• 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.

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Finally found strength to post

G

GettingBetter

Junior member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Virginia
Hey everyone, I think I’m finally ready to tell my story so far and ask for some support and suggestions from people who have been through similar situations.

I know it’s really long but I need to vent this somewhere, and wow are you guys REALLY supportive

I’m a couple weeks shy of 21 and hadn’t seen a dentist since I was 16 when I had a bad headache from my wisdom teeth being severely impacted into bone. They referred me to a surgeon - he was great and had them out through an emergency surgery (for wisdom teeth of all things) but my body wasn’t so kind. My wisdom teeth surgery went horribly wrong and resulted in a bone infection - I had two tubes inserted and stitched in to drain the infection and on so many antibiotics I lived with nausea. My diet was jello for three months. The surgery itself went as expected, but I was a “one in a million” chance the surgeon explained to me. He cleaned everything out and after three months we high-fived when I got the tubes removed and could eat thanksgiving dinner. It was the worst 3 months of my life, though. Thank God my surgeon was so helpful, without his hard work I could have lost my life. At least twice a week for three months he fixed my bone, for free, and changed my mind about dentists as people, after a very negative experience with a dentist as a young teenager who belittled me about my teeth and told me I had 12 cavities and needed a 7-session deep cleaning which was determined by shoving her prove as far into my gum as possible and then flossing the same gum telling me “it should hurt” (my mom was now very suspicious, took me to another dentist, and I had no cavities and one small pocket at 3mm). I overcame the “dentists are all bad people” philosophy, but now the pain was the scarring portion. I did the worst thing possible and stopped caring about my teeth, as a smoker (ugh, can’t change it now I guess). For years I neglected them (brush twice a day, floss once, and use mouthwash twice a day now in a poor attempt to make up for it). I have a chip in my front tooth from grinding my teeth when I sleep, from generalized anxiety disorder. And I had a black spot I was sure was a cavity on my front tooth (turns out it was just tartar). My teeth are probably going to fall out early, because I have a hormonal issue that makes it quite likely, and my dad had dentures at 40 due to genetics despite his perfect oral hygiene. I accept this, but the fear overtook me and the anxiety of going became less than the anxiety of not going and I decided I’d do something if I could.
I reluctantly dragged myself to the dentist, held my mom’s hand, and cried at the office while on this website browsing the “embarrassment” and “panic attack” categories. If you’re at the “planning” stage let me tell you that dentists really are there to help you. The only thing I was met with was tissues hugs and smiles when I told them my story bawling like a baby - they really do get your fear and want to help you overcome it if they’re any good. The dentist took x rays and peeked in my mouths the first day, then she scheduled again for a cleaning and real exam. I felt confident. I had made it - to the dentist! But the next appointment brought some dread. After my totally painless and easy cleaning with the dental hygienist, she asked if I wanted the “not the best but completely fixable” news, I was ready. I agreed and she told me that I have two small cavities that need fillings, 3 sealants, and that we might have to do a deep cleaning in the future. I’ve never had any dental work done other than basic cleanings and wisdom teeth removal (and y’all know how this went) and my anxiety about it is awful. I feel like I’m back to square one and I feel like everything on the internet is telling me with my gums receding slightly (not exposing the root) and maybe needing a deep cleaning I’m bound to lose my teeth sooner rather than later. I should be worrying about what my first sip of alcohol will taste like, not if I’m going to lose all my teeth and need dentures by next year. :(

Any support or advice or anything is really useful. I can’t sleep and I’ve been avoiding eating and it’s all I ever think about these days. I have a couple of weeks to wait so if you know what fillings, sealants, or deep cleaning feel like, I could really use your knowledge.

It’s so nice to have found a place to talk about this
 
E

ESchmidt86

Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
20
Location
Florida
I've had a deep cleaning once when I was 16. I remember being petrified, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Now I'm 32 and going back for a deep clean and fillings tomorrow, and I'm absolutely petrified.

Congrats on getting to the dentist! Each of us has a different set of challenges we face in our life. I wouldn't focus on what may or may happen in the future - I'd focus on what you can tolerate/afford right now to help save your teeth for as long as possible. My mom was 28 when she had full dentures and my dad's teeth rotted out because of his smoking (!) and cancer.

One of the biggest things you can do right now - is quit smoking. Damage is done, but you can prevent so much more. Please, please consider this. I know it is hard - having started so young, your brain is hardwiring for it. But your older self will thank your younger self for it!

Wishing you all the luck!
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,234
Hi GettingBetter:welcome:,

it's lovely to have you as a member and your story is very encouraging (and not too long at all, by the way:naughty:). It sounds like you were really unlucky with the wisdom teeth removal and I was relieved to read that your surgeon treated you kindly. Having a kind caring dentist is the most important ingredient when it comes to beating your dental fear so glad you have a good practice you feel comfortable with.

