Hadn't been to the dentist in over 15 years. Had my second appointment!

N

Natural_

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Joined
Sep 26, 2021
Messages
34
I've posted a bit about my history here, and I've been in and around various health anxiety related spaces online and I wanted to share where I'm at currently.

My teeth have been something I've neglected for a long time, I can't really remember the last time I was at the dentist, but I I know it was in my teens. I'm 32 now and I finally got myself to the dentist.

It was something I knew I needed to do, I could see holes in my back molars, buildup of plaque that was visible when I smiled, the sensitivity was getting worse, I was feeling "weirdness" in my mouth and random aches and pains that would worsen when I ruminated. The more I looked and photographed the worse I thought things were, I was comparing myself to google image results and reading doom-filled reddit posts. I did some searches through my various chat applications and email accounts with family and friends and saw that not only had I bene ruminating internally for years but I had even been mentioning the issues to friends and family for years as well.

I finally just came clean to my wife about the anxiety and she simply said, "Yeah, you have some holes in your teeth that we can see, what would you tell me to do if I had them?"

Right there, I knew I had to make an appointment. We made it, it was hard.

Once I went all of my fears were laid to rest. We had found a dentist that deals with patients like myself, we went in for the x-rays and consult, there was no judging no lectures, just simple and quick. I was worried that I would going to have multiple root canals and extractions and that I was going to need root planing and scaling and crowns and implants. Nope, the dentist took a look at my x-rays and said that I needed a cleaning and then eventually some cavities filled.


I went to my cleaning and everything was amazing, the technology and tools these professionals have is remarkable, the process is easy, the tools are so far beyond the old scrapers and picks, they showed me how they worked and by the time it was ready to start I suggested we not even use the numbing gel. I was that confident. Even when she warned of upcoming discomfort it was a breeze. I can promise that pain shouldn't be your worry when you go, I had a really thorough first cleaning and I'm honestly flabbergasted that I wasted so much time being afraid of possible pain.

This part might not apply to everyone, but I hope it resonates with people who also have anxiety outside of the dentist's office, too. My biggest fears outside of pain were the unknowns. It's a problem with us anxious folk, we worry and ruminate and get caught in these feedback loops that convince us that the worst is right around the corner. With dentistry you need to realize that these professionals are in your corner. I can promise you dental anxiety is more common than you think, you won't be the first patient in there who hasn't been to the dentist in a long time and you CERTAINLY won't be the first patient in there that day with anxiety. I'm an extremely anxious person, and being honest and brave for just the duration of my 45 minute appointment has turned my dentist from a point of anxiety to a beacon of comfort. They are my ally in making me not anxious about my mouth's health.


Take your time, find a dentist that makes you feel comfortable, and go. It's 2021, the experience can be lifechanging in so many ways.




P.S. Bonus pics of my teeth before and after! It feels like I have a new mouth!
 

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S

Scaredbutready

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Joined
May 21, 2021
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30
Congratulation! What a weight lifted off of you! It’s amazing how these fears can just hold us back so much. I love what your wife said, she sounds like a great support system. I just read your other post on the wisdom tooth removal, that really hit home for me. I’m 42 and have 3 wisdom, and two other extractions in the beginning of November. I’ve been making myself sick with worry. You’re so right though, those awful videos of recovery, etc I’ve seen are probably a lot less the norm than the smooth ones. Again, amazing work, your teeth look great! You should be proud
 
N

Natural_

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2021
Messages
34
Congratulation! What a weight lifted off of you! It’s amazing how these fears can just hold us back so much. I love what your wife said, she sounds like a great support system. I just read your other post on the wisdom tooth removal, that really hit home for me. I’m 42 and have 3 wisdom, and two other extractions in the beginning of November. I’ve been making myself sick with worry. You’re so right though, those awful videos of recovery, etc I’ve seen are probably a lot less the norm than the smooth ones. Again, amazing work, your teeth look great! You should be proud

I've got to get my wisdom teeth out soon as well. I had a talk with my dentist and the hygienist and just by their body language and tone I could tell that the procedure is beyond routine. I was also able to talk to the surgeon on the phone when making the appointment and that even further bolstered my confidence to the point where I am not gonna spend the money on IV sedation and just get a couple of numbing shots.

Only thing to keep in mind is several times week they have incredibly old people coming in to get a bunch of their teeth yanked in one go for implants/dentures and it's just as routine as anything else they do, and all of those folks are just fine.

If you're already at the point where you're actively searching out videos of worst-case scenarios then you are probably letting your anxiety indirectly feed itself. For whatever reason we all seem to google while telling ourselves we're getting informed, or trying to brace for what to expect, or trying to lessen the fear of the unknown but because our brains are wired to engage with negative/fear inducing content we lose our objectivity and end up in a cycle of fear.

Trust the professionals, you got this.
 
N

Natural_

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2021
Messages
34
Update: I had my fillings done today!

I hadn't been to the dentist in 18 years and (we finally did the math and researched when I had last been) and I ended up with only having to have 3 fillings after all of this time.

My back molars (as you can see in some other pics in my post history) looked to me to be not in good shape and had pretty sizable holes in them. I feared the worst even today, thinking they would start drilling and end up telling me I need a root canal.

Nothing like that happened, my teeth were actually in really good shape!

Things moved quickly once I got in the chair, and the dentist immediately had a look in my mouth and I felt a little prick on my right side, and only when I felt it on the other side where I would be having my other fillings did I realize, "Holy crap! I just had my numbing injections!" It was over in literally less time than I took to write this. I know nowadays they have other methods doing the numbing that are completely painless but this was very surprisingly easy. All of the pain and discomfort ends in an instant. The numbing process was quick and easy and took very little time.

The drills these days are sleeker and quieter than I remember from going with my mom to get her fillings, and there was absolutely no pain whatsoever. Literally none. The most uncomfortable thing was keeping my mouth open, but these days with the more compact tools they don't even have to hold your mouth open with anything. I just sort of let my jaw hang there in comfortable position and it was completely fine, the only reason I'm even writing about it is because the rest of the process was so pain free.

The entire process (3 fillings and some other light work) were all done in 20 minutes. When I was done they had me bite down several times to make sure the bite was correct, I informed them immediately that my left side felt a bit higher than it was before and they were immediately back in there making sure everything was comfortable, even when I was like, "I think this is pretty good!" she went back a couple more times to make sure I left feeling confident. I even found out as I was leaving that they did white filling for me for free!

This leads me to my only big advice coming away with it, and it's something I learned from this website and the professionals that help here: DON'T LEAVE IF YOU AREN'T COMFORTABLE! Trust me, they WANT you to feel good, they WANT your bite to feel right, they WANT your crown to fit! If something is wrong or doesn't feel right, tell them! Even if you are skeptical and don't believe in dentists or any professionals being altruistic, think about it for second, in today's world reviews and communication spread like wildfire, they have a vested interest in making sure you have a good experience regardless of their motivation (though from evidence of my recent personal experience and from what I have seen on this site, I believe that they genuinely do want to help).

I took the time to come back and write this because I've been in and around the health anxiety and dental anxiety community for a few years now because I struggle tremendously with both. One thing that is always frustrating is that generally when people have a positive experience, their anxiety lessens and they tend to not return to forums to update, people generally seem to only use these sites and post when they have issues. It's something to keep in mind, even when looking at support sites like this.
 
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