• 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.

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

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....

I'm not a dentist but I would say your whole theory there for starters pre-supposes something that doesn't have to be true i.e. that to be a dentist you have to be willing to inflict lots of pain on patients. I usually receive painfree treatment so that's how I know this not to be true. I also know the same procedure done by a different dentist/hygienist can vary enormously in the comfort stakes so as you said earlier with dentists like any other profession, they are not all the same, you do need to go on recommendation and personal preference as much as possible.
Hi Odette and Hi Brit,

I am really hoping to learn new coping skills, I have no idea why or how I picked up the cutting thing. I just know that I seem to need some sort of physical pain I can control to try and outweigh the pain I know will happen in my mouth and also the overwhelming mental pain and anguish this phobia causes. If I can personally open a wound and make myself hurt somewhere else, I can generally try to concentrate on that instead which seems to help. I have never ever felt the need to do this in any other situation, and hope never to do so. I can't even explain very well why or how it helps, I just know that it does. I certainly wouldn't recommend it though, I know it's not a good thing to do. My hand is just about healed now from Sept 21st (or rather 20th, I did it in advance this time in case the Halcion stopped me on the 21st), and I'm kind of hoping the scar will be a reminder that this isn't the way to deal with this. It's not something I do unless I have an appointment looming either, so definitely not an everyday thing.

My husband totally does not get this whole thing, and gets very frustrated with me which feels like he's angry with me. I'm guessing he thinks he's trying to help. Example - he came back from a dental appointment on the Friday and told me he'd made me an appointment for the Monday (which he knew I couldn't do myself) for a check-up. By Saturday night I was in an awful state, not eating, not sleeping, throwing up, counting down the hours. So he complains I'm ruining his weekend and he hopes I'll pull out of it tomorrow, he could understand it if this was Monday but there's nothing wrong with Sunday, is there? Nothing's going to happen on Sunday. Everything's fine. Yeah right. So instead of even trying to talk about it I just bottle it up so as not to cause an argument, and in the end I can't even think of anything to say at all so there is no conversation of any kind. Second example - I know he has an appointment so I call him just to say "good luck". He goes off at me as he says he doesn't need luck, they're going to help him and why can't I understand that? So I'm in a bit of a hole with that one, as you can see!

Regarding personal preference, I now have absolutely no confidence in my ability to make good choices when it comes to dentists as I seem to get it wrong every time. So I'm trying to rely on my husband's choice, since he seems to be doing ok so far after his procedures (though he doesn't like me asking if his mouth is hurting again yet!). He says they're good, and that's all I have to go on, so that's how it will have to be. Something in my mind is saying maybe this will be third time lucky, if I could just manage to get in there and get sorted out, so I'm trying to keep this seed of hope alive and make it grow, if that makes any sense.

Enough rambling for now, will check back later and update on my psychiatric appointment. I hope it does some good.....
Swansong, I've wondered, too, why anyone would choose the dental health field as a profession. Not because I feel they have a sinister motivation, but because I find the human mouth rather disgusting in general, and wouldn't be able to poke around in a stranger's mouth for any amount of money. :sick: I actually asked my dentist's assistant about it, and she told me she finds nothing gross about peoples' mouths and really enjoys helping people be more healthy and comfortable.

I know my dentist feels the same way, as he's been working on my mouth for nearly 20 years now, and would NEVER do anything to intentionally hurt me. He's genuinely concerned about my health and comfort, and I trust him to make good decisions on my behalf.

It's very difficult to change another's opinion, especially when it's deeply rooted in an emotion as strong as fear. But I hope in time, and by whatever means necessary, you can get to the point where you can control the fear and allow a better reality to replace it. Your world will be a much better place.
Time for an update then, the psychiatrist today was really nice and understanding, she's prescribed me pills for depression and anxiety which I was kind of expecting, and she says we can get through this. Nice to hear. I have another appointment in four weeks' time, hopefully I will feel better by then. Plus I still have the hypnotherapist appointment tomorrow which may help. I was looking forward to that too until tonight.