To your worries about fillings, sealants and deep cleaning. Dealing with dentistry as a nervous patient is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and patience and there just are parts that feel more difficult than others. It is amazing that you started going to the dentist and do cleanings and while I can imagine it feels for you as being back to square one, believe me, you aren't. Progress is just not linear and it is ok to be worried about a procedure you haven't had done yet.

I believe that the very first step is to get a clarity about what it is that scares you about having the fillings and deep cleaning done. Is there anything particular that worries you or any questions you would like to ask? You can use the forum here or talk to your dentist. We have a link about deep cleaning in the dental info section and about fillings as well. If you are ok with cleanings, you will get through the rest easily.

I see you worry about losing teeth and the genetic part of it. My suggestion would be to have a profound chat with your hygienist about this and let her explain how she can make sure for your teeth to stay with you for a long time. After all, that's what she is here for.

Last but not least, be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to process things and allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. If there are things you enjoy doing or that make you feel better, go for it. Dealing with dental anxiety can be hard, particularly if there is a procedure coming, but even this will pass.

All the best wishes, keep us posted and give yourself a huge pat on making that huge step of seeing a dentist!
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
630
Location
US
Good luck. Keep us posted. You'll do great.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
3,033
Location
Sioux Falls, SD
Gettingbetter,

Welcome to DFC and so glad you posted for support !! You are really brave taking a chance again and caring for your dental needs.. you deserve it :) As far as deep cleaning , I got my first one nearly 2 years ago. I was scared to death the words, root scaling just sounded bad. then I googled and scared myself to the point of emailing my dental office saying I think i may cancel. They were very kind and asked why and we talked about my fear and they reassured me on all my fears.. and that this would help me so much and that Judy my hygenist would take the best care of me.. Well. she totally did.. she was the most gentle hygenist, I did have some local anesthetic which I asked if my dentist could put in because I knew he was good at it and they had no problem with that. so after that , only one point I felt something for a minute and she gave me aother shot I felt nothing after.. My teeth after ,, felt better , I only got one quadrant done and I almost wanted to ask to have the others done.. My hygenist was completely gentle and kind. Make suer you speak up your needs that you need gentlenss and some anesthetic if you prefer.. (I highly recommend) I hope they will treat you kind and you can come back and give a good report :).. Thanks for joining us here at dfc:)
 
G

GettingBetter

Junior member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Virginia
I've had a deep cleaning once when I was 16. I remember being petrified, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Now I'm 32 and going back for a deep clean and fillings tomorrow, and I'm absolutely petrified.

Congrats on getting to the dentist! Each of us has a different set of challenges we face in our life. I wouldn't focus on what may or may happen in the future - I'd focus on what you can tolerate/afford right now to help save your teeth for as long as possible. My mom was 28 when she had full dentures and my dad's teeth rotted out because of his smoking (!) and cancer.

One of the biggest things you can do right now - is quit smoking. Damage is done, but you can prevent so much more. Please, please consider this. I know it is hard - having started so young, your brain is hardwiring for it. But your older self will thank your younger self for it!

Wishing you all the luck!
Thank you! Let me know how it goes?

I definitely want to quit or at least cut way, way down. Right now, I refuse to try because I’m a senior in college knees deep in finals week, so causing myself extra stress right now would cauae more damage than good, but this summer is the goal! I’ve been smoking since 14 and it’s by far the worst habit I’ve developed from my anxiety.

I really appreciate this response!
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,579
Location
United States
Hi GettingBetter and Welcome to DFC! :grouphug:
It sounds like you are already through some of the hardest parts which includes making the call, showing up, and facing the fear of the unknown. It sounds like you have found a lovely office and I am also happy to read that your mother is being supportive of you through this journey. Only 2 cavities is really fantastic considering the amount of time that you have been away from a dentist. I have been going to the dentist my entire life (no long periods of absence) and have lost count of the number of cavities I’ve had! I will say that the risk of complications with filings, sealants, or deep cleanings is extremely rare and what happened to you with your wisdom teeth may by far be the worst thing you will likely ever experience (from a dental perspective). Given that experience and the past experience with the unkind dentist, I think your fear is perfectly valid and justified.

