• Dental Phobia Support

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Going for a talk with the dentist today

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Tammie

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Jul 26, 2016
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I have a horrible fear of dentists - from prior bad experiences as well as a history of abuse. I need a crown and three fillings :(. I'm scheduled to have them done Aug 2. I called the office today to get some time with the dentist to go over my fears. I'm literally shaking as I type this. I have an appointment with him tonight. Any suggestions on how to start this discussion? Ideas on ways to make the procedure easier? I liked the dog clicker idea. I actually had a dentist drill my hand when I raised it when I was in pain. Thanks!!
 
carole

carole

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Hi :welcome:to the forum.

I would sit down today before you go and think about what makes you nervous, is it the dentist him/herself, the tools, fear of pain or something else. Write down what you would like to say and either give this to the dentist explaining that you find it hard to start a conversation about this and would he mind reading your letter.

Or get clear in your head what you are wanting to say but still make notes to help you. I am sure they would be pleased to address your concerns. They are there to help us to get treatment we need and like to make sure we understand what needs doing and reassuring us that we will be fine. It is hard at first but I am sure that once you have spoken to the dentist you will feel better. :butterfly:
 
Angeldove

Angeldove

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Be honest with the dentist about your fears - tell them what scares you (tools in your mouth, sounds, long procedures, gagging, etc) so they are aware of it.

Personally I'm fine with needles, but my anxiety and heart rate will shoot right up if the needle hits a nerve. My dentist knows this and she is super careful about making that part completely pain free and avoiding the nerve. Also feel free to continue to share what might upset you or makes you unsure about a treatment.

I just had 2 wisdom teeth extracted last Friday and it was with a new dentist and assistant that I do not know. The assistant was a sweetheart and totally took my dental phobia seriously and was very respectful about it. The dentist wasn't as communicative as the assistant, which is fine, but I know that assistant is what got me through the procedure :)

Most dentists are happy to share their knowledge with you and calm any fears you might have. If you have a caring dentist, it will make things a lot easier for you. You are also not going to be the first patient of theirs that has a dental phobia.

Also, come up with a list of questions you have about any treatments they're going to give you. Ask about a timeline of when you should get things taken care of (over how many months or years), so you don't feel so overwhelmed to get everything done right away (if that's not for you). Talk about ways to make you more comfortable while they're working with you - mine keeps a tv on in the room so I can focus on listening to that instead of the treatment.

Good luck! That's really awesome your dentist is meeting with you ahead of the treatments to talk about things :)
 
T

Tammie

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Jul 26, 2016
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So I went to the dentist this afternoon to talk. I started talking to the assistant and opened up to her about everything. She went and got me a glass of wine! :) I kinda got to practice talking about my issues with her. Later on I found out she is the one scheduled to be with me next Tuesday. (yay) Then I got to talk to the dentist. He seemed understanding, said I wasn't the first to tell him about my issues. He's going to have a glass of wine waiting for me when I get there. He said it was fine to have a glass or two before my procedure. (now don't read this to mean I'm an alcoholic or have problems with drinking!) He's giving me extra time, and he'll stop whenever I tell him. I think I want it all done at once. He offered to do one procedure first to start out, but I'm afraid I won't go back for another procedure.
 
carole

carole

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I am pleased for you that it went well for you, I like your dentists style :sleepyjuice:

Good luck with your treatment appointment, I think you will be fine, you might have trouble standing after but who cares :cheers: what a way to get treatment :ROFLMAO::butterfly:
 
Angeldove

Angeldove

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So I went to the dentist this afternoon to talk. I started talking to the assistant and opened up to her about everything. She went and got me a glass of wine! :)

OMG I wish my dentist would do that LOL My hubby and I both said I should have a glass of wine before my extractions last week - which I didn't, but that's kind of them as a way to help you relax. A lot of people fine comfort in a glass of wine, so don't take it to mean anything else.

I kinda got to practice talking about my issues with her. Later on I found out she is the one scheduled to be with me next Tuesday. (yay) Then I got to talk to the dentist. He seemed understanding, said I wasn't the first to tell him about my issues.

Sounds like a great start to building a relationship between the dentist and assistant with you. That really helps! I've been working with my dentist and hygienist for over a year now and I know some of the assistants too and it's so nice to not have to explain my fears over and over again, while at the same time, it helps to have that trust already and be able to open up further if you need to.

