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Has anyone ever experienced this? just some ramblings...

kitkat

kitkat

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It has been a really long time since I have experienced this, but a very SMALL handful of times, there has been a moment, where all of the stress and tension has completely drained out of my body and I have become completely relaxed during treatment. Usually it's about mid-treatment and I think to myself "I can't believe how relaxed I am right now!" and then feel really proud for handling the situation like a "normal" person! :giggle: For some reason, the stress and tension does not drain as easily as it used to though even though nothing has changed which then leads me to believe I'm getting worse! :( But it could just be that my appointments are a lot more spaced out now (I need less stuff done), and usually those really calm appointments were all squished close together so the frequency/familiarity really helped. Sometimes I wish cleanings were every 3 months instead of 6 months so it would be easier to return and then I come to my senses and realize I must be crazy wishing for something like that! :silly:

I feel like most of my most recent appointments have consisted of me being completely tense and shaking the whole time, full-on adrenaline surge (fight or flight mode), my thoughts/pulse/respiration well above the average rates...chanting a mantra in my head telling myself that "I'm okay" to keep the panic down to a shout while my poor dentist tries her hardest to reassure and accommodate me. I've never really had any negative experiences with her and she's the only dentist I've ever accomplished that relaxed state with (not sedated) but yet, my anxiety has intensified??? What gives?! Actually to clarify, my anxiety whilst in the chair has intensified but my anticipatory anxiety has improved by leaps and bounds and is almost gone. I do typically relax some after treatment gets going but can't figure out A) how I achieved the true "relaxed state" before and B) how to get there again! :( I miss it terribly...oh well, enough of my ramblings for now.

Any thoughts on this???
 
brit

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Is it possible she doesn't indulge in as much small talk with you as she used to, as she assumes you no longer need that when in fact you probably do? When I am in the hands of 'the right dentist', I am so relaxed I have no right whatsoever to be posting here.
 
coolin

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When I am in the hands of 'the right dentist', I am so relaxed I have no right whatsoever to be posting here.
Lol - me too ;)
 
kitkat

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Is it possible she doesn't indulge in as much small talk with you as she used to, as she assumes you no longer need that when in fact you probably do? When I am in the hands of 'the right dentist', I am so relaxed I have no right whatsoever to be posting here.
Wow! I'm pretty sure that's it! You're so insightful Brit! :respect:

She definitely handled me with the "kid gloves" more in the beginning because I think I was more openly fearful. She used to small talk more about non-dental things yet at the same time still talk me through each step of the procedure (telling me what she was doing, why, what to expect) and now I think she's more quiet and only warns me about the big things and that's more towards the mid-end of procedures because I think she can tell I'm getting more stressed/tense. It's like a pressure cooker situation where my fear starts off small and then builds and builds. She used to make an effort to calm me from the very beginning before she did anything in my mouth...now she doesn't start to talk to me reassuringly until I'm really on edge but by then it's just out of my control and there is no turning back. I think I may need to remind her that I'm nervous at the beginning and request that she talk me through procedures because like you said, she may feel like I just don't need it anymore or maybe just forgets since I'm not too openly fearful these days (til mid-procedure when I start to get really overwhelmed :rolleyes:). I think the mystery is solved.
 
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griffinej5

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I've had this happen. I'll be panicking over it, and all of a sudden, I realize I've stopped panicking. I feel like sometimes, it's because I have totally exhausted myself. I have no energy left to devote to panicking. I've also noticed that when I've had a situation where I really panicked like I will at the dentist, I'm often exhausted afterwards.
 
kitkat

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I've had this happen. I'll be panicking over it, and all of a sudden, I realize I've stopped panicking. I feel like sometimes, it's because I have totally exhausted myself. I have no energy left to devote to panicking. I've also noticed that when I've had a situation where I really panicked like I will at the dentist, I'm often exhausted afterwards.
I think what you are describing is an adrenaline crash. I experience this after every dental appointment. I can't focus on anything, I sometimes have a headache and I'm completely exhausted and just want to sleep.

