• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

Hi guys, yet another newbie with problems (long, sorry)



Sep 22, 2009
Hi everyone,

I've spent a lot of time reading through this site and really need to vent as my husband just gets frustrated and annoyed with me. He'll sit and play online poker rather than give me a hug when my world is a bottomless pit of misery which isn't really a big help. I've tried and tried to explain to him how I feel but he simply doesn't understand. So I'm sorry to you all in advance but keeping this all inside me is making me ill. Please feel free to ignore this post if you don't have an hour's reading time to make it to the end!

So, my history is that I had a really bad experience about 7 years ago, when I left the surgery I was shaking so much I couldn't even speak or sign my cheque. If I had tried to talk I think a big long wail would have come out instead, I guess some of you know what I mean. So then, I drove home, luckily making it in one piece but I don't remember doing that.

Three and a half years went by with no further visits, obviously, and then I lost a filling. I managed somehow to get a temporary one put in as it was an emergency dentist, then about three months after that I decided I really had to get it replaced with a proper one. By then, I'd moved to the States and I researched endlessly to find a good sedation dentist as I knew there were going to be problems. So I find this guy, all the qualifications you could want, good reviews etc, and put together every single bit of courage I had to get in there. To cut a long story short, I went in for a filling to be replaced and came out seven months later after numerous visits with ALL my fillings replaced, one extraction, 2 root canals and 2 crowns. The root canal on the right side failed even though it had the crown over it and I was in agony. I went back, he drilled through the new crown and filled it but it didn't help. He even managed to chip one of my front teeth while he was mauling me. In the end I had to go to a proper oral surgeon who took the whole mess out. This entailed so many visits and I got worse every time as I knew he was only going to make me worse somehow. Every visit cost what it cost plus the cost of the anaesthetist, you can't imagine how much I spent. Ever since then, the crown on the left side has also hurt constantly and is very sensitive to hot and cold and I can't put my teeth together when I chew or indeed at all. But, I have to eat on the left side since I have a hole the size of the grand canyon on the right and can't bear for anything to touch the hole, I panic if it does. Eating isn't much fun, as you can imagine.

After the above fiasco, my husband swore blind he would never again take me to a dentist as I'd told him it was all his fault. I don't think it was all his fault, but I do know I was under the influence of Halcion or something similar (pink liquid?) most of this time and could have said anything. Since I couldn't remember, I have to accept that I said this. It was after all him who made the appointments and made all the arrangements as I simply couldn't do it. Phoning a dentist to me is like opening up a direct line to hell.
I'm going to post this now and follow up with the latest so I don't lose it all if the computer crashes........
Part 2, also long.....

