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Nervous About My First Debridement/Deep Cleaning

GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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Hello! I'm new here. I just had a long overdue exam and x-rays this morning. The last ones were about 4 years ago, and my last cleaning was 11 years ago. I put it off for a while because I didn't have dental insurance, and then put it off longer out of fear of going. I had quite a few traumatic experiences with the dentist and orthodontist as a kid, and I don't know anyone who enjoys having people poke and prod and scrape around in their mouth!

I try to take really good care of my teeth, and the dentist today said that my teeth are in good shape, and all my bones look strong and healthy on the x-rays. I do have two tiny cavities (not a shock after going without a cleaning for a decade!), but what surprised me was that he said I had enough tartar built up around the gums that I'm going to need a deep cleaning. I always thought that was something for people who just didn't take care of their teeth at all, but now I've learned that it's more about your gums and what's under them, than it is about the parts of the teeth that are visible. He did show me the x-rays, some photos they took in my mouth, and he did the poke measuring thing that immediately made my gums bleed lol.

He wants to start with a general cleaning first and then will do the deep cleaning in two visits; one half at a time. And they will fill the cavities at the same time, since I'll be numbed.

I'm pretty nervous. I haven't had any sort of "dental work" done for about 20 years or more. Reading peoples' experiences online brings up everything from "It was no big deal, didn't hurt at all" to "It was horrible, it was agony, I'm never doing this again".

What am I specifically nervous about? Well, the numbing shots. I'm not a big baby about needles or pain, but some people say that since they have to poke you directly in the nerve, it hurts like hell. I would hope that using numbing gel would help with that. I recently had a total of 7 cysts removed from my head, and each one required local anesthetic, and I managed that pain just fine. I'm usually okay with just breathing through pain if I know it's only going to last a few seconds.

I'm also nervous about *being* numb. I had a horrible experience once where I was given lidocaine to drink because an ER doctor erroneously believed I was having acid reflux pain (it was actually my gallbladder), and they did not warn me that it would numb my mouth and throat COMPLETELY, and suddenly I couldn't feel my tongue or throat and I felt like I was going to die! I had a few fillings done as a child, and a few extractions of baby teeth, and I don't remember anything awful about being numb for that. I also had my wisdom teeth removed in two separate procedures in 2007, and I do remember hating the feeling of my tongue and throat being numb because I couldn't swallow and trying to take the pain pills they gave me, I just dribbled everywhere. So... I'm hoping it won't be like that. I did read the suggestion that I should ask the hygienist to specially suction the back of my mouth after the injections to avoid any "dripping" of the numbing agent into my throat. I will definitely do that.

The only other thing I'm a little nervous about is being expected to keep my mouth wide open for an hour or two without a break. That just sounds miserable! Just stare at the ceiling the whole time?

Hopefully I'll be able to mentally prepare myself before the appointment day. I've got the first regular cleaning appointment on Thursday, 11/21, and I'm not worried about that one.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Hi GeekMonster:welcome:,

7 cysts removed and you managed the pain just fine? This makes me feel like a baby!!!

Dentistry had changed a lot recently and so does the approach when it comes to your comfort. There should be no pain involved and your comfort should be one of the priorities of your dentist / hygienist as you are a paying customer and they would like you to be happy with them and come back.

The deep cleaning works a bit differently in every practice and it might be a good idea to have a chat with your dental team when you are there next time, to find out how they work and to discuss anything that worries you. The numbing options for a deep cleaning is a gel that gets applied into the pockets and in the most cases it is sufficient. If it is not, your hygienist might discuss the option of local anesthetic with you.

Numbing is the part most people are scared of as nobody likes needles, but do not let anyone tell you they hurt or that anyone will poke into the nerve. The opposite is true: dentist nowadays use a numbing gel to numb your gum before the actual local and there are plenty of techniques to make the local as comfortable as possible. I know this is hard to believe, but should you ever need a shot (most likely for your cavities), you will see.

A deep cleaning is not much different than a normal cleaning when it comes to your experience as a patient. It shouldn't take much longer than a normal cleaning either (your teeth will be clean from the regular cleaning already so it will be just working along the gum line) I can only encourage you to agree on a stop signal and let your team know when you need a break, the procedure can be interrupted at any stage. I get the part with the ceiling.. well, maybe there is a music you would enjoy listening to with headphones?

