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Finally went to the dentist today after nearly 15 years

C

calypso

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
32
Location
USA
I posted the other day after having not been on here for three years and still not having overcome my dental fear. I went today. I was scared, shaking and cold. What was embarrassing was that three children had gone in before me. His rooms are just large cubicles so everything and everyone is visible and you can hear people talking. I'm sure everyone heard me say how nervous I was even though I knew the dentist casually already. An x-ray was taken and the film was too big to fit in mouth, plus it made me gag. I had to have the child-size one or film that had been cut down one.

The dentist didn't spend time going over everything wrong in my mouth, and I'm sure there was plenty, but he did say that my tooth was fine but that the abscess was periodontal and gave me three options: see a periodontist and get bone grafts and gum grafts; extraction; or to try something unconventional with an interdermal brush and sanitizer to see if we can save the tooth for a while. I go back next week, after I've taken most of the antibiotic, for him to debride the area and show me how to use the brush and sanitizer. He'd taken a quick look around my mouth and said we would tackle the other things later and told me that he sees these things every day. I'm still scared and very embarrassed, but I'm going to try.

I picked this dentist because, as I said, I knew him in a casual social way and I knew that if I went to him, I would see him places and would pretty much HAVE to keep going.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I did finally go.
 
The1701

The1701

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
263
Location
Edinburgh
Very well done to you, the first meeting is the worst but it sounds like he was ok and now you just need to take it step by step. Hope everything works out with the tooth.
 
C

calypso

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
32
Location
USA
Very well done to you, the first meeting is the worst but it sounds like he was ok and now you just need to take it step by step. Hope everything works out with the tooth.
Thank you so much for responding. I am still scared of what else is there and I am still mortified I have let this get to the point it is. I am an intelligent woman who works in a very public job and so this is just ridiculous that I am like this, but I can't seem to help it. If this had been the front teeth, I probably would have forced myself to go sooner. This abscess was huge and it's still in the process of shrinking.
 
L

littlething

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
129
Location
California
Well done for making it through the first appointment! That is usually the hardest, so you should be proud of yourself that you went through it.

It is true that they see these things every day. They took a bunch of pictures of my teeth with an intra-oral camera, and I'm sure I showed on my face that I was mortified about them while going over them because my demtist said "I know this all looks horrible to you, but I look at teeth all day and this is just all normal to me. It's just what I do."

Don't be embarrassed. I know what you mean about being mortified about letting it get to that point, I felt the same way - like I have the rest of my life together (well, sort of HAHA), why have I let my teeth go to this point? Unfortunately, unlike you, I had damage in my front teeth and everyone could see it. But I think the important thing to remember is that you are taking care of them now and that's something to be proud of.
 
C

calypso

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
32
Location
USA
Well done for making it through the first appointment! That is usually the hardest, so you should be proud of yourself that you went through it.

It is true that they see these things every day. They took a bunch of pictures of my teeth with an intra-oral camera, and I'm sure I showed on my face that I was mortified about them while going over them because my demtist said "I know this all looks horrible to you, but I look at teeth all day and this is just all normal to me. It's just what I do."

Don't be embarrassed. I know what you mean about being mortified about letting it get to that point, I felt the same way - like I have the rest of my life together (well, sort of HAHA), why have I let my teeth go to this point? Unfortunately, unlike you, I had damage in my front teeth and everyone could see it. But I think the important thing to remember is that you are taking care of them now and that's something to be proud of.
Thank you. I am still nervous about this. It's like now this dentist knows my secret shame. I mean, he may see people with mouths like mine everyday but that's "People", it's not me. :redface: It's my gums and not so much my teeth that have problems, although I know I have some cavities (something new for me, by the way as I never had but one or two before). I never needed braces, never had any wisdom teeth, one cavity as a child and one as a 16 year-old, so I took my teeth and gums for granted and when I started having issues, was really embarrassed that I was having issues and my phobia developed. :cry:

I couldn't believe I was so cold and shaking, but I tried to mostly control the latter. I was so nervous I didn't even remember him handing me my prescription paper.
 
The1701

The1701

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
263
Location
Edinburgh
I agree with littlething, the important thing here is that you are on the path to turning it round now. They key to overcoming the phobia is to re-program the brain by keeping up with regular appointments so that you get used to the fact that it can actually be a positive experience. It won't happen overnight though and it is ok to feel scared beforehand, we all do and it's ok, please don't feel ashamed about it.
 
C

calypso

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
32
Location
USA
I went back this morning to have the gum curettage done. I did okay and had a different hygienist who I liked better. She said she had seen mouths 20 times worse than mine and had even seen green teeth. My blood pressure was high, even on the med I take but I suppose that was nerves.

The abscess had gone down a great deal but was still there and so the dentist numbed me (shots did not hurt at all, even in the abscessed place thanks to the topical on first) and he drained the rest of the abscess and then cleaned down the root area. He said it wasn't down as far as he thought it would be. He showed me the trick with the broxy brush and antibacterial hand soap. I'm to do this twice a day for 10 days and to brush with the soap. I can use the toothpaste afterwards if I don't like the taste. I was out of there in 15 minutes from the time I sat down in the chair, and that included the visual instructions. I'm still on antibiotics for another 4 days and I have an appointment next week to check on it. We are trying to save the tooth so I'm trying to do everything right. After that, I'm sure I have another round of deep cleanings and cavity patrol, but he hasn't gone there yet since this was the priority.