So, the latest installment. I know my teeth need sorting out, I don't think I can keep living like this. A few weeks back my husband needed to visit a dentist and chose a local one. He needed extractions and a filling and new dentures, a lot of work. I was so worried for him, but he took it all in his stride and is now all fixed. I still think something is going to go wrong with his mouth, infection or something, but I know that's just me and my phobia speaking. I truly believe he was one of the lucky few. Last Friday he had his final check-up and he knew I needed my teeth sorting so he made me an appointment for today, Monday (well yesterday really as it's now 2am here and I can't sleep again). So, I had 66 hours to try and prepare. The longest 66 hours I have ever spent. He also brought a prescription for Halcion and I didn't trust it since it was given by a dentist, I was also worried about taking it at all if I was going to say things I didn't mean to or that I shouldn't be saying. Those 66 hours were hell for both of us. No way on earth could I have forced myself to eat anything as I thought the medication would work better if I had an empty stomach. Plus I felt sick all the time anyway. No way have I been able to sleep more than about ten minutes over the weekend, every time I closed my eyes I had nightmares before I could even get to sleep, even with sleeping tablets so by Sunday I wasn't feeling very good at all, I must have been sick three times but there was nothing to come up. Sometimes if I can make myself hurt somewhere more than my mouth hurts, it helps me cope with the mental anguish so if I have to go to the dentist I make sure to have a good deep cut or something on my hand so I can make myself hurt more easily. This I did on Sunday, so it would be easy for me to open it up and make it hurt again on Monday. Then I figured that the Halcion (if I dared to take it) would probably not be enough, as I know I had to take more than they expected last time. I'm the type of person that needs 6mg of Lunesta to get any sleep at all and that takes 3 hours to kick in. But I knew I had to try. Sunday night, as instructed, I took one of the .25mg Halcion and after an hour I had a slight bit of double vision. Nothing else. So at that point, about 11pm on Sunday night I got in the car and went to buy grapefruit juice since it might help the Halcion work better in the morning. Then I had a bottle of wine and a couple of vodkas. I slept maybe 3 hours Sunday night, on and off. My appointment was at 10.30am and I really really wasn't trusting the meds. So at 7am I took 6mg Lunesta with 4 ibuprofen as I had a headache from the drinking. I've felt sick all weekend so nothing new there. I took one Halcion at 9.45am and two at 10am, still felt with it at 10.15 so drank the grapefruit juice. My husband had very grudgingly agreed to drive me. However, still nothing helped and I remember getting there and walking to the door and not being able to go in, I had to virtually be dragged in to the reception area. I wanted more medication because I didn't want to remember anything, but they said my blood pressure was too low. Weird, last time it was clocked in a dentists it was 280/230. At least I don't remember it all; I remember them doing xrays and hating having things put in my mouth. What I don't remember is that my husband says I was using foul language (eg I'm not going near that f*****g chair) which isn't like me at all. I have no idea what else I said along these lines as he refused to elaborate. Apparently they managed to clean about half of my teeth then I made them stop. I was in there for about three hours. Now, I need to get the cleaning finished and I also found out that the root canal wasn't done on the left side by the last butcher, which is why it still hurts so this needs re-doing and re-crowning, along with an implant to fill the huge gap on the right. We don't really have the money to do this considering we need to pay anaesthetists and oral surgeons again as well, not that money is the main consideration here.

Does anybody know any effective alternatives to Halcion? I know I have to go back and put myself through all this mental agony all over again, probably followed by months of pain and misery, but I don't want to remember anything and I can't be doing with swearing at people and I do have secrets I don't want anyone, not even my husband, to know about. I risked it this time as otherwise all I've gone through this weekend would have been for nothing and I'd have just had to do it all over again.

I'm sorry about all this ranting, I just needed to get it off my chest. If you're still here, any comments would be appreciated, thanks.
Hello, Swansong, and :welcome: to the forum.

I'm sorry you've gone through so much trying to get your mouth sorted out, but if you read back through what you wrote, can you see where you've sabotaged yourself?

You have to follow your dentist's and pharmacist's recommendations for any prescription drug to work. Combining them with other drugs, alcohol and grapefruit juice is not going to help them be more effective. Instead, you run the risk of a multitude of side effects, the least of which would be rendering the medication useless.

You admittedly drove late at night under the influence of Halcion. Whether or not it was the influence you desired, you admitted to experiencing double vision and then driving late at night. A very poor decision that could indicate you were more influenced by the drug than you realize.

I would highly recommend talking to your family physician regarding your anxiety and the cutting issue. He should be able to work out a plan for you that will help so that you're not compounding your problems with the risk of infection and permanent injury.

Talk to your dentist about IV sedation, too. Perhaps with the prospect of better sedation, it will lessen your anxiety up to and during your appointment.

But please, stop trying to overmedicate yourself like you've been doing. It obviously didn't work out well, and you're a lucky individual to have survived it with enough brain cells left to type. Please talk openly to your doctor AND your dentist and resolve this through them. I hate to sound so harsh, but I'd really love to hear a success story from you, and the only way I see that happening is if you cooperate with your healthcare professionals and trust them to help you through this.

I wish you all the best, Swansong, and I hope you don't take this as being judgemental or critical of you as a person. I do care.

Hi Cielo, thanks for replying. I guess I just needed to see that written down, at the time all I could think of was how to make the meds most effective, even having decaf coffee instead of regular. I think if the Rx had been prescribed by a doctor I would have trusted it, but by a dentist, well, no, that simply wasn't going to happen.

I don't see your comments as judgemental or critical; at least some of me knows that I'm being totally stupid over this issue but with an appointment with the torture chamber looming I lose my head completely.

