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Had abusive dentist experience during childhood, still ridden with fear 20 years later. Will have to go to the dentist tomorrow.

D

Dive

Junior member
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Russia
Abusive dentist experience
Long story short I was about 5-6 years old and was unlucky to have tooth pain on New Years Eve. Because of the holiday almost all dentistries were closed, so my parents had to take me to a state owned clinic that remained open for emergencies like this. I'm pretty sure the dentists that were working there were not happy to have patients on that day. I might have been afraid of dentists a little bit back then, but not much. Instead trying to comfort me they started yelling at me for not cooperating. It did not help that they did not let my parents be present in the room. I vividly remember screaming and crying out loudly, which made the dentist even more angry. I felt absolutely helpless and was in pain.

Consequences
Needless to say, no dental treatment went well ever since. Until I was about 14, I completely refused any dental tratment with local anesthetic, up to the point where I would sit in the dentists chair and got injected with anesthetic, but would refuse any other actions because of fear kicking in. Instead I would wait until at least several teeth are in acute pain, then I would ask my parents to do the treatment (pull them out mostly) with general anesthesia.

After I turned 15 I finally found enough inner strength to do dentistry with local anesthetics. I still was neglecting regular visits though and only went to the doctor when something hurt, which resulted in more complex and painful treatments, which, of course, did not make my fear go away. I'm 25 now and almost all my teeth have some amount of filling in them. They all had to be treated because of my neglect. Some teeth are missing because they could not be saved.

I still can't overcome my fear and don't do regular checkups.

Impending day of another dentistry procedure
Yes I did it again, I postponed the visit to the dentist to the point where there is just no way it's going to be easy and painless. One of my tooth was annoying me with occasional pains and hypersensitivity for months, but that is not even the main problem. Right under this tooth I feel a substantially sized lump which grew to the point where one of my cheeks is visibly a bit bigger than the other. If I'm not mistaken, this thing is called "cyst". I don't know what that is (and frankly I don't want to), but that does not sound good.

Today I finally forced myself to get an appointment. The day is tomorrow.

I'm feeling extremely anxious right now. I feel tense, restless, I'm sweating and lost my apetite. It's a work day but I can barely do my job. Dammit. I wish things were different.
 
I don't have any advice but just wanted to comment in solidarity.

I had a very bad dental experience when I was 5 or 6. The dentist told me I had a few very shallow cavities and asked me if I wanted novacaine. I was most afraid of the shot at that time so I said no. Then he proceeded to cap one of my teeth completely. My mom said she could hear me screaming from the waiting room the whole time, but she didn't do anything.

Fast forward - 30 years later - I'm now absolutely terrified of the dentist. I went to one 8 years ago and they said "You have peridontal disease, want to fix that?" and of course I wanted to but I was too afraid.

Developed a toothache last week and made an appointment. Abscess formed and went away before the appointment, but fear of it returning had me keep the appointment. They took my blood pressure and it was 140/110 the first time. The second time with breathing techniques I got it down to manageable.

What surprised me was the after-appointment. The dentist found several cavities and I set up appointments to have them fixed. Now I'm suffering from crippling anxiety. Last night I was curled up in a ball just dreading the future appointments, but also dreading potential toothaches. Started crying at one point - 37 year old man curled up on his couch crying because he's afraid of the dentist - that doesn't make me feel silly at all...

My brother in law is a dentist and he said that there's no reason for me to suffer like this and that I can explain the situation and ask for anxiety meds or laughing gas - but I'm afraid my brand new dentist will think I'm just a drug seeker if I ask. Might be an option for you though.

