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Front tooth fear

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RustyRebecca

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After deciding not to have my front tooth pulled and a partial denture for it and my canines, I decided to go for the root canal of the front tooth instead (and continue with gaps where my canines are) with a 60% chance of success (I was told). This will happen in a week's time in the afternoon.
What I wish to ask is; this front tooth has been infected for a while now (several months, antibiotics took away much of the pain but it is still very tender, I can't brush it properly). Is it possible that the dentist will go to do the root canal and find that it can't be done? That it is too damaged or something? What will happen then?
I know I have to have a rubber dam and that the procedure will take approx an hour. I have a fear of losing control and this situation makes me feel really trapped. It isn't as if I can raise my hand and leave because of having a panic attack. It is a procedure that once is started, I have no choice but to stay (I know it is possible to take breaks but still feel very anxious about it). How can I somehow feel more in control? (Got valium, got music).
Thank you
 
Gordon

Gordon

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What I wish to ask is; this front tooth has been infected for a while now (several months, antibiotics took away much of the pain but it is still very tender, I can't brush it properly). Is it possible that the dentist will go to do the root canal and find that it can't be done? That it is too damaged or something? What will happen then?
It's always a possibility, sometimes the canal is too badly blocked up or twisted too much to get the files into. They'll have seen it on x-ray though so if they've not mentioned it to you then it doesn't sound likely.
If it has to be abandoned then they basically will have to stop and discuss the options with you.


I know I have to have a rubber dam and that the procedure will take approx an hour. I have a fear of losing control and this situation makes me feel really trapped. It isn't as if I can raise my hand and leave because of having a panic attack. It is a procedure that once is started, I have no choice but to stay (I know it is possible to take breaks but still feel very anxious about it). How can I somehow feel more in control? (Got valium, got music).
Thank you
You can pretty much stop anytime, it would just mean putting a temp filling into the tooth and re-starting again later on. I've never met anyone having such a severe panic attack that they couldn't say "stop" before.
 
conqueringfears

conqueringfears

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@RustyRebecca I totally understand the control worry. I too struggle with that and I promise that once you are in that chair, you can totally power through.

I take deep breaths and tell myself the worst is almost over. You are already here. You are brave. It'll be done before you know it.

Feel the fear and take the steering wheel, you ARE INDEED in control. By putting yourself in that chair and getting it done, you are doing something so good for yourself and your health. A RCT is honestly so boring at most, but the time flies. I try to imagine what I will be doing afterwards, how much comfort I will have and peace of mind. Think of something to treat yourself to afterward like a good smoothie!!! :)
 
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RustyRebecca

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@conqueringfears Thank you so much. I do hope you are right. The root canal is tomorrow afternoon. I have got a movie at home to look forward to afterwards :) And the receptionist has assured me that I will only actually be in the chair for 30 mins as it is a front tooth and the endodontist is very good and swift.
I have had the beginning of one before. I am not sure why it wasn't completed. And I don't remember much about it if I am honest.
I have still been trying to prepare myself, especially because I have trauma from my past and being trapped. There is an excellent ted talk by a dentist who talks about this, then when you have been abused, being in this position mimics what you went through before. So out of control. But dentists aren't always aware of this. I did send the video to the surgery though. Doubt he will watch it.
But...I may have frightened myself now! I saw this video on youtube of a root canal and I thought...wtf? I don't recall a root canal before as extreme as this! And now I am really concerned I won't be able to do it :( The link is below.
 
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RustyRebecca

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To add, l am in the UK. Ive just spoken to a retired dentist friend and she said it is like this. But l seriously dont recall myself in this position before when l had a root canal. See pic. Im freaking out now as l know l cant manage that.
 

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RustyRebecca

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How in the world do you take breaks with that equipment on your face!
 
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RustyRebecca

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I just thought it would be great fun to traumatise myself by watching videos before the event! Kill me now 😯😯
 
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RustyRebecca

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I have rung the dentist and they have confirmed that it is indeed like this, but a metal frame not plastic. And he can remove the frame and dam for breaks. But I think that if I had a break, I wouldn't be able to go back down. In fact, I seriously seriously don't believe I can do this now. I had no idea it would be this invasive. I know I would have remembered a dentist doing like this before and he obviously didn't. But if I don't have it done, the tooth will have to be extracted and a partial denture. And I only decided this because I considered there was no way I could handle a partial denture (again). So...I am not in a good place at all now.
 