My main issue tonight is my husband, I learnt tonight all sorts which he has kept to himself about my appointment on Sept 21st. Apparently it took an hour to get me through the door in the first place, and an hour to get me into the chair, and I wouldn't let anyone near my teeth. My blood pressure was too low for them to give me any more meds, apparently, due to what I'd taken to get the halcion to work. Weird as my BP is usually through the roof on these occasions. I was in there for four and a half hours, which I didn't know. He says if I hadn't been so stupid with the meds I could have had at least half the work done by now. Now he is saying he told me a few days ago that the dentist would talk to the hypnotherapist on the phone and arrange for her to be there at my next appointment if necessary, I would swear on my mother's life he never told me this. I would have remembered, it would have helped. Now he's gone to bed all angry with me, and I feel like I'm always wrong. Always. Even when I agree with what he says. So I'm going to have to get myself to my next appointment somehow, and get myself home. Without even telling him I'm going. I was optimistic when I got back from the psychiatrist, and now I'm in bits again, I can't stop crying. Even with you all here, I don't know how I can actually do this on my own. Tonight I just wish I could die in my sleep and put an end to it.
He's just got angrier and angrier with me tonight, says I embarrassed him as well as me at the last appointment, and I don't want him to have to do that again. It's not fair. He hates it when I ask if his mouth is ok after his treatment, says of course it's better because he went to the dentist. He's so mad with me, I don't know if I should go back to the UK for a while to get some breathing space. I don't think I can cope with this on my own and I certainly can't lean on him for support right now. He called me stupid to my face because I couldn't even phone the dentist for information about how many visits I will need (if nothing goes wrong). I feel so stupid, and he thinks so too, so I suppose he has to be right. He always is, after all.
I'm sorry for the above, but I just had to vent. Right now I want to curl up in a ball and never wake up, I'm a disgrace to myself and everyone else who has the misfortune to have anything to do with me. If anyone out there is trying to do this without a supportive spouse can you please let me know how you cope? I'd appreciate it so much. My family is too far away and I wouldn't want to dump this on them anyway. I think I'm going to take the car out and sleep in a rest area somewhere, it should be safe to come home after he's gone to work. I swear I can't take this much longer. It's just not worth it. I sure don't want to face more of this in the morning. I will update when I can, and if you've bothered to read this I'm so sorry, I just had to get it all out of my system somehow. I can only hope that I feel better tomorrow, can't I? I'm sorry, I really am. I absolutely hate myself right now, I'm worth less than nothing. I'm hoping I can read this tomorrow and wonder where the hell my head was, since it sure isn't in a good place now. Take care all, I hope your day was tons better than mine....
Salut swan,

I am glad you have seen a psychologist. I am worried that this latest tangle with your husband will cause you to act out again. If you feel that way, one thing you could try to do is go to the freezer and take an ice cube into each palm of your hand. This way you will get some sensory relief from the physical pain, plus the ice will help ground you so you don’t have to go off and do something drastic.

See, you’re not a worthless person. I don’t even know you from Eve and I care about your well being. And I’m a hard ass bitch, trust me ; )

I can totally sympathize with your issues with your husband and support system. I don’t know how much you know about me, but I was in the military as a peace keeper for the past ten years and have remained friends with many army guys – they are pretty much my only friends – and as tough army guys they have zero patience with me when it comes to my fear; even talking about it.

And I try and tell them they should actually be happy that I am talking about my phobia, cuz I would be in the worse state if I was holding it all inside. But ya, it ‘s tough cuz I want – no, actually I need – them to be there for me, but I know it’s really hard.

I mean, we all come from a brotherhood where we don’t admit to any sort of fear. Also, we are also very independent and don’t like to have to ask for help/rely on others.

They don’t fundamentally get it; even when I try and explain it comparable to being afraid of spiders, because all they see is 1: my intense “over reaction” to the health professional trying to help me and 2: my overall health suffering, along with it my ability to eat or sleep well or have a good time plus me being in pain.

It seems like a hell of a lot of drama to them though they can literally see how it affects me cuz my pulse will flare up and I’ll get all ‘keyed up’ like I’m being threatened when the issue is brought up by one of them. And they see me suffering, like suffering every day cuz I’ll touch my cheek and wince or struggle to eat (they get more mad when I try to hide it from them and they’ll just yell: why are you even bothering keeping it from me, it just makes it worse!)

I embarrass them when I wince or when I struggle to eat. In fact, I embarrass them and myself by even having this problem and not being able to handle my shit and get it taken care of. I embarrass them by “carrying on” the way that I do, “refusing” to do anything about my problem. I embarrass them and myself by letting my dental health get worse and worse and when they saw me Sunday and my cheek was swollen, they were literally like “oh shit, not again!”

I know some of that embarrassment is really just frustration because it is really hard for men to see the people they care about suffer, but instead of tending to that feeling, they seem to just get frustrated and angry instead – at you for putting yourself in what seems to be an unending situation and at themselves for not being forceful or clever enough to get you to seek the help you need. Could that be the case with your husband?