I was to do the first broxy tapping and then brush with the handsoap as soon as I got home and took some Tylenol. I did. Boy was I bleeding! I rinsed and rinsed. To me, it was just disgusting but I hope this will improve. Did not eat before I went to the dentist this morning and now am wondering if I can eat something later in the day like a baked potato. He said I could go out and eat the hardest thing I could find now but he wouldn't advise it today.:)
 
C

calypso

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
32
Location
USA
Just want to follow up. I have now been to the dentist six times in the past month. All but two were for simple no-charge looks at the tooth/gum in question. Yesterday, I was given the news that the tooth had been saved but I was going to have to continue the deep probing to keep the damaged gum open and draining. It won't stop the bone loss but it will slow it way down. Today I went for an exam and painless (no shots even needed for me) all quadrants deep cleaning. I was shaking and my BP was high; however, my teeth are just fine. No decay at all. What I saw on my worrisome back tooth was just some calculus and staining. It looked like a cavity because it was so far back so it looked really dark. I go back in six weeks for a little more cleaning and polishing. To say I was relieved is mild. It had been 15 years. My problem is gums but I've got good instructions on what to do for that, and in fact, I'd already started because of the periodontal abscess so my gums didn't bleed much at all for the deep cleaning.
 
C

calypso

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
32
Location
USA
I'm not sure people were really interested in this thread, but I did want to follow up and say that I had the second part of my treatment plan today. The first was a full mouth debridement I had six weeks ago. This actually completed my treatment plan. The periodontal abscess has healed well and the tooth is very stable and I was told today that I should be able to keep the tooth indefinitely. Wow! I feel very thankful and fortunate that this was all I needed after not going to the dentist for 15 years. I'm relieved too. It's very freeing to have this done and now I'm treating myself to a whitening.

The point is, that I was extremely scared about going and it took this periodontal abscess to get me there. If 15 years ago the dentist and his assistant had only been less judgmental and tactless, I wouldn't have been too embarrassed to go back to anyone. It turns out, that all I needed back then was a deep cleaning IN ONE AREA. Wording and attitude toward patients do matter. :)
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
2,193
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Congrats on getting through all of the treatment and really turning things around! So glad things have worked out so well for you.
 
C

calypso

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
32
Location
USA
Congrats on getting through all of the treatment and really turning things around! So glad things have worked out so well for you.
Thank you so much. I wasn't sure I should post any updates on progress because compared to a lot of people, I didn't have much of anything that needed doing after all these years, and I was surprised as I was expecting root canals and cavities, but nothing like that. My issue is my gums but I am not even being sent to a periodontist to take care of it. It was just the deep cleaning (4 quadrants at once but it took only 45 minutes and done without injections) and the follow-up regular cleaning and polish.

I was concerned, as was the dentist, that I would lose the tooth where the large (and I do mean large) periodontal abscess was. It was bad, although not especially painful, and the tooth was mobile. The tooth is now stable. My fear had simply been "what was wrong" and being criticized and judged for not going in so long. I do recognize that I was very fortunate and, as I said, extremely grateful and thankful. I also feel a little silly blowing it all out of proportion. I still don't like it and I rather dread having impressions taken for the whitening tray and almost want to back out and just do the over-the-counter strips like I've done before, but I have to tell myself that this is my treat. I also would like to have some natural gaps on the sides of my upper incisors closed, but that will require veneers instead of simple bonding, so that's something I'm not sure about. They are noticeable to me, but not so much to others.
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
2,193
Location
Massachusetts, USA
For what it's worth, I'm not sure that the amount or type of dental work always matters when it comes to fear/phobia. In other words the fear can be just as real and just as bad no matter what's involved. So, a success is a success and I'm so glad you shared it with us! Unfortunately, due to 'soft teeth' I will likely never be able to go long periods of time without having to spend time in The Chair. I wrote a 'success story' a while back if you're interested. http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/showthread.php?27622-A-Long-Time-Coming

It's taken me a long time (I've been on this journey nearly 8 years) to get to a place where the anxiety about going (even for a cleaning) isn't overwhelming. But, with the help of a caring and patient dentist, I'm at a place where I can get the work I need done without so much anxiety that it interferes with my life.

Please keep us updated on your journey.
 
G

Geranium

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
20
Location
St Leonard's on Sea
I posted the other day after having not been on here for three years and still not having overcome my dental fear. I went today. I was scared, shaking and cold. What was embarrassing was that three children had gone in before me. His rooms are just large cubicles so everything and everyone is visible and you can hear people talking. I'm sure everyone heard me say how nervous I was even though I knew the dentist casually already. An x-ray was taken and the film was too big to fit in mouth, plus it made me gag. I had to have the child-size one or film that had been cut down one.

The dentist didn't spend time going over everything wrong in my mouth, and I'm sure there was plenty, but he did say that my tooth was fine but that the abscess was periodontal and gave me three options: see a periodontist and get bone grafts and gum grafts; extraction; or to try something unconventional with an interdermal brush and sanitizer to see if we can save the tooth for a while. I go back next week, after I've taken most of the antibiotic, for him to debride the area and show me how to use the brush and sanitizer. He'd taken a quick look around my mouth and said we would tackle the other things later and told me that he sees these things every day. I'm still scared and very embarrassed, but I'm going to try.

I picked this dentist because, as I said, I knew him in a casual social way and I knew that if I went to him, I would see him places and would pretty much HAVE to keep going.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I did finally go.
Well done you, give yourself a pat on the back !
 
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