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I really need help to save my teeth. 22 Years old..

A

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Jul 6, 2018
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I am 22 years old and the last time i went to the dentist when i was a kid , the dentist had people hold me down cuz i was screaming and crying while they tried to pull my teeth out. The dentist used a spray to numb my mouth and i couldnt really breathe , instead of using the Gel.

Now about 15 years later, i finally had the courage to get to a dentist. I was told that my gums need work, 2 root canals, 3 fillings , 5 baby teeth pulled and a DEEP cleaning. He said it will take some time, but my teeth will look good. Would need braces for 2 years but i dont care. Now the back of my lower tooth has chipped in the back of it today and im freaking out. I will make an appointment tomorrow.

Guys this is my biggest fear. I almost paniced when i sat in the chair, and I KNEW THEY WERENT DOING ANYTHING THAT DAY. I have xanax prescribed from my doctor to go , but im freaked out to even take that! I had bad anxiety 2 years ago and i avoided xanax cuz i didnt wanna ever be addicted to it, but for the dentist, i think id take it.

I guess what freaked me out is when i went to the dentist for the firth time in 15 years, THE PLACE LOOKED THE SAME lol. Has nothing changed? I guess the memories of the pain when i was a child is what im stressing. For all i know, i wont feel a thing at my age, cuz we all know its 90 percent in ur head. Please tell me how to deal with this. How bad will all these things hurt me? What hurts the most? Whats a walk in the park? Im even scared of the damn fillings. I cant even believe i still have baby teeth. So guys please. Any support will truly help me. Thank you
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,942
Dear alibaba,

I'm really sorry to read about your past experience and it would be a wonder if you weren't scared after this. Give yourself a huge pat on your back for having the courage to see a dentist after 15 years!

You experienced an intense loss of control, feelings of helplessness, thread and a lot of pain during your visit 15 years ago. This is called trauma and what the brain does in such a situation is to store everything you see, hear, feel and smell in such a situation and label it as 'danger'. These are the triggers and any time you see, hear, feel or smell something like that or similar, fear arises. As you say, it is not an issue of logic - you knew nothing will be done. It's rather an automatic process and some triggers you might not even be aware of consciously. If the place looked the same as you remember from the last time, it's no surprise that you freaked out. By the way, freaking out sucks because it's again a situation where we have no control over ourselves and that's very disturbing.

There are two ways to deal with it: meds and desensitization and those two can be combined. I am not good when it comes to meds but have some experience with desensitization. If you manage to confront your triggers in small steps and stop before the anxiety takes over and do this over and over again, you will be able to cope with visits more. I do not know, where exactly your anxiety begins, for me seeing the door of my practice is sufficient so I would make sure to walk around any time I can and as much as possible. Seeing the picture of my dentist or looking at the homepage of my practice is also great to raise my blood pressure so I do that too. You might want to ask your practice if they would be fine with you just coming in and sitting in the waiting room for a moment (on a day when you have no appointment). You might want to repeat it until sitting there is no problem at all (have to admit that I never had enough courage to do that, but I always come in long time before my appointment to get settled a bit).

For the treatment itself: smaller and shorter appointments work the best. I remember the first few appointments with my dentist - we would chat for a very long time until I was fine enough to get into the chair and after 2 minutes I would freak out and jump out of it and we would chat a bit again, I would get back and manage to let him take a look and then it was over for that day and so on. The point is, if you can, try not to do too much but go in small steps so that you don't get overwhelmed. In this way your anxiety will get better gradually.

The meds help too, they relax you right away. It's good to make things easier for you at the beginning or during difficult procedures.

Dentistry had changed immensely in the last year and the main point is painlessness. The dentist will make sure you are numb before starting any procedure. The only thing he will need is your help: arrange a stop signal with your dentist (and test it right at the beginning to show your brain that you ARE in control) and if you feel any discomfort, let him know immediately. No need to toughen anything out in dentistry nowadays. Managing your own anxiety might be the hardest part about your treatment.

I would also like to encourage you to talk openly to your dentist about your fears. Let him know what scares you, ask questions, let him explain and tell him what you need to feel comfortable. This all builds trust and helps you both.

All the best wishes and keep us posted :)
 
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