And I know I’m not being very open-minded cuz I just shut down every time the issue of me+going to the dentist gets brought up. I won’t even -- I feel like I can’t even go through those thoughts without my PTSD overwhelming me and me flying into catastrophe thinking – entertain the idea. This really pisses them off cuz they yell at me for not trying. But I’m trying very very hard, but I’m only at the stage where I can try and talk about it and not just shut down.

It seems like you’re in the same place as me where you want to talk about it; like a bird, you’re trying to find a safe place to land. But the frustration as expressed through anger by your husband is making it difficult for you to land and rest.

I mean, to be honest, I can see why your husband was mad at you cuz you blamed him for your situation because he was probably thinking to himself of all the patience he has tried to give you and all the accommodations (like taking you to the dentist) he has made. If he is still holding that over your head, you might have to apologize again and make it clear that you are apologizing to him for that reason so gets it really clear in his head.

But ya, my guys haven’t been exactly supportive when I really want them to be and need them to be; mostly cuz they are sick of having to deal with this issue and just want it done and over with. But instead, I’m in the same position as yesterday. It makes it all the more harder. They all said I should see someone about my cheek being swollen. Again, like every other offer of help, I refused (this I think is frustrating them, too)

I was away with my army buddies on the weekend and when I got back, David was pretty pissed off that my cheek had swollen up. He’s my best friend and now he probably feels like, “great, now I’m gonna have to deal with this” cuz David is the guy I talk about my fears with and I throw myself around his apartment from soft surface to soft surface crying about how much this sucks and how much I suck cuz I can’t fix this sucking situation. And he gets pissed cuz he’s sick of dealing with this and he said it’s killing him slowly to see me in pain every day. That’s what really gets to him and he feels helpless cuz I just won’t be open minded or listen to his options because they always include a trip to the dentist. He’s just trying to be helpful and I never listen to what he says so he probably feels useless and then resentful towards me.

…I know…I know….I think too much. I always over think and over analyze other people’s behaviour.

Hi Swansong,

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.

Thank you, Dr. Shirley for your post.

This sounds so much like me. The reason I cannot get myself to a
dentist is because I fundamentally do not trust them. Ya, I could definitely put it that way. Thank you so much, Dr. Shirley!

Here I am laying on my back with a stranger-who-is-capable-of-harming-me looming over me and I can’t do anything if they do harm me. I’m supposed to just lay there and take it.

I have said those words like a hundred times, and ya, the underlying assumption there is that a dentist is going to hurt me and I’m going to be unable to protect myself. I just feel so vulnerable being on my back defenceless like that – which any soldier would say is a compromised position they would do anything to get out of. And like I said above, I feel so helpless cuz if they did hurt me, I feel I could not defend myself because it is socially unacceptable (and I would never do this anyway, I would rather die than hurt an innocent human being just doing their job) to push away or defend yourself from the dentist.

For me, that’s hell. Laying there and having to just ‘take it’, even if people tell me it’s ‘for my own good’. I know it has been suggested to me that I work out some hand signal with my dentist when I feel overwhelmed but most likely I will be so disassociated or in terror that I won’t be able to move or communicate with the dentist at all.

See, my case is just too complicated for it to even work out with a dentist. But the last time I went to a military dentist, when it looked like I was gonna freak out out, they just pinned me to the chair, held me down until the dentist was done. They told me it was for my own good and that the work had to get done but it was a huge mind fuck for me to be held down like that. I had told them before hand that I had PTSD and gave them a list of my concerns regarding my reaction to treatment and that I might all of a sudden feel very unsafe and feel like the dentist is trying to harm me.

I don’t want to go to a dentist cuz I don’t ever want to be hurt again.

Swansong, I hope things are in a better light this morning.

Odette was spot on with the male mentality. Your husband cares about you and wants to help you through this. He just doesn't know how. He tried the last time and it didn't work out the way he thought it should. He probably feels like he failed and few men will admit that to themselves or anyone else. Instead, they tend to lash out.

Add to that the prospect that he might be set up for failure yet again (future dental appointment) and he's miserable. You have to look past the hurtful things he's said and realize he does care. I'm not excusing him for being so heartless, but I do understand it.

It compounds things even more when you're in flight mode yourself. You're trying to help yourself, but maybe you can talk to your therapist and find a way that your husband can help, too. It'll give him something constructive to do and help him feel less helpless.

Calmly point out to him that you're taking steps to get past this. You're actively working on it. Perhaps he'll be a little more supportive when he realizes there is outside help and it's not his sole responsibility to "fix" you.

