Nervous about Facing Fears!

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BeachGirl787

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#1
Hello guys,
Yesterday I noticed my back gums we're swollen. Today I noticed a red dot on the back of my gums. It hurts to chew but I am terrified of going to the dentist to get this checked out!! I would rather be locked in a room with a bunch of spiders than go to the dentist even for a cleaning. I am completely afraid of the pain. Not only that, but all of the smells, sounds, and sights make my heart race a little more. I've tried listening to music while having my teeth checked before, but my fears drown out the music. I've tried deep breathing exercises, grounding exercises, and essential oils. I'm terrified that eventually my gums will be really swollen and I'll have to go to the dentist. I'm just super terrified. I probably shouldn't be so scared of the dentist. I mean, I'm 16 and I've had this fear basically my whole life. I don't know but my fear may have stemmed from the time I was forcibly held down by a dentist when I was little. I must have tried to block out the event as, I don't remember it well. Thanks guys!
 
brit

brit

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#2
You said: QUOTE ' I don't know but my fear may have stemmed from the time I was forcibly held down by a dentist when I was little. I must have tried to block out the event as, I don't remember it well. '
Welcome. That could well be the reason. You might find it helpful to choose your next dentist with care: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/help/find-a-dentist/ and to ensure you feel in control at all times: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/fears/loss-of-control/

Your reaction is entirely normal given what happened to you. It does not have to be like this though. Please avoid corporate dental chains and try to find an owner dentist with a good reputation. Best wishes.
 
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Dr. Daniel

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#3
Hi,

You mentioned doing several things like music and breathing which are more suitable for patients with moderate levels of fear but in your case I would recommend a different approach. The ways you mentioned are distracting from what is happening in the treatment room and it does not work because the fear is so dominant that it just takes over the mind. I would advise a different approach which is basically getting to know the dentist as a person, communicating and building a good rapport and most importantly: getting equated with dental treatment, it all very unknown for you.
What I wrote sounds a bit vague but you can get a better idea from my website TreatYourDentalFear.com
In my website you will find videos which were created especially for people in your situation( extreme dental fear and years-long avoidance from the dentist).
I believe that the specific videos which can be relevant for you would be Fear of pain during a dental treatment and the video about Dental fear and uncertainty

Hope it helps.
 
Enarete

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#4
Hi BeachGirl,

as Dr.Daniel suggests, it sounds like you had tried a lot of things but never considered the trust factor and going at your own pace. Even stepping into a dental practice can be a huge step if you are very anxious about dental treatment so why not just getting in touch with a practice and explain your fears to them and see whether you could have a chat with a dentist first? You will find a lot of advice in the sections brit posted and it is really what works the best.

All the best wishes and keep us posted
 
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Travie87

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#5
Hi BeachGirl,

as Dr.Daniel suggests, it sounds like you had tried a lot of things but never considered the trust factor and going at your own pace. Even stepping into a dental practice can be a huge step if you are very anxious about dental treatment so why not just getting in touch with a practice and explain your fears to them and see whether you could have a chat with a dentist first? You will find a lot of advice in the sections brit posted and it is really what works the best.

All the best wishes and keep us posted
I am gonna take My bluetooth headphones when I go in for My E Day. I have terrible anxiety to the point of shaking when I am in the dental chair. Usually by 10 mins in I calm down.
 
Dr. Daniel

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#6
I am gonna take My bluetooth headphones when I go in for My E Day. I have terrible anxiety to the point of shaking when I am in the dental chair. Usually by 10 mins in I calm down.
I would suggest not putting the music on right of the beginning of the treatment. Distractions are effective with moderate levels of fear but with extreme anxiety they do the opposite.
If you want, you can listen to what I have to say about it in the film about The uncertainty factor. (***TRIGGER WARNING***: Contains dental scenes)
 
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BeachGirl787

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#7
Thank you so much guys! ❤️
Thank you all for your help! I greatly appreciate it! I told my mom the concern I had about my gums and teeth. She said she was going to schedule a check up as soon as possible. I wish I was older so that I could help make the choice of what dentist may be best at assuaging my fears. I'm very doubtful that I can do this. When the appointment comes around, I am not going to even be able to build trust with the dentist because I'll be hiding in my car. Can I receive laughing gas for a check up? This may seem like a silly question but does the dentist have to touch my teeth at all during the appointment? Can't he just look and take x-rays? Oh my gosh, I really don't feel like I can do this.
 
