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No Turning Back: My Journey to a Radiant Smile

It’s happening.

I emailed Carrie. I have the green light.

I’m booking the GA date either for September, or the next available.

I’m…I don’t know what I am to be honest. Excited? Terrified, of course; wondering if anyone has invented a time machine yet?

Now that being said: budget is limited. I have only about 5k I can spend in one session, so in my email (I chose to email because on the phone I tend to get jumbled up and I wanted to be clear and concise) I was very clear about that and how some things will have to be left to a later date. Mainly, the fillings. And also paying for my partials themselves (I asked if it was possible to pay for those closer to the date I’d get my impressions, in other words, after the three months of healing and jaw bone shrinking is done.) But still. Extractions, x-rays and the two restorations would all be done. Under GA.

I’m not sure how I feel about the fact I’ll have to approach fillings without just being unconscious because man, that really was the best option! No worries about hearing a…you know…drill, or seeing things coming towards my mouth. I might see about IV sedation in that case though. I don’t know if they’d be willing or if they’d say that for fillings I should just try laughing gas and see how it goes. I do have an anxiety prescription for lorazepam as well so perhaps it would be a case of having some of that before I go?

But I mean that’s far in the future. Right now, we have to focus on the treatment. The treatment that will be getting done in a few months. The treatment I kind of never thought I’d book but here I am. I’m doing it. I’m on this path, it’s happening.

I think I’m in too much shock to make a lot of coherent sense right now which oops. But I’m sure I’ll have a recap of my back and forth with Carrie later.

Also! Update on the whole “are my wisdom teeth making their appearance?”: in short, I don’t think so, other than maybe some shifting, but what ended up happening was a spiral where I freaked out about my molar being sore (which I mean, might be because of the cavity it has, perhaps getting a wee bit worse?), and then my gums felt sore and then my jaw, and oddly enough, it’s mainly been my inner cheek? Me being me, I was like “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?” And then I went down a rabbit hole of nerve pain on the face and was halfway convinced it was happening.

Not my proudest moment but I poked and prodded at my jaw so much it now hurts quite a bit because I think I bruised it, in my attempts to see what was wrong with it :ROFLMAO: Why am I like this?
But in any case, it does hurt like a bruise, and the pain gets worse with stress and anxiety which makes me think It’s probably not being helped by the immense muscle tension. I think I must be holding my jaw and the muscles of my face stiff without even realizing? That maybe I’m so used to it, I don’t remember what it’s like to not. That happens when you’re constantly paralyzed by fear.

The other thing of course, is holding my jaw stiff is another way for me to be conscious of my problem teeth, you know the ones that need to be extracted. I think I said this in a previous post, but it’s like I don’t know how to hold my mouth because I’m worried about causing myself problems.

What a relief it will be to not have to worry about that! At least after the initial healing is done. Honestly, I’m pretty freaked out about that. Pain, blood, possibility of dry socket, all the things I can’t do. I know I’ve seen a lot of people on here who have gone through it and come out the other side, and there are so many YouTube videos too. But right now it feels like a lot and so much.

Confession: my dental trauma, my severe PTSD, is probably the first trauma I ever had. It might have been the catalyst for my anxiety disorders, and my mental illness (other things have happened since then but still, it remains.) And now…years later, over a decade…I’m confronting it. I’m coming full circle, back to the beginning and it’s just…yeah. It’s something.

Like I said, it’s a lot right now so I’m not the most coherent, but hopefully I will be in the future.

Let’s go!
Ah, it seems it’s another bad day for me, which is only to be expected isn’t it? I need to vent and here’s my journal so here we are. (As an aside, I haven’t heard back from Carrie yet either, which I won’t lie is a bit frustrating. I want to get this booked!)

It sucks that I can’t be strong right now, I really hate that. Somehow I feel like I want to be the one showing everyone how to not be afraid, etc, etc. But that would be inauthentic. So here we are, raw and exposed.

My fears are such a confusing mess at the moment. It really is ”rock meet hard place” because I’m afraid of seemingly everything. Right now, I’m worried about my cracked tooth. Yesterday, I noticed the crack at the top of the tooth (right before the crater that is the hole in it) and I hadn’t noticed it up there before. I mean, it was always there, the dentist said so, but this was the first time I saw it at the top, so I freaked out. And then I got more anxious when I became aware of it. I can just feel it there, in my mouth, this big ‘ol cracked and decayed tooth and it‘s a lot. Feels like a monster under the bed honestly.

