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My Dental Chronicle: The Final Chapter

krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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KitKat,

I just love this share and how this dentist treated you at this appointment , it just seems so pivotal .. and I see how it could have went so wrong, but it went so right.. like a real crossroads in dental anxiety. I absolutely loved how she was so sensitive and intuitive with you and explained everything . I so wish I and so many others could have had this experience at that age.. This is just lovely.. everything about it. I can also so identify with locking in your room and just not going.. I can also identify with your mom trying her own ways to get you there , throwing it in at the last minute.. I can imagine her trying all she can to do what she could to get you in there to take care of you.
 
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thisisme

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Okay now that I have had some time to sit down and be alone with my thoughts, I have finally started to reflect on and write about my past experiences...fair warning, some of these posts may be very long because they are pretty detailed but I will try not to ramble too much.

Part 1: The first and last avoidance.

I was 15 years old and we had just begun seeing a new dentist after spending many years attending a terrible dental chain. My dental anxiety was on the rise from a lifetime of so-so experiences. I had tons of dental work as a young child but I had not needed any dental work (aside from cleanings/sealants) for at least 8-10 years so I had been able to get by with my anxiety but now, I needed fillings. I was terrified. I could not remember what the procedure was like since last doing it as a very young child and my mother, father, and I had no experience with this dentist outside of 1 cleaning/exam. Also, I had concerns about her demeanor as I didn’t find her to be particularly warm or friendly at the first consultation visit. My first impression of her was that she was thorough but very clinical and somewhat cold. She had a direct, matter of fact way in speaking; she was not rough or mean but didn’t strike me as being super gentle or reassuring either.

The appointment day came for the first filling and I could not bring myself to go through with it. I locked myself in my bedroom and told my dad that I had a terrible migraine and was too sick to go. My mother was furious with me because she had to pay a cancellation fee. I was not forthcoming about my fear as I was too embarrassed to admit it or speak with anyone about it. I think my mother knew that I was afraid to go but also didn’t know how to help me. She rescheduled the appointment and didn’t tell me about it. When the appointment day came, I was sitting on the couch watching TV when all of sudden she sprang it on me acting as if she had forgotten about it (this was a lie; she never ever forgets appointments). All of a sudden she exclaimed “oh my goodness! You have a dentist appointment today for a filling and I completely forgot about it, we have to go! Go get ready!” I felt completely blind sided...I couldn’t believe this was happening. The panic started to takeover and I quickly tried to think of an escape plan. Alas, with no other viable options, I accepted my fate. I tried to talk to myself rationally, “it’s only an hour or so out of your whole life, you’ll be ok, people do this every day, it’s not a big deal, it will be fine!” See next post to read about the appointment...
This is my experience... at the same age... in reverse. My mom sprung my 3 cavity appointment on me the morning I woke up. I knew it was coming but the last minute surprise was awful. I went. On my way there, I said I was never going back. I wish I had a positive experience there. Maybe it would have be different. I blocked out most of it, so I can’t tell you much about the appointment. Just that it wasn’t a positive experience. I think people are under the perception that a neutral or a “I don’t remember” experience isn’t bad. I think just because someone wasn’t abused or hurt by their dentist, doesn’t mean it was a positive experience. The sights, smells, the “coldness” of the office... all of these cause phobias. The being told you’re doing well or accommodating to your needs is what gets rid of the phobias. Those are things you remember and things that keep you coming back.

Anywho, I did not have a positive experience, and on my next cleaning, I locked myself in my closet and refused to go.

And that was me for 16 more years.

