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Getting it done



Oct 17, 2021
United Kingdom
Well well, 2 weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and plucked up the courage to pick up the phone and call the dentist, not because of a dental emergency or toothache or anything, but because I’m fed up of having that cloud hanging over my head every day that is always getting put off for another day, meanwhile any problems I have are only getting worse. Instead of the path of least resistance, I went in and asked what needs to be done, what should be done, and decided to make a commitment to see it through.

Turns out it seemingly isn’t quite so bad as I had worried, my teeth are generally salvageable. I have two destroyed molars that need extracting, I knew that, gum recession on the lower teeth, I knew that, tar tar build up on the lower teeth, I knew that. Also a wisdom tooth that currently isn’t giving me any shit but will do one day, so is on the extraction list. But I’m not riddled with cavities in every tooth which is what I had kind of assumed would be the case and the two broken teeth are the only serious problems that really need immediate intervention.

Extractions are being referred to hospital, so they can be swept under the carpet for now. And hopefully they have gas and air!!!

I have my first treatment tomorrow, a deep clean. I don’t really know what I was expecting there, maybe scrape a bit of plaque off, buff up some areas that are a bit off colour. Decided to have a look on Google this evening and it looks like I’ll be getting an injection. Instantly crapping myself, funny how phobias are. Just like that I’m back to hoping someone will just hit me over the head with a rock and I magically wake up to a full set of dental implants. I suppose I should have looked sooner and given myself the time to mentally prepare but at least I have a fighting chance of seeing it through, if I’d got there tomorrow and they surprised me with a syringe I’d have been out that chair faster than you could blink. I’ve no idea how I’m going to sit there calm and still and allow them to do it.

I wish they’d let me fill up on beer first!

Oh well. I managed to quit smoking easily enough, years ago now but in similar circumstances, just woke up one day and decided enough was enough. And more people struggle to quit smoking than struggle to go to the dentist and sit still for 5 seconds whilst a little needle pricks their gum. So surely I can manage it…

Anyone got a rock?
Hi @Sausage, I take it your appointment is today? If so, please let us know how you got on! I was going to say you could ask your dentist for some premedication (instead of the beer), but it's a bit late now :). Maybe something to ask your dentist about for later appointments, if it appeals to you!

Anyway, wishing you all the best of luck for today :grouphug:
@letsconnect it was today. Bit of a let off, turned out to be just an exam with the hygienist as I’m a new patient as far as they’re concerned, cleaning is going to be next week. She’s going to try do it using only gel and says most patients manage that and it’s rare that injections are necessary, so that’s lifted my spirits a little.

I did ask the dentist about getting some diazepam or something before but she said I would have to go to the gp, I know what their answer will be, so haven’t bothered. Tried to get some myself, not so easy anymore. When I was a teenager they were everywhere, a box full could be bought for about 20p! Just don’t know those sorts of people anymore.

Fingers crossed positive energy and small wins building up exposure with each procedure will see me through to the end. One day I will maybe reach an age where invasive procedures like blood tests start becoming common place, can’t avoid these things forever, so I need to curb this phobia eventually, might as well be now.
That's a good attitude to take 😊! The hygienist sounds quite personable then?

That sucks about your GP being so unhelpful, sorry to hear that. I think they've made it harder for dentists to prescribe proper premedication in England. Apparently, you now have to be IV-trained to prescribe a helpful dose. So unless your dentist provides IV sedation, you're probably stuck with whatever your GP is happy to prescribe (or not as the case may be :().

But as you say, the upside is that by building up small wins, you'll eventually get there, and what you learn along the way will be useful in so many other situations. Sending lots of positive energy your way!
I had a "Deep Cleaning" (which.. I later found out, I actually DIDN'T need after going to a new practice elsewhere.. a few months later ugh..) They offered me either a jab or topical and I elected for the topical and I didn't feel anything at all (and I have that unfortunately red-head gene that makes me need a 1.5x dose of anesthetic to work)
@letsconnect I’m sure they would prescribe something eventually but they won’t give anything of note out Willy nilly. It would be a protracted process of psychiatric assessment etc. for sure before they would hand out a sedative that actually does something like diazepam, at least in a dosage/quantity that would actually do anything.

I think most gp’s would be the same these days as they seem increasingly difficult to get hold of?

I need to do something anyway, I realised if I had a major health scare I would probably just leave it until it couldn’t be left anymore, ie. Hospitalised. Coeliac disease runs quite strongly in the family yet I won’t face the blood test to have it ruled in or out.

