• Dental Phobia Support

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letting some stupid teeth ruin my happiness

S

Spider

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yes! You described that perfectly KitKat! I could sense that she was really nervous and then I felt bad and wanted to reassure her. The hardest part of a filling for me is when I must keep my mouth open and not contaminate the tooth before they put the filling material in. Knowing that I cannot close my mouth makes me panic. When they put the filling material in the 1st tooth I was full of anxiety. For the 2nd tooth, they let the student come in and help. I ended up holding my mouth open longer (since she was slower at helping), but I wasn't nearly as panicked!
 
kitkat

kitkat

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I could see it going either way with a student making anxiety better or worse for an already nervous patient. It really just depends on the person. I think the fact that they are nervous sort of levels the playing field in a way and helps you see the situation from a different perspective. Plus, it’s nice to know that they want to do a good job and are concerned about your well-being. I also find that when students are present, the dentist tends to provide more narrative on what’s being done and why which I personally find interesting.
 
S

Spider

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tomorrow (Wednesday) I have an appointment to have a crown put on a back molar. The tooth has a very old filling that is chipping away. This is the last tooth on my treatment plan and I'm somewhat excited to have this last tooth fixed, but I know this is not the end. My teeth have really let me down- I have always brushed 2x a day, flossed, use fluoride mouth rinse, plus I eat low carb and I don't drink any soft drinks. It sucks. But I know people my age going through much much worse. I feel incredibly guilty that I'm complaining about teeth, while other people in my life have terminal cancer.

I've had an extra hard time leading up to this appointment (if you can't already tell). I'm not sure why and I've had trouble sorting through my thoughts. I always get seasonal anxiety in September and October, so that may explain my anxiety and "doom and gloom" feelings about this appointment. I worry that crowning the tooth will cause other problems that will lead to more procedures that I cannot handle right now. I worry that I won't make it through the appointment. I'm freaking out about everything and spend hours each day thinking about cancelling it. Its too late to cancel now, unless we have an earthquake or something tonight ;)

On a brighter note, after the appointment tomorrow, I'm going to reward myself with a shopping trip for new fabric (I want to sew a quilted pillow of an apple tree!). I hope my head is in a good place tomorrow. Sometimes I feel like I'm making progress with my dental anxiety, and then sometimes I feel like its gotten worse.

I'll post an update tomorrow- fingers crossed for an earthquake ;) ;)
 
S

Spider

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No earthquake and I made it through the appointment! ;)

This morning I felt oddly not anxious, but thinking about how good I felt made me panic because something must be wrong if I'm feeling unworried!?? I went through that cycle several times. It was so weird!

I dropped the kids off at school and then went to the dentist office and waited until 9:30 while working on my crochet project. The assistant (who I love chatting to) came and got me, and I told her that I almost cancelled the appointment several times and I'm more anxious than usual. She is always so sweet and made sure to tell the dentist that I was anxious and they all were really kind.

I have a hard time getting numb and this time was no different. They did the initial numbing which wasn't bad at all. He started working on the tooth and I could feel it, so he put numbing in a different spot which really made my face go numb. Then he started again and I could still feel it. He injected more, and he was certain I'd feel nothing, but it still wasn't enough. Then he gave me a deeper injection into my gums (it sounds bad, but it didn't hurt at all). Its like this every time- I need so much novocaine to numb my teeth. I love that he doesn't seem annoyed at all when I ask for more. I know thats how it SHOULD be, but from experiences as a child, I always expect the dentist to say "no, you're fine and it won't be much longer" :(

I sat in the chair for a long time- about 2 hours. There was a lot of waiting time for the numbing to work, so its not like they were in my mouth for 2 hours, but its tiring laying still for that long! I didn't freak out at all- I really was quite calm the entire time. It just dragged on though. First he removed the old filling (it was an old metal filling) and there was a lot more decay under the filling than he expected. It took a long time to get the decay cleaned out and then he had to build the tooth back and up and then prep the tooth for a temporary crown. I go back in 2 weeks for the final crown.