I loved reading your backstory, and I’m so glad the appointment went so well. It is great when the dentist acknowledges you as a patient and not you just as work to be done.
 
kitkat

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KitKat,

I just love this share and how this dentist treated you at this appointment , it just seems so pivotal .. and I see how it could have went so wrong, but it went so right.. like a real crossroads in dental anxiety. I absolutely loved how she was so sensitive and intuitive with you and explained everything . I so wish I and so many others could have had this experience at that age.. This is just lovely.. everything about it. I can also so identify with locking in your room and just not going.. I can also identify with your mom trying her own ways to get you there , throwing it in at the last minute.. I can imagine her trying all she can to do what she could to get you in there to take care of you.
Yes, this was definitely a “make it or break it” moment. Many years later, I wrote a long thank you letter to my dentist thanking her for her kindness on that day as I do think she saved me from a very long period of avoidance and lifetime of serious dental problems. “Intuitive” is definitely the best word to describe her approach with me. I am glad she skated around the anxiety topic and didn’t question me directly or confront me about it. I am grateful that she was able to see that I was afraid without me having to tell her and that she could see that I needed support and offered it even though I was trying my best to “brave face” it. I feel like she just did everything right on that day. She had an interesting way of addressing my fears while still respecting them and without feeling like I was being called out on them and I think that’s a difficult thing to do in the moment.
 
kitkat

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This is my experience... at the same age... in reverse. My mom sprung my 3 cavity appointment on me the morning I woke up. I knew it was coming but the last minute surprise was awful. I went. On my way there, I said I was never going back. I wish I had a positive experience there. Maybe it would have be different. I blocked out most of it, so I can’t tell you much about the appointment. Just that it wasn’t a positive experience. I think people are under the perception that a neutral or a “I don’t remember” experience isn’t bad. I think just because someone wasn’t abused or hurt by their dentist, doesn’t mean it was a positive experience. The sights, smells, the “coldness” of the office... all of these cause phobias. The being told you’re doing well or accommodating to your needs is what gets rid of the phobias. Those are things you remember and things that keep you coming back.

Anywho, I did not have a positive experience, and on my next cleaning, I locked myself in my closet and refused to go.

And that was me for 16 more years.

I loved reading your backstory, and I’m so glad the appointment went so well. It is great when the dentist acknowledges you as a patient and not you just as work to be done.
I am so sorry that your appointment did not have the same outcome @thisisme. I can connect with everything you just wrote here. Reading about your avoidance is a testament of how this type of thing can go very wrong. I was very lucky. Three fillings is a lot to spring on someone but if they think they may never get you back through the door, I can see why they’d want to get it all done at once. When I got to that appointment, they asked me if we were doing one or two fillings, I insisted on just doing one and I am glad that I did. I needed to build some confidence up with the one filling before taking on more.

Yes, while I do not remember any specific traumatizing/painful appointments from my childhood I do not have a single positive memory either. A lot of my fear stemmed from that indifference to me being there and just having things done to my teeth while not being in control or informed about what was happening. I needed to have a dentist that cared about gaining my trust and establishing an actual patient/doctor relationship. I need someone that was willing to communicate with me and give me a sense of control with stop signals, explanations, etc. I am glad that you enjoyed reading my back story. I almost did not include it but I think it was very pertinent to my experience.
 
krlovesherkids777

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@thisisme

"I think just because someone wasn’t abused or hurt by their dentist, doesn’t mean it was a positive experience. The sights, smells, the “coldness” of the office... all of these cause phobias. The being told you’re doing well or accommodating to your needs is what gets rid of the phobias. Those are things you remember and things that keep you coming back."

I so hear you on this.. I had a very dentists in my 20's that weren't abusive but did nothing for my dental fear, still the sounds and smells of dentistry and even though they didn't treat me as horrificaly as my childhood dentist/ortho's did .. they treated me like a manican head basically. I didn't ever feel like a person or patient they valued or tried to talk to me or anything. They did things to me.. some were bad too, being quite shaming.. and mean comments .. but there were others that didn't shame me. just didn't say anything other than calling my name back, and then when to come back and what they needed to do. It didn't help my dental journey at all to have these experiences of just going through the motions as a nameless set of teeth.