Truthfully, this is what has me terrified. If it’s getting worse, what if that continues and I don’t make it to the next general date? What if I have to go in before then and have it out under less than ideal circumstances? As in a deviance from the plan. What then? I don’t know how I can handle that and I’m so scared of that happening. I‘ve been assured so many times that it’s really not that bad but I…I don’t know, the tools, the needle, the numbing, the blood, someone in my mouth, I just don’t know how I’d be able to cope.

Of course, this hasn’t happened yet and there’s not even any saying that it will, but it’s left me paralyzed. Today, I haven’t even been able to get out of bed except for bodily needs. I’ve had nothing to eat, haven’t taken my vitamins, haven’t done anything joyful. I have a headache too but I can’t even bothered to get up to get some painkillers.

It’s like if I move, something awful will happen. I feel like I can feel bits and pieces of the tooth coming off in my mouth and me swallowing them. I know that’s not actually happening (at least to my knowledge it isn’t) and it’s just my anxiety giving me this poison to feast on so it can grow and grow and grow.

There is a part of me that wonders if I should have just tried it with IV sedation because it would have been cheaper and I could have gotten an appointment much sooner, but then…I couldn’t have actually. My family explicitly told me I’m not to have an appointment (barring an emergency situation) before August because of a family member’s wedding in July. That was a blow. Not to go into family dynamics on here but they are messy in my family and this? This was the real icing on the cake to something long suffering. Apparently not having any front teeth would be a problem. Never mind that I can’t show off my teeth now so it’d be pretty much the same thing, the only difference would be that I wouldn’t be paranoid about something happening to a tooth.

Leaving the house right now, which I have to do plenty of in the upcoming week and then for the wedding for a few days feels like too much. The wedding is three hours from home, which while not the longest distance is still a ways away. I’m also in the wedding party. So I can’t just sit quietly in a corner or anything, no. I have to be social and pretend I’m fine. Maybe by then I will be, but right now I am really not fine.

I do have a counsellor to talk to, because I do want to help my mental health. Unfortunately, she had to cancel our appointment and it’s not till next week. She doesn’t know about my dental phobia yet but I plan to tell her and open up about it. I really hope she can help.

I will say something to you all though. A revelation of sorts did happen. I’m not sure if I mentioned
this in a journal entry (I think I must have but…) I’ve never had a dental procedure done in my life.

The only thing I have ever had done at a dentist’s office was cleanings and some version of exams.

And I always wondered, why I was so terrified of procedures. Of course, the fact I’d never gone through one could make it scary, you hear the horror stories, you build it up in your head. And I think my trauma from the hygienist as a child made my brain, in attempting to protect me, associate anything dental with trauma. However, I did leave one little part of that whole thing out. My brother was traumatized too. Well, not in the way I was, but the dentist drilled his teeth with no freezing as a child during the same appointment in which I was physically assaulted. My brother didn’t know what freezing was so he refused it and my parents weren’t allowed in the room so they didn’t know, until my brother was calling for my dad and staff went to get him, telling him to help “hold my brother down“ since he was being “uncooperative.” (If I remember right there were, in fact, multiple staff members holding my brother down so he wouldn’t get out of the chair and would stay still. To this day, I said we should have contacted the Dental Association in Canada to report the dentist‘s practice. There is no way what happened to my brother and I was acceptable.)

Now my brother is older. And I have always had a problem with my brother crying or being upset. He’s the older brother, and he never cries or gets upset, not like I do/did. I was the sensitive one, the baby, the crier. Knowing what I know now about PTSD, I wonder if witnessing my brother have such an experience (I can’t remember that day well from my own PTSD but I do think my brother might have been crying? Or…something. He was upset, that was for sure) gave me PTSD. It made me think dentists and dental work was like that, and that’s one reason I never went to a dentist and why I became terrified. My little brain saw that and was traumatized on top of my own experiences.

