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*Gulp* Deep cleaning on Tues...

L

leadtheway

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
Hi everyone,

I stumbled on the forum today psyching myself out about my "deep cleaning" (scaling/root planing) on Tues.

Some background... my parents never focused on dental hygiene when I was a kid. I brushed once a day and had an occasional dentist visit. No effort was made to do more than that. I remember thinking it was weird that all of the other kids in middle and high school seemed to be getting braces but I figured I didn't need them. My last dentist appointment for xrays/cleaning was probably around age 15.....

Until my wisdom teeth acted up last year. I went to a place that did an xrays and an exam. I had one cavity that they were able to get filled the next week. They had no openings for cleanings for SIX MONTHS. I booked the appointment, but my the time the date rolled around I had been promoted at work and could not make it. My wisdom teeth turned into a fiasco. Bottom two were on or near nerves, top two were in my sinus cavity. And the oral surgeon blindsided me by saying I had a mass in my sinus cavity. I was already freaking out about the possibility of multiple complications from wisdom teeth surgery and then she threw that at me. After two weeks of freaking out, I had the wisdom teeth removed... and no complications!! Less than a week later I had my sinus CT and was diagnosed by a ENT with a mucous retention cyst... something completely normal and benign that may cause issues later but for most people does not.

I'm 31 now, and I've gone back to school to study child development. There is so much focus on dental health and teaching it to children that my teeth make me self conscious. They are a little yellow (chain coffee drinker), the front teeth (top and bottom) are crooked/crowded, but they are generally in good health... I brush at least once a day (I've started making an effort to brush twice), I never flossed (I've started flossing), and I have this habit of using a clean fingernail to scrape the plaque off of my teeth. It's disgusting, I know... I also have, as far back as I can remember, had popping/clicking in my left jaw. So, I recently decided I wanted to give braces a go and sought out Smile Direct Club. Something about them rubbed me the wrong way... not entirely sure what it was, but I backed out and told my husband I wanted to see a real dentist.

Last Wednesday, I saw a dentist. Xrays show 5 small cavities that do not need intervention now, and 2 that did. They were able to do fillings that day. He also scheduled me for a "scaling and root planing" on Tuesday (7/7).... and I have an Orthodontist consult in the morning before that.

I'm a little nervous about the ortho consult because I want straight teeth SO BADLY but I'm worried that it's going to be complicated with my jaw or whatever else the orthodontist finds.

I'm absolutely terrified about the scaling and root planing. I'm booked for whole mouth, I confirmed that they will numb me completely. I don't like not being in control. I'm also not looking forward to sitting still for what they said will be "about an hour not including time to numb you." I hate sitting still. I hate not being able to do anything. I'm also worried about the recovery.... and I'm worried about how many shots I'm going to need for them to do my whole mouth. I know I could break it up and do sections at a time, but I'd like to get this over with so I can move on to whatever orthodontic work I need. I have never been happy with my smile (which is why I'm never in pictures when I go anywhere), so I really want straight, healthy teeth.

Does anyone have an advice, information, or comforting words?
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
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Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,020
Hi leadtheway :welcome:,

well done on starting this journey. It shounds that while you have been unlucky enough not to be guided towards dental care much in the childhood, you managed to turn it and get on track without much damage. It‘s good to read that you started to brush and floss regularly and I am sure this will get easier over time. I‘m also somwehat glad that you went to a real dentist for braces.

Now I am not sure what it is about deep cleaning that makes people freak out when thinking about it, maybe it‘s the name.. but if you look around here in the forum, pretty much everyone was scared at first and had a good experience afterwards. You won‘t be feeling anything and if you went through fillings then you are already familiar with stuff like water and suction and treatment in general. This won‘t be any different. You can read more about deep cleaning here.

The need for control is a good point and we have a good article about it here. You can find some tips about how to put yourself in control and I can only encourage you not to intend to sit still for an hour, but to participate in the treatment actively: agree on a stop signal, test it few times, ask for a short break, get out of the chair for a minute, ask for whatever you need to be more comfortable, ask what will be done. These things will help you to feel that you have the saying there instead of having to passively let them do their job and that is a game changer, believe me.

All the best wishes and keep us posted
 
L

leadtheway

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
Hi leadtheway :welcome:,

well done on starting this journey. It shounds that while you have been unlucky enough not to be guided towards dental care much in the childhood, you managed to turn it and get on track without much damage. It‘s good to read that you started to brush and floss regularly and I am sure this will get easier over time. I‘m also somwehat glad that you went to a real dentist for braces.