What really changed things is at 30 when the dentist was so kind and compassionate and like Kitkats started explaining things and really being sensitive to my fears and anxieties and I"m pretty sure though she didn't ask me directly she could tell I was in a very hard place of abuse and had a very timid, scared personality at that point. She was the kindest person and I still remember her to this day and think of sending her a card or something. I had to switch due to personal issues . will never forget her though.The first positive turn around experience is one to remember..
 
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I am so sorry that your appointment did not have the same outcome @thisisme. Three fillings is a lot to spring on someone but if they think they may never get you back through the door, I can see why they’d want to get it all done at once. When I got to that appointment, they asked me if we were doing one or two fillings, I insisted on just doing one and I am glad that I did. I needed to build some confidence up with the one filling before taking on more.
I never had a say in the matter, which probably only escalated my fear. At my cleaning, I was told I had three cavities, which seemed crazy since it had only been 6 months since my last cleaning. I made it 14 years without cavities, and now he suddenly wanted to fill three teeth. Having never had a cavity, I think it kind of fueled my fear. I knew my sister had them and survived but cavities sounded very scary to me.

I think if someone would have broke the news more gentle or asked what I wanted (start with 1-2), but it didn’t feel like that. I knew in the backseat going to that appointment that I was never going back. I felt like a prisoner being dragged away. I always felt that way going to the dentist, but the cavities were my last straw. They must have been small because he didn’t numb me up. I would remember that because they were on opposite sides and on the bottom... numbing me up would have froze my entire mouth (as I’ve learned since going back).

Plus, if he found 3 cavities after 6 months, what was he going to find in 6 more months? 6 more months after that? I feel like if I kept going to him, I would have a lot more cavities than I do now. There were definitely trust issues there.

I’m so glad that there are good dentists out there and that I did start going back. Well, okay, I’m not super happy I go to the dentist now, but you know what I mean. :) I hope you continue to have positive dental experiences!
 
kitkat

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I never had a say in the matter, which probably only escalated my fear. At my cleaning, I was told I had three cavities, which seemed crazy since it had only been 6 months since my last cleaning. I made it 14 years without cavities, and now he suddenly wanted to fill three teeth. Having never had a cavity, I think it kind of fueled my fear. I knew my sister had them and survived but cavities sounded very scary to me.

I think if someone would have broke the news more gentle or asked what I wanted (start with 1-2), but it didn’t feel like that. I knew in the backseat going to that appointment that I was never going back. I felt like a prisoner being dragged away. I always felt that way going to the dentist, but the cavities were my last straw. They must have been small because he didn’t numb me up. I would remember that because they were on opposite sides and on the bottom... numbing me up would have froze my entire mouth (as I’ve learned since going back).

Plus, if he found 3 cavities after 6 months, what was he going to find in 6 more months? 6 more months after that? I feel like if I kept going to him, I would have a lot more cavities than I do now. There were definitely trust issues there.

I’m so glad that there are good dentists out there and that I did start going back. Well, okay, I’m not super happy I go to the dentist now, but you know what I mean. :) I hope you continue to have positive dental experiences!
I totally understand the feelings of mistrust and feeling like a prisoner. I went from having no cavities for many, many years to needing like 7 teeth filled when we switched dentists. I was floored by that news! I do give my dentist the benefit of the doubt because for one thing the sealants protecting the teeth had probably wore off and we went to an awful dental chain for years and I don’t think they were the best at diagnosing things. Also there was a sort of lapse in care where we were between offices or going somewhat sporadically because the dental chain kept cancelling our appointments (glory hallelujah! those were the BEST phone calls to get!). I have now been with her for 16 years and have found her to be nothing but honest but initially I wasn’t sure because 7 Or so felt like a lot. I went to the office with the expectation of doing one filling and then the dentist asked me if we were doing one or two..horrified at the idea of two, I quickly clarified we were only doing ONE but it was nice that she asked me. I think there was a little back and forth where she was talking to me and then confirming with my mom in the waiting room what was going to happen. I only recall having one filling without numbing and I think they have to be VERY shallow to do that without pain so maybe these were areas that were just starting out.
 
kitkat

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Stay tuned for more postings...I am working on writing Part 3 which is a bit more complex.
 
