never been to the dentist dental phobia

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hiccupod

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Jan 20, 2011
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57
This is incredibly hard for me to discuss, even anonymously in a forum, but I would love any/all support or similar experiences, success stories you guys have.

I am 27 years old and have never been to the dentist. I had a good brushing/flossing routine up until I was about 14 or so, when my parents started fighting, getting into a messy divorce, and I had some bad home problems. I really think this caused a lot of my anxiety issues, including my attitude towards regular brushing. It hasn't been good since then, and I know my teeth are in bad shape.

With my new job, I have dental insurance for the first time in my life and took the first step in registering for it and choosing the more expensive plan for better coverage, since I know WHEN I go in, I will need some work...possibly major.

A few months ago, I had intense tooth pain from out of nowhere, so bad that I was on pain meds for 2 days just to cope and couldn't chew anywhere near that tooth. It's fine now, but I know there's a problem. Right next to the sore tooth is a tooth I've been losing for the past few years - it's decayed very badly now, which makes the thought of the dentist even worse. I also have 2 wisdom teeth that are slanted and barely showing on either side of my jaw.

I guess I just want to know A) what to expect from my first visit, B) how and who to tell about my intense phobia/anxiety issues and C) anything I can do to lower my anxiety before getting there. My biggest fears are just showing people my teeth and the issues I'm having, as well as crying at the dentist. Just reading about dental procedures (even basic cleaning) makes my eyes swell with tears, and I don't know how to stop that. I don't want to bawl my eyes out at the dentist and complicate matters or make it hard to be treated.

I really just want to get it over with. :( But it's so incredibly terrifying and daunting.
 
K

kathy1

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Jan 20, 2011
Messages
70
i know how you feel i haven't been to the dentist in years. i am considering it. but i am alittle nervous about it.
 
G

GrahamDee

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Jan 11, 2009
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I'll try to answer some of your questions if I can.

A. You first visit should be a general look around to see what (if anything) needs doing. A basic assessment and maybe some medical history questions. You may get a list of what needs to be done and the treatments involved.

B. Sounds obvious, but you should explain how you feel to the dentist, during the first exam. He will have encounter many others just like you and should do what he can to put you at your ease. He will not think you are being stupid or silly and should never berate or judge you. If you feel you can't talk, email him or write a letter explaining how you feel. Explaining you fears will help him treat you as he is not there to hurt you and nervous patients can make things harder for him. Its in his interests that you are comfortable. If things are really bad or out of control, talk about sedation options if available. They really do work.

C. Dealing with nerves is a major obstacle. But there things you can do. Take a friend or family member for support. Take an Ipod to listen to. See your doctor to take something before you go. You just need a little confidence to get you going. Don't worry about showing your teeth - he will have seen much worse!! Think about showing your teeth after your teatment and living with a great smile.

You can do this and the results will wish you had treatment earlier.

Wish you luck..

:D
 
TerrifiedWoman

TerrifiedWoman

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May 13, 2010
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Agree with all Graham's suggestions. I hadn't seen a dentist for 50 years..so trust me..I know how you're feeling. Honestly, it's not anywhere near as scary as you imagine it to be..and a good dentist can put you right at ease. I wrote mine a letter explaining my fears and handed it to him at my first visit. It really did help..he was very understanding and patient.
Good luck..you CAN do this. :XXLhug:
 
Lesley

Lesley

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Feb 7, 2007
Messages
152
Agree with all above!

You are in the right place - we have ALL been there, and we all understand exactly how you are feeling.

Have a look in the archives here for a recommendation for a dentist in your area, or google - then phone around to find the best one. Have a good chat to the receptionist, explain that you have a real fear of dentists, and ask it to be noted on your appointment form. Ask for a recomendation of dentists in the practice who are good with phobic patients. When you go for your first appointment, you will know imediately whether you and the dentist understand one another! (I went to three dentists for a chat before I settled on the one I see now - and would never leave him!)

Before you even open your mouth for the examination, I would tell the dentist everything as you did above to us - tell him or her how you are feeling in the chair, what your fears are, if you are scared of needles or extractions, or the drill...and then take it from there.

Maybe you could find someone who does sedation, as for me, this was the ONLY way to get past my fear and back to a happy healthy mouth.

Good luck - and dont worry. I just KNOW one day you will be yet another of the happy healthy ex phobics who stillcome here to post, because they just have to tell people that it IS possible to conquer the fear!!

x
 
robotguy

robotguy

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Feb 2, 2010
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400
Hello and welcome, we will support and not judge you through whatever you decide to do. Everyone here understands how you feel.

You do need to talk to your dentist though, they need to know how you want to be treated so that they can help you get the treatment you want.

The first thing I told my dentist was that I was looking for someone to work WITH me, not on me, and that I had had some bad previous experiences so I had stayed away for a long time. By asking for someone to work with me I was making them see us as a team, not just another mouth to work on.

I had big issues with being judged and did not want to be looked down on for the first look in my mouth, I asked if I could show my teeth to them in a mirror first (so that they had no physiological position of power over me), it also helped to make us a team, looking in the mirror made us equal in status, plus I had control over what I allowed them to see and the speed at which I showed them. A small thing but it helped me settle down by being in control at the start.

