• Dental Phobia Support

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25 hrs before my appointment.

I'm in panic mode. How familiar.

I'm afraid of the pain. Yes I know anesthesia, but that doesn't make the anxiety of it go away. A prime example of how my anxiety likes to lie to me.

I'm afraid I won't be able to keep my mouth open for 2 hours. Come on there's bound to be a bite block.

I'm afraid of the dental dam thingy. Wait doesn't she have a vaculux isolation machine? I've even had it it used on me. And hello chemicals?

Come on brain. The anxiety lies. I can do this. It's just one more step. People have root canals all the time. I had one as a kid and I survived and that one took 5 hours! I was awake just local anesthetic. Dentistry has advanced in 26 yrs.

Come on brain. Don't let the anxiety troll win. Fear is fine. But be brave. Crying is fine, but be brave. I can do this. I am safe there. I am going to be cared for there. There is no safe and healthy alternative. If I don't do this it will get worse. It has consequences. I can do this because I have to do this.
Just over an hour before my appointment.
I remembered to eat this time. Sure it was at 4:30 am because I woke up filled with anxiety and fear again. But at least I managed to eat. Right?
@APhobicQueen I love this comment about the shame part its really relatable for me! at least we're doing something about it now and then we'll be all fine and dandy after its done!
Update. We couldn't do the root canal. I just couldn't get numb. Gel, shots, nothing. It all magically evaporated in a matter of minutes. So we will try tomorrow with the regular dentist. I'm in tears, but I feel relieved that she didn't have me tough it out. There's an infection which might be causing the anesthesia block. We left what is essentially a small cavity on the tooth to see if I feel anything or if it's just in my head. I felt so horrible as if I had wasted their time but they seemed really understanding. I feel like I've failed myself but what can I do, nothing seemed to numb me. Genuinely.
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I can't go forward. I must go forward. I will go forward.

I'm so afraid it'll hurt like today when I go back tomorrow. I'm also afraid of what will happen if I don't do it. What do I do. With the cavity I've tried to figure out if I feel something or if it's in my mind and I'm anticipating feeling something. Warmish, coldish, nothing. So what exactly was going on this morning? I dialed my old hospital and asked if an anesthesiologist who had documented that I sometimes get strange with anesthesia was still around. She was. She asked me if I had started to eat more fruits or maybe changed any vitamins. I had. She suggested that the additional vitamin C might have made the anesthesia harder to stick. She suggested munching on some TUMS as there seems to be some link between munching on TUMS and getting anesthesia to work better. I'm going to try that. I can't cope with crunching them down so I'll crush them and make a little paste I can just swallow. Maybe it wasn't just my anxiety after all. Maybe there were real mechanical factors for why I couldn't get numb. Of course my anxiety didn't help, but apparently being too healthy doesn't help either.

I feel awful still about the appointment. Like I failed every one there especially myself. But it was painful. Not just mildly painful, really painful. It wasn't the partner dentists fault. She tried so hard. She was so patient. She catered to my random needs but it just wasn't working. Why am I so hard on myself about this. Time and time again I've been told it should be painless so why am I blaming myself for feeling pain.

I can't go forward. My anxiety is so high and I'm just afraid.

I must go forward. I am able to say stop it hurts and they listen. There is nothing to be ashamed of. This is a work in progress and sometimes progress comes to a halt and we have to rethink the approach.

I will go forward. I am in control. There is nothing to be ashamed of. With each appointment we learn something about me. They never tried to make me feel shame. I was just told the risks of running away from it. Risks I already knew. They didn't shame me, they were educating me. They didn't attack me or make me feel bad, I've chosen to think this is something to feel bad over. Why would they want to work on me in pain? They stopped work. They didn't huff and puff. They rescheduled me for tomorrow.

I feel bad I'm having my dentist come in but really she might have a better technique. This is not something to feel guilt over. She could have easily said no you have to do it now, but she didn't. No conscionable doctor would force someone to go through a procedure that is inflicting pain. They want to figure out what is going on.

I am still safe. I am still cared for. I don't know why I couldn't get numb. Maybe it's the vitamins, maybe it's the anxiety, but I've got a hole that needs tending to and an infection that needs dealing with. I don't want the alternative.

I will go forward. We will find a solution.