Now I am not sure what it is about deep cleaning that makes people freak out when thinking about it, maybe it‘s the name.. but if you look around here in the forum, pretty much everyone was scared at first and had a good experience afterwards. You won‘t be feeling anything and if you went through fillings then you are already familiar with stuff like water and suction and treatment in general. This won‘t be any different. You can read more about deep cleaning here.

The need for control is a good point and we have a good article about it here. You can find some tips about how to put yourself in control and I can only encourage you not to intend to sit still for an hour, but to participate in the treatment actively: agree on a stop signal, test it few times, ask for a short break, get out of the chair for a minute, ask for whatever you need to be more comfortable, ask what will be done. These things will help you to feel that you have the saying there instead of having to passively let them do their job and that is a game changer, believe me.

All the best wishes and keep us posted
Thank you! I've never actually considered being an active participant in dental work. I guess because almost every dentist I have seen so far has been... well... I can't use those words on this forum but use your imagination. It's intimidating enough without them being... insert explicit here.

I had an experience when I was a kid where they didn't tell me (or my mother!!) that they were going to yank out four of my baby teeth. I was alone, scared, numbed, these horrible wedges in my mouth to hold it open, and no idea what was going on. I went to the waiting room in tears and had to explain to my mother what happened with a numb and bleeding mouth.

The dentist who did my first filling last year started before I was all the way numb. I made the "stop" motion and he got angry with me saying I should have known that I wasn't numb all the way.

Oral surgeon who did my wisdom teeth was AMAZING. Let me ask a whole notepad full of questions, let me email more later. Amazing person. The dentists at the place I'm going to now are all friendly and tell jokes. I told them last week about my previous experience with getting a filling and he said he would give it extra time to make sure it had kicked in.

I guess with dentistry we aren't taught to advocate for ourselves but just to sit down and deal with it. Part of my "being a grown up" mentality in regards to my teeth should probably include doing this.

Are you able to use earbuds while getting scaling and root planing done? I think if I could listen to an audiobook or something it would help me relax.
 
T

thisisme

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
330
Hi leadtheway,

It’s crazy how much we have in common. I stopped going at 14-15 and ended up going back at 31. My teeth have always bothered me (there is crowding and my eye teeth never fully came down and I hate it). The main reason I went back to the dentist was because I knew it was a necessary evil if I wanted to get braces. I had a lost filling for 7 years as well that also played a role in my decision. And so, I did it.

I can relate with feelings of having no control in the chair but going back as an adult has helped me understand that this isn’t true. I didn’t have the best experiences as a child either. I always saw it as big man, little mouth. He was older and always in control. It was the worst.

My experiences since going back have been much better. I had 4 cavities filled, three refilled, and one wisdom tooth extraction. I listened to music during each of these procedures. I always ask and he’s cool with it.

I also had an ortho consult a week ago. He looked in my mouth, we talked, I got pricing and decided to go back for X-rays and pictures. Ugh! It’s a process but I am determined.

You’ll do great at your deep cleaning. I’ve never had one but many people on here have and they have success stories! Good luck on your dental journey and I hope one day you have the healthy straight smile you’ve dreamed of!
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
1,589
Location
United States
Hi Leadtheway,
I can connect with so much of what you said! As far as deep cleanings go, I have never heard or read any horror stories about them and everyone has only reported positive outcomes so I think you’ll do really well! I haven‘t had one but I always wear my earbuds to listen to music during other dental procedures and my dentist is fine with it. I find the distraction helps me a ton but I leave the ear bud out on the side where the dentist is working in case she needs to talk to me.

What you said about not being an active participant in your dental work really hits home for me. I think that as kids many of us are taught to be obedient and cooperative and we view the dentist as authority. That shift to being an active participant didn’t happen for me until I saw a new dentist at 15 who treated me like an adult and told me that I was in control and could stop her at any time. Before she told me that, I really didn’t know that I could stop her (and my anxiety was off the charts because of the lack of control I felt).
 
M

MoonRabbit

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
41
Location
Usa
I had a deep cleaning last year. Like you I was so nervous about it but it's really not bad at all. It just feels like a regular cleaning but you are all numbed up and it takes a little longer. I would definitely recommend bringing headphones so you can listen to a podcast or some music, it helps the time pass.

You're going to do great!
 
L

leadtheway

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
Thank you all!

I'm feeling a little better about the whole thing... Kind of to the point now where I just want to stop waiting and get it over with. 48 hours to go!

At least I'll be distracted tomorrow; I was at a 4 way stop on Friday and someone didn't understand right of way so I get to take my car to a repair shop in the morning. Luckily my husband is off Tuesday so he can drop me off at the dentist and pick me up (we live 10 min away from the office). Honestly I'd walk if I had to, I just want this step over with so I can move on to whatever the next one is.
 