IV sedation would be fine if I could get it started before I actually got through the door and didn't know where I was, but I'm guessing that's impossible! And I need to make that first step somehow before I can get the sedation, don't I?

I'd really like to have a success story on this too, I've read so many posts on here from people who have conquered this and lived to not only tell the tale but seem happy to have done so and pleased with the results. I just hope I can be like that someday and maybe even able to support others as so many people seem to do on this forum.

Since this is making me ill and threatening my marriage, I have decided to see if hypnotherapy can help. The insurance won't cover it but I figure overall the costs will be lower if I don't need to pay for anaesthesia to get my dental work done. So, if you or anyone else out there has any experience with hypnotherapy for dental phobias I sure would like to hear about your experiences. I've called three offices so far and left three messages so unfortunately haven't got anything definite in place yet but fingers crossed they may call back soon.

Once again thanks for taking the time and making the effort to reply to my crazy 2am rantings, I swear I become a totally different person where dentists are concerned and I really don't like that person so I need to make changes. See, I must be getting somewhere if I can recognise that!
Hope you all have a good and stress-free evening.....
Swansong, you sound like a totally different person in your last post. I commend you for coming here and opening up. That's a BIG step right there.:respect:

You CAN do this. There are people here that know exactly how you feel and have suffered the same fears. Keep writing and communicating your fears... it helps SO much.

Hypnotherapy may be a good choice for you. Hopefully somebody that's implemented it will see this and chime in. I wish I had experience with it to share.

With IV sedation, you would likely be given a premedication to help with the anxiety. Talk to your doctor about your extreme level of fear and see if he/she has any recommendations for you. There's something out there that will help, you've just got to find it. When you do, all of this can be put behind you and you CAN join those that have shared their success stories and have gone on to help others.

I know I sound like a redundant advertisement, but I truly believe this. It's happened too many times right here on this forum for me not to believe it. Keep reading and hopefully you'll come to believe it, too.

Thank you for coming back and posting again. I have the feeling we had the opportunity to glimpse more of the "real you." :hug2:
Hi again, I know I'm totally irrational when it comes to this - sometimes I feel like I really am two different people. And you don't sound like a redundant advertisement at all, I really appreciate your responding to me and have read enough posts to know that you're right. When I wrote my original posts I simply had nowhere else to turn and it's so good to know that somebody somewhere can and does care about how I feel. We are going away on vacation on Sunday for a week and I'm hoping I don't have any major problems with my teeth while I'm away. I really hope someone on here can give me an insight into the hypnotherapy thing and whether it has been effective for them or not, so that I don't stress out too much while I'm away and don't have any access to the internet for support. Now I need to go and try and make myself eat something so will check back when I can.
Thanks again for "listening".
Hi Swansong:

Thanks for posting your story. Seeking support is very wise and proactive. Cielo has given wise and thoughtful counsel. Halcion is an interesting medication. It is dosed according to weight and other factors. Grapefruit juice and alcohol changes the way the drug is metabolized and can make it ineffective for you.

Halcion is usually administered via "stacked dosing." You are given additional amounts of the medication before and during treatment to achieve the desired affect. Close monitoring of blood pressure and pulse-ox is used to insure you get to the best level.

It is never ever advisable to mix alcohol or other things with psycho-active medications as the results can be unpredictable. You should never drive while taking them due to slowed down motor and perception functions.

If you elect to have IV sedation the dentist can give you a pre-sedative like Ativan or Restoril, which will take the edge off. it does not fix the problem, but it can help.

Hypnosis is effective. I have used it in my practice and for pre and post surgical patients. It can take a few sessions, but it is an option.

There are methods of coping with the fear. It is a matter of taking a systematic approach. A good chat with your family doctor is a great place to begin and a treatment program can be developed. This does not need to be a lifelong struggle. You can overcome this. Medications are not the final solution. They open the door to allow you to begin to deal with the issue(s) without becoming overwhelmed.

Transforming a lifelong anxiety/phobia is a process. It starts by understanding the nature of the anxiety and becoming proactive. You are making a great start. If I can help, PM me.

