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Needing to find the courage to book treatment

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Sandy103

Junior member
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Australia
Hi all,

I have scrolled around these forums for years and it has really helped me begin to work on my dental fears. But now it's my time to go and I'm so SO scared!

I hope I can share my backstory: My fear started in grade 2, I needed a couple fillings and a tooth pulled. The tooth to be pulled was a little wiggly and they were all baby teeth so I was told I didn't need it to be numb because it wouldn't hurt anyway. They lied, it hurt a lot! I squirmed heaps, crying and was held down by the assistant and I remember her saying 'only babies cry'. From then on I was scared of all things to do with dentists. I made excuses to avoid them until I was 15. My friend (with good intentions) convinced me to go see the school dentist and just get my teeth checked. New school, new dentist and apparently she was nice so I went. Wrong again! I had about 7 or 8 baby teeth that hadn't fallen out even though my adult teeth were through (they were pushed aside by my adult teeth and not really loose at all). I ended up getting all my baby teeth removed and then needed 3 fillings. This was so painful! She numbed it using local anaesthetic which helped for the baby teeth to be pulled but the anaesthetic didn't seem to numb my molars properly and I could feel everything, it felt like my tooth was burning and really sharp pain. After trying to numb it a few times (I don't tolerate needles well) she said it must be numb and that I was just nervous, told me not to be silly and that it wouldn't be hurting if I took better care of them and continued her work. It was the worst experience and just reaffirmed in my mind that all dentists were something to be avoided. I haven't been to a dentist since. I still have trouble even just walking past a dental clinic and seeing their signs. I have never actually shared all that with anyone but I hope it's ok to share here and at least get it off my chest. If not, my apologies 😒

Fast forward to now and I haven't been to the dentist in 10 years. Well until a few weeks ago. I've been in quite a bit of pain and have been avoiding certain foods so my husband decided enough was enough and booked me an appointment to get my teeth checked out. My husband promised me they would just have a look and they did, phew! This dentist was actually soo nice!! (They do exist!!) He gave me a blanket, told me everything he was going to do and waited until I was ready. I was super worried that he was going to say my teeth were beyond repair but none of them were, he said they can all be saved! I was so happy with how I went. We were about to go away for a week so we didn't want to book treatment until we got back, save me dwelling on it all holliday. The dentist said when we get back that I could come in for a free appointment to work out a treatment plan and schedule my appointments. That was 4 weeks ago. Life got busy and I got used to making excuses for why I 'forgot to call them'. *Sigh* 😒

The verdict: I need 11 cavities filled, 1 root canal, a deep clean over two visits and all of my wisdom teeth removed (1 more urgent than the rest) 😲

My problem: I trust this dentist, he is really nice and caring but now I feel bad because I've left it so many weeks. I want to call and schedule a time with him but I'm dreading it because to me, calling him means committing to things that have caused me so much pain and fear in the past. Calling him means finally facing what has held such a tight grip on me for so many years. I want to do this more than anything and I feel like this is the right time but it's so hard! I struggle socially and with all this fear and anxiety loaded together I'm scared I'll just start crying on the phone and totally embarrass myself. I keep starring at his business card but it doesn't get any easier to pick up the phone.

Side note: My husband works away a lot so can't guarantee he will be here for my appointments which I'm ok with because like I said, I trust this dentist. Sedation is something I have thought about but is a whole other thing that makes me 10 times more anxious about everything. I need to feel in control to be able to face this so I'm not willing to consider sedation.

Thanks for reading through my rambling (sorry it's so long), I'm in tears just typing all this 😒

What made you finally do it? Any advice for how to pluck up the courage to call and make an appointment? Has anyone else struggled like this? Any help is much appreciated!
 