L

leadtheway

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
I wanted to drop in with an update that I may have found a dental insurance I can pick up that would start on 8/1 (need to confer with my husband tonight), which means I would start getting treatment at a new facility next month. I booked a periodontal consult with them already for the 16th of this month (Yes, they have someone who responds to messages on weekends, WOW!!) because since I've upped my hygiene and my mouth looks better, I think I have receding gums. Since my dentist does not have a periodontist on staff, I want to seek an expert opinion. New facility will let me book an orthodontist consult with them when I go on the 16th. This is frustrating because it could potentially slow down my journey to straight teeth, but I guess if I wind up with better oral health overall it's worth it. I'm trying to have everything over and done by November 2021 for international travel with my friend... I want to have pictures of ME when I go, not just everything else.
 
M

MoonRabbit

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
41
Location
Usa
I wanted to drop in with an update that I may have found a dental insurance I can pick up that would start on 8/1 (need to confer with my husband tonight), which means I would start getting treatment at a new facility next month. I booked a periodontal consult with them already for the 16th of this month (Yes, they have someone who responds to messages on weekends, WOW!!) because since I've upped my hygiene and my mouth looks better, I think I have receding gums. Since my dentist does not have a periodontist on staff, I want to seek an expert opinion. New facility will let me book an orthodontist consult with them when I go on the 16th. This is frustrating because it could potentially slow down my journey to straight teeth, but I guess if I wind up with better oral health overall it's worth it. I'm trying to have everything over and done by November 2021 for international travel with my friend... I want to have pictures of ME when I go, not just everything else.

That sounds like a good plan. Even though it may delay your orthodontic work, I personally feel that getting on top of any non cosmetic problems first is the best move. Good luck!
 
L

leadtheway

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
That sounds like a good plan. Even though it may delay your orthodontic work, I personally feel that getting on top of any non cosmetic problems first is the best move. Good luck!
I'm still going for the dreaded scaling/root planing on Tues. I feel like I need it so why delay it.... keeping the orthodontist consult Tues as well just to see. I won't be able to get braces (or dare I hope Invisalign) with them anyway with the insurance but it would be nice to know what I'm looking at orthodontics wise.
 
M

MoonRabbit

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Dec 19, 2018
Messages
41
Location
Usa
It's great you are keeping the deep cleaning, once it's all over you are going to be so surprised at how simple it is. I know it's so uncomfortable sitting in that chair for a length of time but if you start to feel anxious just let the hygienist know, if they are good at their job they will give you a second to breathe and gather your thoughts. Are you getting your whole mouth done in one visit or is it broken up in a few sessions?
 
L

leadtheway

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
It's great you are keeping the deep cleaning, once it's all over you are going to be so surprised at how simple it is. I know it's so uncomfortable sitting in that chair for a length of time but if you start to feel anxious just let the hygienist know, if they are good at their job they will give you a second to breathe and gather your thoughts. Are you getting your whole mouth done in one visit or is it broken up in a few sessions?
Whole mouth at once.... get it over with! LOL!
 
M

MoonRabbit

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Dec 19, 2018
Messages
41
Location
Usa
Whole mouth at once.... get it over with! LOL!
Lol that's what I wanted as well but they only do 2 or 4 sessions so they did half my mouth in one visit then the other half in another visit. I think each visit took a little over an hour or so. But it went by pretty fast.

I know it's going to be impossible not to focus on the negative feelings but try to keep some of the positive in the back of your mind like how clean your mouth is going to feel when you get done, your gums are going to look and feel so much more healthy and if you keep up with at home oral health you will most likely never have to do this again. And most importantly treat yourself for a job well done for your accomplishment when it's all over, because it is so well deserved!
 
L

leadtheway

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Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
Lol that's what I wanted as well but they only do 2 or 4 sessions so they did half my mouth in one visit then the other half in another visit. I think each visit took a little over an hour or so. But it went by pretty fast.

I know it's going to be impossible not to focus on the negative feelings but try to keep some of the positive in the back of your mind like how clean your mouth is going to feel when you get done, your gums are going to look and feel so much more healthy and if you keep up with at home oral health you will most likely never have to do this again. And most importantly treat yourself for a job well done for your accomplishment when it's all over, because it is so well deserved!
I think now I'm mentally ready for it, just want to go get it over with. I'm by no means looking forward to it, but I'm no longer freaking out.

I've moved on to being annoyed about everything else that I may or may not have to do. I'm not a patient person so waiting until the 16th feels like I'm a kid waiting for Christmas and it's never going to get here. I had a talk with my best friend and my husband about my general frustration with this whole thing and I feel a lot better about all of that too, but it still sucks. All I want is straight teeth and until I talk to the periodontist I feel like I have no idea what's going on.
 