Blessings :)
Hi, swansong.
I am so sorry:cry: that your dental problems and phobia are threatening your marriage. My husband, even though he doesn't have dental phobia, was so supportive of me during my recovery from my extractions(even though he never understood why I was so afraid of the dentist).
It's got to make your phobia harder to overcome if your spouse doesn't support you through these hard times.
Just keeping posting here, you will find plenty of supportive, sympathetic people here.
This group will get you through!!
Take care,
Hi Stress Doc and Hi chickenjen, thank you both so much for responding to my rantings - Jen, I hope you know how lucky you are! Having said that, I do realise how difficult it must be to cope with someone like me when I'm in that bad place in my head. I don't know if I could do it myself, so I suppose I shouldn't be judgemental but it is really hard to cope with sometimes on my own. It's like there's a box in my head full of "do not mention" subjects and I have to remember at all times what's in there, if you can understand that. This is why I'm so worried about what I say under the influence of the Halcion when I don't know what I'm saying and I can't remember what I've said afterwards. It's why I'm looking for an alternative if I can possibly find one. I really appreciate your support though, I can't tell you how much.

Stress Doc, thanks for the explanation, I do kind of understand about the stacking - what I was trying to do was make sure I was "stacked" enough to get in there in the first place, if that makes any sense. I was trying to increase the effects and never considered that my actions could make the Halcion ineffective. I am hoping the hypnotherapy will work, none of the three people I called have called back yet but I will keep this thread updated as it seems to be helping me to have a place to let out how I feel without people getting angry with me. In a way I feel relieved to have at least made a small step to try and sort out my problems, although I still have a constant nauseous feeling in my chest. I'm hoping this will decrease so I can enjoy my vacation next week without thinking too much about the horrors that await me when I get back! I live in the USA at the moment but will be returning to the UK for new year so I'd really like as much of this as possible sorted out before then. I can't keep on living like this, I know that.

From looking at your previous posts and this one, I assume you are a dentist yourself. At the moment that makes it impossible for me to PM you until I get a bit of a hold on my fears, I tried earlier but it felt like opening a direct line to Hell so I failed. But I do appreciate your comments, and if you have any further tips please do post them on here, I will definitely read them and consider carefully what you say. Thanks again for taking the time to reply to me when I know I'm being so irrational, at the moment I feel like I just have to apologise to everyone all the time which isn't a good feeling.

If anyone else out there has experience with hypnotherapy can you please post and let me know how you got on with it? The more I know the better! Thanks in advance.
From looking at your previous posts and this one, I assume you are a dentist yourself. At the moment that makes it impossible for me to PM you until I get a bit of a hold on my fears, I tried earlier but it felt like opening a direct line to Hell so I failed.

He's not a :devilish: dentist, he's a psychologist with personal experience of dental phobia so I promise he won't bite. He's not trying to sell you anything but will share various techniques to help you by pm.

The 'real' but :-*dentists are over in the Dentistry Questions section, they are called Gordon, ZZZdentist, DrMike and Drhirst and a few others who occasionally chip in. DrMike is an expert on dental hypnotherapy.
Last edited:
Hello Swansong:thumbsup:,

Thank you for taking the step forward and sharing so authentically here. We all learn and grow from each other. When I read your post and the others on here, I have a better understanding of what a person is going through before, during, and after the dental appointment. And with this better understanding, comes greater compassion for you and all those who are still avoiding the dentist because they are terrified.

You had asked about hypnotherapy. I have done a series of hypnotherapy sessions myself. It helped me release a lot of unconscious sabotaging beliefs that didn't serve me anymore. I felt tons better for having chosen to do hypnotherapy. Will that alone solve everything?.... I believe that it will help catapult you in the direction of where you want to go. Especially beginning the process of working from the core issues through hypnotherapy, and not only using medication to get you through dental appts. You seem very open to hypnotherapy, and that is a HUGE advantage. It starts with being open and willing to step into a new version of you. I am thrilled for you. you are already taking the steps. We are behind you to support you in your journey to a healthy smile and feeling better for being able to get there.

Best wishes :),
Dr. Shirley
Hi Brit, Hi Dr Shirley, thank you both for posting. Brit, thanks for the info - I will try to catch Stress Doc online sometime if I can, if he's a doctor rather than a dentist I should be able to believe what he says shouldn't I?