I see each dental appointment as a series of steps or obstacles/hurdles (some more challenging than others); I think it is less overwhelming to break it down into smaller pieces and compartmentalize things. For instance, I view getting a filling as driving there, sitting in the waiting room, sitting in the chair, initial encounter with dentist, getting local anesthesia, drilling, getting the tooth filled, curing the filling, checking the bite, and correcting the bite...as each thing happens, I mentally cross it off my list and draw confidence from knowing that I have handled x number of things with only y number of things left to do. After drilling, I really don't find the rest of the things on the list too stressful so if I'm not already over the edge I am able to relax to some degree. I have found that in the past, I was able to reach a very relaxed state very early into drilling (once we have established I'm numb) but that's not the case anymore and I can't even begin to relax at all until she confirms that the drilling is done. By then, I do relax some, partially from exhaustion and partially because in my mind, the worst of it is over but I don't want it to be that way. I want to go back to the way it was where once I know I'm numb, I can relax fully but I think I just need to start with some damage control from the beginning to keep things tame until the drilling starts. Otherwise I'm already over the first hill on the fear coaster and just along for the ride! :o

After my last appointment my dentist asked if I would like to take a break after she had finished drilling and I just looked at her perplexed and said "Well no, not that the hard part is over now. The rest is actually pretty relaxing in comparison." :confused: I appreciate her efforts and maybe she thought I could use a break to get my composure but I'm also the type of person that can't hold her local anesthesia and I want to work fast before it wears off! And even though extra anesthesia injections do not bother me, I'd rather not prolong my time in that environment...I want to get in and out as quickly and comfortably as possible.
 
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Poodleoo

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My anxiety levels come and go. And I think maybe the small talk is crucial, as I noticed during the most stressful thing I ever had since I returned to regular dentist visits, as she was waiting for the LA to kick in, she asked me something about my work and I actually got so into answering her, I realised I had relaxed! And that LA works better when you relax.

My old dentist, despite being very good, said something the last time she did a filling, along the lines of nervous patients being harder to anaesthetise... And that she could tell how much more relaxed I was after the second injection. And that in itself raised my anxiety levels ... So an injudicious remark can raise the panic levels right back up.

My anxiety comes and goes. It isn't so bad now as it was prior to an appointment, sure I will think about it but not dwell on it. In fact I find it fairly easy to dump the whole thing from my mind. I realised what a waste if mental energy that was. I'm also curiously fine in the waiting room. It's just when I first get in the chair.


Am about to put this to the test as my trusted dentist left the practice last year and I have an appointment coming up with a different one, who is not a phobic specialist, as she was. However I had a very good experience indeed with this dentist when mine was on holiday once and I needed an emergency appointment. Worst case scenario too... First part of a root canal on an infected tooth! Which actually was painless. She told me afterwards it doesn't always go so smoothly for her non phobic patients so she was relieved I was OK with it.

i started going to the dentist, after years if not decades if avoidance, around 2008 and found my confidence increased initially but that last year though nothing bad or painful happened , I started to feel a bit more anxious when in the chair....

I think if myself as largely cured, but anxiety will reassert itself from time to time. I just have to deal with it.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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My anxiety levels come and go. And I think maybe the small talk is crucial, as I noticed during the most stressful thing I ever had since I returned to regular dentist visits, as she was waiting for the LA to kick in, she asked me something about my work and I actually got so into answering her, I realised I had relaxed! And that LA works better when you relax.
Agreed. I just tested this out at my last appointment by initiating small talk when my dentist did not take it upon herself to do so and kept her talking and that helped me tremendously. The last appointment was only for a cleaning but even so, I was relaxed much more than usual. The talking distracts me and a lot of times she will tell me about when she was a student or her dogs or just personal stories and I think that helps to "humanize" her a bit! :giggle: I just relate to her better and feel more comfortable with her when I hear her anecdotes about her life. I think the humanizing aspect is important because the mask, gloves, and equipment works against them in that aspect.

My old dentist, despite being very good, said something the last time she did a filling, along the lines of nervous patients being harder to anaesthetise... And that she could tell how much more relaxed I was after the second injection. And that in itself raised my anxiety levels ... So an injudicious remark can raise the panic levels right back up.