All the best wishes
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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19809
Hello Enarete, and thanks for your reply!

Yup, 7 cysts! Plus a bunch of skin tags from my neck. I've been a huge baby about avoiding doctors for many years, so now I'm catching up on all the work I should have had done years ago. I hope the needles for the numbing don't hurt any more than the ones I had done for the cysts, because even though they DO prick a lot, it's very quick, and within 5-10 seconds you start going numb.

My impression was that they were going to numb me with local anesthetic for the procedure, especially since he said they would fill the cavities at the same time. But I'll ask about that when I get the regular cleaning this Thursday. I know the last filling I had was pretty pain-free with the numbing gel going on first. If that really takes away most or all of the sensation of the needle, I'm good with that!

The dentist today told me that each deep cleaning session will last at least an hour :(
 
kitkat

kitkat

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HI GeekMonster,
In my experience the numbing gel does help mask the sensation of the needle but the real trick to a painless injection is the dentist’s technique. I have had countless painless injections even without topical numbing gel first. I tend to opt out of the numbing gel because I find that it does tend to mix with my saliva and I end up swallowing some which makes my throat numb and I don’t like the sensation. The sensation is very temporary and not extreme but I find that I don’t need it as long as I have a dentist who is skilled with injections. Just my 2 cents!
 
Enarete

Enarete

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I second @kitkat. If your dentist will be filling the cavities in the same visit chances are that you will be numbed up, however the sensation during the numbing is not comparable to needles anywhere else. The overall method is to go really slowly and make sure to drop in few drops of anesthetic before going on, but there are many techniques and things that your dentist can do. We have a pretty extensive article about this here if you like to read a bit.
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
13
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19809
HI GeekMonster,
In my experience the numbing gel does help mask the sensation of the needle but the real trick to a painless injection is the dentist’s technique. I have had countless painless injections even without topical numbing gel first. I tend to opt out of the numbing gel because I find that it does tend to mix with my saliva and I end up swallowing some which makes my throat numb and I don’t like the sensation. The sensation is very temporary and not extreme but I find that I don’t need it as long as I have a dentist who is skilled with injections. Just my 2 cents!
This is a good point! I think I may ask for that. I'd rather have a few seconds of "ouch" than a numb throat. At least I think so! This dentist has rave reviews about how great he is, so I'm hopeful he'll be gentle.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Hi Geekmonster.

I was really worried about throat being numb and that sensation and brought it to my last dentist. The assistant was great with the suction and making sure any saliva was sucked up straight away , and if they give you the numbing gel and leave the room they would always leave me with the suction so I could make sure to suction it so it wouldn't go down. Since then I've had no issues with the topical doing this :).. and for me even if they have great technique it does help with topical.. .. so if you do get topical just ask they make sure to be ready with suction
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
13
Location
19809
Hi Geekmonster.

I was really worried about throat being numb and that sensation and brought it to my last dentist. The assistant was great with the suction and making sure any saliva was sucked up straight away , and if they give you the numbing gel and leave the room they would always leave me with the suction so I could make sure to suction it so it wouldn't go down. Since then I've had no issues with the topical doing this :).. and for me even if they have great technique it does help with topical.. .. so if you do get topical just ask they make sure to be ready with suction
Good advice! Thank you :)
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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:) Hope this all goes well for you geekmonster!! Glad the dentist has some rave reviews.. I know that always puts my mind to ease a bit to read good reviews.
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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My regular cleaning is tomorrow. I'll try to remember to ask some of these questions if I see the dentist. I just want to get this over with! The waiting and not knowing what it's like is the hardest part!!
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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Well, they surprised me and did the debridement and periodontal probing (measuring the pockets) today! The girl was really good, really fast, very sweet and clear with her directions of telling me how to move my mouth and head and all. The debridement wasn't too bad; the worst part was the COLD water coming from the ultrasound cleaning tool, it made my teeth all sensitive and shivery. A few moments of "ouch" around my gums because they're so inflamed (which I had no idea about!). She showed me some of the chunks of tartar she picked off; gross!! The probing was a lot of pricking and poking, but she was FAST, I was amazed at how quickly she did it. The whole appointment only took 30 minutes! My gums are a bit tender, but certainly nothing bad, I'm eating lunch as we speak.

