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My Dental Chronicle: The Final Chapter

kitkat

kitkat

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Introduction:
I have been a member of this forum for a very long time and many members have come and gone over the years. While I still have some dental anxiety, I no longer consider myself a true "phobic" and I have just reached the 10 year milestone with my wonderful dentist today. Having said that, I do not often seek support for treatment but I still enjoy providing it to others. Still, I like to reflect on my appointments both recent and distant past and thought it was time to establish a place of my own that I could always return to because I'm tired of starting new threads and then not being able to find them later. Also, I feel the support section is more for asking/receiving support and less for discussion so here we are. I wanted to begin writing about appointments that I have from now on so I have something to reflect on because I'm a very introspective person and I think it would be encouraging both to others and myself in the future. I'm not sure if I plan to post my dental past because I'm not sure it really matters and it would probably be pretty long although it may come up at some point. Many people start their journals at the beginning of their journey but hopefully, this my final chapter. Other members are always welcome to chime in.
 
carole

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You've changed, I like it :jump:
 
kitkat

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How so? You mean my avatar? I thought he was cute! :D
 
carole

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He ? I thought it was you, I was going to say good photo :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

Sorry couldn't resist that one. I hope you are fine and thing are ticking along nice and calmly and that the family are all fine too. :butterfly:
 
Pianimo

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You do realise I can't look at you now?! :sick: :sick: :p :rolleyes:

How did your appointment go? :friends:
 
kitkat

kitkat

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I think the appointment went as well as it could have.
The short version: I was given the all clear for another 6 months! :yayy:

The long version (because there is ALWAYS a long version! :rolleyes::giggle:):

My appointment was at 11am and I woke up really super early feeling very jittery/nervous around 8am. I hate when you wake up in the morning and the very first thing that flashes in your mind is remembering you have a dentist appointment that day! :shame: Anyway, I ate half a muffin (because I was too anxious to eat very much) and took a hot shower to try and relax myself. I ended up arriving in the parking lot about 20 minutes early because I obsess about being late and sat in my car for a good 19 minutes so I could reduce my time in the waiting room. As usual, they ran behind so I sat in a small waiting room full of people for about 20ish minutes tinkering with my phone and occasionally scanning the room for nervous behaviors. I find playing games on my phone is the best way to calm myself so I resorted to that the majority of the time.

The only other time I stopped tinkering with my phone was when I saw my dentist talking with a patient at the front desk. I don't want to say I was eavesdropping but I kinda was (but I wasn't trying to, she was just talking pretty loud :D) but I really liked what she said. The patient wanted to make an appointment to fill 3 teeth which was going to take approximately 2 hours. The dentist discouraged this and explained that "dentistry" is naturally high-stress inducing and it is stressful on the patient to endure dental treatment for long periods so she prefers to break appointments up into shorter segments for that reason. It was really nice to hear that reaffirmation that she "gets it."

Eventually, a new petite rather young-looking gentlemen came to the waiting room to collect me. SURPRISE! a new assistant! My usual assistant is nowhere to be found! :confused:. I immediately began to grow skeptical of this appointment being successful but decided I would give this guy the benefit of the doubt :(:hmm:. Side note: for whatever reason, my dentist never hires hygienists she just hires assistants to do the polishing/assisting and she does all of the scaling herself. So as I was saying, I decide I'm going to give this guy a chance to win me over and he actually was EXCELLENT!!! :love: He did everything right and was actually the best assistant I've ever had. Turns out he has 15 years of experience. He was very gentle, frequently gave me opportunities to rinse so I didn't gag, did not cover me in toothpaste and/or water, spoke reassuringly the whole time explaining what he was doing, established a stop-signal before starting, gave me praise/compliments, and caught on to the fact that I was very tense as he started (because I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into with him :unsure::noway:) and he gave me very specific instructions to help me relax by letting the tension out of my cheeks, not opening my jaw too wide, etc. I was completely relaxed with him the entire time with the exception of one or two times when he reminded me not to tense up. That whole relaxed body = relaxed mind theory really works! The dentist came in afterward and was kind and friendly as usual. She made small talk asking me about my job and I gave vague, short answers while I attempted to avoid eye contact because apparently I can't look at people in the eyes when I'm nervous. She gave me her normal reassuring speech about expecting a lot of water spraying during the scaling and blew the air away from me first as a quick test spray so to warn me what was coming before using it on my teeth.