I'm not a psychologist, but I've been dealing with my own phobia and a non-phobic husband for 26 years. Mine doesn't understand the fear any more than yours does. I don't discuss it much with him, either, because as soon as I try, he shuts me out. He doesn't even want to hear about it because there's nothing he can do for it.

What DOES work, is giving him clear instructions of what I need him to do. I keep it short and simple. Then I do my best not to interfere with his part. He needs to feel successful or he won't willingly participate the next time.

The most important thing is communication. REAL communication between the two of you. Running off to sleep in the car is only going to prolong things and make your back hurt. ;)

I hope you find peace soon and can get your life where you want it. :hug2:
Hi Odette and Swansong:

Please do not beat yourself up or be embarrassed about having fear. Everyone has fear about something. This is why interrogation works. I studied some "information extraction" techniques during my graduate days, trust me everyone has internal fear that can be exploited. I do not advocate these techniques but they do work, very scary stuff. I am not talking about using psycho-active drugs just "techniques."

It is not weakness to be afraid. Only a fool has no fear or admits to having none.

Your feelings are real and have an impact on your life. Making yourself feel worthless does not help you or solve the situation. You cannot fix what you do not acknowledge.

I have worked with anxiety and phobias for over 20 years. I have seen stuff that is incredible in terms of anxiety and fear. I have seen people so afraid that 120mg of Demerol would not put them out. This much Demerol will allow you to slip the average person under most doors.

You do not just "get over " or tough it through this stuff as there is a biological connection. Odette, PTSD messes with brain chemistry and responses become biological as well as psychological. After all, you would not tell a diabetic to "just get over it."

This can be worked through but it takes time, compassion and care. This starts with you. Do not keep shooting yourself in the foot. Kindness and compassion are the height of strength. Breaking down self-esteem and self-confidence do not help. Your fear and feelings are real, they are not a fantasy.

Your friends have a very narrow focus that does not work. You cannot bully yourself or anyone into change. My first question to them would be; "You received your PhD in Psychology and Neuro-Psychology from where?"

If you do not have training in this area then it is possible that you do not know what you are talking about and there are better methods than the ones you are using.

People fear any type of apparent weakness or anxiety because it reminds them of their own fears that they have never dealt with. They run from it like the plague because they cannot deal with it in themselves.

Living in a state of emotional turmoil and frustration is very hard on your body. It causes hosts of physical problems and does not work. If you want to keep getting what you are getting, keep doing what you are doing. I am willing to do what ever I can to help. After thousands of patients I have a bit of insight.


I am saddened that your husband is not as supportive as he could be. Again, frustration does not help. I am glad you are talking to people that have the capacity to understand. This is the first step to help and healing. Running from these problems does not solve anything. It gives the fear more power and where ever you go you will take the problem with you. Whether you are in the UK or here, you are still you.

I do not do marriage counseling but I do know open, honest and compassionate communication solves many things. Probably, part of your husbands frustration and anger is he does no know how to help you. If we say someone has embarrassed us what we are saying is I am uncomfortable with this problem and do not know what to do.

I have had people fall apart in public. My first reaction is empathy for them and I do not care what anyone else thinks. As far as not remembering what you said or did at the dentists office. This is common with high anxiety. It is called Cortical Inhibition. Higher brain functions and memory get shut off and you draw a blank. All responses are emotional and bypass the normal thinking process. If you are taking psycho-active medications, this can contribute to the problem. Bottom line, you did not harm anyone or cause any lasting damage. These things are part of the life experience. Fear is the most powerful of human emotions. When you are in a high fear state anything is possible.

Again, the same advice, be kind to yourself. If you want to chat again, please let me know.

I hope both of your find the peace and freedom from emotional torment you seek. It is there, peace with yourself is peace with the world around you.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings :)
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OK, so I'm still here, my hangover is much better today, and thanks Odette, Cielo and Stress Doc for the replies.

I went to the hypnotherapist yesterday, she was really nice and did seem to help me relax somewhat. There was a very scary moment though which I wasn't expecting at all - she had me sitting in a recliner and came over to tilt the chair back before the session (to get me to lay back and relax) and I just freaked out completely. Oh god, a tilted back chair - didn't even see that one coming! Once she realised what the problem was she was very understanding, and so she changed her tactics and took me through a metaphor session instead, all I had to do was sit and listen and relax and that was good. I didn't feel hypnotised though, but since I've never done this before what do I know? I know I did feel very relaxed at the end so have made another appointment for next week.