Dr Shirley, thank you for telling me about your hypnotherapy experience. I so want this approach to work for me. I can see I'm appearing rather paranoid but from what you said it seems like you are a dentist, right? If so, I probably should give myself a small pat on the back for even communicating voluntarily with you in this very indirect manner! If my experiences can help you or anyone else to try and understand this seemingly unnecessary and crippling phobia then that has to be a good thing.

Re the calls I made yesterday, not one of the three hypnotherapists has called me back yet, so I went and bought a book on self-hypnosis. Now, I know that self-help books can often be full of misinformation but sometimes I find them helpful and I so wanted to make a start on conquering my fear. One of the things this book suggests that I do is make a list of my motivations for wanting to do this, and I thought this would probably be a good idea. I made my list, which I thought would be fairly short but it turned out to have many more things on it than I expected (although some things are kind of repeated or overlap with each other, but that's ok). Since it does seem to be helping me a bit to keep posting here, and I can always look back to this thread from the future, I'm going to post my list here so that I can keep looking to see how much progress I'm making. If or when I think of anything else I will add to it as necessary. Nobody needs to read any further if they don't want to, this is just me trying to help me!

So here goes, these are my motivations, in no particular order:-

- To be able to telephone and speak to the dentist without fear or stress
- To be able to get to the dentist without fear or panic and without needing to use drugs or alcohol as props
- To be able to walk through the door without it feeling like a bad place
- To be able to relax voluntarily and actually sit in the chair in a positive frame of mind
- To understand that the process of going to the dentist will help me feel better, not worse
- To remain relaxed when the dentist actually touches me or does any necessary work
- To realise that anything the dentist does is for my own good
- To believe that the dentist will not intentionally cause me pain and suffering
- To believe that I will come out of the dentist's office in a better state, not a worse one
- To believe that the dentist will not do any unnecessary work for money or any other reason
- To not dread any future appointments that may be necessary
- To stop relying on hurting myself intentionally in order to transfer the pain
- To follow to the letter any instructions for any pre-appointment sedatives I may require
- To keep eating regularly before a scheduled appointment unless directed otherwise
- To not make myself sick with worry in anticipation of a dental appointment
- To not require excessive sedation in order to get dental work done
- To be able to leave the dentist's office feeling optimistic about any work done
- To be able to drive myself safely to and from the dentist's office without relying on my husband or anyone else
- To be able to sleep well and adequately during the run-up to a dental appointment
- To believe that any pain I may feel during or after a procedure will go away within a short time
- To not automatically believe that corrective follow-up appointments will be necessary
- To try and focus on the fact that I will have a healthy pain-free mouth when the work is completed
- To be consciously aware of any procedure that is carried out and understand why it is necessary
- To believe that my quality of life will be enhanced, and not made worse, by going to the dentist
- To understand that sometimes things may not go as planned and this may not be the dentist's fault

Having just typed out that lot, I guess I have some way to go! But I figure the more motivations I have to get through this, the more determined I should be to try and succeed in getting over this once and for all, whatever it takes to do it. Certainly it's better to get that lot down on here, it feels kind of like I'm making some sort of committment. I apologise if I've bored anyone to tears, but I did say earlier you didn't have to read all this! Now I'm going to try and do something without even thinking about dentists for a while, if that's possible.....
Thanks Brit, I have not bitten or nipped a patient in ages!;D Swansong, I am a psychologist that specializes in anxiety disorder. I have first hand experience with dental fear. I understand the dimensions of it.

As far a Halcion causing you to "spill your darkest secrets," it does not work that way. None of the Benzos (Halcion, Ativan, Valium, etc) cause this to happen. They do not have an affect on those areas of the brain. You cannot "make someone talk" despite the stories in spy novels and movies. Even the "truth agents" like Sodium pentothal are not that effective, and so you have to use something stronger. It’s a short skip and a hop to LSD, or something worse. Even then the results with these drugs are dubious and unreliable.

If you were 'revealing" things it was because at some level you wanted to. The Halcion is not involved.

