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Need a root canal and terrified!

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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
After avoiding the dentist for more than five years, I finally had a toothache I couldn't ignore. I managed to take my shaking, hyperventilating self to the office. They found two fillings in molars had deep decay under them. One will definitely need a root canal, but the other is iffy. Both were drilled out at that visit and now I have two temporary fillings. I still have some pain in the one that needs the RCT, but the dentist wants me to wait two weeks to let both teeth "settle down." I've never had an RCT before and I'm frankly terrified. I guess I'm concerned about how long it will take. I have some TMJ issues and difficulty keeping my mouth open for long periods of time. I also hate being numb because I have trouble feeling my bite. Arrrrgh! I hate myself for waiting this long to get back to the dentist, but here I am. I'm still a shaking, hyperventilating, panic attack mess until the RCT appointment in a little over a week. So glad to find this forum!

Edited to add: I suffer from panic disorder and am taking medication.
 
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MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
2,383
Do you have the option of nitrous or oral sedation? I was terrified at my first root canal and I have difficulty getting and staying numb. The idea of a root canal really terrified me. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I had thought.
Mine was a molar (with curved roots). The endodontist scheduled an hour and a half but she was done in an hour. It takes two appointments generally. I also have TMJ issues and that part was difficult but they used a bite block to help rest your jaw. The nitrous helped me relax so I wasn’t as nervous.
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
I didn't ask about sedation, but I do have Klonopin to take prior. Not as good as sedation, but it helps! Thanks for your reply and so glad you got through your root canal. It helps to know that this is a common procedure (but a first for me!!)
 
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TKB1974

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
105
Location
Washington
Hello! My story is very, very similar to yours. A toothache sent me back to the dentist after 10 (gasp!) years! I had two cracked molars with an infection in one that had reached the root (hence the horrible toothache). I did end up needing root canals in both teeth. My dentist put me on antibiotics for a week prior to the first root canal. I went to an endodontist for both root canals (performed as 2 separate procedures). Like you, I was terrified of the procedure. My experience with both root canals was excellent. I went in to the first procedure a shaking, sobbing mess. I was fearful of not being fully numb and feeling pain. My endodontist assured me that she would make sure I was fully numb before starting anything. I had nitrous and local anesthetic. The whole procedure took less than an hour from start to finish (including X-rays). They used a bite rest to help keep me more comfortable. I was so worked up about it and it was honestly a piece of cake. The anxiety brought on by the anticipation of the procedure was far worse than the actual root canal. I had zero pain or discomfort (during or after the procedure). I was very upfront with my endodontist about how fearful and anxious I was and she was so caring, gentle & empathetic. When I went back in for root canal #2, the only pain or worry I experienced was paying the invoice. 😂 I’m sure you will see here that the procedures are almost never as bad as we build them up to be in our own mind. Best wishes for a quick and easy procedure. ❤
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
Thank you so much for taking the time to relate your experience! It really means the world to me to hear positive stories. Having anxiety disorder just magnifies every fear tenfold. And then being a pain wimp doesn’t help either! The negative press about root canals haa really been getting to me. Again, thank you!
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
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Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,116
Hi LauraQ68 :welcome:,

well done on managing to see a dentist in the first place! I believe that first visit is the most difficult part. I was wondering how do you like your dentist? Would you feel confident to let them know what worries you about the rct? If they know, they will be able to support you better. Many people suffer from TMJ and your dentist can make sure your jaw stays comfortable. As MountainMama mentioned, this can be done by biting on a small plastic block that relaxes your jaw and also by agreeing on scheduled breaks whenever possible.
For your fear of numbness, there is a possibility to reverse the numbness after the procedure, the drug is called Oraverse. It may be a good idea to ask your dentist whether they have it and whether it would be an idea to use it after the procedure. We have an article about the fear of numbness here if you like to learn more about why this sensation can be so uncomfortable and how to deal with it.

All the best wishes
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
Hi LauraQ68 :welcome:,

well done on managing to see a dentist in the first place! I believe that first visit is the most difficult part. I was wondering how do you like your dentist? Would you feel confident to let them know what worries you about the rct? If they know, they will be able to support you better. Many people suffer from TMJ and your dentist can make sure your jaw stays comfortable. As MountainMama mentioned, this can be done by biting on a small plastic block that relaxes your jaw and also by agreeing on scheduled breaks whenever possible.
For your fear of numbness, there is a possibility to reverse the numbness after the procedure, the drug is called Oraverse. It may be a good idea to ask your dentist whether they have it and whether it would be an idea to use it after the procedure. We have an article about the fear of numbness here if you like to learn more about why this sensation can be so uncomfortable and how to deal with it.

All the best wishes
I chose a new dentist because my old one was not available. The new one seems very nice and I told him about my fears. I have not met the endodontist who is doing the root canal, but When I do you can be sure I will let him know about my anxiety.
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
Five days to go before my root canal. I am having a very difficult time managing my emotions. No appetite, difficulty sleeping. The tooth is intermittently painful, but seems to be manageable with Tylenol. Being told I have to wait to face this hurdle has really thrown me for a loop. I tried to get the appointment moved up, but the endodontist doesn’t have any openings sooner. So I am forced to wait and I don’t wait well! I am an emotional wreck. I’m trying to just tolerate moment by moment, but I am so frightened. Back In 2011 I had an unrelated health scare and ended up going into a psych hospital for a few days to get my medications sorted. That’s the last time I felt this bad. I lost control and I don’t want that to happen again. I always panic and go to worst case scenario.

