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First dentist visit in years, fear reinstated (Long Story)



Junior member
Nov 17, 2016
Wall of text incoming, and my first post here too, sorry everyone, I just want to get the whole story out there. Feel free to move this wherever needed if it's not in the right place

Disclaimer: If some of my reactions seem a bit extreme, please know that I am a survivor of emotional and mental abuse and am extremely paranoid as a result. It's something I've kept quiet for a while but it's something that has to be said when I'm spilling to the world.

I've always been slightly anxious of medical professionals- it's nothing new, and for the most part, up until yesterday, I had gotten over it with dentists. Yesterday was my first visit to one in six years, and it was supposed to both help me with a problem tooth, and help me finally ease the phobia I had for so long out of existence. This is far from what happened.

The last time I went to a dentist, I was eleven. The dentist needed to put in a filling and ended up forgetting to numb part of my mouth and drilled a tooth without it- needless to say, it created a massive phobia for me. Combining my past with fears of needles, loud noises, cameras, mirrors and small spaces certainly contributed to making the issue worse.

Until yesterday that phobia had slowly disappeared, as I've done research on dentistry to calm myself and ease the anxiety and worry (though I'm certainly not an expert) and would have liked to become a dentist myself one day. Then one of my teeth broke.

The tooth in question, first premolar on the left side (I'll be using universal numbering for an accurate reference: problem tooth is number 12...a number that consistently plagues me), had developed a small horizontal gap with sharp edges from where it had broken (this was only on the inside front edge of the tooth and wasn't visible without a mirror placed under it). The tooth hadn't been resulting in any direct pain, as the break wasn't deep, but I couldn't keep my tongue away from it, thus cutting my tongue a few times. I was reluctant to make an appointment, as I'd had success in the past with healing extremely minor dental wounds through extra care of taking supplements and cleaning it more thoroughly (as I was still plagued by the terror of going back to a dentist and was willing to try many forms of quackery to stay out of "the unholy chair". I do not condone such quackery, I was desperate.), but was fearful of getting food stuck in the hole, so I decided it was time to see a dentist anyway.

I wanted to see my aunt's dentist, but my mother insisted we go to the same dentist my sister sees, though my sister had complaints about their work. Mother dearest of course, shrugged it off as scaremongering and scheduled the appointment for the very next day. (My sister is 14 and had complained about this dentist not completely numbing the area before the procedure, as well as seemingly damaging the tooth with excessive drilling. Unfortunately, my sister isn't a known liar.)

As soon as I stepped into the office and began the evaluation with my new dentist, I knew something was wrong. The dentist continued to mention a cavity that neither myself, my sister (who had accompanied me to the office), the other dentist of the practice, or the assistants could see on the x-ray wedged between 12 and 13 (which he insisted were 13 and 14), hardly mentioned the problem I had come in with which was a very clearly visible fracture, and insisted that number 13 was the damaged tooth (my thoughts to this were "Sir, perhaps you need to um, recount?" however he did work on the correct tooth in the end). He proceeded to ask my mother (who drove me there), not me, if she would like to have the tooth filled during this visit. She agreed to it even though I insisted that we needed to wait, but insisted and mentioned my previous anxiety ("Well, I might not be able to get her back in here so yeah, let's do it today." "Mother that's not true, I could do it later." "No, we're going with your mother's idea and doing it today.") and he introduced me to "NuCalm".

Second mistake, and probably the best thing I managed to do during the entire visit- I, again reluctantly, allowed him to use this (I felt like I had no other choice, as my mother also seemed intent in believing I was "anxious" for no reason other than he being a dentist, and the dentist seemed to be pressuring me into it. Had I been able to choose on my own and actually needed it, I would've gone for nitrous oxide, because that worked when I was young and needed it). This dentist used a blindfold instead of glasses or anything of the sort, which made everything a little better, as I could sneakily gain information on what in the world he was doing while he thought I had my vision totally obscured.

I've never been susceptible to hypnotherapy/brainwave therapy methods like this, and certainly not when I have a mission to make sure nothing goes wrong, so of course it didn't work. I ended up putting the headset on myself, to make the dentist and his assistant believe I was listening to their music when I was, in fact, listening to them, and looking right at them from under the blindfold. The dentist began drilling, and continued to drill until the back of my tooth had almost been completely removed and left jagged as I learned later (this was not the area that had been bothering me in the first place). He went...somewhere... outside of the room mid-procedure and came back to fill the tooth 10 to 20 minutes later. I touched the tooth with my tongue while the assistant wasn't looking and noticed that he hadn't fixed the tooth at all: this was when I learned he had drilled the back of my tooth to oblivion and didn't do anything to the actual problem spot because he was off on a wild goose chase for that nonexistent cavity.

Next came the filling, which was supposed to be a composite. Now, I haven't been to the dentist in a very long time but surely composite fillings are not supposed to feel like you can push them into a hole that shouldn't be there, nor feel like sandpaper or super glue when they harden, unless I'm mistaken in which someone here can correct me. The filling, as well as the jagged edges the dentist left, were not filed or smoothed, so the tooth is presenting the same problem as before on a much larger, much more unavoidable scale, as it is now cutting my upper lip.

After the procedure I kept up an adorable little girl facade trick to humor him (he asked me to post a good review of his practice on google, as well as like his practice's page on facebook and such, which I played into in the office but have not actually made any effort to do), as he didn't seem to be the type of person to take criticism or opposition from a patient of minor age well, since he didn't listen to my sister when she complained to him and simply told her that the problems would sort themselves within a week, nor would he listen to me when I opposed his repairing of the tooth in that visit.

Once everything was done and dusted and on my way home, I had awful swelling in that side of my face I had failed to mention before leaving that was cured quickly by using allergy medication, so the dentist seemed to have not noticed I was having a reaction to the topical numbing agent they'd used that, had it gone down my throat, would have landed me in the ER. My tooth had felt so much better yesterday morning when I woke up, but after this my tooth was causing much more pain than ever, and the fear that had subsided over 7 years came back in a stronger force than ever before.

I'm not really sure what to do now, as I'm not sure I can deal with this damaged tooth for too long, as well as if the dentist I saw should be held responsible for this or just left alone. Is there anything I can do about the jagged edges on the tooth at the very least? I'm petrified of having even more dental work done so soon, as my fears were so recently reinstated and refreshed in my mind, and can't help feeling like trying to let a professional fix it was a terrible choice on my part, even though all dentists surely aren't bad, and I don't doubt that the dentist himself is a nice person. :shame:
I would recommend not going back to him. The fact that he is talking to your mom the entire time and ignoring you is a bit alarming. Of course he should let you mom know what's going on, but I had a doctor who was about to implant a pacemaker into my heart THAT I DIDN'T NEED at age 16 and almost got her to allow it. I begged for a second opinion, and it turns out it was BS.

Look, i'm sure cases like that are very rare, but it sounds like this visit went all around terrible. I think you should take these issues to a new dentist and see what they say.

As far as your fear, I can't help too much on that since I am here for the same fear :p but it usually ends up being not quite as bad as I thought it would when I go to the dentist