To begin to get over the dental phobia you need to understand and believe the following:

You have the strength and ability to beat this.
You are the one that is causing the perceptions and emotional associations giving the fear power.
You are the only one that can control the anxiety as you are the source.
You have very powerful control over your emotions, physical reactions and mental focus. The problem is not a lack of control but too much control moving in an unhealthy direction.

Please know I am not being harsh. I understand the fear, panic and reactions are real and can make your life a living hell. I walked this road and discovered what works. It was scary at times but you can do it.

First suggestion. The word pictures you are using to describe the dentist and treatment are powerful enough to frighten anyone. They keep reinforcing your beliefs. We form neuro-associations in our brain based upon how we view things.

I can tell you from experience, dentists are human.;D On this forum we are blessed with some of the best. I have talked with Dr. Mike and found him to be as caring and professional as anyone I have met. When you begin to see the dentist as someone that wants to help and not harm you, the fear picture begins to change.

I know this is a huge step for you even to think about anything dental. By moving forward you are beginning to disarm the fear. You will discover it is only a shadow monster without power or substance. It is like a bully, when you stand up to it, it backs down because it has no power.

I will do whatever i can to help. Please feel free to PM me. I will be in San Francisco for a couple of day but will have my netbook with me. If you are in the states we can also chat on the phone, if you would like.

Today is the first day of a new life, one free of fear and resplendent with possibilities.

Blessings and peace :)
Hi Swansong,

Those are wonderful motivations! And yes, having written it down will help you to see where you are now, and where you want to be and that is KEY to walking towards having what you want. you now have A clear vision of what you want. =) And also seeing it written out makes it all seem more tangible and real instead of a big mass of panic.

And Swansong, I commend you for speaking to me via this forum. :jump: I am a dentist. And I feel that this is a BIG step for you to speak to me (a dentist). I applaud you for doing so. And I'm sensing that you feel more comfortable believing people who are fellow people who have walked through their dental fears or doctors who are not dentists. And that you feel very uncomfortable believing what a dentist says. Would you say that you want to TRUST that the dentist has your best interest at heart? THat you want to trust that the dentist is not intentionally trying to cause you pain and suffering? that you want to trust that the dentist will not do any unnecessary work for money or any other reason?

I can understand this mistrust. This apprehension. Does the following description feel like anything you're going through when you think of the dentist? that this 'big person' is trying to 'get' something from you. you can feel the lack of trust in your stomach. your body feels queasy when you think of having to be near this 'big person.' what is this 'big person' going to do to me. it can't be for any good reason. he can't possibly truly care about me. he just wants something. what is it? he just wants to hurt me. I'm not going to go near him. why would I want to do that if he's just going to hurt me. ....at this moment when you start noticing where your mind is going is to take a step back.... and observe that your mind is taking you down a old track. That as you observe your thoughts, you now have a choice in this new moment, to CHOOSE a NEW track or to follow the old track. to choose a new track that you want to at least talk to the dentist. and that may be all you want for today. that you don't want any more than that for today. and when you make it through the moments of only having a conversation with the dentist... and you are ok when that is done. you notice, that you are alive, you are breathing, and that he didn't hurt you in any way. this new experience becomes a reference point in your mind and body. you are building a foundation of safety and trust. And that takes time. and taking small steps. I would like to say to you, and you may or may not resonate with these words, and whether you do or not is perfectly ok, and that is to not take on more than you feel ready for. to really slow down and go at YOUR pace. Doing more than you feel you are internally ready for because you feel that's what he expects of you... is a recipe for self betrayal. and that self betrayal is NOT the foundation of building trust. YOU are the KEY person in this equation. what YOU say goes. you listen to what the dentist says or recommends and you simmer with those recommendations and decide what is in line with what YOU want. You are a powerful person, more than you currently realize. I wish you great peace.