Thanks for listening.
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
Root canal tomorrow morning! My stomach has been churning all day. Not sure I’ll sleep too well tonight. Thanks for all the support here.I will update you when I’m on the other side of this nightmare.
 
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TKB1974

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
105
Location
Washington
Best of luck! Tomorrow at this time all you’ll be feeling is pride & relief! You got this! 😊
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
Okay, so I’m in the dentist chair typing this. Turns out I need two root canals! We just did the first one and although it wasn’t pleasant, it was not the end of the world. What really hurt was testing the nerve with cold! That was not pretty, but it was brief. I’ll report back after RCT #2...
 
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TKB1974

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
105
Location
Washington
Deep breaths! You got this! Glad you can get it done all in one visit. It’ll be over soon.
 
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LauraQ68

Member
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Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
I did it! TWO root canals on the same day! The actual procedure was not the problem, it was my anxiety, hearing the drilling, and letting my mind run wild. I needed several shots to get adequately numb, but that's par for the course for me. I am still very numb, but I can feel some soreness in one of the teeth that was worked on. Hope that's normal...

Again, thanks to everyone for being my lifeline during these past few weeks. This forum helped more than you will ever know. I have not conquered my dental fears, but I've taken a big step forward. I hope to be able to help others here in the future.
 
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TKB1974

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
105
Location
Washington
Fantastic news! I’m so happy/proud for you! Like you, I’m very difficult to numb (a main cause of my dental fear). I also hate the sounds/smells associated with dental work- the worst! I did have a bit of soreness in the teeth I had the root canals on. I would say it lasted for less than a week & was pretty minimal. I used ibuprofen a few times, but that was it. Will you be getting your teeth crowned? Again, fantastic job! I’ve been thinking about you today. I’m glad it went relatively well. 😊
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
Fantastic news! I’m so happy/proud for you! Like you, I’m very difficult to numb (a main cause of my dental fear). I also hate the sounds/smells associated with dental work- the worst! I did have a bit of soreness in the teeth I had the root canals on. I would say it lasted for less than a week & was pretty minimal. I used ibuprofen a few times, but that was it. Will you be getting your teeth crowned? Again, fantastic job! I’ve been thinking about you today. I’m glad it went relatively well. 😊
You don’t know how much your support means to me! Yes, I will be getting crowns on both. I go back in a week for impressions, then return for crown placement. I didn’t realize I was difficult to numb, but I needed multiple shots. Anytime I felt a twinge, I asked for more! I think the sounds affected me, too. Because when you hear sounds like that you start to imagine what’s happening. And that’s never a good place for the mind to go. 😁
 
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keikokeiko

Junior member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
19
Location
California
Well done!!! I’m super proud of you! I know I’m late, but quickly wanted to relate to you. I had my first root canal in late 2019 I think it was, and I too was absolutely petrified. I also have TMJ, so that was probably the most uncomfortable part for me, even with the bite block I kept having to hold back from fidgeting my jaw lol I think mine took a long time (2 hours) because they said I have really long roots. Whenever I felt pain they quickly numbed me up, but overall it was pretty boring 😆 and I agree the sounds were a little freaky, but I always bring headphones and music, and whenever things get loud I just crank up the volume haha
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
I went in for impressions and crown prep today. I would have been more nervous if I had realized they were going to do the crown prep! So, now I have two temp crowns and I go back in one week for permanent crown placement. The temps do not cover the entire tooth. Is this normal? I assume the permanent crowns will cover.
 
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Thephilsblogbar

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Apr 23, 2015
Messages
788
Location
United Kingdom
I went in for impressions and crown prep today. I would have been more nervous if I had realized they were going to do the crown prep! So, now I have two temp crowns and I go back in one week for permanent crown placement. The temps do not cover the entire tooth. Is this normal? I assume the permanent crowns will cover.
I had a crown done last year, my temp did not cover the whole tooth, and did not match the colour of my tooth, it took my dentist and her assistant and myself 5 minutes to agree of the shade.
 
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TKB1974

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
105
Location
Washington
I went in for impressions and crown prep today. I would have been more nervous if I had realized they were going to do the crown prep! So, now I have two temp crowns and I go back in one week for permanent crown placement. The temps do not cover the entire tooth. Is this normal? I assume the permanent crowns will cover.
I’m not certain about that. I believe my temp crown covered the whole tooth (upper molar). The permanent crown feels a lot more natural though.
 
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LauraQ68

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
63
Location
California
I had a crown done last year, my temp did not cover the whole tooth, and did not match the colour of my tooth, it took my dentist and her assistant and myself 5 minutes to agree of the shade.
Yes, the assistant was showing me different shades and I wasn't sure why it mattered if it's only a temporary. I guess if it was a front tooth, that would be different. Thanks for the reassurance!
 
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