• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is very afraid of dentistry or who suffers with dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a dental problems forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Looking for courage

G

Guest

Former Member
First off I want to thank everybody for sharing their wonderful and uplifting stories. Reading about other people anxiety and coping mechanisms really helped me to the point where I'm actually able to read about some of the procedures without becoming naseous from fear.

My problem is that I can't quite muster up the courage to take the first step of making an appointment and the... actually SHOWING UP for said appointment. I haven't been to the *gulp* dentist for probably 12 years, and I never had a positive experience prior to that. I have had more fillings than I can count, and once I had to have 4 teeth pulled by my orthodontist- only to come home and find out that 5 had been pulled instead! Now I must have countless cavities requiring root canals, a back molar that is broken half away, and most likely wisdom teeth that have to come out. The possibilties of what might actually be wrong ON TOP of all that is terrifying- I don't even want to know. I have a severe phobia of needles, and so far my biggest issues are the needles, the chair that makes you lie back so far that you fear you're going to slide right off onto your head, the smell of your teeth burning, the sound of the drill, the pointy thing, everything basically.

The thought of showing up for that first exam, and the excruciating feel of that hook in the cavities (if it sometimes hurts simply to bite down on something, the hook must be a 1000 times worse), and finding out the sheer number of things that I will have to have done... most times I feel like my fear is insurmountable. The possibility of having to go back over and over again to have everything done- I'm just not sure I can do it. If they tell me to come back to get any teeth removed, I'm almost positive I'll never keep that appointment. But is an 8 hour stretch in the chair any better? :(

I am considering sedation dentistry, but even with that I fear that though I might not remember the pain afterwards, I WILL feel pain during. And, stupid as it is, I'm imagining myself passed out in the waiting room, and others looking at me and thinking "What a wuss. Needs meds just to come in here."

I've taken a tiny baby step- I researched some sedation dentists in the area and am having my husband call to inquire (I make sure to tell him "JUST GET SOME DETAILS- NO APPOINTMENTS YET") but I need some strength to do something beyond that.
 
H

happydancyfeet

Former Member
Hi Skittish and :welcome:

I can relate to everything you have said here, everything you are scared of, petrifies me too. I lurked on the board for quite a while before i could post, and type the word "dentist" without being in tears.

Iv sedation is the only way I can have anything done, even having a scale and polish! I still have to take diazepam the night before and on the day of the appointment just to get me there :(
I dont feel ANYTHING being done, (I've had extractions, a filling and deep cleaning done so far). I'm needle phobic too but the iv being done is really just a scratch. My dentist knows my fears, so , on my first visit she didnt use the probe.

When you find a dentist you think you'll be comfortable with, write a letter explaining your fears beforehand, or e-mail the dentists you think might be able to help you.

I'm sure the moderators will advise you on recommended dentists in your area, or you could check in the dentists database at the top of the page.

You'll find support from wonderful people on here. I wouldnt have made the first appointment without their encouragement. And we'll help you too. :grouphug:
 
G

gumgirl

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
140
Hi Skittish and a big :welcome:
Seems to me you've taken two big steps: researching for a dentist and posting here. So big congrats for that :jump: You're among friends here, and we all know how difficult it is to make that first appointment.
You're doing absolutely the right thing by checking out dental practices: and a good dentist will do NOTHING on that first appointment except have a look around with no pointy things. S/he may also want to take x-rays but there should be nothing that involves poking or prodding or needles. You should be allowed to take things at your own pace. Such dentists are out there, even if they take a bit of digging up.
If you do need any big treatments, I can thouroughly recommend IV sedation. Have a look in the sedation section of the forum, where some of us who've experienced it have given a description of what it's like. I promise you that you will feel no pain.
Finally, you are not stupid and you are not a wuss. And anyone who tells you so is a plonker who isn't worth the time of day. You have genuine fears that everyone here will respect and empathise with. :grouphug:
 
G

Guest

Former Member
Thank you so very much for your replies. Until today I had no idea that such a forum existed, and your support really means more to me than I could ever put into words. Up until now, when I confided my fears to people, the most I would get was a patronizing "It'll be fine. Look, you have to go, so just go" or worse, they would confide back and tell me all their worst horror stories. NOT HELPFUL!