Many blessings,
Dr. Shirley
Hi again. Dr Shirley, I'm going to answer you first, I appreciate your patience with my self-created delusions. I'm glad you like my motivations. I have a new one now - to be able to drive past the dentists office without having to take long detours to avoid the entire area which should simplify my daily life quite a lot. To me there isn't much appreciable difference between trust and believe, so I got a bit confused there. Surely if I believe someone enough to let them do something then aren't I trusting them to do it? I will look up the definitions and think about that some more. You are quite right, I do believe the people on here who have suffered or are suffering due to dentistry. I also find that doctors can be believed. Dentists on the other hand are a different matter altogether. I'm going to go into Stress Doc territory slightly now and paint a mental picture for you in the next bit, I don't want to offend you or any other dentists who may be lurking on this thread but if I don't say what I think then how can my thinking be corrected? OK, so my bad experience in 2006. I went, very very nervously, and trusted the dentist to do what was right for me. He had good qualifications etc etc, I checked him out as exhaustively as I could. Instead of making things right for me (remember I only went to have a temporary filling replaced), he seemed to do so much work and so incompetently that it eventually felt like not only had he metaphorically beaten me down to the floor, he couldn't stop kicking me and then he stole all my savings legally just as a last kick in the teeth. I could have bought a new car for the money he had off me, and I was in a far worse state at the end of the treatment than when I first worked up the courage to go and see him. Amongst other things he did two root canals which both failed and although I still have one of those (and don't I know it) with a crown on top, and the other failed root canal and the tooth with its new crown had to be removed at the end of my treatment by an oral surgeon. This surgeon refused to tell me how many referrals he received from this dentist, so I have to assume it was quite a lot.
So the upshot of this is, how I feel about him will probably never change. What I need to do is try and believe (or trust, if you prefer that word) that not every dentist is like him. This new dentist is a woman so that may help, it didn't during the last week but it may help once I try to make a difference to my thinking. Your description of how I feel in the presence of a dentist was a bit accurate, I do feel queasy (still do now and that was on Monday) but the "big person" thing I don't think is an issue. It's more that I now just expect them to do ten times the necessary work to get the extra money, and I expect them to do it wrong so that they can collect again when trying to do the corrective work without even considering the effect this can have on a person who is very fearful to begin with. I'm quite sure I didn't need all the work he did. What I need to do is try to draw a line under all this and work on addressing these issues with the new dentist and try not to compare her to the last one. This is one reason I split my motivations into such small pieces; if I can even tick off one of them it will be progress. But I'm still the type of person who if someone says I need something doing I will just say ok, get on with it, where do I sign, here, have all my money. It's resignation of sorts, I suppose. I just want to get it over with asap, I don't need to know all the details, if it needs doing it needs doing. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. Of course, right now I expect that it won't but as you know I am trying to alter that perception.

Incidentally, perhaps you can answer a question for me (but please don't be offended, you know how screwed up I am by now right?). I've thought about this a lot lately, and I can't understand the motivation to become a dentist. Strangely enough, I do realise that dentists are human. My best guess is that they have some sort of grudge against society or have been abused somehow as children or adults and this is a payback of sorts, enabling them to legally cause pain and misery to the general public, which comes with the added bonus of being able to buy a nice house, a nice car etc etc while removing these possibilities from their patients due to the high fees. I shall look forward to your comments (and those of any other dentists on here who care to answer, of course) on how wrong I am....

Stress Doc, you are making so much sense. I do know I'm being irrational and that only I can change me, I just need some tools to help me. Knowing about the halcion was helpful too, maybe I don't need to be so scared of it. The reason I took the lunesta with it was so that hopefully I'd go to sleep before I said anything I shouldn't. I would really appreciate talking to you on the phone if you don't mind; that was a lovely offer. When are you in San Francisco? I'm in Texas, but I go away on vacation on Sunday morning for a week and will not have internet access and my phone probably won't work either. Are you usually in the UK, or in the States? Whichever, maybe I could call you when I get back if we can't set this up before Sunday. What is the best time to catch you online? It's 4.15am here now, couldn't sleep again, so I'm not doing well with early mornings at the moment as you can imagine! Now I'm going to go and try and get some sleep again, take care and thanks again.
Hi Swansong:

I am sending you a PM so we can chat.

Blessings :)
Only me again, I think I need to keep updating this just to keep myself sane. If somebody wants to move this thread to the journals section please feel free, it's ok with me.

I have to say I hate how narrow-minded (and racist, if dentists are a race!) I sound when I get my head in the wrong place, but writing all this down and seeing it in black and white is making me more aware of that, especially when I read over what I've written before. I will work to change that, I promise.

