• 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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Hit the panic button and there's still a week to go

Even without PTSD, feeling sudden pain in an already stressful, tense environment can definitely make someone lash out. I had a friend who did bikini line waxes, and she'd had a couple of customers lash out (only to apologise profusely immediately after). We're not perfect machines, we can't control our every response, not to something as primal as pain. Don't beat yourself up. You haven't failed.

When I was a teen, I went to a dentist who had the radio playing in the background, which was somewhat comforting. You should ask. :)
Thank you Sevena, I feel a wee bit easier about it. I know I didn't lash out and that even if I had I'm fairly sure they would have had fairly good reflexes to move to safety as I have worked with front line clinical staff and they have all had training to deal with situations like that. I think I'm ashamed more than anything that my Dentist is being very accommodating and I don't feel I'm helping myself any.

Re the radio thing they do have the radio on already, I would be asking them to change the channel which although it doesn't sound like a huge deal I am very hesitant to ask as I've seen people go to war over radio station choices in office environments!
Hey All,

Need some advice today please.

Having a bad time with anxiety at present and am very, very tired due to lack of sleep so when it came to needing to change a dental appointment I decided to email reception instead of phoning to prevent me from reaching never before heights of anxiety (phone calls make me nervous as hell as I can't see the other persons reaction) and also prevent me from making a mess of it by getting the wrong date which would lead to further phone calls.

Anyway I sent an email thought that would help - it hasn't, as I am now checking my inbox waaaay too often and basically getting myself really wound up as they haven't replied.

I don't want to phone them as it sounds like I am "nagging" them and I don't want to be the annoying person who phones because they haven't answered an email which is, quite frankly, of low priority.

What to do?!
Hey, sorry to hear about your anxiety. I get your reasons to email them instead of a call and it was a good thing to do, but I also understand how stressful it is to wait for them to reply.

I would say that your comfort and ease has the highest priority now and whatever would help you to get a bit calmer is the right thing to do. So if you feel like calling them to finally get a reply, absolutely go for it. It is only responsible from you and a good thing to take care of yourself and do what you need.

Do not worry about sounding nagging. They are professionals and you for sure aren't their only nervous patient. They also might have experienced you at your bad times already so they will be able to live with it.
Thank you Enarete for the kind words and encouragement. I did phone them at the end of the working day as I still hadn't had a reply to my email.

They were incredibly lovely despite the fact I got my dates mixed up (knew I would).

Unfortunately I can't get the appointment changed as the Dentist is on holiday on the day I wanted to move my appointment to so after all the stressing I am stuck with my original appointment after all as I didn't have any other option.

Now feeling very :(
Urgghh! I am wishing I never bothered trying to change my appointment!

My head is convinced I've made a mess and lost my original appointment because they deleted the appointment and then went to make a new one, when it transpired that nothing else was available I told them I would stick with what I had and now I'm fretting as I don't know for sure they re-booked it.

Arghhhh I really don't want to phone again and be the nightmare patient who wants to double and triple check (they will have put the original appointment back, they are not inept like me). All my own fault for trying to rearrange things.
Arghhhh I really don't want to phone again and be the nightmare patient who wants to double and triple check (they will have put the original appointment back, they are not inept like me). All my own fault for trying to rearrange things.

Imagine the job of a receptionist in a dental practice. What she does is this: picking up the phone every few minutes and it's always patients who want to reschedule or cancel or have questions about a treatment or about the practice.The same thing applies to emails. There won't be much of emotions to this, but more a routine. The lovely receptionist you called last time had spoken to at least 50 other patients up to now and replied to at least 50 emails. She might not even remember you having called. And patients who want to double and triple check just exist and that's fine. If it gives them the security to survive the waiting time then it was a good invested minute to talk to them.

How about emailing them to get a confirmation of the appointment if you don't feel up to call? You might have to wait for a reply for a while but you will get one which is better than worrying from now till the appointment.

And it's not your fault, it's normal to have life and having to reschedule sometimes. :)
So there has been a really interesting development recently, in the days running up to my most recent appointment I saw this picture on twitter


It made me chuckle and I saved a copy to my phone to amuse me when in the waiting room as I often find having simple things to amuse me much easier than trying to read a book. Anyway as I sat there I thought about what my own list would be and mine ran something along the lines of:

  • Spraying yourself with any and every scented liquid available as you are worried you smell so bad that the Dentist will have to spend the entire consultation mouth breathing.
  • Spending an hour before the appointment inserting inter-dental brushes between every single gap as you convince yourself there is still a piece of porridge hiding somewhere which the Dentist will find and assume that you have no idea about dental hygiene.
  • Spend the entire journey there panicking that you will be late, end up arriving 30 minutes early and panic about finding somewhere to wait before going in, go for a walk around the block slowly then fast as you think you fear you will be late.