Enarete

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#8
Good to hear your mom will schedule a check up for you. Do you know the dentist you will be supposed to see? Have you been there before? And did you tell your mom about your fear? Is she supportive?
Generally your dentist might be able to tell a lot about your teeth according to the x-ray, but might feel not able to give you proper assessment until s/he had seen your teeth, especially if there is something about your gums worrying you. If you, however feel absolutely unable to get through the dentist looking at your teeth, then x-rays and a good chat might be the best start, if your dental team would be ok with that.

Is there anything you feel might make the visit easier for you such as having a close friend or family member with you in the surgery? Or not being tipped back too much? Or maybe the dentist giving you plenty of explanations and showing you (or not showing you) what he/she will be working with? Hiding all instruments? Having a chat in a normal chair at the beginning?

Laughing gas can be used for an exam as well, however depending on what exactly stresses you our in the dental setting, the process of sedation itself might be more stressfull then the exam itself, the best thing would be to talk to your mom and the dental practice about this.

Last thing that might be helpful if you find yourself unable to cope, would be seeing a therapist who could help you to get some basic tools to deal with a visit, if that is an option.

Just trying to brainstorm, hope it helps and really hope your dental team is a very kind one and will be able to help. Do keep us posted
 
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BeachGirl787

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#9
Good to hear your mom will schedule a check up for you. Do you know the dentist you will be supposed to see? Have you been there before? And did you tell your mom about your fear? Is she supportive?
Generally your dentist might be able to tell a lot about your teeth according to the x-ray, but might feel not able to give you proper assessment until s/he had seen your teeth, especially if there is something about your gums worrying you. If you, however feel absolutely unable to get through the dentist looking at your teeth, then x-rays and a good chat might be the best start, if your dental team would be ok with that.

Is there anything you feel might make the visit easier for you such as having a close friend or family member with you in the surgery? Or not being tipped back too much? Or maybe the dentist giving you plenty of explanations and showing you (or not showing you) what he/she will be working with? Hiding all instruments? Having a chat in a normal chair at the beginning?

Laughing gas can be used for an exam as well, however depending on what exactly stresses you our in the dental setting, the process of sedation itself might be more stressfull then the exam itself, the best thing would be to talk to your mom and the dental practice about this.

Last thing that might be helpful if you find yourself unable to cope, would be seeing a therapist who could help you to get some basic tools to deal with a visit, if that is an option.

Just trying to brainstorm, hope it helps and really hope your dental team is a very kind one and will be able to help. Do keep us posted
I don't know my new dentist. I do, however, know that the dentist specializes in pediatrics. My mom does know about my fear and she thinks a pediatric dentist will be more patient than a general dentist... I disagree with this and have told her as much. The dentist who held me down when I was little was supposedly a pediatric dentist.😐 Though I have talked to my mom about my fears, she doesn't take any of it and just thinks I should be over my childhood fears by now. It's frustrating because she usually doesn't realize how hard it is for me to step into a dental office.
I believe hiding the tools, receiving plenty of explanations, and not being leaned back as much could be significantly helpful. Once I find out the name of the dental practice, I will email them to express my fears as well. I think laughing gas may help ease my fears a little bit but I highly doubt my mom would agree to giving me that for just an exam.
My appointment is next Monday... Thanks for all of your help!!
 
brit

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#10
If you will be a Medicaid patient, be very careful, there are many overtreatment scams happening in USA, hence why we said to avoid a Corporate dental chain which may be the type of place where you had your bad experience originally. Also these chains make it seem like they are pediatric specialists when they are just general dentists doing dentistry on kids. Before you agree to go anywhere check internet reviews to be on the safe side. If they say you need lots of treatment, get a second opinion.
 