Crying at the dentist, I did that. It was a huge event for me, I was finally facing up to years of denial and avoidance. I needed help and I needed the dentist to see how hard it was for me just to be in the same room as them. The dentist was great though, just handed me a tissue and said that she would do everything to make me comfortable and that things did not have to be how they were in the past. She gave me time to compose myself and asked my permission to proceed, she made me feel special and with her help, I did get through everything.

You can find a good dentist who will help you, but you must be honest and talk to them. If there are tears, so what, you are showing huge strength and determination by being there, for you it is a big deal. If they tell you to pull yourself together you have the right to walk away, they lose your business and money, they have no right to judge you, you are in charge and employing them.

I found it really hard to read much on this site when I first started getting treatment, but eventually, I was able to read the journal section. I wrote out my own journal and got great support from it. If you feel up to reading journals then it can help, there will be one there that you can relate to.

Good luck getting the treatment you want.:XXLhug:
 
H

hiccupod

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Jan 20, 2011
Messages
57
Small success - made an appointment

I FINALLY got around to emailing the dental spa that my partner recommended, and informed them of my severe anxiety about coming in. They said they don't unfortunately offer any extra medication or things for anxiety, but she said she'd inform the doctor and they'd take gentle but good care of me and that they have televisions mounted above the dental chair to try and help take your mind off things, as well as massage chairs, etc. Since they are a wellness spa as well as dental facility, I think I may be in good hands.

However, just typing up the email made me cry, so here's hoping I can calm myself down next Thursday for the appointment.

I ended up ordering some L-Theanine to try and relax a bit before the consultation, so I'll offer a review of it as well for anyone else looking for over-the-counter anxiety remedies.

Ugh, anxiety is already kicking in, and I've got over a week to wait.
 
F

FraidyCat

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Jan 3, 2010
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Re: Small success - made an appointment

Small success? I'd call that a huge success, and I'm not saying that lightly or to be melodramatic or sentimental.

Prior to making my first appointment a little over a year ago, I was scared as hell, and when I arrived for my first visit, I was shaking so badly I could barely fill out the paperwork!

No exaggeration: Having oral surgery in which I had three molars extracted under IV sedation was a piece of cake compared with making that first appointment and sitting in the waiting area for the first visit.
 
brit

brit

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Re: Small success - made an appointment

I FINALLY got around to emailing the dental spa that my partner recommended, and informed them of my severe anxiety about coming in. They said they don't unfortunately offer any extra medication or things for anxiety, but she said she'd inform the doctor and they'd take gentle but good care of me and that they have televisions mounted above the dental chair to try and help take your mind off things, as well as massage chairs, etc. Since they are a wellness spa as well as dental facility, I think I may be in good hands.

However, just typing up the email made me cry, so here's hoping I can calm myself down next Thursday for the appointment.

I ended up ordering some L-Theanine to try and relax a bit before the consultation, so I'll offer a review of it as well for anyone else looking for over-the-counter anxiety remedies.

Ugh, anxiety is already kicking in, and I've got over a week to wait.

So long as they are unrushed, just TLC is a much better long-term solution than anxiety medication. If you really wanted it, you could get something from your medical doctor to take the edge off.
Since you have never met these people, why not go in and see if they are indeed so scary, you need extra medication, perhaps they are not scary at all and quite a friendly bunch who will put you at ease.
Sometimes if the practitioner's approach is very soothing, it has a calming effect on the patient...it's the cheapest form of sedation lol....'latrosedation'.

Another thought why don't you drop in to check out the place before your actual appt..that will remove a lot of 'fear of the unknown'?

If the 'spa environment' is very different from what you imagine it is like (you say you have never been ever before right?) (and it should be - it works on a distraction principle)...a lot of the butterflies/anxiety is caused by environmental triggers, so an environment lacking in these traditional triggers e.g. white coats, smells etc...coupled with friendly calming staff...can keep anxiety well at bay, particularly in those with dental anxiety rather than full-blown phobia.
Good luck.
 
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H

hiccupod

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Jan 20, 2011
Messages
57
Thanks, guys! The support here is really, truly helpful and inspiring. I just want to get this done and be one of you lovely people who say it gets easier with time and can overcome a bit of this fear.

The anxiety supplements I ordered are 100% all natural. Basically the same stuff you would find in drinking green tea, except from reading reviews online and some good sources, I learned that the extract can be used and IS used for temporary anxiety treatment. It's not really a solution but just an added assistant. If anything, it wouldn't be terrible to take the vitamins anyway to be healthier, but if they work, I'm hoping they'll calm me down enough that I can take this step forward or at least be a placebo-effect and trick me into thinking they're working. Whatever helps, right?

My partner has been to this place and she swore by her experience (she also had major dental phobia...not as bad as mine, but bad in its own way as any phobia is) and said everyone was very nice and helpful.
 
brit

brit

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My partner has been to this place and she swore by her experience (she also had major dental phobia...not as bad as mine, but bad in its own way as any phobia is) and said everyone was very nice and helpful.

Well this alone suggest that you will be in good hands.:grouphug:
 
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