Both the dentist and her assistant said I was doing excellent with hygiene and had no plaque at all. HOWEVER, my dentist spent what seemed like an eternity :waiting::waiting::waiting: with the ultrasonic scaler and I had several fleeting moments of discomfort sprinkled throughout that time with the bottom teeth in particular (and the scaler usually doesn't really bother me). It wasn't super painful or enough to freak me out or even make me flinch but enough to mentally note "that's kinda sensitive!" and to think "this is taking way too long and way longer than usual!" but afterward everything felt fine.

Today is another story though :(. My gums are pretty inflamed and sore and bled when I brushed and flossed this morning and they NEVER bleed so I'm wondering what the heck she did to me yesterday?! o_O I have been with this dentist for 10 years and my teeth have never been sore or inflamed after a cleaning. Now that my gums are supposedly in the most awesome shape yet, I'm hurting?! :confused: I don't know if she was just rougher than usual or what but I'm a little afraid to floss again or even use the electric toothbrush because there was a decent amount of blood/pain this morning :(. I have had this problem at other offices that only did "manual scaling" :devilish: and my dentist did some of that after using the ultrasonic so maybe it was the manual scaler?! :dunno: If it doesn't calm down in a few days I will probably call the office. I am mildly concerned because my ibuprofen just wore off a little bit ago (I need to take another dose) and the pain is back more intensely than before and it's been over 24 hours. Shouldn't it be getting less intense? :confused:. So the appointment was good except for the scaling/post-scaling and I wouldn't even describe the scaling as bad...it was just tolerable but today I'm having more pain than I did during the scaling which is surprising to me. Today, I honestly feel like I had a deep-cleaning! :( So yesterday, I felt great about the appointment but today I'm having mixed-emotions.
 
Pianimo

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The long version (because there is ALWAYS a long version! :rolleyes::giggle:):
:whirl::thumbsup!: A girl after my own heart! :D

Really pleased for you at coping so well, getting such a good report, and gaining such a lovely assistant! :cheer:

So sorry to hear about your scaling experience, and that you've been in pain. :( It does seem odd. Does it hurt/bleed in any particular area, or just everywhere? Hope the pain's started to ease up by now. :there-there:
 
carole

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Oh dear kitkat like pianimo I am really pleased that you had a good visit. I think if the pain and bleeding carries on into next week you should ring your dentist and ask about it. I also think it is odd, especially as you haven't had it before.

Maybe it will calm down if you carry on brushing with your elec toothbrush and floss. I would feel a bit reluctant like you though as it gives me quite a turn if I have bleeding gums, which I never usually have. I don't like it and it frightens me a bit. I sympathise with you, don't suffer with this though ring the dentist just to be sure. :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::butterfly:
 
kitkat

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Thanks. It seems to be calming down now although I have not really tried to go without ibuprofen yet. It is still a little sore but not as intense and no more bleeding. The pain was initially concentrated around my front bottom teeth and now it is less intesne but I notice a general achiness on top around the back teeth too. Overall I think things are improving and was able to resume my normal dental regime with minimal discomfort and just being extra gentle. Still not really sure what was different this time to bring this on. No sensitivity so that's a good sign.
 
R

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Hi, reading through your thread I was impressed with how well you've coped and I wanted to give you a bit of reassurance. I'm a dentist and I can tell you that when people are really anxious the tendency is to ease off a bit when scaling the teeth. My guess is that you were doing really well at the visit so they figured you could cope with a more thorough scaling. That's why it took longer to complete and also accounts for why, afterwards, it felt more like you'd had a deep clean.
Your symptoms should settle over a few days. Do keep up your hygiene regime, just be gentle over the weekend then all should be fine.
 