I will go forward. The alternative is not acceptable to me anymore.

I am able to ask for more anesthesia. I am able to say stop. I can control my thoughts and tell myself until I really believe it that it will be ok. I can do this. I must do this. I will do this. I will cry. I will panic. I will be afraid. But I cannot and will not run away anymore. We will find a solution but running away is not going to be one of them.
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@mariyam I'm so sorry, that sounds so stressful! You didn't fail anybody. The body just does things we can't control. Don't feel bad about asking for anything you need, it is your job to advocate for yourself. Maybe you could ask if you can get in a certain position that will help? I just had a couple extractions last week and had trouble getting numb, and the dentist was able to get me numb by changing the position of the chair and having me tilt my head a certain way.
@NervousUSA thanks so much. I'm scraping up all the courage I can find mentally to go through with the appointment, I feel guilt over my regular dentist having to come but her partner was also just beside herself unsure how to proceed. The only one who was ready for anything to happen was the dental assistant who gently reminded me that even though I don't want to go through it (now) I also didn't want to wait until it got worse. Which yes is a good reminder and I didn't particularly mind her saying it but it didn't help the situation much. While I appreciate that level of human transparency because faking it till you make it isn't an ideal, it also made whatever remaining local anesthetic definitely evaporate and I wanted to run out the door. I wonder if she had just never had that happen to anyone or if her own nerves made her want to hit the breaks also when she saw my very visible panic and distress.
I'm trying to focus on that today is a new day. I didn't take any vitamins yesterday and even went to the extent of taking some TUMS. I tried to get sleep.
It feels like yesterday sent me 10,000 steps back in terms of panic management.
@mariyam I would try not to worry about having the regular dentist come in, it's nothing to feel guilty about, you tried with the partner, it didn't work, and it isn't your fault. I would say put yourself first, and worry about your needs more than how the dentist or dental staff feel. You can do this, and you will find a solution and make it work!
Update. We redid the tests for the tooth. It's alive! No wonder it was agony when she tried to drill. I'm going to catch up on 2 days worth of sleep now.
I'm still reeling from the last month. I'm still freaking out over a wiggly tooth. The dentist says to stop thinking about it and to definitely leave it alone. It happens. Deep cleaning takes out the tartar that shouldn't have been there and was moving the teeth and holding/masking it in place. It should tighten. Stay on top of healthy physically and orally. Like braces but in reverse. Just leave them alone. Keep them clean. Rinse after I eat. Wait to brush at least 30 min. Just stay hydrated. Basically all the things perfectly normal people do that I neglected to do efficiently. Floss. Don't go crazy with the floss and brushing and rinsing.

But how can I not? It's all I'm thinking about now. Come on brain. Why can't I celebrate what I've done so far. Maybe I need more sleep or at least real(ish) food.

I can finally using the left side of my mouth. I'm still hesitant to use the right with the wisdom teeth extraction still healing and I don't know how to chew with no wisdom teeth. How do you chew?! Everything now gets diced up small and easy to gently chew and swallow. It's not a lot but it's a lot more than where I was 2 weeks ago. I need to remember that. 2 weeks ago I couldn't even imagine eating anything not liquid.

Small steps. It's ok. I'm ok. I can do this because I am already doing it. I'm doing the things I didn't think I could ever do this time last year and the year before and the years before that. I'm eating! I'm actually eating. 2 weeks ago I would break down and cry at just thinking of eating and chewing. I'm able to take the retainer out, without a mirror and just feel it. And I can do it without shaking like an autumn leaf in the middle of a storm. I am able to do so much. It's ok if I still can't do a lot of things but that just means I get to keep going on this journey.
The list of MUST DO
-regular deep cleanings next cleaning in February
-fillings they are small so don't wait until they get bigger
-wisdom tooth, she doesn't WANT to take it, I saw the x-ray, she NEEDS to take it or I can wait until it really hurts the molar next to it

-root canal, the tooth is dead, I've known this, it's likely caused the NEXT listed issue, why keep the diseased root, THEY HAVE ANESTHESIA, THIS IS 2022, SHE HAS REVIEWS THAT RAVE ABOUT HER PAINLESSNESS, YOU SURVIVED THE DEEP CLEANING WITH JUST THE SWISHY NUMBING STUFF! ITS ALIVE! IT'S REALLY ALIVE!
-the failed root canal. It's been there for 26 yrs. 26! It's loose! Wishing it to not be loose won't do anything. I need it extracted. I hate that word. It makes me feel, hollow, helpless, completely vulnerable.
-I need a bone graft. You can't NOT have bone where there should be. I need a post and implant. Everyone gets implants , they're like the new thing! How many offices have I driven past that have banners for implants? Surely if those people survived, I can to? Right? PLUS she's already there, doing all the things she has to do. They have anesthesia!