My anxiety comes and goes. It isn't so bad now as it was prior to an appointment, sure I will think about it but not dwell on it. In fact I find it fairly easy to dump the whole thing from my mind. I realised what a waste if mental energy that was. I'm also curiously fine in the waiting room. It's just when I first get in the chair.
I've noticed that any remark that acknowledges how nervous I am, no matter how well intentioned, tends to send my anxiety levels right back up. It just makes me self-conscious like I have been 'found out' even though I know that she already knows that I am nervous and I am glad that she knows. I like to tell myself each new appointment is like a fresh start and say to myself "okay...today I'm going to play it cool! :cool: I'm going to act like a normal person " and then she says something like "I can see that you're nervous..." and I feel like I've blown it for that appointment! :shame: I'm too hard on myself and know that it's not about acting brave but I'm only human.

My anxiety is at its peak in the waiting room and when the chair reclines. The rest of the time typically is not too bad but then I have appointments where it just gets away from me and I feel like I'm in fight or flight mode the whole time or the good majority of the appointment. No particular reason for it to my knowledge other than maybe less talking happening. Constant talk seems to keep everything quelled enough to manage and can even extinguish the anxiety entirely on a good day.

Am about to put this to the test as my trusted dentist left the practice last year and I have an appointment coming up with a different one, who is not a phobic specialist, as she was. However I had a very good experience indeed with this dentist when mine was on holiday once and I needed an emergency appointment. Worst case scenario too... First part of a root canal on an infected tooth! Which actually was painless. She told me afterwards it doesn't always go so smoothly for her non phobic patients so she was relieved I was OK with it.

i started going to the dentist, after years if not decades if avoidance, around 2008 and found my confidence increased initially but that last year though nothing bad or painful happened , I started to feel a bit more anxious when in the chair....

I think if myself as largely cured, but anxiety will reassert itself from time to time. I just have to deal with it.
Good luck with the new dentist taking over your care! :clover: It sounds like she's very good if she was able to handle you at your worst. My dentist does not claim to specialize in working with anxious patient's either or even "cater to cowards" as many of them advertise but she just has excellent chair-side manner and communicates well and for me, that has been enough.
It sounds like you have made a lot of progress so congrats to you! :jump:My anxiety also comes and goes but it is at least predictable for the most part; it used to sneak up on me more. I always struggle with the same things: drilling and scaling. I also have a fear of anesthetic either not working or wearing off too quickly. The anesthetic problem is just a vicious cycle because as you said, it is harder to anesthetize if you are nervous, and I'm nervous that the anesthetic will not work which is only decreasing it's effectiveness...so my nervousness is then actually directly contributing to what I'm nervous about :confused:.
 
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griffinej5

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I think what you are describing is an adrenaline crash. I experience this after every dental appointment. I can't focus on anything, I sometimes have a headache and I'm completely exhausted and just want to sleep.
Yes, I think so. Just scrolling around now looking at stuff I've posted in. Like yesterday, there was definitely a moment there where I crashed. Then I left afterwards and got my allergy shots, and took Benadryl. Between the Benadryl and the post panic crash, I came home and went to sleep from 2-7:30.
 
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Geraint

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Although I have been successfuly going to the dentist for over 20 years now , I have found that my anxiety levels can rise particularly when i have needed treatment. The dentist I had in Leicester - Mrs Beoku - Betts was really caring and I saw her for 10.5 years before moving to York. I fully trusted her and I feel we had a very good dentist - patient relationship, but I would still feel nervous about having a filling. Inspite of the care I have been shown by my dentist's I still have a fear of the drill, and find the noise and sound of the drill really unnerving. Thankfuly all three of my dentist's Miss J.l. Potter - Chester - first and present dentist, Mrs Beoku - Betts Leicester - second, Mrs Carolyn Rickleton - Third dentist - York have all been very understanding and sympathetic towards my fears/ concerns. They have all been very approachable and I have had no difficulty in discussing my fears / concerns with them. I feel being open with my dentist about my fears / concerns helps.

