• Dental Phobia Support

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first visit since I can remember

A

ahaokei

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Jul 28, 2021
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Helsinki
I've been anxious and fearful of the state of my dental health for over 15 years. I'm 27 now and I cannot remember when I went to the dentist last time.

My teeth have tartar on them and some really dark spots on the front teeth in particular. A large cavity in a molar, a wisdom tooth that came out weird and is now jagged, which is hurting my cheek and getting lots of food stuck.

I know I should've gone 10 years ago, but the shame has been unbearable. I'm not afraid of the pain, but the thought of someone actually looking at my teeth makes me super anxious. I'm also a little worried that the cost will be high, I know I'll need lots of fillings, and one, maybe two teeth extracted...

I want to thank all of you for giving me the courage to book my appointment, which is tomorrow afternoon. Without all the encouraging stories I've read on here I would've put it off for who knows how long. I want to show my smile again.. Will keep you posted:)
 
A

ahaokei

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Jul 28, 2021
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Helsinki
1,5 hours until my appointment.

Haven't done anything productive this whole workday, only reading this forum and other dental fear related articles and whatnot.

Starting to freak out just a little bit right now. The anticipation of finally getting my teeth fixed is slowly turning into dread of what the dentist will say about what needs to be done.... Like I said I'm quite sure of what I think needs to be done, but with my luck they're gonna pull all my teeth out. This is just a dental check-up though, and my first visit to this dentist. Probably just an examination and I'm sure they're going to want to take x-rays as well. I kinda hope they could just fit me in immediately after the examination just so I can get it over with.

NGL I took a Valium just now to ease the anxiety a bit, and it seems to be helping! Hopefully my dentist is nice. She mentioned that fearful patients are more than welcome in her description on the website, and she has 22 years of experience in dentistry and is also the head dentist at this clinic, which makes me calm down a bit as I think she has seen all kinds of teeth and all kinds of phobia patients.....

FINGERS CROSSED! I'll keep you posted :)

Any words of encouragement is more than welcome

edit: added a picture of my teeth taken now ~1h before my first appointment, will post more later!
 

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letsconnect

letsconnect

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Hi ahaokei and welcome ?

Great to hear that you've managed to make an appointment! We all know how difficult that must have been, and how much courage it takes ?.

The dentist you found sounds really promising! Keeping my fingers crossed that she'll be "the one"! I'm not a dentist, but looking at that photo, there's no way they're going to want to pull your teeth out :).

Best of luck for your appointment and let us know how you got on!
 
A

ahaokei

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Thank you letsconnect!!!

Going in now! wish me luck :) Update as soon as I'm done!
 
S

Scaredbutready

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May 21, 2021
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Good luck! You’ve got this! The relief you feel after the initial appointment is overwhelming. Keep us posted, I would bet things aren’t nearly as bad as you think.☺️
 
A

ahaokei

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I did it!!

On my phone rn so I'm gonna post a little longer entry in an hour or so with more details, but shortly: it went great! Why I put this off for so long feels absolutely silly!!!

edit: scaredbutready you're so right!!! Booking the appointment took away 50% of the anxiety, meeting my dentist and getting on with it took away the rest. I'm so proud of myself! :) Thanks again guys for being here to support!
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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That’s brilliant- congratulations ? ? !!!

Looking forward to the longer entry ?
 
A

ahaokei

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I'm so ecstatic right now, I called my mum (who's been "nagging" at me to go to the dentist for years now) and talked for half an hour about how relieved I am and happy that I got the ball rolling, and she's also very very proud of me. I also texted with my best friend about this and really got some good support and he's also super proud; in fact I inspired him to book his first appt. in years too! Haha!

So I was filling in my form at the reception (receptionist was wonderful, asked if I needed any help filling it out, and offered to guide me with any questions I might have since it was my first time in a long time). I wasn't really that nervous while waiting, scrolling through posts here just reinforced the belief that it was all going to go great. The only little itsy bitsy fear I had was that the dentist was not going to be as kind as I'd hoped...

Boy was I wrong.

She was super kind. She asked me why I came in today, to which I kind of mumbled;

Me: Well... I have a little tooth ache in my upper left wisdom tooth, and a few cavities... and... well I haven't been in for at least 15 years...

D: "That's absolutely fine, anything else in particular you want to mention?"

Me: Not really...

D: "You wrote on the form that you're a dentist phobic, now-"

Me: It's more of a shame thing actually...

Dentist puts down the form and asks me to take a seat.

D: "Listen, you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, nothing whatsoever. We will take this at your pace, and we're definitely not here to judge or scold you. All we want is to get your teeth in good condition, how does that sound?"

Me: That sounds fantastic, actually

D: "Great! Whenever you're ready you can lie down on the chair and if you're OK with it we'll
have a look at your gums and teeth, nothing painful, and you can tell me if you need me to stop, OK?"