It's such a relief to know that they don't need to use the horrible hook on the first examination (though how do they know where the cavities are?) and some of my terror has abated. As for IV sedation, well, that comes with some scaries of its own, I'm hoping that oral sedation might be enough for me. Perhaps once I make the real decision to go and actually do it, I might be able to live through it without fainting or otherwise making an ass out of myself. (Okay, I'm being dramatic.)

Last question: in the likely event that I will have to go back for several appointments, what do people who are ashamed of their phobia tell their coworkers/bosses? Is there a "none of your business"/cover story you can tell people so they don't question why you need 5 absences from work in 1 month? My phobia is deeply personal, and I don't want to have to tell anyone at work.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,759
Hi Skittish :welcome:,

I was reading your post and your history sounded very similar to mine (except for the needle phobia bit) (actually, I was a bit surprised that you didn't mention "lack of trust" among your greatest fears/problems, considering what happened to you in the past).

The "hook" or "poker" as it's affectionately called by dental phobics ;) isn't used willy-nilly anymore these days... most of the time it's possible to tell cavities apart from staining etc. by visual inspection (but sometimes it's necessary to use it if there's doubt; however, if you let your dentist know you don't want it used at the start, they should honor your wishes).

It can be helpful to think about the following questions:

*What would my “ideal” visit to a dentist be like?
*What would the dentist be like?
*What would they do?
*What wouldn’t they do?
*What could I do that might help me feel more comfortable?

(well, I found it useful, anyways :p. Especially in a half-dream state, e. g. when going to bed or while waking up).

No two people's fears are exactly the same, and the methods you choose for dealing with the situation will depend greatly on your personality, your history, and what you intuitively feel comfortable with.

You may also find that you might not need as much done as you fear (for example, is there any specific reason why you reckon your wisdom teeth will have to come out?).

Best of luck :grouphug:!
 
G

Guest

Former Member
Well, the first step is done... my husband has scheduled a consultation in 3 weeks. I waver from relief to depression to my familiar old buddy, fear. I've been visibly sad :shame: from the infection in my icky broken tooth, and quite frankly, I'm just tired of being afraid and depressed. The thought of being able to chew on both sides of my mouth without pain is suddenly extremely tempting. I just need to be strong and keep that appointment.

Right now the thing I fear most is the diagnosis- I'm running though all the worst case scenarios while hoping for the best: that my tooth can be restored, and I don't have to remove my wisdom teeth and skate away with a few root canals, a crown and a deep cleaning. :(

If I hadn't found this board, I'm positive I would never have gotten this far. To see that people just as scared, if not more, as I am going in and getting major work done and reporting back "I lived! It really didn't even hurt!" has been so amazingly helpful. If they can be strong, so can I. And rationally, I do know that the pain really can't be as bad as I'm imagining.

So that's where I stand. Let the countdown begin. :confused:

P.S. In response to your question, letsconnect, I feel like I might have to have my wisdom teeth removed because I have one that's grown in straight but halfway out in the last few months, but the others have yet to make an appearance. So they're probably impacted. And my broken tooth is gross tasting and smelling (TMI, I know) and I'm afraid to even look at it for fear that it's going to be pitch black or something. A chunk the size of a large grain of brown rice is missing, and has been missing for over a year, maybe close to 2. Sigh.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,759
Skittish(Guest) said:
P.S. In response to your question, letsconnect, I feel like I might have to have my wisdom teeth removed because I have one that's grown in straight but halfway out in the last few months, but the others have yet to make an appearance. So they're probably impacted.

In the UK at least, the current guidelines are *not* to remove asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta1)... in the US, there are still more dentists who seem to be in favour of removal, but it's not quite as popular as it used to be...
 
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