Gordon

Gordon

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Confused a bit here. Which part of this is the issue:
1) Laying down in the chair
2) The rubber dam part
3) The microscope

1 and 3 can be worked around if necessary, most people actually prefer the rubber dam when they get over the shock of it, it stops stuff going down your throat and all the horrible tasting stuff that go with root canals.
 
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RustyRebecca

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Thank you Gordon. No not the microscope. Numbing (loss of control), the rubber dam and the clasp around the tooth and the frame. And lying far back. All of this, for me, is about being trapped, loss of control, vulnerable, can't escape. Its barbaric to me all that on your face and in your mouth. Patients with trauma just aren't most people unfortunately.
 
conqueringfears

conqueringfears

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@RustyRebecca

I know the feelings of anticipation which can sometimes resemble dread! But I can assure you from my own experience, I put off a root canal for years due to fear and the morning of I cried myself to the point of almost being ill and I walked in, cried some more in the chair and once they laid me back I knew that I had made the best choice for myself. Lots of nose breathing throughout and thinking about all of the good to come after.

It's funny how our minds work - sometimes when we have a fear of something we don't see passed it. So when you think of tomorrow, think of all of the good days to come ahead. This is a brief moment in your life, an hour at most I am sure with them waiting for the numbing to take place. Front teeth are much easier like you said I have heard.

I also watched a video of a root canal PRIOR to my last one. Mind you, I also had one be started and not finished for some time. I freaked myself out. It looks so much more extreme than what it really is. It's such a swift and easy process. Even with my back molar being sooooo bad, it took the endo about 45 minutes. I prefer root canals over fillings.

I am so sorry about your past trauma Rebecca, that's so hard and you are really brave for taking this step.

Please message me if you need any support. You have got this! Please remember that you are doing sooooo good for yourself!!!
 
conqueringfears

conqueringfears

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@Gordon @RustyRebecca that's right. I am very claustrophobic and the dental dam gave me immense comfort. You can totally breathe with it on and it does prevent stuff from going down your throat which isn't the best tasting. I REALLY feel safe with the dam on.

30 minutes to an hour, that's all. I would do this entirely over getting it extracted. You will thank yourself. Try and save that tooth. You will be lying back, but once you are you will notice how easy it is to get up if needed. You can take breaks but maybe dont look at the equipment they are using. It helps to not (for me.) Just close your eyes, imagine the movie you will watch after. Please don't look up any other information or videos, it will not help you at all. I promise it will not help.

You will be safe and in good hands. I promise. This is a controlled and safe setting. I know it's triggering, but assure yourself you are safe and this will be so good for you to get done. The numbing will not be your whole mouth, the clasp you won't be able to feel. You won't be lying that far back, like not like you are upside down or anything. It will be quick. That equipment and those tools are helpful and there to even help and protect you. You will not be trapped, your legs and body and arms will be free, maybe try to do the deep breathing, eyes closed.

"I am safe."
"I am doing something to take care of me."
"I am in control by making this choice for my health."
 
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RustyRebecca

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@conqueringfears Thank you for this. So helpful. I do appreciate it. I won't be looking at any more videos. But this is one that I think is so helpful and totally validating. It is only 12 mins long and is worth looking at, for many people right here on this forum actually. This dentist is trauma informed. And she explains (through her own anxiety I believe) why some patients really struggle.
 
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RustyRebecca

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On what you are saying, I too can see the benefits of the rubber dam. But it isnt that as much as the frame as well over the mouth/face and having to have my mouth open the entire time (even with jaw rests). It is that. That makes me feel trapped and out of control. And the numbing (if you see in the video above) can be totally overwhelming for someone who has been abused. So it isn't a case of worrying about my whole mouth, I don't want to feel my top lip totally numb.(someone said this in another conversation who a RTC on a top tooth).I don't want to be laid back so my feet are above my head, that makes me dizzy and out of control. And deep breathing actually isnt the answer as that can trigger hyperventilation, normal breathing but with the out breath longer than in the in breath is better. Feeling trapped is because of all the equipment and not feeling I can escape. It is so much more involved and sadly dentists aren't often equipped to deal with trauma patients.
But I am going to be assertive and I am going to say all this to the endodontist and go from there.
1. Not so numb can't feel entire top lip
2. Not so far back that my feet are above my head
3. The ability for him to stop at any point, finish quickly what he is doing (like a temp filling if need be) remove all equipment in a good time
And if that isn't possible, then perhaps extraction will be the only option but I have hope that what is meant to happen regarding all this, will in the end.
At the end of the day, there are worse things in life than even not having a front tooth.
 