They want to give a month to let my gums heal and recover before doing the deep cleaning. I'm scheduled for the first half on January 2nd. I asked the hygienist and the front desk girls about my anxiety over the numbing shots, and they all said that this dentist is the best they've ever met, nobody ever complains about the shots. One girl said he'd done fillings and a wisdom tooth extraction on her and she didn't feel a thing. So that's really reassuring!

At least now I get a month to relax before the next round :)
 
D

dentalantixtey81

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Joined
Nov 9, 2019
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9
Location
TN
I didn't go longer then you did and wish everybody would go every 6 months for cleanings, dont be worried honestly i was freaking out then after i went i was like why did i worry over this? I did this to make me fell better Its my health and im gonna get it looked at, also Deep cleaning i had that also its nothing, deep cleaning is easy, and it looks like you dont need anything major done so you should be ok, just make sure you set up that 6months cleaning or 3months I did 3months until i was back on track
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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Messages
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19809
Thanks, dentalantixtey! I don't need any major work, thank God, just two small cavities that he said can wait until the deep cleaning. I do try to take good care of my teeth, I'm a very thorough brusher and I do floss (though not as often as I should). I was lucky to make it ten years without a cleaning and not have more problems! The hygienist yesterday kept apologizing every time she saw me wince in discomfort, but I told her it's my own fault, and I won't let it happen again. She said I had a great attitude :)
 
G

Geranium

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Nov 17, 2019
Messages
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St Leonard's on Sea
Hello! I'm new here. I just had a long overdue exam and x-rays this morning. The last ones were about 4 years ago, and my last cleaning was 11 years ago. I put it off for a while because I didn't have dental insurance, and then put it off longer out of fear of going. I had quite a few traumatic experiences with the dentist and orthodontist as a kid, and I don't know anyone who enjoys having people poke and prod and scrape around in their mouth!

I try to take really good care of my teeth, and the dentist today said that my teeth are in good shape, and all my bones look strong and healthy on the x-rays. I do have two tiny cavities (not a shock after going without a cleaning for a decade!), but what surprised me was that he said I had enough tartar built up around the gums that I'm going to need a deep cleaning. I always thought that was something for people who just didn't take care of their teeth at all, but now I've learned that it's more about your gums and what's under them, than it is about the parts of the teeth that are visible. He did show me the x-rays, some photos they took in my mouth, and he did the poke measuring thing that immediately made my gums bleed lol.

He wants to start with a general cleaning first and then will do the deep cleaning in two visits; one half at a time. And they will fill the cavities at the same time, since I'll be numbed.

I'm pretty nervous. I haven't had any sort of "dental work" done for about 20 years or more. Reading peoples' experiences online brings up everything from "It was no big deal, didn't hurt at all" to "It was horrible, it was agony, I'm never doing this again".

What am I specifically nervous about? Well, the numbing shots. I'm not a big baby about needles or pain, but some people say that since they have to poke you directly in the nerve, it hurts like hell. I would hope that using numbing gel would help with that. I recently had a total of 7 cysts removed from my head, and each one required local anesthetic, and I managed that pain just fine. I'm usually okay with just breathing through pain if I know it's only going to last a few seconds.

I'm also nervous about *being* numb. I had a horrible experience once where I was given lidocaine to drink because an ER doctor erroneously believed I was having acid reflux pain (it was actually my gallbladder), and they did not warn me that it would numb my mouth and throat COMPLETELY, and suddenly I couldn't feel my tongue or throat and I felt like I was going to die! I had a few fillings done as a child, and a few extractions of baby teeth, and I don't remember anything awful about being numb for that. I also had my wisdom teeth removed in two separate procedures in 2007, and I do remember hating the feeling of my tongue and throat being numb because I couldn't swallow and trying to take the pain pills they gave me, I just dribbled everywhere. So... I'm hoping it won't be like that. I did read the suggestion that I should ask the hygienist to specially suction the back of my mouth after the injections to avoid any "dripping" of the numbing agent into my throat. I will definitely do that.