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Part 3: Setbacks and Breakthroughs

A few weeks after the first filling appointment on a top right molar, I was scheduled to return for two more fillings that were side by side on the top left side. I went into this appointment feeling okay about it. I knew what to expect this time so I felt more confident and was less nervous.

The dentist came in to give me the injection to get me numb and I didn’t really think twice about it because the last injection was 100% painless. So she begins to inject and almost instantly there is pain that is quickly intensifying. Now, I have lost count of the number of dental injections that I’ve had in the past and only 2 have ever been truly painful ...one was when I had my root canal (years later) and the other one, was this one (which is actually in the same area). So I try to wait it out and it’s not getting any better...it just feels like this severe burning/stinging. My eyes reflexively start to well up with tears and I feel my breathing speeding up, I shut my eyes trying to keep my composure. At this point, my dentist takes notice that something’s wrong and she asks me if I’m uncomfortable and I nod my head yes. She stops immediately and apologizes. She explains that sometimes injections can be uncomfortable if it’s in an area where there isn’t a lot of gum tissue which is the case with this area. She gives me a little piece of cotton to bite on (so I don’t bite my cheek) and tells me to rest for a moment and then steps out of the room; at first I thought she went to go do something but at some point after several minutes, I turned around to peak behind me (I might have been considering escaping) and she was standing in the doorway just kinda waiting there so I think she was just giving me a break to decompress alone.

So at this point the anxiety is back in full force and the trust relationship is somewhat damaged in just the first 5 minutes of this appointment. I think just the fact that I truly wasn’t expecting pain and it took me completely by surprise really threw me for a loop. I think my dentist knew this and realized she had to kinda start over with me. After a few more minutes she came back in and started reclining the chair and explained that she needed to give me the rest of the local anesthesia but that I wouldn’t feel anything because I was already numb from the first injection. I didn’t fully believe her at the time. I could feel my body getting tense and I felt nauseous and I started to shake again. I sorta felt like I might pass out. I reluctantly opened my mouth really wide and shut my eyes again bracing for more pain and she told me to close down slightly to relax my mouth. She tried to calm me down. As she injected she said “I’ll be real gentle... I’m going to go nice and slow...you shouldn’t feel this.” Once she started to inject and it was indeed painless, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. She also checked in with me after she started to inject to make sure that I was doing ok and not feeling anything.

Once we got through the injection ordeal and it was time to actually start the fillings I was still visibly stressed and she surprised me again. She said “I’m not going to start until you feel ready; you tell me when you’re ready to start...I’ll wait...” and then she just sat with me quietly for a few minutes and waited for me to give the go ahead. As she was getting ready to start, she said “remember, you’re the one who’s in control here...if you want me to stop, I stop.” That statement changed everything for me. As a 15 year old, this never occurred to me before. Looking back, I’m sorta happy things didn’t go as expected because it prompted this exchange. I remained a bit on edge through the rest of that appointment although everything else went pretty smoothly after that (thank goodness!). It played out similarly to the first filling appointment, just with a lot more reassurance and talking me through sensations as they came up as I was more jumpy and just caught up inside my own head (and it took longer because it was two fillings). She was bit more direct in her reassurance. Rather than skating around the anxiety topic as she did before, at one point about midway through procedure, she actually said to me “don’t be scared” as I was reacting to a sensation so I must have been looking pretty terrified which is kind of embarrassing. I left that appointment feeling completely drained.
 
kitkat

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Quick Update: Appointment is in 3 days! The 20 days definitely flew by. I’m feeling much better about it at the moment. The office called today and left a voicemail to confirm my appointment and to update my insurance information (it changed January 1st). I called them back and the dentist (the doctor herself) answered the phone which always catches me off guard. I always anticipate the receptionist answering, not the doctor. Anyway, after answering the phone in a very formal tone, after I said who I was, she perked up with “Oh, Hi Honey! How are you?!” She sounded very upbeat and positive on the phone. I gave them the new information and confirmed I was coming. I feel much better about the appointment after having that little phone exchange with her. I don’t actually have any nerves at the moment. Maybe I got it all out of my system already.
 
krlovesherkids777

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Kitkat..