Anyway. I don’t really know what to do. I’m scared of having my this tooth still in there for at least another three months, and I’m scared of having it out under any circumstances less than general. I’m scared of having to go through other procedures without general and scared of leaving my house to go anywhere that isn’t a dentist’s office for my appointment to get them out. I’m scared of the healing process. I’m scared of something happening, because my crack is a vertical one and I don’t know what that would mean if it breaks or something happens. What if the tooth is just there and dangling? What if it ends up twisted or something?

Rationality is so hard when you’re severely phobic and riddled with PTSD. And it’s hard too because I keep running my tongue over the back of my tooth and feeling the crack and thinking it feels much worse than it did before. Thinking that it‘s more delicate and will just shatter soon.

Ugh. I hate it. This sucks.

(P.S. in case you’re wondering, my brother doesn’t have any lasting trauma from the incident with the dentist. He has one where he lives now that he adores. I mean he’s never been comfortable with dentists, but he has no phobia or anything. Which is hilarious because objectively what he went through was far worse than me and yet…here we are.)
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Just a quick update today to say that I think I’m moving in the right direction. Sort of. I’ve been trying to gather information as much as I can, but hmm, it hasn’t been the most encouraging (when I say information, I mean, in case I do end up having to go to plan b and not do general.) IV sedation apparently doesn’t work all that well in those who have a lot of adrenaline going. It burns through the system too quick.

That of course, would not be ideal. But since I’ve never had it, I wouldn’t know what my reaction would be, of course. And this is only assuming that I’d need my four teeth out before the next general date I can get.

I did watch someone get a filling done under IV sedation which was good! It was a Youtube video. It actually helped in identifying for me what made me nervous. For example, I wasn’t really bothered at all by the sounds? Or even the instruments. In fact, it took me a long time to realize I was watching the dentist drill into their patient’s tooth. That bodes well doesn’t it? Honestly, the parts that really made me anxious where when the chair was initially being tilted back, when the assistant (very kindly) kept telling the patient to open their mouth wider and the block that keeps the jaw open. That thing looks huge, how on earth do you get that in there without gagging? o_O

But in any case, the filling for the video took less than 20 minutes and I was shocked at how easily it was done. So that‘s good! Since I do need so many done LOL

I also bought a manual toothbrush and a tongue scraper! First time buying a tongue scraper but I’m hoping it can also help my gag reflex if I can slowly work it back further and further. The reason I bought a manual toothbrush was to test it out and relearn the proper technique for brushing (by the way, was anyone else taught the circular brushing technique as a child? I swear I used to the do the recommend strokes method, but was told I was wrong. How funny is that? My life is a lie.) Anyway, I plan to use a manual and a denture toothbrush once I have my partials, and just retire the electric. I think long term, it’ll be too much money to maintain an electric toothbrush, a manual and all my denture supplies. Plus, you can’t brush your gums with an electric toothbrush so it’s simply easier for me to use a manual for my whole mouth.

As for food, it’s sort of hilarious to watch me eat now. I put food in the corner of my mouth right? Well I also put it in the corner of my lips too to avoid my front tooth as much as possible and I’ve ended up getting stains on the corner as if I’m a baby. I’m sure I’ll be very glamorous as the wedding in July :ROFLMAO: I can still say I’m not eating as much as I used to, but I‘m trying to be better. It’s very diffcult at the moment though. I never realzied how much I took my teeth for granted until now. Those little guys really have been working their hardest, and I suppose I owe them the favour to work my hardest to get them back in shape (well, the ones that can be saved.)

Well time for me to go to bed, I’m exhausted. Anyway, let’s hope Carrie gets back to me soon (I can’t believe I’m hoping for that. But you know, times are changing.)
Hi @APhobicQueen, hope you don't mind me chipping in, but whatever you read about adrenaline interfering with IV sedation is simply not true. Virtually anyone who needs/wants IV sedation will have sky high adrenaline on the day, and the whole point of sedation is to make you completely calm and relaxed. We've got some more info on IV sedation here if you haven't already come across it:


The video you saw (which seemed to feature a bite block) is not representative of a "typical" filling appointment. It's quite rare (in the UK at least) for a bite block to be used, and even if it was offered, there's no reason why you couldn't decline. Some people find it easier to hold their mouth open with a bite block, but that's a matter of personal preference.

