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Just as I am trying to get my head around 2 extractions...



Mar 16, 2015
I am sat here in a complete state. Background: I have my top right wisdom tooth that needs to go, it's been causing me grief for ages but I need IV sedation to even get the dentist to get near me with a needle, otherwise it's a panic attack and it ends in tears, it's all very traumatic for me. I was referred to a NHS clinic that deals with anxious patients. I had my assessment this week and they are referring me to the clinic that offers IV sedation, so I will have to wait a long time for a second assessment and then another wait for the actual procedure.

During the assessment, the dentist I saw recommended that my patched up broken bottom wisdom tooth should come out at the same time so I don't have to have to go through the waiting list thing again. X-ray showed that I have chronic infection in my root - which doesn't actually hurt.

So as if the one extraction wasn't terrifying me enough to start, I am told that I should have two wisdom teeth removed in one go.

Today I wake up and feel a little tender on the top left of my mouth. My tongue goes for a little feel around and find the half back of my top left wisdom tooth has broken off.

I take care of my teeth, I go to the hygienist and check ups regularly (I can deal with that and check ups ok), but I have a lot of old fillings and I guess that they don't last forever and affect the structure of the teeth. I also brux in my sleep so that can't help.

The prospect of having three wisdom teeth out in one go has tipped me over the edge, I don't know how to deal with it at all. The extractions themselves, the yanking and cracking and crunching, the instrusion. Hopefully the IV sedation will work, it didn't work that well when I had an endoscopy for my stomach and that was an awful experience that traumatised me for months. I was planning on asking the dentist if it was ok to take diazepam or similar before the appointment. The holes left in my gums afterwards, the blood in my mouth (I am a bleeder), the whole experience is scaring the hell out of me, I have cPTSD, anxiety and panic disorder and I don't think I can face that. 

Have you experienced this and how did you cope?
Hey @mouthsewnshut! Firstly, let me say how sorry I am that you’re going through all this at the same time. That’s enough for even the most steadfast of dental patients to be tipped over into panic I think.

I want to say though that it’s good you reached out, and I hope I can ease some of your worries! I had four extractions done at the same time last October. None were wisdom teeth (that‘ll come later for me), but they were all upper front teeth. Now, I do have to say that I was very lucky, in that my dentist immediately decided to forgo IV sedation and just put me straight out under general. So I wasn’t awake for anything. However, I did wake up post-extraction in the dental chair so I hope maybe I can give you some comfort in what happened afterwards?

Okay, so I was also absolutely panicking over blood in my mouth. I have so much trauma about that after getting baby tooth knocked out of my mouth in unfortunate playground incidents as a child (oops). So a lot of my worry was that I’d wake up to a mouth just filled with that stuff and start immediately freaking out.

That did not happen. I will say, for the truth’s sake, you’re probably going to taste a bit of iron in your mouth. But they should do a good job of slowing down that bleeding and making it no more than just what you might taste if your lip split open. Everyone’s different, but it’s really no where near as bad as you fear, that I can tell you.

Second, do you have someone who is with you for the recovery process? Because this tip helped me immensely: do NOT look at your mouth for at least the first few days. If you have someone else who can, have them do it, to check that you’re healing okay. Looking at your mouth too soon will absolutely cause a PTSD reaction because as you said, there are going to be holes there. They’ll close up pretty quickly (your mouth is awesome like that!) but those first few days are always really brutal and can mess with your head.

Since I was out like a light during my procedure, regarding noise, have you asked if you can bring some headphones or whatnot? Crank up the volume on something and just hear nothing but what’s in your ears? That’s your best bet if you’re terrified of those sounds. I also have to get yearly MRIs which are quite loud and one thing I liked to do is make a song out of the sounds ;D I imagine a beat, or it being something else like construction work. It helps a lot.

Also, do make sure you ask your dentist about taking something before hand! I saw a lot of people say that before IV sedation they were allowed to take some anti anxiety medication. So definitely see about that!

I’ll leave you with this: you can absolutely do this! Even if it feels like you can’t and you cannot deal with it (this was me when I found out I had to have extractions last April), I promise you can. You can do this, and it’s going to be okay! :grouphug:
@APhobicQueen Thank you so much for your reply, I really appreciate you taking the time to write and help reassure me. ❤️ I am trying to be positive and to think I will be ok (logically I know I most likely will be fine), but the traumatised part of me says I won't and it will be horrible. I am so glad to hear you went through it and recovered well and I really do hope that my experience is going to go as smoothly as yours. I have just spent my whole day today in an intense panic state, mostly crying.

The holes... I only had two extractions in my life, a long time ago, one under sedation, one before my ptsd problems started but I was still totally terrified. I remember the hole being like raw liver and it made me feel really sick. I also have a phobia of vomiting, so having 3 clots where my tongue who has a mind of its own will be prodding is another of my concerns. My dentist told me that he uses some sort of dressing which is absorbent and stays in place, it's like a foam/spongy thing, a bit like those oasis blocks used in flower arrangements if you know what I mean? But I don't know if the clinic I was referred to use that stuff.