The maybe in the future
-braces, I have gaps, it offsets my bite, but I don't NEED them.

Now I need to let my body heal. I need to be healthy so it can heal. Then there's the impressions for the implant and whatever goes with that.
I have to keep up with my cleanings. These are routine things. Cleanings help us. They help keep the mouth healthy.

My teeth still feel alien to me. But not so terrifying anymore.
It's been a while. Recovery has had it's emotional ups and downs. I'm here now for a cleaning yet I feel my palms turning ice cold just sitting in the lobby. Not this again. Just keep my eye on the goal. Cleanings are our friend. They help prevent problems. Cleanings are good. I can do this. I survived so much this should be a piece of cake. Just turn on the music and relax. Right?
Cleaning went well. Managed to even do it without local anesthetic which says a lot about how gentle my dentist is. Half way I started to feel claustrophobic and was starting to focus on the pain and sounds which felt like nails okna chalk board but I thought about calling places and got through it. We were supposed to do impressions but I told her I couldn't cope with one more weird taste so that's going to be in a couple of weeks. I did feel overly exhausted after it so I had to take a nap when I got home. How people do this on like a lunch break will always boggle my mind but I made it throughout the appointment, the procedure, scheduling the next appointment. Even the dentist was impressed with my ability to hold it together. My teeth are hopelessly tartar prone so this will be a 3 times a year deal for life but I need to keep remembering I made it and I didn't pass out or throw up or run out the door!
Tomorrow I'm getting the crown for the implant done. I'm totally freaking out. My best friend has been showering me with obnoxious (and hilarious) memes and jokes that he's going to send me 100 bunches of baby's breath... My least favorite flower in the world so I have something tangible to be annoyed at and distracted from my 3 days long freaking out episode. But aside from the awkward madness inducing comedy show he inflicts on me I'm trying to be calm. It's not easy. All my fears have very rational responses but my anxiety likes to tell me logic can go throw itself out with the weeks trash. I should be excited. But excitement has translated into fear. I burst into tears confirming my appointment but I still hit confirm. I'm going to walk into that appointment and get the crown put in. I might be crying and shaking but I'm determined to go through with it. I survived the impressions, the fittings, the cleanings, I've survived teeth getting taken out, a bone graft. This is the last stretch and I'm getting cold feet so since I'm getting cold feet I'll just plunge full in. Like those polar bear swim people. Just with clothes... Would be monumentally awkward to be dressed for an actual polar bear swim when I'm going to the dentist.
Hello anxiety and uncertainty and stomach cramps because that's so what I need right now. Appointment for 10:30. I can do this. It's the final part. Why am I freaking out. I can do this.
It's now a year past. I've survived. Am I still triggered with dental work? Yes. Is it the same paralyzing dread as before? No. It's different now. I know I can keep calm and push through. I know I can do it. I know I'll be ok. I've realized I need to have routine. The text prompt to remind me of my appointment has to be formatted the same and if it isn't it triggers me to panic. I'm due for my yearly check up and cleaning. My hands are cold. The receptionist isn't the usual one. My mind has gone to what if everything is different, what if, what if. But receptionist come and go. Maybe the usual one is sick. Maybe the sub is just not particularly sensitive and her word usage has triggered me. But I know somewhere deep down I can do this.
Well it's off to the dentist after missing several appointments. Life started to like up, anxiety started to creep in, and the overwhelming fear of the dentist and the noises and etc came back full force. I knew I couldn't avoid this forever obviously and I made the appointment. It's about an hour away and I just want to curl up and cry all over again.
It's time to get the Invisalign treatment started. I'm only minimally freaking out. Most people are excited over getting Invisalign. Sure I'm glad I'm getting this over traditional braces, but I'm still dreading being in that chair.