Finally, going back to your very first post, you mentioned that both your mother and your father suggested getting a second opinion. I would strongly encourage you to heed their advice and get a second opinion before making any decisions about your treatment. We have some pages here with tips on how to find a phobic-friendly dentist:

Wishing you all the very best :grouphug:
@letsconnect Thank you so much for the resources! And I don’t mind you chipping in at all, especially with accurate information!

I’m glad to hear the adrenaline part isn’t true. To be honest I felt a little suspicious of it myself because if someone were already calm at the dentist, would they need IV sedation? But I saw so many people insisting it didn’t work for them because of that that I just went with it and thought “all right then.” I’ll definitely read the post you linked me to!

Yes, I believe it was a bite block or a “prop” I think they called it in the video. They didn’t ask the patient if she wanted it or not, and simply put it in her mouth. Personally, I think the lack of consent of the patient is part of what made me anxious. I’m glad to know I can refuse if need be, because I really wasn’t fond of how it looked.

I’m not sure that I will get a second opinion but thank you! I don’t think the dentist was lying about what I needed done, although I think there was a bit of confusion and crossed wires (mostly because she didn’t have a chance to really see in my mouth at all, so she was sort of guessing what was going on.) This is the first dental practice I’ve been to where I didn’t have awful vibes as I sat in the waiting room. And they did seem understanding of my needs so I think I’ll be sticking with them! (They’re also the only dental practice that has ever offered GA to me, and I’m grateful for that option.) I could request a different dentist at the same practice to look at my teeth, but I think I (and my family) have come to accept what they’ve told me I need done. At first, it seemed unlikely to me, how could my teeth be that bad? But now that I’ve become more aware of them and started to really pay attention, I understand it. I also think when the dentist got a slightly better look at my teeth and changed her estimate of six extractions down to four, it showed me that she was willing to try to save some of my teeth if she believed it could be done. That went pretty far in my trust department of not just thinking she was going to pull teeth she couldn’t be bothered to try to save.

Thank you! Can’t wait till I come out the other side of this with a brand new smile! :)
Well. It’s Day Eight since I emailed and I still haven’t heard back from Carrie. I should call, but I’m a little tuckered out after today (first time I’ve really left the house since I got the ”diagnosis” and I was so worried something would happen. It didn’t, but the anxiety was a lot and I need to rest now.) And honestly, I’d rather try phoning first thing in the morning. I’m also annoyed that I haven’t gotten anything back. I mean, if there was a holdup of some kind, the polite thing would be to tell me so at the very least? I dunno. Emails are always a risk, I know that, but I felt so much more confident in sending the email than calling. But I guess we’ll see?

But yeah, I can definitely tell that stress is making my teeth feel worse. I got a random shooting pain in my cracked tooth, that only happened when I started thinking about it and got stressed. My brain is too smart for its own good, I swear! I have to travel even further in a few days than I did today and I really hope I don’t get that while out and about. That’d suck. Maybe it’ll be better now that I’ve done it once and had nothing bad or catastrophic happen.

Anyway, onto better things! Yesterday, I finally got the chance to open up to my counsellor about my dental phobia and everything that happened. The hour’s session flew by! I also mentioned this forum and she told me how great it was that I’d found a supportive community like this. She told me that instead of living in fear of the worst case scenario, I need to think about it and how I’d handle it. Not that it will happen, but if it did, what are some techniques I could do to get through it?

There’s a lot of mess with this trauma of mine. I’m sure a lot of others here can agree that our dental phobias and/or trauma is often tied to other things, and I’ve had a lot of realizations about some people in my life thanks to it. It’s a hard journey but I do think I’ll emerge from the other side a lot better for it.

Now, I did get my tongue scraper and my manual toothbrush! Lemme tell you, holding a manual toothbrush after so long was a weird experience. I’m so used to an electric, it was like a baby learning to brush again. According to my family, my teeth don’t look as good as they do when I use an electric, though I suppose that’s to be expected as I get the hang of doing it again. I’m having to remind myself too not to scrub the teeth but to be gentle. Also my mouth gets so much foam from the toothpaste with a manual, I look like a rapid dog, I swear! It’s kind of hilarious. I have yet to really feel a difference on my teeth between the electric and manual which I think is a good thing? I hope that means I’m getting at least most of the plaque off.