I love your Chronicles and writings of your dentist and appts. What an inspriation. Your dentist is just lovely, as much care as she takes with you on each step.. and very intuitive and though sometimes quietly taking a break and others directly reassuring you.. this is so lovely.. I almost want to send every 15 yr old back to your dentist for a redo of their dental experience... I know it is individual connection.. but really love to hear how she treated you! Also so get that though you did have alot of positive there were some points where that positive momentum was broken a bit.. and had to be regained.. that is so so real..

Well I hope your next appt goes well.. will love to hear of it!! :)
 
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Thank you @krlovesherkids777 .

I feel quite lucky to have found her as my mom blindly chose her name off a list of providers from our dental insurance company. I could have ended up with anybody, It’s interesting to me that she does not advertise herself as catering to anxious patients. It feels as though she has had some specialized training in managing dental anxiety; she just always seems to know what to say or do but that could just be from years of experience or maybe self-study on the topic.
 
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Appointment is tomorrow afternoon. I was feeling more anxious earlier today than I am now. Right now I’m not very nervous at all. I still feel like I am going to be there a long time and that my dentist is going to find things that need doing and that I will have to schedule appointments to come back but I will just cross that bridge when I get there.
 
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I just got back from my appointment. It was a bit different. I found the assistant to be particularly lovely this time (she’s always nice but she was the one really helping me to feel at ease). The assistant talked constantly through the appointment about anything and everything (which I prefer...it’s a nice distraction for me). We did end up doing a full mouth series of X-rays...I have no idea how many there were ...probably 18 or so (and I’m not exaggerating on that number). Some of them were very awkward and uncomfortable but the assistant kept checking in with me to make sure I was doing ok. After that, the assistant polished my teeth which was no big deal.

Then my dentist came in...I wasn’t really nervous by the time she came in and we got to talking about my work (I work in healthcare so that distracted me and kept me calm) but because we were talking more as “healthcare person” to “healthcare person” she was a bit more clinical than usual and not as phobic friendly. She was still nice but just less sensitive and not really using any “kid gloves” with me at all. When she started the scaling I didn’t get any kind of reassurance from her at all...like NONE (that might be a first), she just went for it and would pause and ask me questions and continue conversation with me throughout. I heard the assistant tell me that there would be “lots of water spraying” to kind of prep me just before the dentist started the scaling and that was all of the reassurance I got. The scaling felt like it lasted a long time. I feel like over the last few years, the scalings have become more thorough (like maybe she used to hold back a little). I stayed calm throughout the scaling even though it was uncomfortable at times. The exam was equally thorough and it seems like she spent a long time scraping and poking at things but nothing was painful.

After poking around for awhile, she said that she “would need to go in and excavate tooth number 3.” She also put a few teeth on watch... she said that she’s not sure about tooth number 2 but she will be able to get a better look at it when she “opens up 3” and then can make a decision on it because it’s between the teeth as is the decay on number 3. The word excavate has a horrible ring to it. I have an appointment to return in exactly one month on February 4th for definitely one filling but maybe two depending on how things go. That’s the top right molars. Ugh.

It’s not the worst news but I’m not excited about it. I don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing if I am getting one or two filings until she’s drilled into the first tooth. This happened to me one other time but I wasn’t briefed that it could happen in advance that time...it was actually on the same teeth but opposite side; she drilled into the one tooth and found decay on the adjacent tooth and asked if we could fill it right then and there (I agreed). So at least I have a warning this time. I’m going to have to let my phobic flag fly during that appointment because I am going to want the reassurance from her throughout. It shouldn’t be too hard to do since I’m already feeling pretty nervous about it.
 
krlovesherkids777

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Kitkat.