My brain is fried. I only have a few chores to do today, but I'm going to take it easy and not expect anything more from myself today. I treated myself to a trip to the fabric store after my appointment and I bought some cute fabrics to make an oversized quilted pillow :)

If only I could hold onto this feeling and not go back to the really scary place that I was yesterday (and for the past 2 weeks). I'm glad I'm writing it all down here so I can go back and remind myself that I CAN do it.

Thanks anyone who has read this far xx
 
Sol

Sol

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Glad things went well and you took some time to treat yourself after. Sounds like you have an understanding dentist to work with. Hopefully after your next appointment you will get a bit of break from dental stuff for awhile.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Spider,

Sounds like you did great with this . maybe not how you would describe the feeling of going through over 2 hour appt.. but you did it and sounds like your dentist was quite pleasant through it depsite obstacles of the local and time.

:perfect: I love that he doesn't seem annoyed at all when I ask for more. I know thats how it SHOULD be, but from experiences as a child, I always expect the dentist to say "no, you're fine and it won't be much longer" :(

Love this!! so true, it is how it should be.. he sounds really good for anxious patients. and he comes across really calm.



but I'm going to take it easy and not expect anything more from myself today. I treated myself to a trip to the fabric store after my appointment and I bought some cute fabrics to make an oversized quilted pillow :)

So great to hear!! You deserve it!! :you-rock:


If only I could hold onto this feeling and not go back to the really scary place that I was yesterday (and for the past 2 weeks). I'm glad I'm writing it all down here so I can go back and remind myself that I CAN do it.

This is great.. I go back over my journals and such right before appts to remind myself of what I said when I'm starting to get anxious again. ! You are doing SO amazing!!
 
kitkat

kitkat

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It sounds like you are doing great! Long appointments when you are difficult to numb can be very draining. I used to always feel like something was wrong when I no longer felt panic before appointments ...it becomes somewhat of a ritual for us even though it’s not really the way things should be!
 
S

Spider

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Quick little update. I had the crown prep on September 25th, but I just got my permanent put on last week (early November). The first crown that they ordered didn't fit well so they took more images and impressions and then re-ordered another crown. The temporary worked perfectly fine and I had no issues at all, so it wasn't a big deal that I had to wait. Both appointments to have the crown fitted went well and I went into those appointments in a good place mentally with minimal anxiety.

So this crown was the last dental thing needed on my long list from 2 years ago! I'm sure its not the end because I have other teeth that they're "watching" but fingers crossed I can have a break from dental work for awhile. I have a cleaning appointment at the end of this month so I will update then. Cleaning appointments are tough for me because I am always so tense, waiting for bad news :( My previous dentist would hurry into the room and then use his jabber to push really hard on my teeth looking for "sticky spots". That is a huge trigger for me, so I'd twist my head and make it really hard for him, making him frustrated so he'd go away faster. I don't want to feel like a victim at the dentist, so I need to overcome my deep feeling of being victimized in the chair. My goal is to remain in control and be a customer, not as a victim. Hope that makes sense. Easier said than done, but I trust my dentist more and more with each appointment, so perhaps I will be successful and have a new mindset this time.
 
S

Spider

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Super great update! I had my dental cleaning yesterday and I don't have to go back to the dentist for 6 months!! :dance:

I was so fearful that he'd find 10 more teeth with new problems, but so far, everything he's fixed looks great and the 2 teeth that they're watching haven't gotten worse. I was told that my enamel is "rough" and was advised to buy a spin brush since it'll help clean them better.
 
I

Ilovemydentistreally

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Spider, you are my new hero!!
I just joined here today, yours is the first thread I have read. I wish I had your coping skills. Really, you are great at this. I don't want to bore you with my story (though, very briefly: 23 years without a trip to the dentist until last month. Now, today was my 4th appt, with many more to come. :( Also very agoraphobic and also have ended up with an angel of a dentist, and her assistant too. I wish I hadn't waited so long because so much damage could have been avoided!)
I will, if you don't mind follow your story with great interest and very much admiration! I, myself, can't even so far make it to the surgery and have been reliant on a lift from my wife. How bad is that??? But the dentist is finished pulling out the roots of my ruined teeth now, so next week I aim to walk down myself. I'm looking forward to it, in a weird way. Your story is very helpful indeed.
Thank-you. And best of luck!
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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@Spider ,So happy for you on this!! :welldone: :perfect:

@Ilovemydentistreally First off Welcome to the forum! It sounds you have a good dentist , some dentists truly are angels!
 