During an appointment my anxiety levels can differ, particularly when I need treatment that involves drilling, I am usualy quite nervous when I first sit in the chair - though I always try to tell my dentist that I am nervous. Then when the drilling starts my anxiety would rise, when the drilling has stopped my anxiety would lower. Check ups and scale an polish appointments don't bother me. All three of my dentist's have been really good at speaking to me and ressuring me which has helped me a lot. I have had full confidence in all three of them and would happily return to each one of them
 
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Poodleoo

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Well I went, after not going for over a year as my old dentist had left. I thought I might need a couple of fillings, but nothing 'new' seems to have happened, only, I happened to casually mention that my largest filling in a back molar, sometimes felt slightly uncomfortable. It's never massively painful, and it can go days without me feeling anything but it fell right out and was replaced, maybe 18 mths ago - and I never quite felt it felt 'right' after that. So the new dentist is going to take the whole thing off, check there is nothing sinister going on, and replace it.

Just like Kitkat, and Geraint, I find myself only really worrying about the drilling. Needles don't bother me - the thought of not being numb does. And yet I had this done, 18 mths ago on the same tooth - with no problem! So yes, the phobia definitely is coming and going. I know this doesn't hurt - although last time they were only drilling away temporary filling and this time it is a 'real' filling.

I remember afterwards (again, the power of casual comments!) the dentist and nurse saying "You did really well. That was a big one!" and suddenly thinking - Oh no, was that meant to hurt? Does that normally hurt people? Why say that?

So yes, what Kitkat describes is exactly how I feel about tomorrow. Even when utterly numb, I find it impossible to 'relax' until the drilling is over. Then... I just don't care! I remember last time, it went on quite a while, too. I don't get why I am scared when I had this done before - and felt nothing.:) (As my phobia is purely about feeling what they are doing - needles, and even the environment don't bother me any more).

I think what has knocked my confidence was the casual remark my old dentist also made about nervous patients being harder to numb up. Way to make me more nervous! Surely, it either works or it doesn't?
 
kitkat

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Wow Poodleloo! I can completely relate to you. I had almost this same exact thing happen to me a year or so ago (minus the new dentist). I had a filling done in a molar that was rather large and after several years it broke and I had it replaced. I actually did really well with the replacement because I didn't have time to work myself up about it. I went in for what I thought was only going to be a consultation for it and when my dentist found it was broken she said she had time in her schedule to fix it right now. Caught completely off-guard and knowing it had to be done eventually I just decided to do it. After about a year or so, it felt "odd" and I had difficulty flossing (the filling was on the side of the tooth like in between my teeth). So I mentioned my trouble with it to her during a routine cleaning/exam appointment and she wanted to remove it and replace it but I had to schedule another appointment and come back. The first two fillings were completely painless but I became a complete nervous wreck about replacing it again! The redo turned out to be completely painless too but I had an extremely difficult time keeping my nerves in check for some reason for the duration of the entire appointment...I actually felt bad for my dentist by the end of it for having to deal with me...I think I was stressing her out a little but she was lovely and so reassuring going above and beyond to try and put me at ease and make sure I was comfortable. During that appointment she offered me a break and I told her to keep going and she made a comment that I was a "trooper" to her assistant just acknowledging that she knew it was not easy for me and I think it was supposed to be praise for how I handled it :confused:. That's probably all that your dentist meant last time when they commented that you had done so well. They probably just wanted to build your confidence a bit. Nothing should ever hurt with the right dentist and if they expected it to, I'd run for the hills! I think even though it is something we have experienced before we can never guarantee the experience is going to be exactly the same as it was last time especially if you have had a bad past experience...even with a previous dentist, it is only natural to dwell on the possibility of that negative experience happening again and feeling a need to protect yourself from potential threats.

Here is my view on the nervous people getting numb situation: Pain is not a simple sensation. It has been proven that when someone is expecting to feel pain they are more likely to interpret other sensations such as pressure, vibration, cold, and heat as painful when they are not typically painful sensations. Nervous patients are also more likely to anticipate pain so anesthetic may be less effective for that reason. Also when you are nervous and in "fight or flight" mode the body is producing more adrenaline which naturally counteracts the local anesthetic but I think you would need to produce a ton of it for it to actually have a significant effect on it.

