• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone with a fear of the dentist, dental phobia, or specific dental fears.

    It's a supportive space to talk to people with similar experiences, and get advice and information.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

Finally booked

L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
Hi, starting this to track my journey.

My last visit to the dentist was 6 years ago and since then I have been diagnosed and now take medication for Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic Attacks.

I had some bad experiences when little at the dentist. The molars that appear around age 7 didn’t develop properly in the gums so I had to have them all removed (upside is that made room for my wisdom teeth). My adult canines started to grow along the top of my mouth so I quickly had to have the baby teeth out. At this appointment the dentist said he would just be having a look to begin with but then suddenly injected me without any warning. Then in my teens I needed a brace. The orthodontist was horrible and got annoyed when I said stuff hurt or if I looked in pain. On my first visit I still had a wobbly baby tooth and he asked if I wanted him to pull it out, or whether I would wobble it out before the next appointment. I said I would do it but then when he had another look he suddenly pulled it out and then got annoyed that there was blood. He even told my mum that I wanted him to pull it out! All of this contributed to a fear of dentists and when my GAD got really bad I stopped going.

Having my covid vaccines even though I’m scared of needles has prompted me to face my fear. On Monday I made an appointment and will be going on Friday to a dentist who is supposed to be good with anxious patients. I explained my situation by email and the receptionist said this dentist was very caring. I’m terrified. Ever since I made the appointment I’ve convinced myself I have just about every dental problem you can possibly have. I’m worried my bottom front gums are very thin but someone on here has said they look ok based on a photo which has calmed me a bit. I don’t have any pain, haven’t got any bleeding when I brush and haven’t noticed any abnormal sensitivity to hot / cold. I’m hoping this means everything is ok but my anxious brain won’t stop thinking of worst case scenarios and I convince myself I’ve ruining my teeth and will need to have them all removed.

As much as I’m dreading it, I now just want the appointment to be over so I know what the verdict is.
 
A

ahaokei

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2021
Messages
23
Location
Helsinki
So proud you finally made an appointment! That's definitely the biggest step towards better dental health :). The past experiences you've had sound very upsetting, and I can believe that one might be apprehensive towards dentists after such treatment... I also recently made my first appointment in a decade just 3 weeks ago, and I have now had 3 appy. since (one checkup + x-ray, 1 filling and 2 teeth extracted).

All my anxiety, fear and avoidance has been totally useless, the dentist I picked out is caring and understanding. And all procedures have been absolutely painless, even the extractions.

Do make sure to inform all dental healthcare providers of your anxiety/fear, as I did not inform my dental surgeon (who I dididn't pick but was referred to) and he got close to re-traumatizing me (judging, talking about horrible future scenarios, shaming me for using tobacco products, going super fast without explaining what's happening). Luckily, he was super efficient and got 2 teeth out in 10 minutes, so that kind of compensated for the lack of comunication and empathy.

I hope everything will go great, and I also thought I'd have to have all teeth removed etc. Just fillings, deep-cleans and 2 wisdom teeth removals though, so it was all just in my head!!

Good luck!
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
Thanks for your message.

I’ve never had a filling before but good to know it’s painless in case I need one! I can see a build up of either plaque or tartar on a couple of back teeth so not sure if this is just a clean needed or something else. I’ve only ever had a proper clean before when I got my brace off and some of the glue wouldn’t come off so they left it as it’s on the back teeth and not visible.

I had to submit a health questionnaire in advance where I detailed my anxiety and the medication I take so the dentist will already have those details and will probably tell as soon as I walk in that I’m terrified! The guy who gave me my first covid jab said ‘I can only see your eyes because of the mask but I can see how scared you are’.

I keep telling myself that Friday will just be a check up and probably x-rays. They won’t actually do anything. I just want to get it over with so I can stop worrying about things I probably don’t need to.
 
A

ahaokei

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2021
Messages
23
Location
Helsinki
Thanks for your message.

