I overcame my fear!

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Sandy103

Junior member
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
12
Hi everyone, wow it feels so weird to be posting like this! I just wanted to jump on here and share my awesome news with people who understand where I'm coming from and hope that my story encourages someone else to face their fears.

The backstory, I've had terrible teeth for years and avoided going to a dentist for about 10 years since developing a massive fear of the dentist during my school years. My avoidance lasted until I was telling my husband that my teeth were causing me pain and stopping me doing and eating the things that I enjoy. He doesn't like to see me in pain so insisted that I see a dentist to get my teeth checked out and he booked me an appointment (if you can't bring yourself to even calling them yourself like me, get someone else that you trust to call them for you). Turns out I had 14 cavities that needed filling, 1 possible root canal (I just had it filled today and it didn't need a root canal, yay!) and I'll need my wisdom teeth out soon too. Well that was a couple of months ago and boy has it been a journey since! Wow!

The battle, I'm calling it the battle because it took everything in me get through the first bunch of appointments. The first appointment was booked and I dreaded it, couldn't sleep properly the week leading up to it, hardly ate, had panic attacks at the thought of what might happen. The day finally came and I couldn't back out, my husband took me (I needed the moral support) and we did it. This dentist was actually really nice (I thought for sure they didn't exist lol), he is super calm and explains everything so well. He didn't do any work, he just had a quick look and we chatted for a bit and I cried (mostly overwhelmed because I realized all at once that I was at the place of everything that I had feared the most). The appointment wasn't too stressful, it was more of an introduction and I felt so free afterwards knowing that I'd been there. I highly recommend this for anyone struggling with dental fear, find a dentist who is willing to have a more relaxed appointment to start with, without doing any work because it really helped! We made an appointment for later in the week to do a full exam and make a treatment plan to get all the work done that I needed. Well I've been back to him seven times since then, we broke the treatment down to more visits with smaller amounts of work each time so it didn't seem too overwhelming (getting two fillings sounds better than six, right?!). As each appointment came closer, so did the wave of anxiety that surrounded it but each time my anxiety around actually going was less and less. So much so that I wasn't even anxious about my appointment this morning to get yet another filling done. Yes, my husband still has to come with me and yes, he still has to hold my hand during the needles (another one of my fears) and yes, I still curl up under a blanket each time during treatment to feel more at ease but guess what?! I did it and I finally wasn't anxious. I slept fine the night before and even managed to eat breakfast. I feel like I've now had so many needles and fillings that it has become routine and I know what to expect so it's easier. Of course, it hasn't been without pain. Pain with needles, pain with healing after deep fillings, pain with sensitivity and emotionally processing everything that was happening took a toll but it was all so worth it (and hey, I was in pain already right?!).

Where I'm at now, I feel like my dental fear is becoming a thing of the past (which is totally strange to say when this has ruled me for soooo long!). I handled today's appointment so much better than I ever have. I still have a few more appointments to go and my wisdom teeth (or wizzies as I prefer to call them) to remove. The next one (2 deep fillings in the back and a deep clean) I'll have to face on my own because hubby is away but I'm feeling confident about it, I now know I'll be okay. Instead of seeing and focusing on my fear around dentistry, I'm now seeing the positives and the way that it's helped me more than I could ever have imagined. I used to have black cavities along my front teeth which made me super self conscious but now that they are gone I'm finding a new confidence. I didn't realize that I had subconsciously changed the way I smiled to hide my teeth with my lips, I'm now learning to smile again. And I would hide behind my hand when I laughed so people couldn't see my ugly teeth, I'm learning how to laugh freely too. I also couldn't eat meat or salad greens or anything that I would have to chew lots because it got stuck in my teeth where I had cavities and I would get huge headaches, now I'm discovering all the different things that I love to eat (I love roast pork!) My husband said he has never seen me with clean white teeth, I couldn't help but cry when he told me that. I feel like I'm getting to know a new person that I see when I look in the mirror and it's such an odd feeling.

My tips for conquering your fear:
1. Find a dentist you trust that knows how to treat anxious patients, research their website if you have to. Mine gives me a soft blanket to cover over me (which is a huge comfort) and has Netflix on the ceiling to distract me. Also, if you don't feel comfortable with the first dentist that you see, try seeing someone else, it's okay!
2. Take someone you trust with you, your partner, a friend, a family member. They can sit with you while you wait so your not alone with your thoughts and hold your hand if you need it, it helps! (I felt a little more at ease knowing that I wasn't outnumbered too haha)
3. Make a few lists on your phone (or write it on paper if you prefer). List one, everything that you fear or that makes you nervous (E.g. pain, not being properly numb, not knowing what is happening, feeling embarrassed etc). List two, write down every question that you have for the dentist even if it seems silly. Then show them your list or talk about each thing. Fear makes things seem huge but after I did this and talked about everything that was making me nervous, things started to change, I felt a huge weight lift off me and my dentist knew how to best help me handle my concerns and help me work through my fear.

Fear is real, it's crippling I know and the path to a healthy, confident smile seems impossible (heck, I never thought I'd be here). But you can do it! I believe in you! It is an incredible feeling when you conquer the fear that binds you the most and you can smile and laugh without a care about people seeing your teeth. You've got this!

Anyway that's enough rambling from me, I'm just very excited and relieved to have made it to this point. If you want someone to message about how you're feeling with it all or you need some encouragement, feel free to message me. Peace out from Aus :thumbsup::dance:
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,566
Congratulations Sandy103 :welldone: :you-rock:! Wow, that sounds like a life-changing experience 😊. Well done!!!

Thanks so much for sharing your story and giving hope to others who may be in a similar situation. The tips are also great! Thanks so much 🙏!

P.S. For anyone who's struggling with making a list of their fears, we've got some downloads here on the website which might be useful:

 
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keikokeiko

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
20
YAY I loved reading your story!! Congratulations on making it this far, you are a rock star! I totally connected to your story because it reminded me SO much of everything I went through too. At some point, it really did become routine for me to just keep going back to the dentist that it didn't phase me anymore either, and I was actually going alone because there just wasn't room for my boyfriend in the room anyway, so I got used to it! By the time I finally decided to get my last 2 wizzies out (the things that kept me up every night with regret and dread for YEARS), it literally felt like I was going in for my hundredth filling and totally not the huge deal I was making up in my mind for the last 10 years lol! Thanks for sharing your success story with all of us, it was a fantastic read that will impact others! :grouphug:
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Staff member
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Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,966
Sandy103,

Just want to say Wow!! :jump::perfect: Really a powerful testimony of overcoming your fears and great tips. I so agree a more relaxed first appointment not having to worry about the treatment but talking and making plan really helps so much! Some wonderful and helpful tips!! This is awesome and encouraging !
 
JohnnyAppleSeed

JohnnyAppleSeed

Junior member
Joined
Jun 4, 2021
Messages
9
This is such an awesome success story! I am finally pushing myself to visit the dentist after 8 years. I hope I have a pleasant experience like you did. Thanks for sharing!
 
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