My Story

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Briar Rose

Junior member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
3
My fear started when I was about 4 years old. My brother was two years older and would scare me about how bad loosing baby teeth were, so obviously, I was terrified when mine started to get loose. Each one was a nightmare. I don’t even remember if it hurt, I was just terrified when my parents would pull them out. My top tooth had started to wiggle and my parents knew. I was watching TV when my dad sat down and said he just wanted to check on it. I had no idea he intended to pull it out. But instead of pulling out the one tooth, he yanked out both, the other one hadn’t even been loose yet. My brother thought it was hilarious and my dad tried to laugh it off but I decided then and there that I wouldn’t open my mouth for anyone. My brother still makes jokes about it and I just scream inside.

I never opened my mouth for my parents again so they decided they had to take me to the dentist instead. The one thing I hated the most about the dental appointments was that my parents would never tell me when they were, they’d just pick me up from school with no warning.

The dentist they took me to said he just wanted to look at my teeth but I screamed and cried until we left. On one of the visits, he promised not to do anything and would just look, so I opened and he stuck this black rubbery thing in my mouth so I couldn’t close it. I think I kicked him. I don’t remember how many times this happened but I was taken to a different dentist, I didn’t notice it when I sat down but he had this straight jacket looking thing on the chair, and as soon as I sat down, he strapped me into it so I couldn’t move. I screamed until we left.

When we got home that night, my dad yelled and screamed at me and grounded me until I cooperated and had the dental work done. My parents got into a fight over me that night, but I gave up.

My mom started taking me to my appointments. At the next one, the dentist said he would give me “laughing gas” to relax me. It didn’t do anything to help and I’ve always doubted that he actually gave me any laughing gas at all. I thought I would stop breathing and die in that chair, and I didn’t care.

That’s how it went throughout my childhood. I swore to myself that when I was an adult. I would never see a dentist again and I didn’t. I was hoping I would die before I needed one. I hated my teeth for being the reason for my fear and I didn’t treat them well.

I’m in my 30’s now, my teeth are pretty straight and I never needed braces but I’m sure they are in horrible condition. My two front teeth have chips on them, I have cavities, one of my wisdom teeth just broke and I have chronic bad breathe no matter how much I brush. I think my gum lime is receding as well. Whenever I have a toothache, I just gargle with salt water until it goes away.

I get horrible anxiety if I even look at a dental clinic too long. I don’t know what to do anymore. Even if I didn’t have this fear, I don’t even know how I could afford all the work I probably need done.

I have a great relationship with my parents, they were young and didn’t understand the extent of my fear, they still don’t. I’ve never spoken about this to anybody. Someone please help me.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,312
Hi Briar Rose :welcome:,

thank you for being this brave and sharing your story with us. I see it as a first small corn of trust and given your past experience with anything dental related, it seems like trust is what was betrayed in pretty much every time it was about dental.

I am really sorry to read what you have been through and it is no surprise that you stopped going altogether. Looking at how things went in your childhood, it looks like every experience was about being forced into things, lied to and having no saying. Fear of loss of control and being at the dentist mercy is often involved in dental fear and what you experienced in your childhood sounds like exactly that. Again, I would be surprised if you ever went again. I am also a little shocked reading it - nobody should go through this.. I can't even imagine how betrayed and violated you must have felt back then as the dentist, after you finally trusted a bit and opened your mouth, prevented you from closing it. That's awful. I am glad you have a great relationship with your parents and feel understanding for them.

The good thing is, that even with a trauma like yours, it is possible to gradually find way to tackle dental fear and by posting here you already did the first step. Beating dental fear is about taking it s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully, going at your pace. You will need some insight and a kind caring dentist for that. We have a great article here, called Where Do I Begin. You may find some initial direction there and hopefully some hope and reassurance.

All the best wishes, keep us posted and writing helps so feel free to vent and write as much as you like :)

:grouphug:
 
S

Samereynolds

Member
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
33
I can definitely relate to your story and I understand how traumatic it is. My mum used to pull out all my teeth for me as soon as they wobbled. She would scare me by telling me horror stories of how bad braces and dentists are and if I didn’t let her pull them out for me, my adult teeth would grow in crooked. I also refused to let her touch my teeth so I got taken to the dentist. I was scared because I had been fed all these bad stories of how scary the dentist is and I hated it there. My dentist was mean and told me off when I cried. He didn’t take time to comfort me or to make sure I was okay. He just went straight into poking around in my mouth and jabbing a needle in my gum. It sort of cemented the idea into my head that all dentists are bad so I also made a vow to never go back. I continued to let my mum take care of my baby teeth because it was the lesser of two evils.

I knew my teeth were in bad shape and was scared to book a dentist appointment but I had to because of an impacted wisdom tooth that was starting to hurt. I emailed and called around till I found a dentist that works with nervous patients. I first had a telephone appointment with my dentist (b/c of COVID) and was able to explain my reasons why I was scared. I was able to get a feel of what my dentist was like before I had the actual appointment. At the appointment, I was absolutely terrified but my dentist was lovely. She took her time to explain everything to me and we worked out a hand signal where I could tell her to stop and she would. We also went through some breathing techniques to calm myself down. She made me feel like I was the one in control which was great because I hated feeling so powerless as a kid when stuff was being done to my teeth. I was never judged for the state of my teeth or made to feel bad. I learned that there are some great dentists out there and some who even offer hypnotherapy to help you combat your fear.

Even though it was scary and it bought up old memories, I felt a sense of relief that I had managed to jump over my first huge hurdle in terms of my dental fear. I’ve spent a long time being scared of the dentist, worrying about my dental health and while I still feel anxious, it’s like a huge weight is slowly being lifted off my chest.

