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First dental round in 20 years, 9 cavities and wisdom teeth extraction! (long story ahead)

N

ninjakraken

Junior member
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
1
Location
Western Sydney, Australia
First dental round in 20 years, 9 cavities and wisdom teeth extraction! (long story ahead)

Hi, I wanted to post on this site as I used this site to help me with my anxiety.

The last dental visit I had before this round was around 20 years ago, when I was 8 years old. My family wasn't well-off so we had to rely on the public health system which is less than perfect. You might wonder why my parents never dragged me to the dentist after that against my will, well they are dental-phobic as well! I had a cavity filled and 2 baby teeth pulled, the cavity filling was enough to put me off going to the dentist forever. I thought if I took good enough care of my teeth I could avoid another trip for the rest of my life.

About a year ago, I noticed my wisdom teeth started to discolour. I ignored it. Then it happened, they started to crumble, both bottom wizzies within a month of each other. I was scared, but still not scared enough to visit the dentist. I ignored it for about 6 months, but then I did start to feel pain at times when chewing certain foods. I could also visibly see 2 large dark holes in my teeth! I told my sister about this and she insisted I go to the dentist, but I never did. After noticing for several weeks that I wasn't going to do anything, my sister researched a good dentist, made the booking herself and drove me to the dentist. There is nothing like being bossed around by your little sister!

The first appointment was just a check up, my sister made one for herself as well and we went in together. I told the dentist about my fears straight away. He insisted I go first, as it would be worse for me to sit in the corner and stew while my sister had her check up. I sat in the chair and he was already giving me tips for how to reduce anxiety (breathing techniques, keeping eyes open, anti-gagging techniques). Because it was my first appointment in ages, the first thing he did was take an x-ray. After the x-ray was taken he put it up on the big screen and then walked us through what we were seeing. He showed parts of the mouth where the enamel was thinning, difference in density, etc. Aside from the 2 obvious cavities in my wisdom teeth, it turned out I had an additional 7 cavities. That's just great. He also had a device that could take actual photos, and i got to see my wisdom teeth in all their stained, cavernous glory. My sister thought it was pretty funny. I was under the assumption that the only treatment would be extraction but he actually said they could be filled! I hopped off the chair and it was my sister's turn. Her teeth were perfect.... The dentist then explained to me that for my issues, we would start with something simple such as a minor cavity in the front and a teeth cleaning to get me used to the idea of dental visits. I went out to reception to make an appointment, I requested 'a month from now' but my sister interrupted and said 'next week'.

One week later, I was back in for my clean and filling. My biggest fear had to do with pain, and the dentist instructed me to raise my hand if I felt anything. I also feel that information helps to relieve my anxiety so I asked questions about everything, such as what numbing agent they would use, their equipment, what they would be doing. The teeth cleaning was non-eventful. I was nervous about the filling but that was surprisingly non-eventful as well! The needle didn't even hurt because he applied numbing gel first. I walked out of the place smiling and talking, not the drooling, pained mess I remember from my childhood. I eagerly booked the next appointment.

The next appointment was to fill in a tooth that was further back. This time, the needle was felt going in, when I asked why he said the needle had to go in deeper and the numbing gel would be pointless. It wasn't unbearable, but I just hate needles! Everything went well for the most part, though there were times I struggled with breathing, gagging, and keeping my mouth open wide enough. After this appointment he explained to me that it may be worth considering getting my wisdom teeth extracted after all, because it is a delicate area to drill and my inadvertent behaviour could cause trouble. I would have time to think about this.

The next appointment was a lot like the last, but with increased anxiety when expecting the needle. I had to continually rationalise to myself, and tell myself it wasn't that bad (which is true). I also had to decide what to do about my wisdom teeth. I opted to have them pulled, under local anesthetic, one side at a time. I just hated the idea of being unconscious or semi-conscious and not knowing what is going on. My teeth were erupted, so the extraction shouldn't be so bad. My next appointment would be an extraction.

I was pretty scared about the upcoming extraction, the dentist explained to me how he would be doing it. One tooth was close to a nerve so he would be using a specific technique to remove it, by cutting the tooth into pieces. I knew I could cope as long as it was painless. I went to this site and others to read up on what else I could expect.

Before my extraction, for the first time ever I had a dream about my teeth falling out! I wanted to fix my teeth asap and get these thoughts out of my head!

Time for the first extraction. One thing I find interesting about this dentist is he likes to inject you so quick you don't even have time to freak out. Several shots later and half of my face is completely numb. After double checking I can't feel anything, he dives in with the drill. I managed to cope well with all the sensations, the sound of the drill, the cracking sounds, the pressure, the blood. However there was one thing I couldn't handle, the smell! After drilling some more deeper down, a horrible burning smell filled my nostrils. I tried to think of something else, tried to imagine it away but it was no use. I could feel myself turning red, sweating, and then I started to gag horribly. The dentist right away pull out the drill and told me to take slow breaths. I managed to garble 'the smell!' and he was like 'yeah, it's not pleasant'. After the main smell cloud dissipated, I was able to get through the rest. When he went to pull out the second root I did feel a sharp pain. He checked to see if the nerve was in sight, adjusted his angle, and removed the root with no further pain. The top wisdom tooth came out in the blink of an eye. After letting my rest in the chair for a bit, he checked to see if I was clotting well, gave me the care info, and then I was able to go home. There were no major issues with recovery, except that smell stuck with me for two days!

My second extraction was the following month. About a week before the visit I had another dream, this time it was about getting the injections, and I wasn't able to get numb. This increased anxiety once again.

Time for my second extraction (4 days ago). I was worried about the needles and the smell. I planned ahead for the smell and rubbed some Vick's under my nose. Too bad I can't avoid the needle though. I get numbed up, but this time when he does the test, I could still feel a little something (argh! dream coming true!). He injects me again, and while it is more numb, it is still not 100%. He says it's probably a delayed reaction and that he will just avoid the area for now. Everything was going fairly well, although I noticed a lot more tugging this time, the tooth was quite stubborn! When it came to removing the roots though, I started to feel the sharp pains. He checked to see if he was near the nerve but he wasn't, and asked me how bad the pain was. In reality, it wasn't that bad (even less than recovery pain) however I had gotten used to feeling nothing at all. I uncomfortably continued until it was done, I knew it wasn't long to go anyway. The bottom tooth finally was done. Unfortunately my top tooth had a similar issue with slight pain (what the heck??). I again bore through it, and again the top tooth came out rather quickly (though the dentist needed more muscle work than the first time). Despite the pain, there was far less physical trauma this time and is healing remarkably well. I didn't even need to take any pain killers. Bleeding stopped within the hour compared to days of oozing from the first extraction. I was eating solids the next morning.

I only have one more filling to go for this round of treatment, and while there will always be some anxiety at least I know that the experience doesn't have to be hellish. A good dentist can make a difference, and lots of knowledge too. I can walk away feeling happy about my treatment (albeit with a lighter wallet) knowing that I can now make an appointment if I need it.
 
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