I hope that your appointment went well! :XXLhug:
 
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carole

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Well I can admit to you two that I can be dafter than both of you. I had a rct'd tooth that I knew no way could I feel pain in when drilled, because obviously the nerves were out and gone. But the thought of the massive filling I knew was in the tooth coming out terrified me and I was a shaking wreck when this was done a couple of weeks ago. I was still numbed and I knew it wasn't going to hurt, but I still had the sleepless nights etc...

It worked out fine but why think it is still going to go wrong. Go figure :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

It is the nature of a phobia to have no rhyme or reason. :)
 
kitkat

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I think I would react the same way carole! :giggle: It took ages to convince my irrational mind that the ultrasonic scaler would not hurt me and stop having mini-panic attacks during cleanings! :rolleyes: Any warning that comes from my dentist that hints something might be briefly uncomfortable is a double-edged sword for me...part of me would like to know in advance so I can mentally prepare for it and the other part freaks out and makes a bigger deal of it than it actually is. The only time I became extremely nervous before an injection was when she insisted on using topical anesthesia first for a difficult injection (when she NEVER uses it). I know it should make me feel better to have it but my confidence slipped with her in that moment and I thought "oh no..this is gonna hurt...even she thinks so! :(." It was fine but more stressful than usual.
 
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Re: Has anyone ever experienced this? just some ramblings... A ranting reply.

then she says something like "I can see that you're nervous..." and I feel like I've blown it for that appointment!
I could have replied to any of the comments, but yours truly highlighted how I'm thinking about dentistry in general. I am to have an extraction this week, but feel neither physically, nor emotionally, up to it. Here's what gets me: ubiquitous on the internet are websites, both medical and dental that claim to understand anxiety as it relates to dentistry - not just procedure-related anxiety, but whatever concerns a patient may have.

It is unfathomable to me why a dentist or physician would tell you that you're nervous when you have clearly stated, and demonstrated that in capital letters. I mean, this is psych 101 stuff. How can it be the 21st century and yet there's this gross ignorance demonstrated repeatedly.

I tried to see if I could work with the office where the extraction is to occur, asking if they did anything, other than prescribe a sedative, to help with basic desensitization -- I did not expect to get this for free, even though paying for any of this is akin to deciding whether there is gas the car to get to the appointment, or to have some kind of sessions. But the thing is - how can there be such pervasive ignorance, if that's what it is, or denial on their part that they need to institute basic behavior modification techniques?

Women, especially, have dealt with far worse pain and "unexpecteds," on average, I believe, than men. So, it's not as though we haven't dealt with long-lasting pain and actual fear. I completely understand being given the sense that it is you who has "blown" the appointment. That isn't coming from within, so much as from external factors.

And, let's just take a moment regarding front office staff. Some can be wonderful, but some can make things so much worse. I know the one woman I've gotten regarding any of this manages to convey that there just isn't time to bother with people like me. I live in an area where there is not good access to oral surgeons, so it's not as though one can pick and choose, and the other side of that is that they are, in fact, over-extended. But that cannot be our problem. We pay for the service. We are trying to deal with symptoms, not personalizing the experience, but they seem to make it personal, and even more of a 'mountain' -- as if you are the only person in the universe who has needs, anxiety, or wears that color coat - so to speak.

Now, I can accept the fact that they don't have television screens, movies, music, palm trees -- what I cannot fathom, again, is that there is zilch awareness of techniques that would help, OR a refusal to use them.

I have everyday anxiety difficulties as it is. Would it cost them so much to do what they can? I'm trying to deal with every aspect of this extraction, and other health concerns, as best as I can. What the heck more are we supposed to do? But I do request a lessening on the internet of such malarky as, "communicate with your doctor," "we operate as a team," blah blah blah blah blah.

Mostly? I'd just like to integrate the notion that I just "shut up," put myself in the blasted chair, and deal with it, and, there is a part of me that could do this. This, of course, would necessitate 100% investment of belief and faith that I could do just that.
 
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