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Health anxiety. Scared of infection. Irrational? Tips to calm me down.,..

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SallyUK

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Apr 3, 2011
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Hi. I need some support. Major fear triggered by infection between canine/incisor flaring up. It's due to be extracted in ten days.

I had an acute infection a while back and it scared me so much because it didn't give me pain....anyway it all calmed down and was chronic according to my dentist.

It's flared up and I have had pain in the tooth, gums are really red and after using salt rinse I pushed the gum and a lot of pus came out. I felt relief. Later I did the same.

I've called dentist but hes on holiday. I can call emergency if I need to. Receptionist said to email and if he needs to see me he'll get in touch.

I'm writing for support over health anxiety. It gets so bad I can't think whether I need to worry or not, do anything or not and every single thing scary the dentist has said goes round in my head. Not that he meant to scare me but I interpret things wrongly when anxious.

He said at one point if the gums swelled again I might need antibiotics as I don't want an infection above the canine, it's nasty. So now I'm scared this is going on and is really bad and how do I stop it? My gums are nowhere near as swollen as they were before but the pus is freaking me out and I wonder what to expect. Now it's got a way out will it ease off?

Keep obsessing about the redness of the gums and thinking it's spread

I don't have a temperature but the tooth is sensitive.

Deep down I just want a magic wand to stop the redness, the pus and most of all the fear of it getting worse and fearing what that means.

Is it safe to leave it? It's painful but not like abscesses I've had in the past where it's agony and I wouldn't think twice to go see the dentist asap

My health anxiety is making it hard to judge anything. I'm scared of what an infection can do to me. Logic kicks in and tells me it's infection creating pressure and pain and it will either relieve or antibiotics will help and ultimately the tooth is going anyway but in between those thoughts I'm scared and overthinking.

Tips to calm me down?
 
S

SallyUK

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Ok I’ve calmed down a bit. It’s like I want to feel in control, do something to get myself out of uncomfortableness and that makes me feel there is urgency 😢

It’s my birthday tomorrow and I also don’t want to see the emergency dentist and not my own, so those two things are making me anxious. Would like not to be in pain, the tooth is hurting a bit more consistently now 😔 or it could be me prodding and worrying.

Going to try eat and take my mind of this ‘nightmare’ impacting quality of life (coming up for 5 months of wait and see and diagnose and treat of various issues)
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Sally... I'm so sorry for all this coming up and right around your birthday flaring up. That is not something anyone needs! aghh :(. I really hope you can get some relief and peace on this soon, and I know at times it feels.. "will it ever come to a peace and stand still?". Happy early bday Sally!! I sure hope somehow you can get some pain relief !!
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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Sally, so sorry you are still having such a rough time. In your shoes, I would want to see a dentist, even if it wasn’t my own. I would want to be given advice by a professional, and that would counteract the anxiety of having to see someone different. Is there anyone else at your surgery who could see you rather than go to the emergency dentist? I saw one of my dentist’s colkeagues when she was away and he was really lovely, and it was much better than calling 111 and having to go to a strange place.

In terms of distraction, could you see a friend, call someone, go for a nice coffee by yourself and read a book (I don’t mean right now!). De-clutter your wardrobe or kitchen cupboards, try and find one thing to donate for each day of Lent? I think staying offline might help too, Dr Google tends not to be very positive, whereas an actual dentist will be able to give you useful, sensible advice.
 
S

SallyUK

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Sally, so sorry you are still having such a rough time. In your shoes, I would want to see a dentist, even if it wasn’t my own. I would want to be given advice by a professional, and that would counteract the anxiety of having to see someone different. Is there anyone else at your surgery who could see you rather than go to the emergency dentist? I saw one of my dentist’s colkeagues when she was away and he was really lovely, and it was much better than calling 111 and having to go to a strange place.