kitkat

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Hi, reading through your thread I was impressed with how well you've coped and I wanted to give you a bit of reassurance. I'm a dentist and I can tell you that when people are really anxious the tendency is to ease off a bit when scaling the teeth. My guess is that you were doing really well at the visit so they figured you could cope with a more thorough scaling. That's why it took longer to complete and also accounts for why, afterwards, it felt more like you'd had a deep clean.
Your symptoms should settle over a few days. Do keep up your hygiene regime, just be gentle over the weekend then all should be fine.
Thank you for that extra tidbit of information. I had not thought about it that way but it certainly makes sense because now that I think about it she also almost never manually scales and she did a lot more of the manual scaling this time too (in comparison to previous appointments) even though they said I had hardly any to no plaque. I believe that this appointment is probably the calmest that I have been (maybe ever) and I'm sure a lot of that had to do with the excellent assistant keeping me calm leading up to seeing the dentist. By the end of an appointment my nerves tend to be a little frazzled and it is easier to set me off into a panic. It's like a pressure valve that just builds and builds. This is one of the few times I haven't had to self-talk myself down from the anxiety. Usually I'm jumpy and startle easy and I'm breathing kinda rapid, my hearts beating really hard and fast, I'm shaky, and I have to keep telling myself that I'm okay. This time it was just like "do whatever you want...I can deal with it" and I didn't have any of the awful "fight or flight" symptoms. Even the few moments of discomfort didn't really phase me or set me off like it would have in the past but obviously the calmer your baseline is, the more it will take to escalate things and your coping mechanisms will be better preserved. There was a time where just the chair reclining and the seeing/hearing the ultrasonic scaler turn on could make me tremble and would change my breathing/pulse rate. Luckily things seem to have returned to normal now with my mouth but it took a couple days.
 
carole

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Hi kitkat, I am glad you are feeling better. :butterfly::butterfly::butterfly::butterfly::butterfly::butterfly::butterfly: My dance of celebration for you :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 
kitkat

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Thank you Carole! It is great to hear from you! I hope all is going well for you with your re-treatment. I have been with you in spirit and following your thread. I'm also glad that things seem to have returned to normal for me. Note to self: act more scared next time so they go easier on my teeth! :rolleyes:
 
carole

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You probably won't need a clean as deep as the one you sound as if you have just had. I bet my dentist held back because I was shaking. The hospital consultant says I need a deeper clean so she may do it this time.

My re treatment is going well so far. Hopefully you will be done for a while now. :butterfly::butterfly:
 
kitkat

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Thanks. Yeah I should be done for a bit now. I'm just on 6 month recall and I don't think I have any teeth on watch although she said she saw a little "breakdown" on one tooth. Whatever that means? :confused: The clean itself actually wasn't bad...just a bit longer and more abrasive than I expected. The few days of soreness/bleeding was the worst of it and that's mainly because I didn't expect it since the cleaning itself was not that bad. I didn't have any LA for it and honestly didn't need it and am not fearful about doing it again. I think it didn't bother me too much because I knew that I could stop her anytime if things got to be too much and she would indeed stop. It's when I feel out of control of what's happening that I start to panic.

I have experienced much, much worse at routine cleaning appointments back at that awful dental chain from my childhood! :devilish: I always had days of soreness following those appointments but the difference is I expected it because the cleaning itself was pretty bad and they never established stop signals or checked in to make sure I was okay. I felt completely out of control so I had more difficulty coping on top of the added discomfort. :(

Glad to hear that your re-treatment is going so well!
 
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kitkat

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I changed my avatar to Cheer Bear! I thought she was a good choice for representing me and I think the tooth brushing smiley may be too much for some people.
 
carole

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Yes I like the change :) I think pianimo wasn't too thrilled with the brushing the teeth avatar :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

She couldn't look at you :o:o:o I think you gave her a bit of a fright. She will feel much, much better now. I think this suits you more :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: :butterfly:
 
kitkat

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Yes by "some people" I meant Pianimo :giggle:. You can come back now Pianimo, I'm not scary looking anymore!:innocent: Did you even have the Care Bears cartoon over in the UK back in the day or am I the only one who knows who Cheer Bear is? Oh the childhood memories! :p
 
carole

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Yes we did have the care bears, I couldn't name them individually but they were there all the same. I was too old to watch the cartoon or program. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

There were care bare teddies and little figure things and all sorts to buy for kids.
 
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Pianimo

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I am indeed very pleased with the makeover! :thumbsup!: :perfect: Thank you for thinking of me! :friends: (And Carole too!)

I do remember the Care Bears - can't really remember the cartoon but I think I had some of the teddies. This one definitely suits you!

Glad your mouth is feeling back to normal. :)

I totally get where you're coming from with the show vs hide my fear dilemma. I go through something like this thought process throughout every appointment: "I'm shaking/crying (/etc), how embarrassing :redface: - I must try to hide it.....oh good, I'm hiding it! :jump: .....oh no, I'm hiding it - now they'll think that I'm fine and will stop doing all the things that enable me to be 'fine' :scared:.....better let them see I'm anxious....oh, this is embarrassing....." :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: I mean, it's the things they do because you're an anxious patient that enable you not to be so anxious, isn't it?
 
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