The tongue scraper though? Oh man, what a game changer! I’ve been working it back on my tongue and I actually haven’t gagged yet! I get the feeling of wanting to and then I just stop, close my mouth and breathe and continue. Which is great. And the amount of stuff coming off my tongue, like wow. Who knew there could be so much buildup on a tongue? I really like doing it now and I’m establishing a routine of doing my skincare and then my teeth. Like before I’d try to do it as quickly as possible and now it’s taking my time and all that. Making it a part of the pampering routine you know?

(I’m also using a stop watch on my phone to make sure I get the full two minutes in with brushing and 30 seconds at least per quadrant. Honestly you don’t realize how fast 30 seconds is until you’re manually brushing your teeth.)

Anyway, I’m really tired so I’m probably going to go have a nice cup of tea and then take a nap for the rest of the day. Until next time (keep fit and have fun! If you get that reference, you’re my hero)
It’s booked.

I just got off the phone with Carrie, turns out my email was lost in the sea of messages. At first she was a little curt when I said I had definitely sent it, but then she apologized when she found it and read it over.

So, here are the details: my maximum budget right now is 5000 dollars. We can’t go over that, that’s like...everything. Carrie made sure to restate to me that the estimate she gave me was a rough one, as they haven’t done a full diagnosis yet. Which scares me. I, of course, have visions of periodontal disease and more extractions and root canals and god knows what else happening in my head. But anyway.

Right now I’m being booked in for the four extractions, the x-rays and full exam, and the two restorations (fillings, she called them.) Afterwards, once we have the full x-rays and they can see each of my teeth, they’ll be able to go from there and say more specifically what I need done. Then while the healing process is going on (I will not be getting immediates) that’s probably when I’d pay for the partial and all that entails. Wisdom teeth will only happen after everything else is done. Then I can get them out. Not sure when cleanings would happen (as I do need deep cleanings) but I’m sure we’ll work that out at some point. So the total price right now for what I’ll have done is 3500. That gives us about 1500 dollars of wiggle room that will hopefully be enough.

So the date: September is unfortunately all booked up, but I’m on the short call list if it becomes available. I’m booked in now for November 18th at 11 am. And I’m feel embarassed because according to Carrie, they normally do kids in the mornings and that means I will be an adult surrounded by children and I will feel so ashamed because I just know, I’m going to get looks. I mean I can’t think about that right now, though I’m sure it will weigh in my mind.

The other thing is that they need a deposit of 500 dollars within the week to save my stop. Basically ensure I actually show up and don’t pull a runner. Which I get, but it seems so final, it’s quite scary. Anyway, from there, I’ll also be getting my medical history forms to fill out, as well as my pre-op forms. That’s fine. I had a major operation before, so if I can look at this as being the same, I’ll be okay. This is a procedure, a surgery, and it’s meant to give me my life back and make me healthy. It’ll take me a while I’m sure to get to the point where I can really believe it, but I believe in myself.

(Also Merry Christmas to me. I’ll be spending it a month out from dental surgery LOL)

I’m kind of in shock right now, but I suppose I should be proud of myself. I called, I did it! I booked the appointment! Full steam ahead!
Short update again today because I need to rest. So, I have some good news! Deposit is paid, and my appointment is now confirmed to be November 18th at 11 am.

EEP. It’s go time everyone!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the paperwork for medical history and pre-op care, but that’s probably because I wasn’t actually in the office. My mom went in (bless my parents for helping to pay) and paid the money, but I couldn’t go in. Not because I didn’t want to! But because earlier I’d had an unrelated panic attack (it was truly unrelated) and after that, I thought going into the dentist’s office would set me back. I waited in the parking lot instead. And guess what? No anxiety! It actually eased. That means step one of what would be a normal fear ladder is complete. Step two would be going inside and waiting in the waiting room (while someone else has an appointment.) I’m sort of trying to do as much by the work of good exposure therapy as I can before my date but we’ll see how that goes.