Me: Great

The next 30-40 minutes just flew by. When I first opened my mouth I felt a second of dread, since I havent opened my mouth for anyone since I was a kid. But after she put her fingers in my mouth, as well as some tools (a mirror and some sort of sharp metal thingy?) I couldn't believe what I was feeling: INDIFFERENCE!

I thought I'd be uncomfortable, panicky, anxious... Nope, I just sat there staring at the ceiling, listening to her dentist lingo while she reported her findings to the technician. Once in a while she asked me questions regarding my diet and use of snus. She was very pleased to hear that I've recently quit fizzy drinks and candy specifically for my dental health.

Next thing I know she informs me that 3 x-rays need to be taken, to which I promptly reply "bring it on". 5 minutes and the x-rays are done. That was easy.

When all was said and done I got the verdict: I need both of my upper wisdom teeth removed by a dental surgeon (booked 24.8), 2 visits to the dental hygienist, one appt. next week and the other one sometime a bit later, and (never thought I'd say this) I'm so happy I'll be seeing my wonderful new dentist the day after tomorrow already to get 2 fillings done and a little more examination on some questionable spots.

That's it, at least for now. Some procedures might need to be done still, but not for a while at least she said.

And the best thing she said before I left:

D: You're extremely brave and I'm very happy you came in to see us, 1 - 2 more years of fizzy drinks and candy and you would've had 10 fillings in stead of 2. Well done! I don't know if you we're anxious during this examination but you did very very well!

Me: I couldn't have gone through with this if it wasn't for your gentle approach and understanding, I'm very grateful for dentists like you who really care about their patients and don't judge, but meet us with compassion.

She even shed a few tears ? what a wonderful experience.

(The dentist assistant / tech / sry i dunno was also very very nice and also funny, both the dentist and the tech made me feel welcome and extremely safe!)

So next update will be on thursday by the looks of it! I'll be checking this thread though to answer any questions anyone might have. I did it, so can you!

edit: Forgot to mention that before my appointment I couldn't even say the word teeth infront of anyone, and now I'm going out of my way to tell people about my appointment?! Didn't think it was possible!!!
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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So great to hear that everything went so well ?. Your new dentist and her assistant sound lovely! Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you'll get a chance to celebrate your success tonight ?

Wishing you all the best for Thursday ?
 
S

Scaredbutready

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Wow! Sounds like you hit the jackpot with this dentist! So glad it went so amazing. im sure you’ll sleep a little easier tonight!
 
A

ahaokei

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Jul 28, 2021
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Helsinki
Thanks for the support letsconnect & scaredbutready!

I truly feel like I indeed did hit the jackpot in choosing a dentist. Funny thing is, I made an appointment to a dentist who was my 1st choice, but the appointment was 2 weeks later and I couldn't bare to wait any longer, so I tried to schedule an earlier time with her, but she only had office hours in the town over. So I felt kind of defeated until I found my current dentist, and in hindsight it might just be the best thing that could've happened!

Tomorrow I'm going to see my dentist, I assume to get fillings..? Because the week after I have an mouth hygienist appt. and the wisdom teeth extractions aren't until 24.8... I'm kind of terrified of what the cost of the extractions will be... but me and my wife have money saved up so I will be able to pay, but I hope my shame doesn't shift to me being a financial burden on our relationship due to my previous neglect...

But my wife said she's super proud of me and also said she'll gladly help pay so I'm just thinking worst case scenario, as always.

I even talked to my co-worker about my teeth and upcoming procedures today, I seriously haven't even mentioned my teeth to anyone my entire life, let alone any problems I might have. It's like a switch just flipped. Excited for tomorrow!
 
A

ahaokei

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Appointment in 30.min.

Somehow I'm more nervous this time than last time.. But I know my dentist is rhe sweetest person so I know it's irrational. Maybe the fact that I'm not sure what's going to happen, oh well. Here we go, session nr. 2!
 
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ahaokei

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This appointment was a lot worse than the first one, obviously since this time she actually did some procedures hah.

I have to admit my heart rate went way up when I saw the needle... But it didn't hurt at all, and after the local anesthesia was administered I felt absolutely nothing. The worst part was the liquid building up in my throat!

I also saw the cost for all procedures that need to be done.... 2200 euros. Holy ..

That includes about ~1000 euros worth of stuff that aren't necessarily. needed, especially right now. For all the absolutely necessary treatments it'd going to run me at least 1000 euros... But at the end of the day I'm willing to pay to have my health, dental and mental, back!
 
pinyonjay2

pinyonjay2

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This appointment was a lot worse than the first one, obviously since this time she actually did some procedures hah.

I have to admit my heart rate went way up when I saw the needle... But it didn't hurt at all, and after the local anesthesia was administered I felt absolutely nothing. The worst part was the liquid building up in my throat!

I also saw the cost for all procedures that need to be done.... 2200 euros. Holy ..