In terms of distraction, could you see a friend, call someone, go for a nice coffee by yourself and read a book (I don’t mean right now!). De-clutter your wardrobe or kitchen cupboards, try and find one thing to donate for each day of Lent? I think staying offline might help too, Dr Google tends not to be very positive, whereas an actual dentist will be able to give you useful, sensible advice.
I managed to distract for a while then tooth throbbed and more pus! If it stays this way I will definitely go to the dentist. I've been told many times over this period that draining is a good thing but not sure when antibiotics are needed. I guess I hoped I wouldn't have to cancel all my birthday plans and this would be a minor flare and settle. I'll see in the morning 🍀

I'm reluctant about other dentist (she's at my surgery, just two dentists) because I saw her for gum pain on the molar I just had extracted and she gave me antibiotics. I followed up with my own dentist who saw nothing wrong with tooth but said it coujd have had an acute infection. The thing that bothered me was she didn't write up my notes or that I'd had antibiotics. Just put me off as I thought she was getting me out the door quick and my case is complex and she didn't communicate with him..... my own dentist said he'd avoid antibiotics again if he could. So it's tricky for me but if it remains painful and gets worse I will definitely go in. It's all just horrible. I feel like crap again. 😓 Nothing could have been done faster with this whole process and I guess there's always a risk a tooth will flare up before ultimate treatment. Pain in a front tooth seems worse than a back one for some reason. Maybe it's the sensation right under my nose! Aaargh
 
S

SallyUK

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Sally... I'm so sorry for all this coming up and right around your birthday flaring up. That is not something anyone needs! aghh :(. I really hope you can get some relief and peace on this soon, and I know at times it feels.. "will it ever come to a peace and stand still?". Happy early bday Sally!! I sure hope somehow you can get some pain relief !!
Thank you! I hope I can get through my birthday without too much distraction or a dental visit. The pain is there until I press the gum and pus comes out, so I guess it's doing what a dentist would do if they drained it. Just maybe slower..... I'm just not sure why and when they give antibiotics in this situation. I am guessing my dentist would rather extract it sooner than give me more antibiotics. Hence my anxiety about what to do as he's on holiday till Monday.

I think I'll see but by bit how it goes and try not to panic. If pain increases I will definitely call the surgery again.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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I hear you on wanting to get through your bday without a dental visit. I sure hope it can hold on for you until your dentist gets back..:thumbsup::thumbsup::grouphug:
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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Hi Sally,

Dentally speaking waiting one or two weeks is not significant, the bacteria is there but it progresses very slowly. What is more important is how much discomfort you experience, especially while chewing.
It does not sound like a good indication for antibiotics. If you start to feel extreme pain, malaise and fever, then antibiotica is in order and I assume you can also get from your family doctor. My advise: try to get from somewhere antibiotics, put it in your closet and use it as a remedy in case it’s indeed needed. It’s nice to have that option.

The fact that the pus is leaving the area will most likely prevent strong pain till your extraction. Derangement is also a good idea (as long as you do it in a reasonable way, for example by massaging the area).

Regarding the the thoughts running in your head: for me (a dentist) the word “inflammation” is not a black and white concept. Inflammation is a physiologic reaction to very innocent actions such as teeth brushing.
Furthermore: as long as you are relatively healthy and a functioning immune system, your body can (and does) fight these chronic infections routinely succefuly. The fact that the area is more sensitive does not indicate that the infection is bigger but that the immune system is fighting even harder against it.

Hope it gets better soon,
Daniel
 
M

MountainMama

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Jul 1, 2018
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Sally, first of all, Happy Birthday! I hope you can enjoy your birthday, and distract yourself for the day.

I know how hard the waiting is. I have also had almost 6 months of this uncertainty with my front teeth. Having all this near the nose is miserable. I haven't been able to blow my nose for months. It hurts too bad.

I hope Dr. Daniel's post helps with the anxiety.
 
S

SallyUK

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Apr 3, 2011
Messages
294
Hi Sally,

Dentally speaking waiting one or two weeks is not significant, the bacteria is there but it progresses very slowly. What is more important is how much discomfort you experience, especially while chewing.
It does not sound like a good indication for antibiotics. If you start to feel extreme pain, malaise and fever, then antibiotica is in order and I assume you can also get from your family doctor. My advise: try to get from somewhere antibiotics, put it in your closet and use it as a remedy in case it’s indeed needed. It’s nice to have that option.

The fact that the pus is leaving the area will most likely prevent strong pain till your extraction. Derangement is also a good idea (as long as you do it in a reasonable way, for example by massaging the area).