It was a bit hard though, because I didn’t exactly feel anything but ashamed when I didn’t go in. Without going into details, my mom wasn’t happy, which I get, I mean I’m thirty years old and I can’t even go into a dentist’s office? Like, not easy to deal with as a support person. That being said, I do wish she’d thought a little more in the moment perhaps and shown me a bit more support than she did. But people make mistakes. All I can do is teach her how to show me what I need in those moments.

Also asked my brother about my theory that he was upset after his incident and witnessing that helped lead to my PTSD and severe trauma/phobia. He confirmed he was indeed upset and I feel like I’m playing detective! This is the first time, I’ve ever tried to solidly construct a memory of what happened That Day and now I feel like I’m getting some answers, I didn’t have before. For example, I know my mom was there at the appointment but I don’t remember her being there at all. I only remember my dad and brother. Interesting when I consider that as a child, when dealing with anxiety, my mom was go to reassurance person. And yet I don’t remember her being there in that horrid time in my life. Definitely, I think, says something about what might have been going on in my little brain.

Anyway, that’s enough about that. I’m off to go rest now (and do more work, ugh), but we’re all green lit and ready to go! (with only the mild sense of wanting to scream as though I’m jumping from an airplane and I don’t know that my parachute will work)
No major updates to report but I do want to say I’m feeling a little downtrodden because all I’ve been seeing lately are more and more people getting implants, talking about implants and even saying that removable dentures are a “temporary solution.” They aren’t, of course, and I find myself angry at the implication.

A woman I follow on Youtube who said she wasn’t getting implants is now getting them. And it makes sense! She had all her teeth removed and her dentist was concerned about bone loss happening in her upper jaw. She said it was the best decision for her, and she’ll always advocate for dentures. I was happy to hear that, because I feel like way too many people get implants and then act like that’s all there is.

The truth is, I’ll never be able to afford implants. Not unless I win the lottery. But even if I did, I wouldn’t want them I don’t think. The thought of having rods in my jaw is…really freaky to me. It wouldn’t be something I could just sign up to do, that’s for sure. Not to mention how invasive and intense the procedures are to get one to that point. For some people (a lot of celebrities LOL) it works best for them. They’re fine with it, they enjoy it, and it was the best decision. I feel a bit like the odd one out, sitting here and saying that partials are the best option for me (I mean right now it’s all I can afford anyway.) And that I prefer having something removable.

I know bone loss could be a concern, but as of right now I’m really hopeful. My uncle has full dentures and you cannot tell, his bone loss clearly isn’t too bad since his dentures continue to do the job of lifting his tissue/facial skin the way they should. I hope I’m the same (especially since I’m only getting four upper fronts extracted. Hoping that keeping as many of my natural teeth as possible really will help prevent a lot of those issues people are so worried about.)

I just wish I guess that more people didn’t act like removable dentures were a temporary solution and were awful and terrible. It’s discouraging and I’d rather have all the positivity I could right now.
Ah here we are again. I’m so thankful that whenever my anxiety starts to get the better of me, I have this journal to turn to to just air out all my thoughts. I cannot be thankful enough that this site exists. It truly is a blessing.

So I’ve actually had a pretty good last few days! I haven’t been playing with my cracked tooth (running my tongue over it) and I’ve been doing better. I even left the house the other day to do some errands, and I was gone for a few hours. I didn’t panic or freak out at the thought despite my teeth being how they are. That was great!

Of course, when I came home, I did notice I started running my tongue over my cracked tooth. I think it’s good news that I noticed it and I had enough self awareness to realize I was probably going into another one of my anxious periods over my teeth and lone and behold, I was right.

I brushed my teeth this morning and I noticed there was some stuff in the hole in my front teeth. So I went and cleaned it out and it looks horrible. The hole is so deep, nearly right through and I don’t know, I think I’m imagining it, but I feel like the crack is more obvious too (again, I think that’s just me. It’s the awareness of the tooth that makes it seem worse.)

But it was so awful to look at. It’s the first time I really had the thought of “wow this is ugly. This is hideous.” It’s funny because everyone talks about how hard it is to look at their extraction sites once their teeth are gone but…I don’t know looking at the problem teeth is pretty bad right now.

Honestly, the fear ratcheted up because I thought if it was getting worse, there’s no way I’ll be able to make it till November and that pesky fear of having to have procedures done without GA…I mean it‘s so traumatic sounding to me. I can’t imagine it.