conqueringfears

conqueringfears

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@RustyRebecca


I understand all of this. One thing that helped me with my PTSD (from a medical emergency) which made and still makes dental work hard for me, is therapy.

I understand the feeling of being laid back, and how it can make you dizzy. I get that way sometimes but I make sure to eat and drink beforehand which helps to offset. Plus the 30 minutes in the chair may not trigger it as much.

We all have our different coping tools, mine is usually with my breath. However that works for you, great!

I can understand feeling trapped, but from the perspective of someone who just had 2 root canals in the last few months, the equipment hovers only in one small area (it’s not big or restrictive feeling when you lie down and just make a note of where it is,) a big part of overcoming these types of situations with trauma is being aware but also knowing you are never trapped nor stuck.

My feet have never been above my head, I dont think yours will be either! The numbing wears off quite quickly. You will wish it didn’t if you are sore, so it’s definitely a good thing. The endo with me said we could stop at any point basically and add in a temporary. But remember, if you stop all of your bravery will have to be revisited, if you go through with it all tomorrow then it will just have been done and you can rest knowing it’s done and won’t happen again. Also, the equipment can be moved in like a second, literally. I guarantee this because I watched them put it on and move it for an x-ray after. It's very minimal.

Your body and your choice! If not having that front tooth will not impact your quality of life, no one can tell you otherwise.

You are still here and standing after any traumas, just know if you can do that, you can do this too.
 
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RustyRebecca

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Here in the UK, it can be different. Therapy is almost impossible to get. I have tried and spent thousands on therapy that never helped.
I have had my feet above my head too many times here in the UK.
Not having a front tooth would definitely impact my life badly but so would having a bad panic attack in the chair. None of this is easy but I will try my best. I have had to have courage all my life (I have agoraphobia too). Whatever happens, I know I am not a failure. I will do all I can ❤️ Thank you again ❤️
 
conqueringfears

conqueringfears

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@RustyRebecca I understand, I cannot speak on that as I am in the US. It took years for therapy to work and it's sad how expensive it can be.

Here in all of my dental chair experiences, feet never above head. I am sure they can accomdate that to not happen.

So many panic attacks in the dental chair, but avoiding the work has only ever hurt my pocket and my mental health. An extraction is definitely worse than a RCT (speaking only from those that I know experiences) so maybe just try your best to get this done tomorrow. I think you will thank yourself to save it. Extractions are louder sometimes, feel a bit more invasive. A RCT is quiet, boring at most and quick, it's almost relaxing.

You ARE not a failure. You are strong and brave. You are welcome. <3
 
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MountainMama

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Good luck! I had a root canal on my front tooth, and it was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. My dentist did not lay the chair back all the way, and she started by numbing just the around the tooth, but I actually asked for more, because I don’t numb easily. My dentist at the time was great about stopping and giving me a break, and it did not take too long.
 
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RustyRebecca

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@MountainMama That sounds like a positive experience. I am so glad. I really hope l can do this tomorrow. You had to have the rubber dam and frame? Its odd, as l had the start of a root canal with a normal dentist a number of years ago and though l recall the rubber dam, l don't remember it being more invasive than that.
 
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MumOfBoys1985

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When I had a root canal I don't recall a frame being used but to be honest, as long as the procedure didn't hurt and the water wasn't running in the throat and choking me, I wasn't too bothered what was going on outside of my mouth.

The dam I found really helpful because part of my fear during a regular filling is all the water going down my throat and me heaving. So the dam completely took that stress away for me.

I think you've scared yourself by watching the video. A front tooth root canal must be quicker and easier given there aren't the extra canals.

You'll be surprised at how quickly 30 minutes actually goes. Focus on breathing.

The dentist needs to lay you back to a certain angle or they won't see what they're doing.
 
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