I am going to get my broken tooth patched up tomorrow because it has started to cause me pain when I drink and try to eat, so I couldn't see myself waiting until wednesday to have that sorted until my actual appointment. Which is going to be in ... months? a year? over a year? I have no idea. It took 7 months for my initial assessment appointment, and now I have to have another assessement appointment at the other clinic, then I will be put on a waiting list for the extraction. So a lot of anticipatory anxiety to come. I am trying my best to stay calm, but I am not very good at it 🙄

Post extraction: Did you have a lot of pain? Did you swell a lot? My mother-in-law recently had one wisdom tooth out and said it too about an hour, she was yanked around, and she looked like she'd been beaten up for ages afterwards, she was also in pain. What gives? Did she have a spectacularly crap dentist? Anyway, seeing the state of her did nothing to reassure me.
Hey there! If you can see my previous posts you will see that not only have I gone through those extractions but I also had a failed one due to non-epinephrine numbing not working. So anyways I am just saying all of that to let you know ive been in your shoes! I really want to let you know that normally when all goes well an extraction only takes 2 minutes. I understand the noises make you anxious and for that take ear buds and listen to music on full blast! You wont hear anything. Good luck to you my extractions are all done and now for root canals! I have a super long journey with a major phobia.
@mouthsewnshut Yikes with those wait times! Anticipatory anxiety is the actual worst. Even for me, who went to a dentist for an emergency appointment in April and had to wait till October, it was brutal. On the plus side, and this is just a small silver lining, but now is the time to work on coping mechanisms for your trauma? Practice them, find what might work for you!

I’m really bad at sitting in the chair so I got a stress noodle that I take out and play with (to the amusement of my dental team, they’re lovely ;D) and I find that helps so much! Sometimes it’s the little things, you know?

So, I anticipated that I was going to be in so much pain and swelling like a balloon but somehow no? I had a lot of nausea afterwards (that was just the reaction to the general) and because I can’t swallow painkillers whole (hello gag reflex) I had to melt Tylenol to take afterwards, but it was just over the counter, regular Tylenol. So the pain wasn’t too terribly bad. I was pretty out of it the first 24 hours thanks to the GA, but afterwords it was more of an ache than anything. And I had really no swelling that I could see at all? I was very, very tired though, and obviously having to only eat soft foods was difficult (most difficult because I can’t eat dairy or gluten so that was fun!) but it was so much…easier than I imagined? Honestly the hardest part was when I got Covid in recovery. I was so worried about dislodging my blood clot. Nothing of the sort happened though.

I’d say, it could have been that she had a really crappy dentist for sure, but also everyone’s mouths are different. Some people do swell up, and have a lot of bruising, others just don’t. It’s very indivdual. Obviously the better the dentist, the better the results, but it kind of depends on the body. I do bruise easily and nothing happened with me at all (I did have a sore jaw though.) And I kind of think that part of that was because I just had a really good team looking after me.
@APhobicQueen I did some work with a trauma therapist last year, it was mostly tapping and a bit of EMDR, it seemed to do something, but I stopped after several sessions because I didn't know if it worked until I was faced with the real deal. From my reaction today, I don't think it's worked 100%, but on Monday after my assessment I was kind of ok, kind of hmm not ok at all with the idea of having my bottom tooth out (which has flared up this afternoon just to spite me - tbf to that poor little tooth, the dentist I saw did mess around with it a lot so she probably made it angry) so something has changed. Before that, my dentist only had to say the word 'Extraction' and I'd go into full panic and burst into tears. Now I am a little less reactive to that word.

I don't know what my coping mechanism can be, I have a lot more work to do. I will do more tapping, it did seem to calm me at the time so it might be doing something. I do have a little bunny who came with me before.

You're lucky to have a good team looking after you, I have no idea who I will be dealing with when the time comes.

Ah yes I also bruise very easily.
@DentalFearsAmber You're stronger than me going through extractions with no sedation! I am glad it all worked out well for you, I envy your eventual acceptance of dentistry. I can't even get an injection in my mouth without having a full blown panic attack.

I can't really split my appointment because they are with a specialised clinic and the waiting list is crazy long. So it might be a year before this happens. I don't know. Just being seen for the initial assessment took over 6 months. I'm terrified but I also want it all out of the way. I don't want to have to put myself through this over and over.
Update: I went to get my broken left upper wisdom tooth fixed this morning and my dentist said it doesn't need to come out, it's a clean break, because of my bruxism and an old filling. No decay no infection. So he fixed it and said I can keep it. One little tooth less for me to worry about!
Update on the update: The filling got bruxed out of my tooth in the night. Way to go teeth! 🙄