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TheWolfess

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2021
Messages
27
Location
Poland
Hi!
I have a very similar backstory - with root canal at 14 gone terribly wrong and painful so I know what you feel. Since then I didn't take proper care of my teeth (which I should have but no one in my family really did so it seemed ok at the time). They got bad, and then even worse. I used to wake up at night all sweaty, crying over how I'm going to die of a tooth infection. Still, each and every visit I did do was painful and unpleasant so I got less and less courage to go back.
For me, things started to change when my daughter was born. I still was scared of dentists, but I realized if I don't treat my teeth and let them kill me - she will suffer for it. And this innocent child wasn't at fault for my mistakes. So I mustered the courage to go get two teeth removed. And boy, did it hurt! It was almost three years ago now and since then again I went to the dentist only one time for when my 3rd tooth chipped off.
But it woke me up at night, it bothered me so, so much.
Then my daughter said she won't kiss me on the lips "cause your mouth stinks!" and it was the breaking point for me. I decided I'd rather take out a loan and pay for the most expensive dental clinic than let it affect my life so much.
So I went, two weeks ago. As I suspected it was bad, but not beyond saving. I need 6 more teeth pulled (4 of them wisdom teeth) and I'm going to have it done under GA as well as implants put int for two molars. I still won't have the last molars, but I don't have enough money to do them too and the dentists said if I have implants for sixes then not having the last molars shouldn't bother me especially since I have a really small mouth.
But before that I needed to have minor things fixed, so I went for cleaning and fixing last Friday. The cleaning was not really pleasant but it turned out I have some gingivitis. I got mouthrinse for that, got instructed on how to do dental routine better and I need to go back for a second cleaning before the procedure.
As for the fixing, it didn't hurt and was actually pretty amazing. It's now my favorite tooth, since it's so pretty, well shaped and smooth!
All in all, I fear my next cavities fixing appointment (next Friday) much less. I still am kind of nervous about the GA procedure but it's a month away do I decided I will have more than enough time to worry about it when the date comes nearer.

To sum up, I think the most important thing for me is the REASON I want it done. You need to find one for yourself, one that's stronger than your fear. That's what gets you to actually start going there. Of course, it's important to trust the dentist you're going to, to feel in control during but all this it's sounds like you have! And that's A LOT. If you want to, I can be your dental buddy and be there to talk with you before you call and after.
Oh, and it's very useful to write down what exactly you want so say beforehand. And read from it, instead of coming up with it on the go because sometimes it's so stressful you forget what to say. I have a severe phobia of calling to order food (don't ask, stupid, I know) and one time when they picked up I was looking at a cough syrup ad on TV and said "Hello, I want to order two large cough syrups" πŸ˜… So yeah, I do write down exactly what to say when I'm not sure about the stress.
 
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Molar_bear

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
114
Location
England
Hi there.

I’m sorry to hear that, sounds like you had a few bad experiences there which must have been really horrible for you.

Congratulations on taking you first steps in your dental Journey as it must have been really hard to go back. I must say I love the sound of a dentist who gives a blanket!

Don’t worry about the time your taking to book it. Take it at your own pace and build up slowly. One step at a time. He won’t judge you for it.

I too struggle socially cried cry on the phone or even at the receptionist when I first went back to the dentist. For me the reason I finally gave in and went was agonising pain πŸ™ˆ and fear of the infection I had. I decided the pain at the dentist couldn’t be any worse haha. But maybe you looking at the card is an indication your almost ready to do it and call

I saw you mention sedation. I have had this multiple times so can also give info on thsr experience. Happy to help answer any other questions too.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,326
Hi, congratulations on taking the first steps despite the horrible experiences you’ve had in the past. Great to hear that you found a dentist you like πŸ‘ !

Could you ask your husband to make the call? That’s what I usually do (taking the easy way out πŸ˜‚ ).
 
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Molar_bear

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
114
Location
England
Hi, congratulations on taking the first steps despite the horrible experiences you’ve had in the past. Great to hear that you found a dentist you like πŸ‘ !

Could you ask your husband to make the call? That’s what I usually do (taking the easy way out πŸ˜‚ ).
Haha I agree I normally find someone else to make the call to. πŸ˜‚
 
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Sandy103

Junior member
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Australia
Well, the first appointment for my treatment is booked! Oh my goodness I didn't think I'd be shaking this much right now. The pain got worse today and I had my husband call them. I ended up talking to the dentist over the phone, I started to cry as I was speaking and he said not to worry and that he wouldn't do anything that I'm not ready for. We scheduled an appointment to get a deep clean on the right side of my mouth and three of the fillings done on that side as he said it will already be numb from the clean :scared:

How intense is a deep clean? I didn't realize he would have to numb half my mouth for it :cry:

I'm SO NERVOUS now! Thank you to all of you for your support! My appointment is on the 16th of April so still a while away yet but we are going on a family vacation over Easter so that should take my mind off it. I will keep you posted with how I go! :thankyou:
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,141
Well done on scheduling, sounds like great news! Remember that the aim is not to be fear free or calm - if you were able to do that, it wouldn't be dental fear. It's more about having it done and to do so in a way that won't be traumatic.