I reached a conclusion that although my former dentist was indeed a butcher, I need to realise that he was only one person, and that I cannot put the whole profession in the same box as him. This is actually a step forward for me, I think, even though my rational side always knew this. There will always be good and bad people in every walk of life, after all, wherever you go, and I do not have the right to categorise the whole profession like that. Plus of course Dr Shirley on here has been nothing but supportive, and although I initially found that surprising from a dentist it was a very welcome surprise, and if you read this Dr Shirley I hope you will keep talking to me to convince me that you are the norm and not my previous dentist.

I did my first self-hypnosis session this morning and will carry on with it in the hope that it works. One of the hypnotherapists called me back but has a waiting list so maybe that's not a good idea. No answer from the other two, not a good sign, but I hope to chat to Stress Doc at the weekend and am looking forward to that.

I failed today in my deliberate attempt to drive past the dentists office, I felt so nauseous as I approached the area that I had to u-turn and do a long detour to get around. But I suppose at least I tried. At some point I know I need to get in there when I'm in my right mind and apologise for my foul language last Monday under the influence of the halcion, which I don't even remember doing but have to believe that I did. I'm not usually given to swearing and am very embarrassed about that. I really don't like myself much at the moment.

So now, I'm going to try again to get some sleep. Sweet dreams to you all, and thank you for being there!
Hi again guys, time for an update I think.

I had a relatively good vacation, tried to stop myself thinking about all this stuff and kind of succeeded! I'm using the materials which Stress Doc very kindly provided although I'm not sure if or how well they're working, however I will persevere with these to the best of my ability, along with the scripts from the self-hypnosis book that I bought. Anything that might do some good is definitely worth my time and effort!

I went to meet the hypnotherapist last Friday, she seems a very nice lady and seems to think she may be able to help so I have an appointment with her for a proper hynosis session on Wednesday which I am looking forward to. I just want an end to all this fear and anxiety, and I NEED to get my teeth sorted out, I know that. So fingers crossed on that one, I will update this thread when I've been to see her in case anyone else is considering this option. She did seem to know what she was doing, her ex-husband is a dentist (I can't imagine how she could even let him touch her!) and she used to work with him sometimes as part of the service.

I also have a psychiatrist appointment tomorrow, Tuesday, since almost everyone I have spoken to about this problem says I need to see one. I'm not too sure about this; but on the plus side they may be able to prescribe the sleeping tablets for me that my ordinary doctor is now refusing to do. It seems all I do is lie in bed and stress out over my teeth and I simply can't get to sleep, so it should be worth going and who knows, they may even be able to straighten out my head over the dentist issue as well, that would be so good. Once again I will update on this after the fact.

I hope you're all doing well and making progress, it's just so good to know that "ordinary people" can and do get through this and come out the other side smiling! I really appreciate you all being there, thanks again.
Hi, Swansong~

Thank you for updating. I'm glad you had a good vacation.

It sounds like you're definitely headed in the right direction. You're taking steps to reach your goal and I commend you for that. :respect: I'm curious to hear how your hypnotherapy session goes. With your determination and attitude, I'd think you'd be a very good candidate.

I wish you the best with your course of action. I'm confident that you'll be successful and get your dental problems sorted. I look forward to reading all about it. :hug2:
I am very happy to hear you are going to be speaking with a therapist; I say this because people usually don't suddenly engage in SIV like cutting themselves but rely on it as one of many coping mechanisms. I read from your posts that this is a very intense issue for you and I'm worried for you that you might be coping with your dental phobia (daily or just pre appointments) in such a manner. This concerns me greatly and I'm hoping you can find a therapist you can talk to so you can learn to cope using the healthy skills they teach you instead.

This therapist over the course of your appointments may also be able to assist you in ways of getting your husband involved in supporting you in this process of getting your teeth fixed and reducing/eliminating your phobia.

I know for myself, talking about dentists is hard enough, let alone admitting to my fear. It's brutal for me, even when talking to David - usually cuz he has again caught me struggling to eat or rubbing my sore jaw so he'll bring up the issue.

I know I shouldn't be defensive about it cuz he's trying to help, but I usually am defensive or the 'I'm gonna push you away' response. Sigh!