Odette, I so identify with what you said - I don't want to be hurt again either. Ditto on the defenceless thing. I've had quite enough of that, thank you very much. The psychiatrist on Tuesday said it was likely I had some degree of PTSD from my experiences; I thought only military people like you got that, but it seems I was mistaken. Having now seen two different professionals this week for this problem (I hope they'll complement each other), I have to say I feel somewhat proud of myself for both admitting I need help and actually going for it, in ways that don't scare me. I know I have a very long way to go but at least I've made a positive start. Maybe you could try something like this too? I mean, what is there to lose? I'm still giving thought to the ice cubes idea, that was interesting. Since this only happens pre-appointment though, I don't know if it would be "enough" somehow but it's definitely worth more thinking about. Knowing me, I wouldn't be happy until I'd given myself frostbite! I think if I can find alternative coping skills that actually work, maybe I won't feel I have to do that anymore. I hope so anyway.

Cielo, you made so much sense as well. I know my husband doesn't mean to get so frustrated, and I also tried with the last appointment to do what you said - I wrote a little list for him with what I'd like him to ask for me, to make sure I took my pills at the right times, and to ignore whatever I said while I was "under the influence" etc, but it didn't seem to work. Maybe I went about it wrong somehow. After our argument the other night, I think he realises that the things he said weren't helpful, though he hasn't actually said that (or apologised or anything else). I'd asked him if he knew how many appointments I will need and he didn't know, he told me I should call them myself if I wanted the info (this is what started the argument). However, he did call them for me yesterday without being prompted - no answer yet though - so maybe he's trying a bit harder. I've apologised so many times for my behaviour, I've tried so hard to make him understand, I'm tired of apologising, and he doesn't believe me anyway so it just feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

Stress Doc, I know running away doesn't help. I know I need to work through this somehow, it's just that I think it would be easier with love, hugs and reassurance! I suppose I'm just asking too much there.... All I can do right now is try to learn to love and reassure myself, and maybe I could just go up to random people in a bar or somewhere for hugs! Could be fun, don't you think? And yes, I would like to chat again now if that's ok with you. Can you PM me to work out a time? Thanks very much.

So to sum up as of right now, I'm officially a depressed and anxious person. I'm two days into my anti-depressant meds and I am trying to make positive efforts to fix my situation in the hope that I might finally be able to get rid of the pain in my mouth. I may be taking the long way round but hey, don't they say all roads lead to Rome?
Hi Swansong

Thanks for replying to my post, just having someone understand really helps. I went to hypnotherapy slightly skeptical but now i think it will have a very positve effect.

I have read all your posts and replies and you have recieved some very good advice so il just echo what was said to me, You are definatly not alone. The only thing i can tell you is that having a plan of how im going to beat this is helping me. I have a mental plan of things i am going to do that will aid me in taking control back and beating this fear, with the aim in mind that one day going to dentist will be no more than an inconvenience!!!

Beat the fear and then you will have the strength to do anything else you need to do.

Donnie x
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Only me again, need to update this now - thanks Donnie for the kind words, I hope you're doing well with your plan of attack!

Yesterday I finally received the treatment plan/schedule for my work (via my husband), and it seems I need at least 12 "visits" to do the necessary work. 12!!!! Now, three of these are with the oral surgeon with regard to the implant so I'm not worried about these since experience tells me that oral surgeons correct - as best they can - what dentists do wrong, so therefore they are trustworthy. Plus I'm hoping this work would be done in a clinic or hospital rather than at the dentist's. So I have no issues with oral surgeons, at least I don't think so anyway. That leaves 9, of which apparently they can combine two with others leaving seven. Still sounds a lot to me...

I had been thinking if I could just get myself to the first "visit" (visit sounds so nice, doesn't it, like you're going somewhere you want to be) and come out with something positive achieved and not hurting and not worse than I was when I went in, then this would be a hopeful sign for reducing my anxiety for further "visits". Sounds like a plan, right? Trouble is, they have the first "visit" down as full mouth debridement and then there's an extra charge for perio guard. Debridement sounds horrendous to me, and I believe it can result in even more sensitivity to heat/cold, bleeding, and pain. But what really did it for me was that perio guard. Why give me special mouthwash that's used for oral sores if they're not planning to rip my gums to shreds? How on earth am I going to come out feeling better than when I went in if my whole mouth is just a mass of soreness, and my already sensitive and painful molar is even more sensitive and painful? I don't know if I could stand that, I think it'd just make my phobia worse - if that were possible. And yes, I am aware that these things may not happen as a result of the debridement but - as I'm sure a lot of you will understand - I expect the worst to happen and not the best. It always has before. I need to turn that around somehow and try to be optimistic and not pessimistic, but wow, that's so difficult to do. So difficult.