Regarding the the thoughts running in your head: for me (a dentist) the word “inflammation” is not a black and white concept. Inflammation is a physiologic reaction to very innocent actions such as teeth brushing.
Furthermore: as long as you are relatively healthy and a functioning immune system, your body can (and does) fight these chronic infections routinely succefuly. The fact that the area is more sensitive does not indicate that the infection is bigger but that the immune system is fighting even harder against it.

Hope it gets better soon,
Daniel

Thank you so much for your really helpful post. I have built up to fear infection in an extreme way, it is helpful to get perspective, so thank you.

The tooth is draining on its own now and no pressure feeling at all. It's uncomfortable but not in a way that takes my focus, mild discomfort. Hopefully I can continue fighting it for the next eeek until my appointment to extract. I feel calmer today. Thank you again.
 
S

SallyUK

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Messages
294
Sally, first of all, Happy Birthday! I hope you can enjoy your birthday, and distract yourself for the day.

I know how hard the waiting is. I have also had almost 6 months of this uncertainty with my front teeth. Having all this near the nose is miserable. I haven't been able to blow my nose for months. It hurts too bad.

I hope Dr. Daniel's post helps with the anxiety.
Thank you. I woke up and the tooth was no worse and no build up of pus yuk, that I had yesterday so I was able to relax a bit more and I did enjoy all my birthday plans. Dr Daniels post really helped me get the process of infection into perspective, although there is still fear.

I was thinking earlier how happy I will be when both our immediate issues are resolved. I appreciate the commaradarie x
 
M

MountainMama

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Thank you. I woke up and the tooth was no worse and no build up of pus yuk, that I had yesterday so I was able to relax a bit more and I did enjoy all my birthday plans. Dr Daniels post really helped me get the process of infection into perspective, although there is still fear.

I was thinking earlier how happy I will be when both our immediate issues are resolved. I appreciate the commaradarie x
Yes, although I hate that you are going through this, it does help to commiserate with someone who understands. I had my root canal two days before my birthday, and one of my molars pulled a week earlier. So I understand that, too.

I really hope for a good outcome for both of us, with no more infection.
 
S

SallyUK

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Just updating incase it's helpful to others.

I managed to calm right down for past few days and so did my tooth. I was planning on holding out until extraction next week and no need for dentist visit.

This morning the tooth hurt again and more pus coming and anxiety took over. Was my body dealing with this? Am I stupid to leave it? Fear and health anxiety plus huge anxiety after I did make an appointment to check it out. These past few months are really testing and increasing fear. 🙁

My dentist was just back from holiday and had lost track where we were in treatment plan. Kind of reassuring to see him calm, my anxiety thinks HE is worrying about me all the time 🤦‍♀️ He seemed non plus about my tooth. Yes infection is more active but no need for antibiotics and let's just get it out and see if it resolves. There is a concern the neighbouring tooth might also be involved still....

Signs to watch incase antibiotics are needed, although he doubts it, are more swelling, pain and salt water rinses not working to aid drainage.

I went over expectations for extraction and partial denture and said I'd be relieved when it's over and he said you will always need work but this acute situation should settle. That comment was a bit depressing but he didn't mean it to be and it made me realise how the anxiety is far harder than the dental reality. That my anxiety does make the reality harder, even though the reality IS hard, if you know what I mean. But it's not a catastrophe and dangerous and never ending in the way my mind tells me. Did I explain that well? 😅 Just that I can really see the difference between perceptions from an anxious patient and the dentists focus are quite different sometimes. I hope anxiety improves again, as it had done over the years, because I'm in this situation of old failing work and compromised teeth for the long haul unfortunately 🙁

So, I am to continue salt water rinses and hope things stay same until this tooth is out and I can move onto dealing with a partial denture eeeek. I need positive thinking for that. It will have to be ok as I can't remain anxious and scared. So I will make it work.

He also checked extraction site from upper molar three weeks ago and says its healing fine. That's a bit of motivating news.
 
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S

SallyUK

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Just a thought about anxious patients and dentists approach. The mindset that helps me a bit is allowing myself not to be in control, not trying to take responsibility for dental issues or overthinking. I have perfectionist tendencies.