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Enarete

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#11
Though I have talked to my mom about my fears, she doesn't take any of it and just thinks I should be over my childhood fears by now. It's frustrating because she usually doesn't realize how hard it is for me to step into a dental office.
I believe hiding the tools, receiving plenty of explanations, and not being leaned back as much could be significantly helpful. Once I find out the name of the dental practice, I will email them to express my fears as well. I think laughing gas may help ease my fears a little bit but I highly doubt my mom would agree to giving me that for just an exam.
My appointment is next Monday... Thanks for all of your help!!
Sorry to read your mom doesn't have too much compassion with your fears.. hey, emailing the practice in advance to tell them how you feel and what would help is a great idea. You might also wish to make some notes about what to ask or what to say on your appointment in case you get too nervous. The more information your dentist has about your fears the more they should be able to put you at ease. Keeping my fingers crossed for you on Monday and hope all goes well for you.
 
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BeachGirl787

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#12
So today was the day. I barely made it through the door... Thankfully the team was pretty kind and got right back to my email from before. The dentist thought it may be a good idea that my mom stay behind instead of accompanying me to the room. I realized that this eased my intense fears quite a bit and because my mom was not in the room, I was able to be open with the dentist.
Because the dentist knew I was apprehensive about him so much as touching my teeth, I was able to sit in a normal chair to have him look without any tools (thank God). He had a very calm voice and spoke reassuringly during the time he looked at my teeth. I flipped out a little bit over the x-rays because I started to gag. However, the dentist showed me a pretty neat trick to prevent that. After all of this, I was told I have an abcess and that my back tooth will need to be pulled. I full on panicked after that but the dentist and assistant were both very kind and tried to assuage my new anxiety of having my tooth pulled. That was to no avail. I am still freaking out about the idea of having my tooth pulled. The next time I go in for the treatment, I will be drugged up (not completely sedated)... I'm so terrified. I think I'll run away before I am forced to go back 😂
On the bright side, I like this new dentist. Though he didn't preform a full check up, he was thorough in his explanations and was completely understanding when my anxiety become overwhelming.
I don't want to go back though for treatment. Surely the abcess can't get that bad, right?
 
Enarete

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#14
Congrats and well done, BeachGirl! :jump::jump::jump:
So delighted to read how amazingly you were taken care of, it sounds like your dentist did everything possible to help you cope. That's great!

You should definitely go back. All the first steps are difficult, but with a great dentist you can get through anything and it sounds like you had found such a dentist. It's a great time to get back on track now and then stay there..

By the way, would you mind sharing the trick that helped you with the x-rays?

All the best wishes and keep us posted
 
krlovesherkids777

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#15
Beachgirl,

I agree with Enarete and Dr Daniel, sounds like a lovely dentist you have! This is really a great start! Take it step by step and it sounds like you were really great in communicating your anxieties, I am sure with you doing this and your dentist the way he sounds , you have the what it takes to give it a good try and go from there. I am also curious about the xray trick :)
 
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BeachGirl787

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#16
Yeah, I am really happy about this new dentist. I feel comfortable in the chair now! 😃
The trick involved forming a fist with the thumb on top. It has something to do with pressure points or something like that? I don't know exactly. It seemed to help me a little bit though.
 
Dr. Daniel

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#17
Yeah, I am really happy about this new dentist. I feel comfortable in the chair now! 😃
The trick involved forming a fist with the thumb on top. It has something to do with pressure points or something like that? I don't know exactly. It seemed to help me a little bit though.
If it works- it works
 
Enarete

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#18
It has something to do with pressure points or something like that? I don't know exactly. It seemed to help me a little bit though.
This is really interesting, thank's for sharing? By the way still really impressed about how amazingly your dentist took care of you! When are you getting in to have the tooth removed?