I got to this point when it dawned on me that I hadn't once listed "talking yourself down from the mother of all panic attacks" or "needing the loo as a result of fight/flight reaction kicking in" all the things that I HAD been stricken by on my first few visits 3 years ago hadn't even crossed my mind! That's not to say I am not still nervous - I am VERY nervous however it has dialled down a little bit over the 3 years. I don't think it's great by any means - I am still very twitchy however I think it has genuinely got better.


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Ha, that list made me laugh. I too know the fight or flight pain while waiting in the reception. Ugh, my tummy clenches just thinking about it!

Hope you're well! x :)
This is great! and Ha.. I totally get the part going early to fear being late then trying to find somewhere to wait to not walk in the office Too early.. (not too close so they would see you if someone was off on break or something)

and the impression puddy thing...definately right on. yeah. used to be my fear.. now I'm ok with my dentist impressions they know my fears.. but.. yeah..wow.. great funny list.

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Sevena & krlovesherkids777, trying to get there at a good time is REALLY hard, I have to get a bus out to my dental practice and it usually arrives 30 minutes before my appointment. Despite this I spend the entire journey there thinking I will be late and then when I arrive think, "now what!" 30 minutes is waaaaay too early to sit about the waiting room so I go for a walk around the block then end up running as I think I've been out too long.

For most of the first year I went I used to always need the look immediately on arriving and would then worry that they would call for me whilst in the loo and think I had done a runner (that has actually happened at my GP surgery once!). I used to try all sorts to prevent it and nothing worked eventually worked out it was anxiety that was making me need the loo.

I'm lucky that I've never had impressions done, not sure I would cope at all well with that, I have had Xrays and they were pretty scary.

I'm pleased I am in a position where I can laugh at myself now though.
Arrgghhhhhhh!!!! I've just had to cancel a dental appointment for today due to waking up this morning with a very nasty case of tonsillitis accompanied by a fever and raging headache.

I feel dreadful, yes I know these things happen and they were very understanding when I phoned them first thing (they even said they would likely get someone else in which made me feel a little easier).

The reason I feel dreadful is that I've not made any arrangements for my next appointment, I didn't want to say, "Oh yes I will just come in next Thursday" in case I don't feel better by then. In my past experiences tonsillitis has taken anything from 4-14 days to clear up so I don't want to muck them around any more than I have already.

I was tempted to fuel up on painkillers and drag myself in rather than skip an appointment however I am in a monumental amount of pain and have been up most of the night with a fever so the last thing I want to do is to put myself in a stressful situation on top of all that.

My HUGE worry is that I will never phone them and that will be me back on the slippery slope to avoiding the dentist again (I managed 20+ years previously so I have got form on this! :hidesbehindsofa:)

I guess my reason for posting this here is so that I have laid down the gauntlet for myself - fellow DFC Forumites feel free to prod me one week from now and say, "hey there 1701 :waves:, have you re-booked your dental appointment yet?".

I need to do something to ensure I stay accountable to myself and get re-booked - please help me stay off the slippery slope of avoidance!
Hi there,

hope your tonsillitis is getting better now? I understand your worries about not being able to call back.. well and will keep my fingers crossed for you to be able to schedule the appointment.. maybe for about two or three weeks from now so that you can be sure to be fit by then?

All the best wishes and keep us posted.
Hi Enarete, the tonsillitis has cleared up, still not phoned to make a new appointment though. I feel really ashamed and embarrassed that I missed an appointment. Urgghhh, nightmare!
You haven't missed an appointment. You had cancelled because you were sick. That's a good thing and very mindful not just towards your own health but towards the health of your dental team as well. They surely wouldn't be happy to have you there with a tonsillitis. :dunno:

Glad you feel better now.

The good thing is that you had managed to call them to cancel last time so you will be able to call them again to schedule a new appointment.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you and remember that we have to be kind to yourselves (my dentist told me and he is always right)
The 1701,

I echo Enarete in not to feel bad about missing this appt. You cannot help it! Also I work at a clinic scheduling and when someone calls after being sick we are never mad or upset , we are glad they are getting to a better point and happy for the call to help them :). I know though, how hard it is to call sometimes, I still stall myself after being on the other end .
It has taken me an entire month however I FINALLY called and made a new appointment today!