I’ve never had a filling before but good to know it’s painless in case I need one! I can see a build up of either plaque or tartar on a couple of back teeth so not sure if this is just a clean needed or something else. I’ve only ever had a proper clean before when I got my brace off and some of the glue wouldn’t come off so they left it as it’s on the back teeth and not visible.

I had to submit a health questionnaire in advance where I detailed my anxiety and the medication I take so the dentist will already have those details and will probably tell as soon as I walk in that I’m terrified! The guy who gave me my first covid jab said ‘I can only see your eyes because of the mask but I can see how scared you are’.

I keep telling myself that Friday will just be a check up and probably x-rays. They won’t actually do anything. I just want to get it over with so I can stop worrying about things I probably don’t need to.

Yeah initially they'll just fo a check-up and maybe some X-rays :) But all procedures I've had have been painless. I thought the pain really wasn't an issue for me until I was waiting for my extractions, that's when I started getting really anxious, but fortunately I didn't feel a thing :)

Good luck and keep us posted!
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
So, I just had a panic attack having been anxious all day. I can’t get my mind off my appointment, I just want it to be over with. I keep spotting different things in my mouth and convince myself it’s potentially some horrible problem. Rationally, I know this isn’t true but my anxious mind won’t switch off and it’s driving me crazy. I need to stay off google but it’s hard.
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
I’ve managed to calm myself down after my panic earlier. I just need to vent on here as my parents (I’m 31 but still live at home due to my anxiety disorder) don’t understand my feelings.

My new tactic until Friday will be to tell myself I’m excited, not anxious. It’s something I learnt about when diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder - sometimes our brains can confuse the two feelings. This is probably the only thing I’m still avoiding after my anxiety diagnosis so going to this appointment will be like I’ve conquered it. I’ve achieved so much since starting on medication - after not driving for 9 months this isn’t a problem anymore, I flew to the other side of the world on a work trip (I’ve always hated flying), I’ve become a manager at work when 6 years ago I thought I’d have to quit as I couldn’t cope. This is something I need to tick off. I can do this.

Sorry for my ramblings.
 
A

ahaokei

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2021
Messages
23
Location
Helsinki
My new tactic until Friday will be to tell myself I’m excited, not anxious. It’s something I learnt about when diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder - sometimes our brains can confuse the two feelings. This is probably the only thing I’m still avoiding after my anxiety diagnosis so going to this appointment will be like I’ve conquered it.

Sorry for my ramblings.

Hey! I also suffer from GAD, and do use Diazepam or Alprazolam as needed (prescribed ofc), they're real life-savers when you're spiraling into a panic attack! Myself, I try to use them as little as possible, but I do take diazepam before every dentist appointment just in case I start spiraling when I'm waiting. I feel I probably don't need them anymore though.

What you said about telling youself you're excited, not anxious is EXACTLY what I do in these situations! My mom's a psychotherapist and said that's one of the most useful ways to "trick" yourself out of anxiety, also; telling yourself that you physically cannot - I repeat - CANNOT - die from a panic attack, all the feelings and emotions are coming from your own thoughts creating the worst case scenario (catastrophizing and fortune teller -biases).

I recommend the book Feeling Good, by Dr. David D. Burns for finding non-pharmacological ways to deal with your struggles with GAD :)
I'm really proud you've managed to overcome a lot of your anxieties and fears, dentists are just one among the rest - albeit the most detrimental one to avoid addressing. So super glad that you're set on doing this!!! I'm just so happy!

Good luck for tomorrow, I'm sure you'll feel super relieved when it's over with!

ps. what helped me the most was seeing other people's teeth here, and how beautiful they were after treatment, after realizing my teeth weren't even half as bad as others I've seen I realized 3 things:

If someone with worse teeth than me can have beautiful teeth... why not me?
If someone with worse teeth than me can share their fears and anxieties and worries and pictures... why not me?
If all these people can go to the dentist after even 30 years of not going, WHY shouldn't I go after only 10 years of neglect?