So, yet again, I couldn't sleep last night for worrying about this as I know it has to be done. I had 200mg of Trazodone (as prescribed by the psychiatrist) at 8.30pm and was still awake at 3am. That can't be right, can it? I really thought I was making progress with this, psyching myself up just to get in there the first time (preferably without drugs), trying to be positive, and now I seem to be right back where I was. The Cymbalta doesn't seem to have kicked in yet, but I guess it's still early days with that. I'm doing the breathing exercises and I have another hypnotherapy session this afternoon, and I don't know what else I can do to try and beat this fear. If anyone has any bright ideas what else I can try, or any positive stories about debridement, I'd sure like to hear them right now!

I so want to be in the future now, looking back over this thread and thinking how needless all this worry was, with my mouth all sorted and the anxiety all gone. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just go into hibernation for a few months, get everything done while we're asleep, and wake up all mended and happy in the spring? Just a thought.....
Hi Swansong

Periogard (Chlorhexidine) is used if you have a minor gum inflammation, very standard stuff. Also is used for prevention, I use it myself. It does not sting or burn like alcohol based rinses. It tastes like wintergreen. You swish it around for a min ute or so then spit it out. It kills the germs that can cause gum inflamation.

Debridement is a form of through cleaning. It is used to remove heavier deposits of tartar. They are not going to tear up your gums or mouth. Most of this procedure is done with ultrasonics and some scaling. The whole procedure is not unpleasant. If you are very sensitive, some people are, a topical numbing gel can be put on your gums. The whole thing will feel better once this is done. If your are very sensitive you can buy over the counter Oragel to make you more comfortable. In most cases this is not needed.

Trazodone does not work the same for everyone. It can cause sleep but not always. Prescribing Psycho-active medications is more of an art than a science. High levels of anxiety can change the way you metabolize medications and drastically change the affect.

Your first vist will be fine. The whole thing sounds scarier than it is. The gret news is you are being proactive and sorting this out.

Blessings :)
Hi Swansong -- just chipping in here with a bit of a positive story regarding deep cleaning/debridement. I had (until a few weeks ago) never been to the hygienist. Recent events following recurrent infections lead to me having my 4 fully impacted wisdom teeth out earlier this summer. My teeth fortunately (according to the dentist that took them out) weren't in too bad a state as far as he could tell (for which I know I was really lucky), but recommended that I go for a deep clean, scale and root planing.

I was petrified at the idea, but my recent resolve to get and keep my teeth healthy meant I went to my appointment and it was nowhere near as bad as I'd imagined it to be. As StressDoc said, most of it was done with an ultrasonic thingy, which only hurt me in a couple of sensitive areas, but I told the hygienist to stop, and she used some numbing gel on those areas before starting again, and after that it was fine. it wasn't the most pleasant thing I've ever done in my life, but it was FAR from being the worst.
Keep strong, and I hope the appointment goes well!

PS I also was given the mouthwash stuff for afterwards so I guess it's normal procedure...
Back again, and thanks Stress Doc and Jamie for the words of wisdom. I know I'm probably stressing unnecessarily over this, I just wish they could have done a normal cleaning or something first. This debridement must be a new thing, I hadn't heard of it before. Or maybe it's just an American thing. I know it has to be done though. The problem is I just don't want to go in there and be hurt. I've had enough of that. And putting the perioguard on the schedule after the debridement just feels like they're providing an ambulance in advance because they know there's going to be a car crash. I wish my brain would stop thinking like this! I actually use chlorhexidine gluconate all the time; I bring it back in quantities from the UK because you can't buy it over the counter here and it's good.

I'm also afraid that I'm going to be in no fit state to tell them to stop if it hurts, or that I may think just get on with it and finish, it's killing me and I'm in agony but then I expected that so I'm just getting what I deserve - this is my own fault after all for not going to the dentist for so long. I need to stop being so hard on myself, don't I? Maybe if I asked them to use the numbing gel all over before they start, that might work? Would they do that? Damn, I wish I could just call them and ask questions, however stupid they sound. Knowledge is power, right?

On the plus side, I had a good session yesterday with the hypnotherapist; she seemed pleased with my progress but although I'm trying really hard and really want this to work, a part of me is still a bit skeptical. If she managed to do yesterday what she seemed to manage to do, that has to be a step forward. What she didn't manage to do was get my subconscious to release the fear; I guess that one needs some more work! So, I'll go back next week - if nothing else, the sessions are very relaxing.