I think I want it all done at once. He offered to do one procedure first to start out, but I'm afraid I won't go back for another procedure.

It might depend on the procedure. I can usually do multiple fillings in one sitting, but if it's anything else - like a part of a root canal or a cleaning, I have to do one step at a time. My jaw tenses up too much, so my dentist likes to give me as many breaks as possible. They might be okay with doing work on one side (so that your whole mouth isn't numbed up at the same time) - I needed a filling and a root canal prep on my left side once, so they did both of those in one sitting for me.
 
T

Tammie

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It might depend on the procedure. I can usually do multiple fillings in one sitting, but if it's anything else - like a part of a root canal or a cleaning, I have to do one step at a time. My jaw tenses up too much, so my dentist likes to give me as many breaks as possible. They might be okay with doing work on one side (so that your whole mouth isn't numbed up at the same time) - I needed a filling and a root canal prep on my left side once, so they did both of those in one sitting for me.

A break!?! I've never had a dentist give me a break before. I mentioned it to the assistant and she acted surprised and said of course we let you take a break. The dentist said heck you can even go to the bathroom if you need to..... I was dumbfounded. (Can you walk if you have to pee when you're getting nitrous? I guess wait a few minutes for it to wear off then go?) Sounds silly, I know, but never, ever has a dentist been ok with me taking a break. (I read the abuse survivors and dental phobia. After crying a ton, I was like yeah, yep that's it/me! Actually very helpful to read that others have gone through similar situations. And amazingly helpful to see it written down.) He did ask them to schedule a longer appt than normal for me, and I can understand needing to stay on schedule, so I appreciated it.

All but one small filling is in the same area. The crown and the tooth beside it which I think would go together. I don't remember where the other two fillings are - I think just on the other side of the crown in the other direction. It's all like within 3 teeth and then one filling on the other side. We've agreed that I can stop early if I want to.

As to the jaw tensing, the assistant (or hygienist - oh boy, I hope I don't offend them by not knowing the difference :dunno: ) said they have a support they put in so you don't have to hold your mouth open the whole time - you can relax and it keeps it open. I think I'll be okay with it. Heck, with a glass or two of wine and N2O, who knows.
 
Angeldove

Angeldove

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A break!?! I've never had a dentist give me a break before. I mentioned it to the assistant and she acted surprised and said of course we let you take a break. The dentist said heck you can even go to the bathroom if you need to..... I was dumbfounded.

Aww I'm sorry you haven't had a dentist yet who understands that sometimes yes we DO need breaks. I can't imagine dealing with a dentist who would just work through me having a panic attack in their chair. Sounds like they get having a dental phobia and fears about procedures which is wonderful.

(Can you walk if you have to pee when you're getting nitrous? I guess wait a few minutes for it to wear off then go?)

From what I've been told, the gas wears off as soon as you take it off your nose. If you want more of an effect, you breathe in your nose deeply. Never had it (should have had it for some procedures), but it sounds like pretty awesome stuff.

Sounds silly, I know, but never, ever has a dentist been ok with me taking a break. (I read the abuse survivors and dental phobia. After crying a ton, I was like yeah, yep that's it/me! Actually very helpful to read that others have gone through similar situations. And amazingly helpful to see it written down.)

This is making me tear up :cry: That just sucks - with all of my dental drama I've been through, every dentist has been really nice about me needing breaks and checking in with me about if I need/want a break.

He did ask them to schedule a longer appt than normal for me, and I can understand needing to stay on schedule, so I appreciated it.

That's great - if you need the extra time, you'll have it.

All but one small filling is in the same area. The crown and the tooth beside it which I think would go together. I don't remember where the other two fillings are - I think just on the other side of the crown in the other direction. It's all like within 3 teeth and then one filling on the other side. We've agreed that I can stop early if I want to.

:jump:

As to the jaw tensing, the assistant (or hygienist - oh boy, I hope I don't offend them by not knowing the difference :dunno: ) said they have a support they put in so you don't have to hold your mouth open the whole time - you can relax and it keeps it open. I think I'll be okay with it. Heck, with a glass or two of wine and N2O, who knows.