The only other thing I'm a little nervous about is being expected to keep my mouth wide open for an hour or two without a break. That just sounds miserable! Just stare at the ceiling the whole time?

Hopefully I'll be able to mentally prepare myself before the appointment day. I've got the first regular cleaning appointment on Thursday, 11/21, and I'm not worried about that one.
I think you're very brave to have 7 cysts removed with local anaesthetic and there was I stressing about having 2 teeth removed! You're an inspiration to all of us on this forum, you'll be just fine
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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I think you're very brave to have 7 cysts removed with local anaesthetic and there was I stressing about having 2 teeth removed! You're an inspiration to all of us on this forum, you'll be just fine
Aww, thank you! I keep telling myself, every time I start to feel nervous, that it won't be THAT bad, it's only an hour appointment, I'll be just fine. It's not easy but I'm doing my best!
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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My appointment for the first deep cleaning (half of my mouth) is tomorrow morning. I've been fighting moments of anxiety, but I'm ready to do this. I just keep telling myself it'll be fine, no big deal, nothing to worry about, an hour or so and I'm done! I took the day off work since I expect I'll be quite numb and not able to talk normally for a bit afterwards, and also to just pamper myself a bit for enduring it :) I know the staff at this place are great and nice and professional and I do not need to worry about anything. Just kick back in the chair and chill! Wish me luck!
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Love like you keep yourself telling you will be fine and focus on powerful thoughts! You will do great!
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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Okay, I am done with the first half! Here's my rundown.

The numbing gel tastes AWFUL lol. But it works pretty well. I *barely* felt anything from the needles, just very, very, very faint pricks. Nothing bad at all.

The procedure itself wasn't bad. It was very similar to the debridement in terms of "pain", just occasional little pricks or aches, but nothing bad. And the girl was super quick, they told me it would take an hour and it only took about 45 minutes, and that's including all the numbing time.

The worse part is the numbing!! They really, really want you numb as heck, I think I got about 15 shots, though it's hard to say. I kept my eyes closed so I wouldn't tense up when he came in for the shots. When I started to feel my tongue and throat going numb, I almost panicked. I was REALLY close to a panic attack. I thought I might have to jump up and run, but then I thought "What good will that do? It won't get rid of the numbness. It won't take away the need to get this done." So I kept deep breathing and the girl could tell I was struggling to be calm, so she sat the chair up so I could feel a bit more in control. It helped to move my tongue around as best I could, and swallow, and try to talk. That helped me feel like I was "okay" even though the sensation felt like torture. Thank God, after a few minutes, my heart calmed down and I was able to get through it.

I've been home for about an hour and I'm still completely numb from just below my right eye all the way to my chin. Even my nose is numb! I hate it so much, but there's nothing I can do except wait it out.

I hope I'm not scaring anyone with this story, but I wanted to give you guys an honest report! The procedure itself was not bad, I can handle pain way better than I can handle not feeling my tongue lol.

I'll go back on the 15th for the other side :(
 
GeekMonster

GeekMonster

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I just wanted to update on my experience!

When I had the 2nd half of the deep cleaning done, I asked the hygienist if they could numb the bottom of my mouth a bit less because of how it had made me feel panicky the first time. She didn't seem to think so, but I asked the dentist when he came in, and he said sure (so make sure you ask the DENTIST such questions!). I did feel a few more tiny 'ouch' moments during the cleaning, but I much prefer that to not being able to feel my tongue! Otherwise, the experience was much like the first time. Being so incredibly numb is very annoying and I hate it, but it's just something I had to put up with!

I went back for a check up a month later. They did another cleaning/debridement, and another periodontal probing (which kinda sucked, it was just one person instead of two, so it took about three times longer). Good news is that my pockets were almost all smaller! I also got two fillings in the same appointment. The whole thing took about two hours, so it was a long and tiring day, but it wasn't anything too awful. I have another filling appointment and then hopefully it's just back to regular cleanings :D
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Geekmonster

Glad you made it through your cleaning and had less of the numbness. I hate the numb tongue sensation too..Glad your pockets were all smaller too :) :perfect: :cheer2: Hope your filling appt goes well !!
 
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