I

Ilovemydentistreally

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Thank-you krlovesherkids777. I just did a post! Yay me.. Think I'm tired now though. Numbness wearing off and some pain (really not much though) is setting in. I think I will sleep tonight. :)
 
S

Spider

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Spider, you are my new hero!!
I just joined here today, yours is the first thread I have read. I wish I had your coping skills. Really, you are great at this. I don't want to bore you with my story (though, very briefly: 23 years without a trip to the dentist until last month. Now, today was my 4th appt, with many more to come. :( Also very agoraphobic and also have ended up with an angel of a dentist, and her assistant too. I wish I hadn't waited so long because so much damage could have been avoided!)
I will, if you don't mind follow your story with great interest and very much admiration! I, myself, can't even so far make it to the surgery and have been reliant on a lift from my wife. How bad is that??? But the dentist is finished pulling out the roots of my ruined teeth now, so next week I aim to walk down myself. I'm looking forward to it, in a weird way. Your story is very helpful indeed.
Thank-you. And best of luck!

Awwww, welcome to the forum!!! Your comments made me smile :). I see that you've posted so I'll go have a peek around in a bit and get to know your story more! If you ever start a journal, I would love to follow you as well. I certainly need the inspiration to keep going and it sounds like you've already tackled extractions! That is so incredibly brave- I honestly don't know if I could go through with an extraction. Only the people on this forum know that I'm agoraphobic because its really embarrassing for me to admit. On Tuesday morning I drove my kids to school (its a 20 minute drive one way) and as usual I was full of anxiety because I was leaving my "safe" zone, but doubly anxious because after dropping them off, I needed to go to my cleaning appointment. Its just so hard and I should be proud of my bravery, but the voices in my head scold me for being ridiculous and weak. So thank you again for your kind words.
 
S

Spider

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It’s been awhile since I’ve updated! A month or so ago I had a cleaning appointment. To be completely honest, I was hoping that my appointment would be cancelled because of covid19, but it wasn’t. As a struggling agoraphobic, I’ve enjoyed using covid19 as an excuse for not leaving the house. Life before covid19 was a challenge, but I left the house nearly every day. Now I’m mostly staying home and agoraphobia has tightened its grip on me :(

So today I had 2 smallish cavities filled. Both cavities have been there for awhile but were small and being watched. I spent the past month thinking about today’s appointment, worrying about everything that could go wrong. I didn’t sleep very well last night, and I could hardly eat my breakfast this morning. The anticipation was the worse part for me. Once I was in the dentist’s office, I was pretty much okay! I felt tense as he drilled because I worry that I will suddenly feel pain. Nothing hurt and it was super fast, and I got to catch up with the dental assistant (who is like my secret best friend- she has no idea, lol). It was a very good appointment. If I could stop the month’s worth of “pre-worry”, I’d be a pretty normal person I think, lol!

So now I have a stress headache and I'm exhausted, but I'm done with teeth stuff (hopefully- don't want to jinx anything) until December for my next cleaning!
 
kitkat

kitkat

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I had a similar experience today! I have been stressing about my appointment for like 2 weeks and had an awful morning with anxiety leading up to it...it was completely fine! Now I am a bit annoyed with myself for so much wasted energy! I am about to go journal about my appointment ...hoping the memory sticks for next time! Glad your appointment went well too!
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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" I got to catch up with the dental assistant (who is like my secret best friend- she has no idea, lol). "

Love this!! :) she must be pretty cool !

Also mostly love you had a great appt and it went well despite the preworry.. I hate that too.. kind of crazy how the worry gets the best then you get in the chair and everything goes smooth :).
 