You will find many stories here about deep clean. The summary is something like: everyone is super afraid of it and it sounds scary, but in reality it's not different than a normal cleaning and people are happy when they are done.

Not everyone needs numbing for a deep clean. It sounds to me that your dentist is just really mindful about your well being and wants to make sure there won't be any discomfort, no matter how small. For some people deep cleaning can be done with topical cream, for some a numbing makes things easier, it depends on how it feels for the person and the start of the treatment usually shows, but with your past experiences, I would be worried that even slight discomfort may set your fears off too much. Therefore, numbing is great and if you would have to get it for the fillings anyway, then why not.

Give yourself a pat on the back, you're doing great :)
 
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Sandy103

Junior member
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Australia
Hi again!

So my appointment is tomorrow morning, in just over 15 hours to be exact and I'm terrified. I'm getting 3 fillings done on the right side and the right side deep cleaned. How do you calm down before your appointment? I feel like a nervous wreck! I'm scared I won't be properly numb, can he check before he starts drilling away? Also, can I eat normally after a deep clean? I'm worried my teeth will feel loose Also worried I'm going to walk in there and see the needle or the drill and have a panic attack before I even get in the chair. My husband is coming with me so that's one good thing but my goodness, I thought I was stronger than this. Is there any questions I should ask my dentist before hand? Any advice? :scared:
 
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TheWolfess

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2021
Messages
27
Location
Poland
Im on my way to a cleaning appointment right now. For me what helps the most is music. I have some songs that give me courage, help me not to feel so scared. On the first appointment I also listened to music in the chair, using Bluetooth headphones. It could help you distance yourself from what's happening in your mouth.
Positive affirmations are also a thing. So each time I brush my teeth I also look in the mirror and say "I'm not afraid of the dentist. He gives me a better smile". I'm still scared to go, I still sleep poorly the night before, but I WENT and I'M GOING.
The bravest thing isn't not being afraid. It's being scared shitless and doing it anyway ;)
As to your questions.
Yes, a good dentist will feel you up to check if you're numbed correctly. If it's a fear of yours, you can also ask him beforehand and make sure he will.
As for the eating part, I'm not sure but ask the dentist before you start.
As for the drills, I try to not look at them. When I get in, I sit on the chair as quickly as possible and then look at the painting my dentist has on the wall. It's an abstraction so I try to come up with different ideas as to what's on it. My advice would be - before you sit on the chair, look at something on your dentist ie. name tag. Then look up, and find something to keep your mind busy with - a song, counting ceiling tiles, looking at ceiling imperfections etc.
It's good that you have someone else with you. They can keep your mind occupied in the waiting room.
 
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StephscaredAF

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 23, 2021
Messages
105
Location
Ne
Hi again!

So my appointment is tomorrow morning, in just over 15 hours to be exact and I'm terrified. I'm getting 3 fillings done on the right side and the right side deep cleaned. How do you calm down before your appointment? I feel like a nervous wreck! I'm scared I won't be properly numb, can he check before he starts drilling away? Also, can I eat normally after a deep clean? I'm worried my teeth will feel loose Also worried I'm going to walk in there and see the needle or the drill and have a panic attack before I even get in the chair. My husband is coming with me so that's one good thing but my goodness, I thought I was stronger than this. Is there any questions I should ask my dentist before hand? Any advice? :scared:
I'm not sure exactly what will help your anxiety, but for me, I breathe and tell myself it'll be ok! My primary doc knows of my anxiety and I have a low dose prescription med i take 30 mins prior to an appt to help. (Im not here to push pills but if its bad and you think that could help, its worth asking). I had a deep cleaning yesterday and trust me, your teeth won't fall out during it. I have periodontal disease and gum recession especially on my bottom front teeth, and they didn't even feel loose afterward. I had some sensitivity to cold for about 24 hours but nothing a couple Tylenol didn't take care of. As far as food, I went with soup broth yesterday and and soft foods today, just because my teeth haven't been cleaned in a while so i was going easy on them πŸ˜ƒ you may not need to at all..I hope this helps you a little. Good luck at your appointment I will be thinking of you! πŸ’•πŸ€
 