Today I really saw that I think my dentist is a perfectionist, which is no bad thing when he succeeds, which he has done for over ten years with all my treatment, but with the loss of this tooth, an unexpected infection and issue that he didn’t spot ( not blaming, one of those things) and subsequent need for a partial denture, I get the distinct impression he feels this is a failure and it has made it a bit hard for me to think positive.

Wonder if other people see a link between the style of your dentist and your anxiety levels or challenges coming to terms with things?
 
S

SallyUK

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Unfortunately the infection did become acute, the fistula stopped draining and in the last 48 hrs my gum swelled badly. I have just been to an emergency dentist who offered antibiotics or to drain it there and then. I opted for drainage.

My extraction is booked for Monday. The emergency dentist gave me antibiotics metronidazole but said it was up to me if I wanted to take them. I had said I’d rather avoid. The benefits are that she said it would reduce infection more quickly which may help dentist successfully numb my tooth to extract and to keep symptoms of swelling and pain away.

I don’t really want to take them as surely the drainage will help get me through to Monday to see what my dentist says and hopefully remove the tooth and source of infection so my body can heal.

@Dr. Daniel if you are around, do you have any advice as to whether it would be wise to take the antibiotics.
 
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MountainMama

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I am so sorry that the infection became acute again! Glad to hear the extraction is Monday, and I hope that takes care of all the infection!

When I had my abscess, the dentist prescribed me antibiotics because it was so huge, but she said to schedule the procedure for at least 5 days out to give the antibiotics time to work. I know they start working in 24 hours, but since your extraction is Monday, I wouldn't think it would matter much, although I admittedly do not have a medical background.
 
S

SallyUK

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I am so sorry that the infection became acute again! Glad to hear the extraction is Monday, and I hope that takes care of all the infection!

When I had my abscess, the dentist prescribed me antibiotics because it was so huge, but she said to schedule the procedure for at least 5 days out to give the antibiotics time to work. I know they start working in 24 hours, but since your extraction is Monday, I wouldn't think it would matter much, although I admittedly do not have a medical background.
Thank you. That was my thought as well, that there isn’t enough time for them to be fully effective, I’m leaning towards holding off. She did say I could see how I go, so at least I have them. My dentist may well advise to take them and send me away, but I think I’d rather hope that it will be ok, he’ll extract and I can move on.

I have to say I was so scared today, a new dentist, a new practise and a procedure that I’d never had and it wasn’t nice at all. I hope things will be ok for the next 36 hours, I’m at the end of coping
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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Sorry to read about the flare-up.
If you suffer from additional physical conditions which impair your immune system, that’s a strong indication for antibiotics.
There is another marginal consideration: taking antibiotics now will lessen the post operative pain.
 
S

SallyUK

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Sorry to read about the flare-up.
If you suffer from additional physical conditions which impair your immune system, that’s a strong indication for antibiotics.
There is another marginal consideration: taking antibiotics now will lessen the post operative pain.
Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it.

Other than feeling tired and stressed I have no physical conditions that impair my immune system. I’m resting up today and tomorrow and working on lowering my stress.

I will wait and see how I go overnight, post operative pain is something I will consider. I can feel the tooth still draining, so it’s not swelling again right now 🤞🏻 There is a lot of bone loss around this tooth from the initial infection, so I guess it’s quite a difficult situation for my body to manage if infection increases in the area, if I wasn’t going on Monday I think I’d take the medicine.

It’s really hard to make decisions when anxious, so I appreciate the information.
 
Aurora10

Aurora10

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Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it.

Other than feeling tired and stressed I have no physical conditions that impair my immune system. I’m resting up today and tomorrow and working on lowering my stress.

I will wait and see how I go overnight, post operative pain is something I will consider. I can feel the tooth still draining, so it’s not swelling again right now 🤞🏻 There is a lot of bone loss around this tooth from the initial infection, so I guess it’s quite a difficult situation for my body to manage if infection increases in the area, if I wasn’t going on Monday I think I’d take the medicine.

It’s really hard to make decisions when anxious, so I appreciate the information.
I've just read your story, how did it all go? 😊
 
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