S

Spider

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I'm baaaack and full of mental health drama! I have a cleaning appointment on Thursday and I'm absolutely dreading it. It's a tough time of year for me since I suffer from seasonal depression/anxiety, which peaks in early/mid December. I've spent hours arguing with myself about whether or not I need to cancel this appointment. I feel like I can barely cope with normal life right now because of my seasonal issues. My agoraphobia has also been really bad. I'm in a state with very tight restrictions and being forced to stay home since March has worsened my agoraphobia. I'm fearful if my agoraphobia worsens any more, I will become fully house bound. My husband has been very sick this past week too, with a stomach bug. I have emetophobia, so I can't even deal. I'm bleaching everything, self monitoring every single stomach gurgle, monitoring my children for symptoms, limiting my food intake. I have him isolated to the bedroom and master bathroom and tell him that I'm afraid it could be "covid" because some people only have intestinal symptoms. Don't take this the wrong way (its my emetophobia talking), but thank god for covid because I can justify locking my husband in a room by himself for over a week. I can't relax at all. Deep down inside I'd like to cancel the appointment and reschedule for a time when my mental health is stronger. But that is like "giving in", and if I cancel, I'm afraid I will never re-schedule and that'll be the end of this 3 year torturous streak of dental care. I know if I make it through, I'll feel so good inside.

I also made the mistake of opening my mouth in the mirror today. I never look in my mouth. One of my farthest back molars is gray colored all over. All 3 of my other far back molars are crowns, shiny and white. This tooth stands out with its grayness. I just can't cope if something is wrong with this tooth. I'm dreading Thursday even more. It'll be a miracle if I don't cancel :(
 
BoxerMom

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I too have seasonal depression, along with my normal depression, so yeah, December is not fun. I’m sorry you’re dealing with all those other issues on top of that as well. I know most days are a struggle for me so I bet it’s much worse for you. One thing that has been helping me (and I know how corny it sounds) is that tomorrow is another day. No matter how bad today is, the sun will rise, even if I can’t see it lol, and tomorrow is another chance. Suffering through an awful day is always worth another tomorrow.
I hope you can make your appointment. I know you feel you won’t be able to deal with any bad news but maybe it would be better to know instead of not know. I tend to drive myself crazy with the unknown and deal better once I can make a plan.
 
S

Spider

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thank you BoxerMom for your kind words <3 Have you tried light therapy for your seasonal depression? It usually helps mine, but I do wonder if my light is too old and the bulbs are losing effectiveness.
I can't help myself and I peeked in the mirror again at that tooth and I do think something is wrong with it. The entire thing is gray, right up to the gumline. I haven't cancelled yet. I was watching youtube videos last night and youtube recommended one where a lady my age was given just a few weeks to live and she had a little boy too. I shouldn't have watched it with being so fragile, but I did and I cried so hard for her and her son. I'm feeling quite numb today, but it did help me put my own "issues" in perspective. I am so thankful for everything that I have. Today I'm trying the strategy of stopping negative thoughts right away and then I flip them around to positive ones. I just told myself that I'm really excited to hear what the dentist says about my gray tooth. Oh boy, lol
Thank you to anyone who reads my anxiety filled ramblings here :grin: This is the "real" me- someone that no one in "real" life has ever known.
 
S

Spider

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well, I made it and I survived my cleaning. Driving there was really rough. It's a 25 minute drive and I couldn't stop crying and my heart was racing the entire time. I wanted to cancel the appointment so bad. In the parking lot I called the dentist to let them know that I was outside (they don't use the waiting room anymore because of covid). I told the person on the phone that I was panicking and there was a chance I may not make it inside the building. He told me they will do whatever they can to help.

A few minutes later they called me and told me that I could come in if I wanted. I made it through the door. The hygienist asked if I was having anxiety because I was afraid of catching covid and I said no, that I'm just having so much anxiety in general. I told her about my agoraphobia, and how I'm starting to slip backwards. I told her how I don't want to give in to the anxiety and cancel, because then the anxiety will win. I warned her that I may have to go outside and get fresh air and she said, that would be perfectly fine. It was so weird, because then I felt OKAY. My heart calmed down, and I was suddenly calm. Talking to people has always helped calm my anxiety, so I'm guessing talking to the hygienist is what cured me?

The best news is that I don't have anything that needs repairing! It's been years since I've been told that. The dentist and hygienist said nothing about my gray molar. I guess its supposed to be gray? Maybe my other teeth are all unnaturally white from being fillings and crowns.
 
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