As suggested by Stress Doc, I'm going to go today and park the car up and see how close I can get to the "place that I don't want to go to" on foot, since I know I can't drive anywhere near it. I did want to start with this a few days ago but the new medication made it impossible for me to leave the house (read that as bathroom) for long, but I seem to be settling down a bit now which is good. Will update when I have more news....
Hi Swansong:

The stuff you bring back from the UK is the same as Periogard, so, no worries. This is standard after most cleanings. It is not an extraordinary procedure by any means. This is definitely not an 'ambulance" sort of thing. It is to help you keep plaque bacteria to a minimum.

Debridement has been around for years. It is a form of cleaning to remove heavier tartar buildup. They will not hurt you. You can ask for a topical to be put on before the procedure, would not be weird or anything. Yes, this works very well and is quite common.

If you feel you would not be able to communicate when you get write everything down now and email or fax it them and ask for it to be put as a header on your chart. This assures you cover everything and they will know in advance. I have people do this all the time. Makes my job easier.

You are not be punished by having this procedure. Some people naturally build up tartar faster than others due to high mineral content in their saliva.
These are "run of the mill" things and are done everyday. Working yourself up will not help you. These procedures are not painful. Most of the work is done with an ultrasonic scale that uses high frequency sound to vibrate the tartar off the teeth.

Do not preplan failure or tell yourself this is going to be difficult, totally wasted energy.

When you do your walk by the office remember to breathe and focus on the positive. This is a low risk exercise and will be as pleasant as you want to make it.

Blessings. :)
Hi there Stress Doc, a speedy reply as usual!

Part of me knows this whole thing can't be as bad as the other part of me is building it up to be; mountains and molehills and all that.

I am in the process of writing a list of questions and trying to explain also why I'm asking them, since this seems the only way I can communicate right now. I will ask my husband to email the list to them when I've finished it (still can't do that myself yet). If I can get all the answers I need before I go in, I'm hoping it will be less stressful overall.

I'm going out now so will try to remember to breathe and be positive!
HI swansong...

Just read thru all of your posts..I wanted to chime in as well and let you know that the cleaning they mentioned is not bad at all. I had not been to the dentist in 12 years so you can imagine the amount of tarter I had. The very first time I went they actually numbed my mouth for the cleaning and I felt nothing! I then received the peredix mouthwash to use regularly and now I use it only once a week for maintenance. Since then I have had this type of cleaning 2 times and tomorrow will be my third time. It gets easier each time.

I know you can get thru all of this even though you think otherwise. I was like you when people mentioned the word dentist and my first visit there...well lets just say I have no idea how I made it.

A great person on here gave me an idea. I took my treatment plan and as I completed each step I took a huge black marker and crossed it off so that I could see the progress and how far I had come. After each appointment I also treated myslef to something I liked. It gave me an incentive to get there and to feel great after I walked out of there.

There are so many great people on this forum for support! If you feel you aren't getting full support at home, we are all here to get you through it all. So many people on here have been there for me when I never imagined making it thru another day.

Hugs to you..
Thanks Olivacs for the reassurance, I really am trying not to stress too much about this, it just sounds kind of violent for a first appointment. I've written out a list of questions and my husband has emailed it to them (after amending it somewhat, he refused to send it as it was - too inflammatory!) so hopefully I should get those replies soon. I'm still working on the basis that knowledge is power, and the more I understand the better. I've forced myself to examine their website in detail, much as I didn't want to, so now I know what the people and the office look like - I don't have much memory of the last visit, just a few random bits and pieces. I hate not remembering where I've been and what I've done or said, I need to be able to do this without unnecessary sedation, like a normal person.

I've been trying to get myself closer to the office, it's on a crossroads so I have four possible approaches. What I've been doing is driving as close as I feel I can, then parking up, then trying to get a bit further on foot since that's slower and I don't feel so much like I'm going to get "sucked in" so easily (it feels like the building is magnetic with a magnetic field around it, or like a nuclear explosion with a fallout zone). It's been a hard thing to do, but I now know two approaches are possible, one is likely (though there's no sidewalk that way) and the other is impossible. I can actually get within about half a block by myself now which has to be progress! Next job is to get to where I got to before and take just another ten steps. That's all. Just ten. If I can do more than that, then great, but that would be a bonus (and I really don't want to panic and/or vomit in the middle of the street!). Stress Doc has very kindly provided me with yet more tips to control the panic so I'm hopeful these will help me as I try to progress a bit further. I'm hoping I can persuade my husband to accompany me on my "ten-step" expeditions, I'm not sure if he will yet though. Watch this space.......
Time to update this again; I'm still working on getting closer to the building, with support from Stress Doc and, as I'd hoped, my husband - who is now trying to understand this whole thing a bit more and isn't getting frustrated with me so often, which is good. He's actually trying to help now, I hope this will continue. The sessions with the hypnotherapist seem to be going well, she says I get a bit further each time I go, so I intend to continue with this for the time being, it's certainly not doing me any harm.