As far as personal experiences, I have not had experience with deep cleanings. Sealants are very simple and non-invasive. Basically, the biting surface of the tooth is coated with a substance that hardens by shining a special light on it and it protects any deep pits or grooves from getting bacteria trapped in them which may lead to cavities down the road. It does not require any drilling or numbing. The filling procedure typically requires numbing (should not be painful when done right) and drilling to remove the soft/decayed tooth material but this should only feel like vibration at most. If you feel discomfort (because sometimes the numbing isn’t completely effective) you can stop and ask for more numbing before continuing and that usually takes care of it. You may also feel some pressure and air/water spray but again, never any pain.
 
G

GettingBetter

Junior member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Virginia
Hi GettingBetter:welcome:,

it's lovely to have you as a member and your story is very encouraging (and not too long at all, by the way:naughty:). It sounds like you were really unlucky with the wisdom teeth removal and I was relieved to read that your surgeon treated you kindly. Having a kind caring dentist is the most important ingredient when it comes to beating your dental fear so glad you have a good practice you feel comfortable with.

To your worries about fillings, sealants and deep cleaning. Dealing with dentistry as a nervous patient is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and patience and there just are parts that feel more difficult than others. It is amazing that you started going to the dentist and do cleanings and while I can imagine it feels for you as being back to square one, believe me, you aren't. Progress is just not linear and it is ok to be worried about a procedure you haven't had done yet.

I believe that the very first step is to get a clarity about what it is that scares you about having the fillings and deep cleaning done. Is there anything particular that worries you or any questions you would like to ask? You can use the forum here or talk to your dentist. We have a link about deep cleaning in the dental info section and about fillings as well. If you are ok with cleanings, you will get through the rest easily.

I see you worry about losing teeth and the genetic part of it. My suggestion would be to have a profound chat with your hygienist about this and let her explain how she can make sure for your teeth to stay with you for a long time. After all, that's what she is here for.

Last but not least, be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to process things and allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. If there are things you enjoy doing or that make you feel better, go for it. Dealing with dental anxiety can be hard, particularly if there is a procedure coming, but even this will pass.

All the best wishes, keep us posted and give yourself a huge pat on making that huge step of seeing a dentist!

This is exactly what I needed to hear right now! “Progress isn’t linear,” is one of those things I’m constantly preaching but rarely ever applying to my own thoughts, it’s time for that to change. Hearing that if I could do a cleaning I can do this is something that really makes me feel a TON better.

Thank you so much for your reply :hug4:
 
G

GettingBetter

Junior member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Virginia
Gettingbetter,

Welcome to DFC and so glad you posted for support !! You are really brave taking a chance again and caring for your dental needs.. you deserve it :) As far as deep cleaning , I got my first one nearly 2 years ago. I was scared to death the words, root scaling just sounded bad. then I googled and scared myself to the point of emailing my dental office saying I think i may cancel. They were very kind and asked why and we talked about my fear and they reassured me on all my fears.. and that this would help me so much and that Judy my hygenist would take the best care of me.. Well. she totally did.. she was the most gentle hygenist, I did have some local anesthetic which I asked if my dentist could put in because I knew he was good at it and they had no problem with that. so after that , only one point I felt something for a minute and she gave me aother shot I felt nothing after.. My teeth after ,, felt better , I only got one quadrant done and I almost wanted to ask to have the others done.. My hygenist was completely gentle and kind. Make suer you speak up your needs that you need gentlenss and some anesthetic if you prefer.. (I highly recommend) I hope they will treat you kind and you can come back and give a good report :).. Thanks for joining us here at dfc:)
It’s so reassuring to hear how it went way better than you were thinking, and even more reassuring to hear you even wanted to ask to get all 4 quadrants done after your first! Thank you so much for your response!
 
G

GettingBetter

Junior member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Virginia
I did it! Got the fillings and sealants done - dentist actually found another very sneaky cavity so I wound up getting 3 filled. Gel was applied to my gums and my dentist was so gentle giving the injections I thought the needle was another swab for more numbing gel - drilled and filled within 45 minutes. I’m good to wait on the deep-cleaning for at least 6 months as my gingivitis is looking a TON a better - but luckily I’m not even that scared now.

I’ll be posting a success story here soon!
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
630
Location
US
Well done.

Sometimes, reading these posts, I say to myself: “This person is going to make it.” I thought that about you, and your courageous action have proven it true.

This is great, really excellent. Enjoy. You’ve earned it!
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,579
Location
United States
Congratulations!!! I love reading success posts and seeing people make it to the other side! What a wonderful accomplishment! You should be very proud of yourself for seeing through what you set out to do despite your fears. Well done! You even handled extra impromptu treatment like a pro! :cheer::cheer2::wow::perfect::welldone::jump::thumbsup!:
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
3,033
Location
Sioux Falls, SD
So glad to hear everything went so smoothly.!!! Job well done for you and your dentist !!!:wow::perfect::you-rock:
 
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