@ThatDamnPanda thanks for that, that’s really encouraging. I’m not even sure if it’s the pain I’m scared about, just the invasiveness of it all, having things put into me. The hygienist was calling out mostly 3’s and 2’s with a couple of 1’s, which after having looked it up, is my gum pocket depths. Which isn’t great but isn’t actually as bad as I thought it probably would have been from reading a lot of other people’s experiences, so maybe I don’t require cleaning to such a depth that injected anaesthesia is necessary? Honestly I thought they’d just say cut your losses let’s get them all out and give you some dentures! So I’m already halfway through all the work I had imagined would be needed doing. I definitely need the cleaning doing though. I’m actually quite excited to have clean feeling and looking teeth!
@Sausage yes, it seems like a major postcode lottery, though with the lack of resources in the NHS I kind of doubt that they would go the way of a psychiatric assessment? I mean, that would take up even more of the NHS's precious time... With dentists the question might be more about liability insurance, maybe I got this wrong but I think they now need an IV sedation license in order to be able to prescribe things like temazepam (which is the number one choice for premedication, according to all the dental sedation textbooks - works better than diazepam and wears off much more quickly afterwards).

Anyway, 3's and 2's and a couple of 1's doesn't sound too bad at all :) (for anyone else who's interested in what the numbers mean, there's a description here: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/faq/bpe-scores/ ). The injected anaesthesia is optional, obviously everyone has different preferences when it comes to pain management or what they perceive as painful vs not too bad at all, so there's no "one size fits all" approach. You might not even need topical for most of these. Best of luck for next week :clover:!
Now I’ve got a bit more time to post about it, had the cleaning done today. Dead easy although I don’t think I had anything as deep as I’ve read about on here, just all above the gum line I think, with that vibrating pointy thing with the water blast then polished. It only took about 15 minutes all in all, no injections or gel necessary. My front lower teeth are a bit squashed together so it hurt a bit I’m guessing as she forced her way in between the gaps but other than that it was fairly straight forward. Got to go back again in 3 months.

Now for the extractions, that’s going to be a real test of nerve. Had one before when I was a teen from smashing it opening beer caps and to say I found it pretty traumatic would be playing it down a bit haha. I kind of regret losing that one now as it was perfectly salvageable but I didn’t want to do root canal at the time, and still probably wouldn’t to be fair.

But I digress. First hurdle jumped.
Congrats @Sausage, sounds as if they used the term "deep cleaning" in a loose sense (it's not really a technical term anyway, although it's often used interchangeably for "scaling and root planing").

The extractions shouldn't be too traumatic if they're done by an experienced dentist/oral surgeon at the hospital? Hopefully you'll find them wayyy easier than what you experienced as a teen :)
@letsconnect it seems so. To be honest I would have thought I needed the cleaning below the gum particularly as there was tartar behind the lower front teeth. I wish I’d asked why it wasn’t necessary or done. Maybe it was just done on those few teeth and that was the cause of the pain I felt? I will find out at my next appointment with the hygienist in June.

The dentist when I was a teen wasn’t too bad I don’t think, just an extraction itself having someone heave ho on your tooth with a pair of pliers like trying to pull a fat rusty nail buried deep into a bit of wood isn’t the nicest thing in the world. I know exactly what I’m in for now! Back then I didn’t and I don’t know what I was expecting but I don’t think it was that!

In a weird way I’m kind of looking forward to it though, one of the teeth is decaying and tastes like ass, the gum around it is also tender and occasionally bleeds when brushing (only place I ever get any bleeding from). Probably making my breath minging too. So I’m more of a mindset that I actually want it out and I think that helps, I just can’t wait for it to be all over, healed up and looking at getting a bridge or something fitted.

Sorry didn’t realise I didn’t post this, just flicked back to the thread and noticed the message still in the text box as a draft!
To be honest I would have thought I needed the cleaning below the gum particularly as there was tartar behind the lower front teeth. I wish I’d asked why it wasn’t necessary or done. Maybe it was just done on those few teeth and that was the cause of the pain I felt? I will find out at my next appointment with the hygienist in June.

15 minutes does sound pretty cursory alright, I can see why you're concerned. Was this a private or an NHS appointment? By the way, in the UK, you can visit hygienists independently of dentists, so if you'd like a proper cleaning done elsewhere but stick with the same dentist that's certainly a possibility.

Have you got a date for the hospital appointment yet?
It was NHS. And no, not yet. Hoping it will be done before summer. I’ve got such a stacked schedule from June>September trying to recover from 2/3 extractions at once will not go well! Particularly as it will be on both sides of the mouth.
Keeping my fingers crossed that you'll get an appointment before June then!

If it's financially viable, you could consider seeing a hygienist privately elsewhere. Probably well worth it in terms of preventing future problems, it's just a shame about NHS dental treatment being so woefully underfunded :(
I suppose I know that’s what probably needs to be done. I was kind of hoping that someone would come and say it’s very rare scaling and planing is necessary and I could bury my head in the sand but that won’t really get me anywhere.

I think I will see how it goes with the hospital first though and probably the next appointment with the hygienist. I know the hospital won’t pull any punches when they get me in there for a look.