agree to see me, but only after we argued for a few minutes. And only after I agreed to get clearance from a doctor that I was "stable enough" to handle a cleaning. But that was an ordeal too because I have a phobia of all doctors. Then I had to make another appointment to go back!
I truly believe that the key for having a positive dental experience is through the interpersonal relationship, allowing one person to provide care to another person.
Talking with the stuff is usually not useful because: a- they will give you standard answers. b- they are not the one who is going to treat you.
Do you think you can talk to the oral hygienist directly? Talking face to face with them would be ideal and I am positive it can do wonders. If not, I would suggest writing an email and making sure the person who is about to treat you sees it.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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My heart hurts for you reading about your situation. Feeling stuck when you so desperately want to move forward is the worst feeling. I can understand why you would not want to return to this office. Would it be an option to travel outside of the immediate area for a better office? I have never heard of an insurance restricting you to only one dental office but maybe you could start by researching with the insurance if there are any other offices, even if they are a little farther away? Or possibly, the insurance plan has changed and added new providers in your area who are better equipped to help you?
 
Punkerpants

Punkerpants

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I truly believe that the key for having a positive dental experience is through the interpersonal relationship, allowing one person to provide care to another person.
Talking with the stuff is usually not useful because: a- they will give you standard answers. b- they are not the one who is going to treat you.
Do you think you can talk to the oral hygienist directly? Talking face to face with them would be ideal and I am positive it can do wonders. If not, I would suggest writing an email and making sure the person who is about to treat you sees it.

That is true, the person my friend talked to on the phone is not the same person who saw me.

I'm sorry to say I didn't feel comfortable with the hygienist either. She was a little more friendly than the dentist but still rushed me and neither of them were understanding.

As for emailing them, I can't find an email address for them directly. The email notifications I get are from my insurance company, not the clinic. And their website only lists a phone number.
 
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