Anyway - sorry I can't offer any solutions. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. :cry:
 
26 here, and I just got 6 teeth pulled today. All 4 wisdom teeth, which were broken to the gumline and two molars 6th & 7th on the right side. In total I'm missing 8 teeth (if wizzies count).
I understand your fear of numbing, and also would wait as a teenager until my teeth got very bad. Then my parents would drag me to the dentist (which happened to be my aunt) and lovely as she was - she never numbed me properly. There was always the point where she drilled deep enough I've felt a sharp stroke of pain. I went, but each visit made me trembling with fear and anxiety and I took months to book the next visit even though there was a lot to do.
It changed now, I'm determined to get my teeth to the point where I go for a checkup and cleaning every 6 months and that's all. It's going to take time, and it already took considerable amount of cash but doing it in private practice where everyone is caring, comforting, where they don't save on your numbing and they want to to come back as a customer is worth the money.
 
I don't have any advice but just wanted to comment in solidarity.

I had a very bad dental experience when I was 5 or 6. The dentist told me I had a few very shallow cavities and asked me if I wanted novacaine. I was most afraid of the shot at that time so I said no. Then he proceeded to cap one of my teeth completely. My mom said she could hear me screaming from the waiting room the whole time, but she didn't do anything.

Fast forward - 30 years later - I'm now absolutely terrified of the dentist. I went to one 8 years ago and they said "You have peridontal disease, want to fix that?" and of course I wanted to but I was too afraid.

Developed a toothache last week and made an appointment. Abscess formed and went away before the appointment, but fear of it returning had me keep the appointment. They took my blood pressure and it was 140/110 the first time. The second time with breathing techniques I got it down to manageable.

What surprised me was the after-appointment. The dentist found several cavities and I set up appointments to have them fixed. Now I'm suffering from crippling anxiety. Last night I was curled up in a ball just dreading the future appointments, but also dreading potential toothaches. Started crying at one point - 37 year old man curled up on his couch crying because he's afraid of the dentist - that doesn't make me feel silly at all...

My brother in law is a dentist and he said that there's no reason for me to suffer like this and that I can explain the situation and ask for anxiety meds or laughing gas - but I'm afraid my brand new dentist will think I'm just a drug seeker if I ask. Might be an option for you though.

Anyway - sorry I can't offer any solutions. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. :cry:
Hi - I’m pretty sure the new dentist will not think you’re a drug seeker, and will (hopefully) appreciate that you let them know what’s going on. It will make their job easier if you’re able to relax, by laughing gas or sedation. They don’t want to hurt you or cause fear. Dentistry is much different that it used to be.
 
Hi Dive,

hope you get to read this (sometimes people chime in when they are nervous and once the appointment is done, they disappear.. and I feel like you may prefer not to think and read of dentistry unless necessary) and hopefully all went well during your last appointment.

How you are dealing with your fear sounds perfectly logical. Your experience in your childhood was very traumatic and the fact that you were separated from your parents during the horror makes it all even worse. It makes sense that you can't bring yourself to deal with dental visits until absolutely unavoidable because this is how traumatic experiences work - you ignore all reminders of what happened, you don't want to (or can't) deal with it and nothing seems to help.

If you ever feel like starting to tackle this, small gradual steps are the way. And I mean really small steps. You can find a lot of advice here on Dental Fear Central.

All the best wishes, take care and if you get to it, give us an update :)
 
Thank you everyone for your kind words and for sharing your stories. I'm very sorry for everyone who had a bad dentist experience. I also feel a bit better because I realise I'm not the only person who has such issues.

I did not post an update because there is not much to report yet. I went to the dentist, we took some x-rays and then I was told that two of my teeth will have to be removed (7th on the right bottom side and 6th on the left bottom side). It seems like the doctor was especially impressed with the 7th one (she said something like "I have never seen anything like this. It's so bad that the lower part of the root of the tooth is practically disolved to the point that it's almost invisible on x-ray"). That was it for the appointment, there was no surgeon at the time so my teeth were not pulled.

That means I'll have to arrange another appointment to do that. So the scariest and most difficult part is still ahead. I don't know what to do, I might have to go with general anesthesia once again. I hope nothing bad happens if I postpone it for a week though (I want to celebrate my birthday with my teeth intact). My gum is inframed and it's quite scary, but it does not hurt right now.

On a side note, I was told that removing these 2 teeth on the low side might actually help me to fix the underbite I have (never been to an orthodontist for obvious reasons)
 
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