First off your dental assistant sounds lovely and very reassuring thank God for having her this time, especially since your dentist seemed to have a more off day without the usual reassurance, I suppose they can have those days.. She probably sees you as being less anxious so as you say took off the more kid glove approach.. I would do the same next time and let your anxious patient flag fly.. I 'm going to do the same.. I suppose things can go up and down with anxiety for each appointmet as different circumstances and situations arise.. I'm with you too. I wouldn't particularly care for the work excavate.. I'd be like huh?? :unsure: :(:confused:
 
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@krlovesherkids777

It’s kind of ironic...for the longest time I wanted to be seen and treated as “normal” and now when I get that I’m not happy! Lol I didn’t really NEED the reassurance, I was very calm throughout the appointment and conversant with her but I’ve come to expect it a little bit and it throws me off my game when I don’t get it. I guess I’m just a little spoiled. Yes, I think because I did not seem anxious (and truthfully really wasn’t) she didn’t see the need to provide a lot of reassurance even though it’s the reassurance that typically keeps me calm. I would naturally be more nervous for the fillings than a cleaning so I think she would be more reassuring during that appointment anyway but I’m going to remind her that I’m nervous beforehand, just in case she forgets! I will say that having been with her so long, there is a different level of comfort/trust and I do feel safe with her whether she provides reassurance or not but it’s just nice to have the reassurance anyway.
 
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kitkat

I am really enjoying your story, by the way (just had to say.) I mean I am enjoying the progress! Some of the more difficult episodes make me feel anxious and I have nothing but sympathy. I'm still getting my head round "excavate". What a scary choice of word! Just, eek!! (Though, I suppose when you see how archaeology is done; you see how tenderly and gently they expose discoveries. Gently brushing their way in so that no damage is done to the artefacts. I guess that might have been the intention of the word choice...)

But you tell it so well, it truly makes for a good read. Thanks, is what I am meaning. :)
 
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kitkat

I am really enjoying your story, by the way (just had to say.) I mean I am enjoying the progress! Some of the more difficult episodes make me feel anxious and I have nothing but sympathy. I'm still getting my head round "excavate". What a scary choice of word! Just, eek!! (Though, I suppose when you see how archaeology is done; you see how tenderly and gently they expose discoveries. Gently brushing their way in so that no damage is done to the artefacts. I guess that might have been the intention of the word choice...)

But you tell it so well, it truly makes for a good read. Thanks, is what I am meaning. :)
Thank you! I am working on organizing Part 4 and will be posting that as soon as I get some time to sit down and write it all out.
 
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Part 4: Unexpected Struggles

You would think that once you’ve found the right dentist, the phobia would be gone and perhaps that is the case for some people. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me. Shortly after those first few appointments, my anxiety became somewhat less predictable and more difficult to suppress which I found to be very frustrating.

I recall a specific appointment for a filling. I don’t remember exactly how long I had been seeing my dentist..I know that I was still in high school so it was very early on and I felt mildly anxious but overall, okay. The dentist collected me from the waiting room (normally her assistant does this so I was thrown off by this change). Shortly after I was seated, she proceeded to give me the local anesthesia and then she sat with me and waited for me to get numb. Normally I have a few minutes to sit in the chair either alone or with the assistant to acclimate to my surroundings and I didn’t really get that time. Additionally, my dentist usually sets a timer and steps out while waiting for the numbing to take effect but she stayed in the room with me so I really just had no time to myself to decompress and I must have become very overwhelmed.