I feel equal parts relieved to have it sorted and ashamed that it took me so long!

At one point I felt so worried about calling that I actually considered getting a friend to phone on my behalf however I then realised it would be too difficult as they don't have access to my work diary (I travel quite a bit for work so making any kind of medical appointment is quite tricky as I don't have a regular work schedule).

Anyway it is done now and I feel better, just hope nothing else crops up that means I need to change again as this has been really stressful! :frantic:

Here's to the weekend! :sleepyjuice:
Congrats on calling and making the appointment!! I hope nothing comes up for you :sleepyjuice::cheers: :).

So today was my rescheduled appointment and I was the least nervous I have ever been - didn't even flinch when my bus got held up in traffic meaning I might be late (in fact I swanned in ever so nonchalantly with 2 minutes to spare).

All good so far - then came the bomb-shell, my dentist told me they are QUITTING general dentistry to take on a new career opportunity.

They may as well have punched me in the stomach, it has taken four long years of blood, sweat and lots of tears to get to today and instead of celebrating I am feeling devastated as I just don't know if I can go through this whole trust building thing again.

My current dentist has recommended I see a colleague of theirs at the practice I currently go to however I am not so sure about this and I don't know how to articulate my concerns over the recommendation. I can see their train of thought in making the recommendation however I am not convinced it is a good fit for me and I don't know what to do about it.

I really don't know what to do now, other than bawl my eyes out in frustration.

I'm sure some of you have been in this situation before - any advice/thoughts would be most welcome, other than that please do post pictures of cute animals here to cheer me up as I am in dire need of a boost right now.
The 1701..

Oh boy.. what a day and a wide range of emotions to feeling so good a relieved your anxiety was down walking in feeling a bit calmer all to be hit with this news.. This is so hard .. especially when you have worked so hard to build trust with a certain dentist and then its like it just gets pulled out from under you. I'm very sorry..

I know I have whats called "situational anxiety " so it hits me really hard with change and it happened to me with my past dentist, who I built up almost 2 years of trust with and I did alot of work with him. I tested him on my anxiety and shame and everything you can think of I just put everything out there and he was the best I could ever ask for , and honestly I could cry if I think about how much he helped me and I don't have him anymore.. and its a bit surreal to sit in someone elses chair.. anyways..

I was getting used to him, building that trust and thinking "oh he's young , plenty of years till he retires. Well one day they called to confirm my appt and i had a funny feeling so I called back and asked it is with Dr ..... and they said. oh we are sorry he is no longer with us.. :frantic::frantic::frantic::scared:. so I was in a bit of panic. I knew I couldn't go to any of the other dr's at that clniic , so i stopped by and asked for all my records which they gave me, and the gals couldn't have been nicer about it .. and understood. but I was in panic like.. what now. ? where do I go.???

Well.. I did an experiment FBing practices finding which were anxious friendly, went on a few "meet and greets" and actually found a few that were decent I might try but in the meantime found where my dentist was a few months later and started going there. In December he is gone again, that was a temp stop while he gets his own thing going and doing something else. so in December I found out again he was no longer there.. It wasn't as much a shock I had a feeling it was temporary and although he didn't out and out say it. I had hints along the way but hoping it would last just a bit longer.

This time he told me the other dentist who is the owner was an excellent dentist and does amazing dentistry and would be a safe place for me, It was REALLY hard to start to think about trusting someone else.. I didn't have too much a choice as I had to finish my crown there. but.. I was very happy it was here because this was a Dr whom I had checked into even beforeI met my previous dentist so he was on my short list of dentists should anything happen..And even though I didn't have experience with him, I did with the assistant who was the same and the office staff who I was getting to know ,so that was helpful, well Ends up he's a great dentist and really nice ,still building trust, its only been 5 months but I"ve so far had crown seat, 2 root canals, extraction, implant , bonegraft and my sons been there .

Usually I would not write this much about my experience when responding but it is so similiar that I wanted to give you a little glimpse of hope. Allow yourself to have all the feelings you do, talk about them , journal ,get it out, its okay to grieve the loss.. it is a process to start all over again.. and I'm so sorry you have to!! :grouphug:

Here is my cats .. as you requested pics of cute animals :)


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