(check out my journal if you're interested in my story)
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
Thanks ahaokei

Its now 24 hours exactly before my appointment and this morning I’ve been practicing lying back with my mouth open imagining someone looking in my mouth which has helped me see it’s not so scary. And that’s all that’s going to happen tomorrow, along with X-rays, and then they’ll talk through the situation. No pain, no treatment, just a look then a chat.

Reading people’s stories on here has been super helpful this week. I’ve never had a filling or anything but so many people have said it’s virtually painless that it’s put me at ease for in case I need any. I keep telling myself that proactively going to the dentist when I don’t have any pain forcing me to go is amazing. I’ve read about so many people being in agony and I think, if they got through their treatment, I can do this.

I always build stuff up in my head and blow things out of proportion. I take Sertraline (also known as Zoloft) for my GAD which helped me get my life back. It works most of the time, but not so much when something big is approaching. The bit I’m most dreading is the chat at the end when they tell me the next steps. I’m scared I’ll cry or have a panic attack in the chair. Due to covid protocols I can’t have anyone with me so I’m on my own.
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
Update - in the last hour I’ve felt a sudden sense of calm knowing that this time tomorrow the appointment will be over. My current mentally is whatever happens, happens. I keep thinking back to when I had a brace - I got through that which was 2 years of pain and being told off every 6-8 weeks when it got tightened. I got through that, I can get through this.
 
A

ahaokei

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2021
Messages
23
Location
Helsinki
Hey Lauralouise101! How'd the appt. go? Feel free to tell as much or little as you'd like :)

And yeah; whatever happens, happens, and going to the doctor/dentist = almost always something GOOD happens!!
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
Hi ahaokei, thanks for your message. My appointment is in 90 minutes time.

I slept surprising well last night and set my alarm for later than usual so I wouldn’t have as much waiting around at home time this morning. I spoke to my brother last night who said when he had dental treatment (teeth removed) he knew something needed to be done as he could only eat soup. I don’t have any pain so this made me feel much better that if there is anything, it’s in the early stages and easier to treat. Fingers crossed!
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
It went SO good! The dentist was so nice, I barely felt the prodding and she was really good at explaining what she was doing. I learnt I have a cross bite on one side but it isn’t an issue, I’m a candidate for Invisalign if I want and I had photos of all my teeth taken as well as X-rays.

I even booked a hygienist appointment for this afternoon to get my teeth feeling sparkly - they had a cancellation so I thought why not get it over with.
 
A

ahaokei

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2021
Messages
23
Location
Helsinki
It went SO good! The dentist was so nice, I barely felt the prodding and she was really good at explaining what she was doing. I learnt I have a cross bite on one side but it isn’t an issue, I’m a candidate for Invisalign if I want and I had photos of all my teeth taken as well as X-rays.

I even booked a hygienist appointment for this afternoon to get my teeth feeling sparkly - they had a cancellation so I thought why not get it over with.

I'm so happy to hear that it went well! You also seem to have a newfound enthusiasm for dental hygiene haha! I also want to see the hygienist so bad but not until Thursday ?

Always a great thing to see another successful appointment
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
The hygienist was nice, though I wasn’t a fan of having 2 people so close to my face (one with the cleaning wand and another with suction). There was a lot of pressure on my teeth, especially at the end when they scraped some bits off. But then they did a polish and my teeth now feel amazing! Overall it was 10 minutes of discomfort and I’ve booked in to do it again in 6 months.
 
A

ahaokei

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2021
Messages
23
Location
Helsinki
Sounds like you're a prime example of why this community is so amazing at helping people get over that first hurdle!!

Wish you all the best and keep posting if you're up for it ?
 
L

Lauralouise101

Junior member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
18
Location
UK
Honestly, reading everyone’s stories on here was a massive help and made me realise I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling. Following advice from here, I explained at the beginning of the appointment that I was nervous and the dentist put me at ease, told me we could stop whenever I wanted and explained everything before she did it. It was such a different experience than what I had when I was younger

The big problem I have now is that I don’t want to eat anything and ruin how clean they are:grin:
 
Top