So after a little time has passed, I open my mouth so she can start working and to my surprise my lips are trembling A LOT. I didn’t really feel as anxious as I appeared and I was very uncomfortable with acknowledging my anxiety and would always try to put on a “brave face.” I’m aware of my lips quivering and have no idea how to make it stop so I’m tensing my entire body trying to get control over my lips which is just making me even more anxious. My dentist paused after a second or two of trying to work and said “your lip is fluttering quite a bit, are you nervous?”. My dentist had never confronted my anxiety before by just flat out asking me the question...it felt like a spotlight was on me...I wanted to lie or better yet just disappear. With no excuse, I shook my head yes (this actually felt terrifying to admit at the time...I felt like I had tried to hide this secret and suddenly it was just out there...even though she had already seen me nervous before...I never had to admit it to another human before this point...keep in mind, the assistant was also there staring at me). My dentist immediately countered with another question, “why are you nervous?”. Unable to organize my thoughts or even really put into words how or what I was feeling I just said “I don’t know.”

Realizing that I was very quickly becoming overwhelmed, my dentist removed everything from my mouth and instructed me to close my mouth and take a moment to breathe. Then we just sat for a few moments in silence. Even after closing my mouth, my lips continued to tremble. I actually had to use my hand and apply pressure to my lips to release the tension. I hear my dentist say quietly to the assistant, “she’s never been like this before.” I think to myself, “oh great! This is the most terrified I’ve ever appeared...I’ve outdone myself! how embarrassing!”

After a few more moments, my dentist asks if I would like to try biting down on something. She explains that by biting down on something, the mouth physiologically may just relax completely. Curious and worried about the shakes returning, I agreed. I was actually agreeing to a bite block (I didn’t realize that because she didn’t give it a name). She placed the bite block and instructed me to bite down to hold it in place. Surprisingly, it did the trick and with a little self-determination I was able to relax my mouth and jaw in a matter of just a few seconds. After confirming I was comfortable with the bite block in place we were able to complete the procedure without a problem (with lots of reassurance). I do remember using a lot of self-talk to get through that appointment and I recall still feeling somewhat on edge throughout the rest of the appointment but nothing else eventful happened.

That’s the only time that I’ve used a bite block to get through treatment but I appreciate my dentist’s fast thinking and ability to problem solve. I’m also glad she didn’t force the phobia conversation any further when I froze up and said “I don’t know.” I think I really didn’t know at the time...my physical reaction to the fear actually surprised me probably as much as it did her because I felt pretty ok about things initially. It all escalated so fast that I really wasn’t able to articulate my feelings in the state that I was in which she thankfully recognized.
 
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kitkat

kitkat

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Part 5: Thank You
So I found a copy of the “thank you” letter/card that I gave to my dentist back in 2011. I wanted to attach a copy of it here because it seems pertinent and I also sometimes like to remember what I said and can’t always easily locate it. So here it is... to give you context, I had been seeing this dentist for 8 years and this was 9 years ago.so it’s going on 17 years now that I’ve been seeing her.


***Note:
(Dr. Name),

Whether you realize it or not, I have struggled with a fear of dental treatment for as long as I can remember. However, over the course of the past 8 years, you have helped me immensely and I wanted to say "thank you." Your small acts of kindness and compassion have really made a difference. You have always made an effort to put me at ease and that sets you apart from other dentists I have encountered. When I first came to your practice, and my fear was quite evident, I feel you worked very hard to gain my trust. You have always acknowledged and respected my fears and offered reassurance without hesitation. You expressed genuine concern for my comfort, eliminated any unnecessary anxiety by telling me what to expect, and you let me feel in control. You have always been very calm, casual, and comfortable with addressing my fears as they arise which allows me to feel more confident with expressing them openly. You have always been concerned about me as a whole person, not just the condition of my teeth and I really appreciate that. By the time I found your practice I was beginning to avoid necessary treatment due to fear and you reversed that process so I mean it when I say that I owe my current and future good dental health to you. To put it simply, Thank you for always ensuring that I have a positive and comfortable experience at your office. It takes more than mastering the technical skills to be a great dentist, it takes a great deal of attention, patience, understanding, compassion, and warmth. Your patients are blessed to have you and to be receiving your care. Thanks for everything!!!

Sincerely, (signature)
 
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