Sorry, I didn’t mean for this reply to turn out to be as long as a novel but you’re definitely not alone in your fear of the dentist. Just by being here and doing some research into trying to get help is a good first step. Just like Enarete said, it’s about taking it slow and taking little baby steps. This forum is a great place to talk about your fear and it’s great for extra support and reassurance. If there’s anything we can try and help with, let us know.
 
B

Briar Rose

Junior member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
3
Hi Briar Rose :welcome:,

thank you for being this brave and sharing your story with us. I see it as a first small corn of trust and given your past experience with anything dental related, it seems like trust is what was betrayed in pretty much every time it was about dental.

I am really sorry to read what you have been through and it is no surprise that you stopped going altogether. Looking at how things went in your childhood, it looks like every experience was about being forced into things, lied to and having no saying. Fear of loss of control and being at the dentist mercy is often involved in dental fear and what you experienced in your childhood sounds like exactly that. Again, I would be surprised if you ever went again. I am also a little shocked reading it - nobody should go through this.. I can't even imagine how betrayed and violated you must have felt back then as the dentist, after you finally trusted a bit and opened your mouth, prevented you from closing it. That's awful. I am glad you have a great relationship with your parents and feel understanding for them.

The good thing is, that even with a trauma like yours, it is possible to gradually find way to tackle dental fear and by posting here you already did the first step. Beating dental fear is about taking it s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully, going at your pace. You will need some insight and a kind caring dentist for that. We have a great article here, called Where Do I Begin. You may find some initial direction there and hopefully some hope and reassurance.

All the best wishes, keep us posted and writing helps so feel free to vent and write as much as you like :)

:grouphug:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, I’m looking at that article and I definitely have an issue with loss of control as well as a few other issues. I’m reading google reviews about a few dentists near me but I’m not ready to call yet and I don’t know if this broken wisdom tooth is an emergency.

I’m also having a hard time trying to figure out if it’s worth talking to my parents about this. They would be shocked to know what a lasting effect this had on me and I don’t want to make them feel bad about something that happened so long ago.
 
B

Briar Rose

Junior member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
3
I can definitely relate to your story and I understand how traumatic it is. My mum used to pull out all my teeth for me as soon as they wobbled. She would scare me by telling me horror stories of how bad braces and dentists are and if I didn’t let her pull them out for me, my adult teeth would grow in crooked. I also refused to let her touch my teeth so I got taken to the dentist. I was scared because I had been fed all these bad stories of how scary the dentist is and I hated it there. My dentist was mean and told me off when I cried. He didn’t take time to comfort me or to make sure I was okay. He just went straight into poking around in my mouth and jabbing a needle in my gum. It sort of cemented the idea into my head that all dentists are bad so I also made a vow to never go back. I continued to let my mum take care of my baby teeth because it was the lesser of two evils.

I knew my teeth were in bad shape and was scared to book a dentist appointment but I had to because of an impacted wisdom tooth that was starting to hurt. I emailed and called around till I found a dentist that works with nervous patients. I first had a telephone appointment with my dentist (b/c of COVID) and was able to explain my reasons why I was scared. I was able to get a feel of what my dentist was like before I had the actual appointment. At the appointment, I was absolutely terrified but my dentist was lovely. She took her time to explain everything to me and we worked out a hand signal where I could tell her to stop and she would. We also went through some breathing techniques to calm myself down. She made me feel like I was the one in control which was great because I hated feeling so powerless as a kid when stuff was being done to my teeth. I was never judged for the state of my teeth or made to feel bad. I learned that there are some great dentists out there and some who even offer hypnotherapy to help you combat your fear.

Even though it was scary and it bought up old memories, I felt a sense of relief that I had managed to jump over my first huge hurdle in terms of my dental fear. I’ve spent a long time being scared of the dentist, worrying about my dental health and while I still feel anxious, it’s like a huge weight is slowly being lifted off my chest.

Sorry, I didn’t mean for this reply to turn out to be as long as a novel but you’re definitely not alone in your fear of the dentist. Just by being here and doing some research into trying to get help is a good first step. Just like Enarete said, it’s about taking it slow and taking little baby steps. This forum is a great place to talk about your fear and it’s great for extra support and reassurance. If there’s anything we can try and help with, let us know.

I honestly believe if we had received even the tiniest bit of comfort from someone, things would be different for us right now. Neither my parents nor the multiple dentists I was taken to, ever asked me what I was scared of or even tried to explain what was happening.

I’m so happy for you that you were finally able to take that step and have that wisdom tooth taken care of. That gives me hope that I might be able to get there as well. I didn’t realize it until I was reading your post and you said “she” in reference to your dentist, but all the dentists that tortured me as a child were men, when I think of going to the dentist, I imagine seeing a male dentist and I’m consumed with anger and terror. I think I’ll need to find a female dentist.
 
S

Samereynolds

Member
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
33
It’s up to you if you want to tell your parents. It depends if you feel as though telling them and having them acknowledge that maybe they should’ve tried a different approach with your baby teeth would give you some form of closure, to allow you to move on from the past and start tackling your fear. I had a talk with mine and I felt better about it. They thought they were doing what’s best and didn’t realise the impact it would have.

Good luck with finding a dentist. It was definitely helpful to have a talk with mine prior to any treatment. I was able to explain what I didn’t like about dentists, what scared me etc so when it came to the appointment, she took what I said into consideration and we figured a way to make the appointment go as smooth as possible.
 
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