Mine has this rubber thing that fits in between my teeth and cheek that does that - they just don't usually use it because I have issues with too many tools and hands in my mouth at one time. I did have it in my mouth once and it was great - didn't make me gag (small enough it didn't take up too much space, big enough that it didn't make me gag, solid enough that it was easy to keep in place and not make me gag).

With the wine and the gas, you'll do great! They should seriously use that as a selling point - wine and dental work!
 
T

Tammie

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Jul 26, 2016
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With the wine and the gas, you'll do great! They should seriously use that as a selling point - wine and dental work!

That's the only way they got me into the practice to begin with!!!!! I'm so happy a co-worker mentioned the wine at the dentist's office one day at work.


He offered halcion, which I first said ok. Then I read about the amnesia side effect, which I understand is great for some people. I kinda wish I wouldn't have to remember the appointment, but due to prior abuse and being drugged during it I totally freaked out when I read about this. I think I was almost more afraid/stressed/terrified really of the sedation than the procedure (which I still am terrified of). He and the assistant were the third and fourth people I've ever mentioned this to (where people would know who I actually was). He was so great and told me that I wasn't the first person to tell him about abuse and that he definitely wouldn't have me take the halcion. There was a sense of relief to finally come clean about my past. :)
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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Yay! It sounds like you've found 'a keeper'. I also can't imagine knowing that I can't take a break if I need it - though for me I just like to get it over with as quickly as possible. I also have a trauma history. It took me years of going to my current dentist to be able to say anything about that, but he's always just seemed to 'get it'. More than once he's had to 'talk me off the ledge', but he's never seemed annoyed or bothered. I've been seeing the same dentist for 8 years now and I can say it does get easier. That's not to say that I don't get anxious anymore (because I do), but it's definitely easier for me to manage that anxiety. I only say this because I want people to know that things do get easier. Because of my trauma history and related control issues, I won't do any type of sedation (even pills or gas... I'm nearly 40 and didn't even have my first of alcohol until I was 30!), but my dentist has always respected that even though I'm sure it's made his job tougher at times.

I'm sure you'll be posting a 'success story' in no time!
 
T

Tammie

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Jul 26, 2016
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So the first part is done!!! :jump: :sleepyjuice::dance2::yay:


So I took xanax and a glass of wine before I even got there (with his permission), and then she brought a glass of wine to me. I only had to wait a few minutes before they brought me back. Got 1/2 of that down before we started the nitrous. Now they did have to go to the max level of nitrous, and it kinda helped. I made sure to breathe through my nose.... I let him do all the work needed to be done, which was the goal of today. So it helped enough. I really didn't want to go back for a second work session. Two of the fillings were on either side of the crown, so it just made sense for him to do it at the same time. And the filling on the other side was small. He did that one very quickly. Now I did have some pain and he re numbed me during the procedure. I really needed my husband wording the question not do you need more pain med, but rather why don't we have him give you more. Not a big difference, but for me it was. The nitrous tank ran out towards the end, but he was past the drilling point so I just let it be. They would have switched it out, but I was ok by that point. I will say the putting on of the temporary crown and drying the tooth for the cement hurt like heck!! Felt like lots of sharp needle sticks into the tooth over and over and over. I think the second dose of numbing medicine had pretty much worn off by then. He offered to re numb, but I didn't have him do it. I guess I should have. I didn't realize how bad that last little bit would be!! I also wonder if the numbing medicine numbs against the hot temperature pain. There were several times that he mentioned after I said it hurt that it was probably the heat. It's completely worn off now, and I have some really mild discomfort. They said they would numb me and have the nitrous ready for me for my switch to the permanent crown. The dentist and the assistant were so very kind - a first time ever. And I got to take a break - had to go to the bathroom once, and I got to open/close my mouth and rest it some. That was a huge break through for me. So in two weeks I get the permanent crown and a week and half later I go back to finish my cleaning (they weren't able to do it all the first time). <sigh>
 
carole

carole

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:jump::jump::jump: WhooooooooooooooHooooooooooooo I bet you feel really pleased with yourself, you should. I am really glad things went well for you. I would always have as much numbing as they offer me every time as it is the fear of feeling any slight pain that starts me shaking and feeling panic stricken.

Well done for going through with it and getting everything done. The second visit won't be as long or as bad as the first with the feeling of pain because I am sure they won't allow you to.

Good luck for next time :clover::clover::clover::butterfly:
 
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