That includes about ~1000 euros worth of stuff that aren't necessarily. needed, especially right now. For all the absolutely necessary treatments it'd going to run me at least 1000 euros... But at the end of the day I'm willing to pay to have my health, dental and mental, back!
Oh man...that cost is outrageous...sorry to hear that. :(

I'm glad that you got through it okay though! Sometimes the worst part is the cost.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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I missed that - great to hear that you made it and that it didn't hurt at all ?. It's a lot of money but hopefully totally worth it! Are you going ahead with the wisdom teeth removal tomorrow? If so, the very best of luck with it ?
 
A

ahaokei

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I missed that - great to hear that you made it and that it didn't hurt at all ?. It's a lot of money but hopefully totally worth it! Are you going ahead with the wisdom teeth removal tomorrow? If so, the very best of luck with it ?

Thank you! And yeah just came home from the removals, took 15 minutes total, no pain at all, now its 1h after and some pain is forming at both sites, but nothing unmanageable! The experience at the dental surgeon was a whole other story though... I'll write it up when I'm not as upset
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Glad to hear it went so well in terms of speed and no pain ?. The rest sounds a bit ominous :unsure:

It’s best to start taking painkillers before the numbing has worn off (easier to prevent pain than stop it once it has set in). There’s a page with tips for healing after extractions here.

Well done
?
 
A

ahaokei

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Glad to hear it went so well in terms of speed and no pain ?. The rest sounds a bit ominous :unsure:

It’s best to start taking painkillers before the numbing has worn off (easier to prevent pain than stop it once it has set in). There’s a page with tips for healing after extractions here.

Well done
?

Thanks, yeah I took some ibuprofen when I started to feel the numbing wear off ? Thanks for the tips!
 
A

ahaokei

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So more info about my visit to the dental surgeon yesterday;

I arrived, and I was pretty terrified. I didn't know what to expect at all, if it would hurt or if the dental surgeon would be nice and understanding of my situation (fear, anxiety and bad dental health overall).

I get called into the room and immediately he starts explaining that both upper wisdom teeth will be extracted today, asks me to lay down in the chair and after having had the disinfecting liquid in my mouth for a minute he asks to look into my mouth.

He gives my teeth a quick look and kind of, sits back? as if he's taking a break from whatever he's doing. Then it starts (i'm paraphrading here but this is basically how it went;)

"Okay, so what we're gonna do is you're going to stop using smokeless tobacco. It lowers the pH of the mouth and is harder to kick than smoking because of the increased amount of nicotine. Long time users of snus (smokeless tobacco pouches) will see erosion in their teeth and discoloration - - - (this went on for 5 minutes)".

I tell him that I am cutting down my use, and have actually more than halved it in 3 weeks. This info doesn't impress him (or he doesn't believe me), as his response was a quick " Mhm.. ".
Then he goes on to lecture me on bad habits, talking about my treatment plan as a "whole renovation" (probably referencing 2 deep cleans and one filling still to come.)

After the lecture that I definitely did not ask for, and was not making me feel welcome or cared for really. After the lecture was done, he asked if I'm allergic to the numbing agent, to which I respond that I am not; he then immediately injects numbing agent into 4 spots in my mouth. Then the lectures continue about smokeless tobacco etc. He also mentioned me "being 37 and not having my teeth left--" in some context, which I didn't really understand (I think he meant if I neglect my dental health in the future...)

The numbing agent started working, so the judgement and lectures stop for 10 minutes, as that's about how long it took to extract both teeth, and I couldn't believe it, I didnt feel a thing, it fel mildly uncomfortable, but oh my god, he was so quick I was like "wait are you serious?" when he said he's ready. Only like 15 minutes of real dental work, the rest was lectures that I didn't really feel like getting.

I'm going to get a filling done today, with my original dentist, not the surgeon, which is pretty tedious but I'm happy to get it over with. After that I have one deep cleaning appt. in a week and another deep cleaning at some point. I'll post more after this days dentist visit!

edit: I of course am not upset about him mentioning the harms of snus to me, it was the condescending tone, the jumping to conclusions and non-stop nagging that bothered me. He didn't ask if I'm still using, planning on quitting or if I've just recently quit using, nope, he basically ordered me to quit (assuming I'm still using) or I'll be toothless in 10 years (after which he says that this wasn't a threat or anything, just reality), I think he maybe could feel my anxiety skyrocket when he said that and immediately after injected the numbing agent, as that was the one and only time he asked if I' OK (my chest must've been going up and down like crazy)

I will definitely NOT use this surgeons services ever again. It's a shame because all the other techs and dentists I've seen have been wonderful....
 
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letsconnect

letsconnect

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I will definitely NOT use this surgeons services ever again.

Good on you ?. Sounds like he probably meant well but has zero appreciation of the fact that there is a person behind the teeth. Hopefully, you won't be put off too much by his talk of dire consequences and instead continue to focus on the positive aspects of making healthy changes!

As you said, all the other techs and dentists you've seen have been wonderful, so it would be a shame to let the actions of one guy hamper your progress. Might sound clichéd, but just keep focusing on all the positives you've experienced so far ?. You've come such a long way in such a short time!

Best of luck for your appointment today!
 
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