So today I finally got the answers to my list of questions, some news which could qualify as good and some not so good. First, they want me to have IV sedation for the first "visit" and I'm not so sure about this as I really wanted to get in there and get treated like most people do, without sedation, I think this is what I'm trying to work towards so I'm not sure it would help me with future "visits" if I did this (even though I know it should be much easier that way!). The good news on this is that they're prepared to do the full mouth debridement, whatever cleaning they can and most of the restoration work on my bottom molar that's hurting, all at the same time. Obviously I'll have to go back to have a new permanent crown refitted on there and get the rest of the cleaning done once the inflammation has settled, but that shouldn't be painful, right? Maybe I could do the second "visit" without sedation even if I do need it for the first. I certainly can't blame them for wanting to put me under while they work!!! Then of course the implant needs doing, but that's too far ahead for me to think about right now, one step at a time.

The bad news is that the bottom (crowned) molar, which should have had a root canal three and a half years ago, apparently hasn't had a root canal at all and this is why it's hurting so it still needs doing (which means both the ones that were supposedly done last time weren't done at all). So anyway, they'd do that under the IV sedation during the first appointment as well, which should be ok. It's just making me really angry getting yet more confirmation of the last dentist's incompetence and ineptitude, and I believe I'm way past the statute of limitations in Texas to hit him where it would really hurt, in his pocket. I am going to look into that, but don't hold out much hope as too much time has passed because of him making my phobia worse.

So, I still need to keep working to actually get into the building without getting stressed out or sedated in any way, because I need to get in there somehow before they can do the IV, obviously. And I need to keep trying to work up the courage to actually make that first appointment. It has to be good that they're actually prepared to do the first three scheduled "visits" in one go though, right? Even if I do need IV sedation? Plus of course my mouth would then only potentially be painful once instead of three times!

All comments/support/reassurance will be gratefully received - oh, and if anyone knows of a good medical malpractice lawyer in Texas please feel free to pass on the details....
Time for an update again, almost two weeks since the last one. Last week something finally snapped inside me, I was so sick and tired of fighting this whole thing that I asked my husband to make an appointment for me. After all, I'm never going to win, am I? The only people this is hurting are me and my husband. In a way, I just accepted that this has to be done for him and for us. It feels very weird, it's like I've given up and nothing matters any more. The fear is no longer overwhelming, I just have this sense of black emptiness inside me. I'm still waiting to hear when they can arrange my appointment for as the guy who will do the IV sedation isn't available until Nov 25th and I really don't want to wait that long. So I have no definite date for D-Day and the waiting is sort of killing me inside. I just want it over with now, I've had enough. If it works out well, great. If it doesn't, so be it. If necessary I'll just have to work out then what to do about it. I wish I could feel positive and am trying to work on this aspect (without a great lot of success so far).

Since this monumental change, I can now actually drive myself to "the building" and go up in the elevator to outside the office doors; I stand there and think "Ok, this is where it ends. One way or another". I've just lost the will to fight, and am prepared to let them do whatever they want to me. It's not that I want the fear back, but the odd calm is unsettling, like being in the eye of a hurricane or something. Stress Doc tells me this is normal, so I have to bow to his professional expertise on this one!

So I suppose in some ways I've made great leaps forward; in others I feel like I've slipped backwards into surrender, like I did with the last guy, by just accepting what they say is true and needs to be done. All I can do is try to hope that this time it will work out as it should have the first time, since this is a different person. I've also found out that another of the replacement fillings he did was done wrongly and now that one needs redoing and building up and crowning as well, no wonder my mouth hurts, is there? To say nothing of our finances, this correcting of the last dentist's work is now approaching $15,000. Ouch. Big time. That does include $6,000 for two sessions of IV sedation, so I REALLY could do to get the work done without it. I'm still thinking on that one, perhaps I could actually do it now my attitude seems to have changed. Anyone got any thoughts on this? I know I'd be so proud of myself afterwards if I could get this done like a normal person!

Hope you all have a good day, and stay strong everyone! If we all stick together, we can DO this! (See, Stress Doc, positive self-talk - I am trying, honestly!).