L

leadtheway

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Messages
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Location
Long Beach, CA
Ortho consult: I am a candidate for Invisalign, I do have gum recession but it is minor. 18 months of treatment. ..... can't book anything with her because of getting the insurance and switching to another dentist next month but at least I know what I'm looking at. Still going to periodontist on the 16th.

Scaling/Root Planing: The shots hurt a little as the needle went in, especially the ones on the top. It took 6 injections, 1 on each side of the bottom, 2 on each side of the top. After that, no real pain... until she hit a sensitive spot on one of my molars. That was a little painful but sort of like stabbing yourself biting into a sharp chip so not terrible. Honestly the worst part of the whole thing was all of the splashback from the water. It was like being on a water ride at an amusement park, only, ya know, no fun. A few years ago I dropped a square metal mannequin base (about 10lbs) on my foot, corner first and it tore down to the tendons. That hurt a heck of a lot more than this!

Is it normal to be more numb on one side of your face than the other?

Also, a big thank you to everyone for all of your encouragement. I appreciate it!
 
Enarete

Enarete

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3,020
Hi leadtheway and thanks for the update! What great news!! Delighted to read that you are a candidate for Invisalign! Give yourself a pat on the back for getting through the cleaning. The splashback from the water is my most hated part too. Top front teeth are sometimes not to pleasant to be numbed up, well done on getting through it. Sounds like it wasn't unbearable though.
Regarding your question about being more numb on one side. I am not sure you were referring to the fact that there was a painful spot despite the fact you have been numbed up or whether you mean one side of the mouth feeling less numb than the other, but both can happen.

Hope you have a lovely evening and treat yourself nicely (any special way to treat yourself after the visit? I used to spent the evening in my bed watching a good show eating a cake!) :)
 
M

MoonRabbit

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Dec 19, 2018
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Congrats on the successful deep cleaning! I remember the front teeth shots, they do hurt more. But at least it's quick. As for being numb. They may have injected more in certain areas than others.
 
L

leadtheway

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Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
I bought myself a new purse to treat myself and my husband bought us cupcakes.

The whole right side of my face was numb versus the left side was more tingly and it took about an hour longer to get feeling back on the right side. Putting on chapstick was amusing! Feels normal now, just a little sore on the one injection site, feels like a pulled muscle. I had that happen with my wisdom teeth last year too. It went away the next day so nbd.
 
J

JaySee19

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Jun 17, 2020
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87
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Germany
I’ve got this coming up in about 3 weeks time. This is a new dental procedure for me and I’m a “little nervous” - understatement of the year! Normally if something is 3 weeks away I can block it out for at least another 2 weeks, but this time I‘m being unsuccessful.
So good to hear that everything went well for you!
Also the last thing I want after a trip to the dentist is anything sweet as a “reward”. That sugar got me here in the first place and the thought of chocolate/cake/biscuits/ice-cream etc. just turns my stomach! Don’t worry, it’s just a phase and it will fade. It‘s good while it lasts and helps me lose some weight! One of the positive side effects - which I’m clinging to at the moment!
 
L

leadtheway

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Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Long Beach, CA
I’ve got this coming up in about 3 weeks time. This is a new dental procedure for me and I’m a “little nervous” - understatement of the year! Normally if something is 3 weeks away I can block it out for at least another 2 weeks, but this time I‘m being unsuccessful.
So good to hear that everything went well for you!
Also the last thing I want after a trip to the dentist is anything sweet as a “reward”. That sugar got me here in the first place and the thought of chocolate/cake/biscuits/ice-cream etc. just turns my stomach! Don’t worry, it’s just a phase and it will fade. It‘s good while it lasts and helps me lose some weight! One of the positive side effects - which I’m clinging to at the moment!

I cannot imagine having to wait 3 weeks to have it done. I would've needed some serious anxiety medications if I had to wait much longer than the one week.

A few points of friendly advice:
1. It's not as bad as it sounds. Seriously.
2. Let your dentist's office know you're nervous. I told my hygienist this up front as we were walking to the room. She told me about everything she would be doing, what it would feel like, etc. She helped calm my nerves. I had called the day before and spoke to a receptionist who calmed me down and went as far as to check on me during and after the process to make sure I was okay.
3. If you have questions, call your dentist's office and ask them. DO NOT GOOGLE. If it's something you deem trivial and you do not want to call your dentist, ask us here. GOOGLE=BAD.
4. Youtube is worse. Just don't.
5. It's not sugar that got us into this mess, it's plaque and tarter which come from any/every food. Brushing and flossing are our new hobbies.
 
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