I know people do it, and I know if push came to shove I’d do it too but it’s so scary. And I’m just feeling that anxiety again, wishing it‘d go away. Wishing I could wave a magic wand and have everything just be done. Actually if I had a magic wand, I’d just restore and fix my natural teeth, but you know.

Anyway, going to try to distract myself today and just remind myself that this is anxiety and that being frightened doesn’t help. There’s nothing I can do right now besides take care of my teeth the best I can, and not put any strain on my problem teeth.

Honestly, just feel like I need a hug and someone saying “it’s going to be okay, you’ve got this.”

(Also I apologize that the tone of my posts has recently taken a dive toward the negative. I really hate that. But at the same time, it’s important to document the entire process, and that includes some of the more overly anxious and negative side of things.)
Ah here we are again. Both good news and bad news today.

The good news is, I’m actually doing better in terms of anxiety and fear! I’m having more thoughts of “it will be okay”, and “I can do this!” Then the “I can’t do this, nothing will ever be okay again” variety.

The bad news is I’m in pain. Not sure if it’s the inflammation due to my other health condition at play or something else, but on my upper teeth, waaaaaay up top, where the gum connects to the rest of the face, I have some pain. Pain that isn’t going away and is actually quite annoying. I had someone look at for me and it is indeed a bright red.

My immediate response was to panic but then I thought about it, and I realized that a) the pain isn’t around my one of my problem teeth but up at the top of the gum and b) I’d been doing okay prior to this and to have it come on so suddenly during the day probably points more to a flare of inflammation than anything. The person looking at my mouth also doesn’t believe it’s cause for concern right now. But I am going to have to monitor it of course.

And I won’t lie, of course there is anxiety there. What if I have to go back to the dentist again before November? What if I have an infection? What if they need to take my problem teeth out without GA? What am I going to do?

The answer is quite simple really: I’m going to do it. Because there’s no choice, because I have to, and because I hate pain. So if it comes to that, then I guess it is what it is. Hopefully it won’t though.

And I think it’s progress to think like that! I know there are people, even on this very site, who have gone for years and years in terrible pain because they couldn’t face seeing a dentist. It’s such a scary thing to do. The fact that I’d be willing to do it so immediately if the case gets to that point is huge. I’m proud of myself for that!

Cross your fingers for me everyone that the pain goes away and that it’s nothing serious.

(Also something else I realized, when I get everything taken care of, I doubt I’ll know what to do with myself. I’m so used to worrying about my teeth and wondering what the next “wrong” thing will be with them. Imagine not having to anymore? That will take a while to get used to!)
Here I am again! Ah, I’m doing better today, the pain is a lot less, and the redness has gone down which hooray!

Of course, I made myself panic though. Of course I did. You know, I think most of us here all know we shouldn’t be doing certain things like looking up certain topics or obsessing over our teeth. Because it doesn’t help anything you know? I’ve given that advice to others on here so many times: you have to not obsess, you have to take a moment and say “okay I’m thinking too much about this. I acknowledge it, now let me think of something else.” And yet I’m so bad at taking my own advice :redface:

To be fair, it‘s not exactly easy. Who are we if not the people obsessed with their teeth and oral health? After all, we all know we have oral health issues. So of course we’re obsessed.

This is all to say that I made myself have a panic attack because one of my teeth I thought was an “okay tooth” on my uppers is…loose. I mean perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised since it’s in that ”block” on my uppers of problem teeth. Keep in mind, I didn’t have a full exam when I went to the dentist so I don’t know which four the dentist was sure had to be extracted (besides my cracked and decayed front tooth) and which two they think they can restore. But this one…this one looks fine (which again, I’ve told others, that just because a tooth looks fine, doesn’t mean it is fine. Which is why it can be especially hard to get news like “this needs an extraction” because it looks okay!) but evidently…not? It’s actually quite loose I think. I just used my tongue and it moved around a lot and it just caused such a stab of panic through me that I’m shaking and completely terrified. I’m thinking I’ll have to go back to the dentist early, I’m thinking how I can possibly do this, I’m thinking of all the regrets in not taking care of my teeth and is there a magic wand that can just fix this and give me one more shot?