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Sandy103

Junior member
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Australia
I did it!! πŸ˜ƒ

I started having a panic attack when I saw the needle so had to stop and calm down. The dentist was so nice about it though and he really helped me feel reassured throughout the whole appointment. It didn't hurt at all, just a slight pinch on the second one but I'll need to remember to keep my eyes closed for the needle next time πŸ™ˆ I was there for 3 hours but only managed to get 2 fillings done (one front and one back) and ran out of time for the rest. I came away feeling as though I could do it again and I'm a little less anxious (still nervous though) for my next appointment in two weeks to get more fillings done so I'm counting this as a win!!

Also one of my front teeth used to have visible black decay that I was so embarrassed about but now it's gone and my tooth looks completely normal and natural again and I can't stop looking at it. I can't wait till all my front teeth are done and I can smile again with confidence 😁

Is it weird to say I'm proud of myself?! πŸ™ƒ Anyway thank you all for your support and kind words. Took a bit of courage but I finally got there and faced my fears so thank you all!! πŸŽ‰
 
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StephscaredAF

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 23, 2021
Messages
105
Location
Ne
I did it!! πŸ˜ƒ

I started having a panic attack when I saw the needle so had to stop and calm down. The dentist was so nice about it though and he really helped me feel reassured throughout the whole appointment. It didn't hurt at all, just a slight pinch on the second one but I'll need to remember to keep my eyes closed for the needle next time πŸ™ˆ I was there for 3 hours but only managed to get 2 fillings done (one front and one back) and ran out of time for the rest. I came away feeling as though I could do it again and I'm a little less anxious (still nervous though) for my next appointment in two weeks to get more fillings done so I'm counting this as a win!!

Also one of my front teeth used to have visible black decay that I was so embarrassed about but now it's gone and my tooth looks completely normal and natural again and I can't stop looking at it. I can't wait till all my front teeth are done and I can smile again with confidence 😁

Is it weird to say I'm proud of myself?! πŸ™ƒ Anyway thank you all for your support and kind words. Took a bit of courage but I finally got there and faced my fears so thank you all!! πŸŽ‰
Congrats πŸ‘ πŸ‘ and no, I dont think its weird to be proud of yourself. Not at all! You SHOULD feel very very proud!! Woohoo!! Congrats again!!
 
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Molar_bear

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
114
Location
England
Congrats πŸ‘ πŸ‘ and no, I dont think its weird to be proud of yourself. Not at all! You SHOULD feel very very proud!! Woohoo!! Congrats again!!
Congratulations. And I second this. Definitely be proud!!!
 
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Sandy103

Junior member
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Australia
I have my next appointment in 2 hours and I'm freaking out again, I thought it'd be different by now. It's 5am and I've hardly slept because I keep seeing the needle coming towards me and remembering all the things that made me feel overwhelmed. I just need to get a few things out so thought I'd come back here. The dentist said I could stop at anytime if I needed a break but is it bad to stop if I'm just feeling overwhelmed? I felt like I couldn't breathe at times last time because there was just a lot happening (when he was doing the filling) and I got so overwhelmed but toughed through and told myself I was fine. Now I'm scared of feeling overwhelmed again. There was a new assistant last time so the dentist was teaching her while also doing what he needed to do which was also making me nervous, like she didn't really know what she was doing and at the end my dentist was talking about my wisdom teeth (which was fine, he explains them in a way that doesn't completely scare me) but then she came out with a story about how she had to have 'all four ripped out' and how bad it was 😠😒 luckily that appointment isn't happening for a while yet but come on! I've had that running through my head all week (kinda hoping she isn't there today). There was a lot of good things that happened during the appointment and he is a very calming person so I'm trying to focus on the good things but woah! Anyway rant over I think, wish me luck! πŸ˜₯πŸ˜§πŸ™ƒπŸ˜’
 
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TKB1974

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
74
Location
Washington
Good luck at your appointment! I know you will do great, but I certainly understand your fear/anxiety. Please keep us posted on how it goes. ❀
 
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