Personally I think we should all have three sets of teeth. You know, you have your childhood teeth and then your teenage/early 20s teeth, and you get your final set and when you get those, it’s three strikes and you’re out. I would’ve taken care of that third set! :p

Anyway, the tooth next to this one, is one that has a noticeable cavity. It looks rough. And there was this weird space between that rough tooth and the one that’s loose that I noticed before and now I’m wondering if that was the dreaded “pocket” of gum that can happen when gum disease starts to get worse. One could say ”does it really matter?” Since I know I’m getting extractions, perhaps this was one marked for it and I just didn’t know.

But here’s the problem: the whole time I’ve been going off of “I only need four extractions”, I can handle four. But I haven’t thought about what happens if I do need the six extractions or if I need more. I haven’t managed to think about that, and I’m clearly not okay with it. I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But if I’m already handling (or trying to) four extractions, if I need more, wouldn’t it just be a similar scenario? And there’s no telling that I would anyway. Honestly it all comes down to what the dentist finds when she gets in there. What she decides she can do and what she can’t. I think this is another reason I want to be under general during the procedure because then I don’t have to be awake and here or see or experience that. I’ll just wake up and what’s done will be done. Which to some people sounds like a worst nightmare I’m sure, but I’m putting my faith and trust in the dentist (and my mother, whom will be the one driving me and the one to make decisions on my behalf while I’m out.) I don’t believe they’d do anything that they didn’t have to do. And I do believe they’d try everything to save what they could.

Now the thing about this loose tooth that makes me feel a bit better is that it’s actually not really in the right position in my mouth. It’s the adult tooth that came in when I still had a baby tooth in my mouth in that place, my final baby tooth matter of fact. So the way the tooth sits in my mouth isn’t where it’s supposed to be really. It sits back from the mouth, almost hiding actually because my baby tooth had been in front of it for a long, long time. I have no idea if that plays a role, but maybe it does?

Something else that made me feel better was looking at the statistic that nearly half of Americans have a mild case of periodontal disease. That’s a lot! It’s not nearly as isolating as we think. (Not that I was diagnosed with periodontal disease, but I mean, despite my earlier journal entries, I do think it’s entirely possible that yes, I do in fact, have a mild form of it. I mean why else would I have to get a deep cleaning?) I think too, there’s this idea that if you have periodontal disease, you’re kind of up a river without a paddle or lost in the wind or just completely screwed (this feels rather vulgar, but ah, it’ll have to do I suppose.) But you’re not are you? It’s a lot of management and work (depending on what level you have) but it doesn’t mean your life is over right? I’ve seen success stories on here (honestly, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thank you for this site existing. I don’t know what I’d do without it. I really don’t. I think all of us share that sentiment.) Maybe it’s time to get a bit more realistic about the steps I’m going to have to go through with my treatment plan.

Oh! I nearly forgot to add this update: I’m not going to the wedding at the end of this month. It was decided, based on multiple factors, that it simply wasn’t a good idea to go. So I’ll be staying home instead. It’s sad, because it’s a major milestone in a family member’s life, but I know my own health has to come first. And I said that I would celebrate the wedded couple next year when I have my partials and (hopefully) most of my treatments completed. Although thinking about it now, maybe that was a bit lofty. I don’t know the time table for treatment but, it might take a while I suppose.

Or will it? Hmm. Again who can say? The dentist, but they have to do a full exam first and then they’ll know.

So, since I’m in such a state of panic I did look something up and it was better news, and a comfort. According to a dental practice website, a loose tooth doesn’t automatically mean “extraction!” Or “there’s no saving it!” A dental splint can be used, or it can be as simple as getting the gums cleaned so the tooth can be resealed and the gums can tighten up around the tooth.

Okay. Okay. I’m still extremely anxious, but that makes me feel better. It doesn’t mean the tooth has to be extracted or anything. Good. That is good.

I have to remember that it’s not like I’ve had any cleanings done or anything, and that the deep cleanings won’t be happening until after my extractions. That will also give the dentist some idea I’m sure of the state of things. They’ll get to see how much the cleanings help.

I wish I could remember if the last cleaning I had was a deep cleaning or not. That was back in 2012, and it’s hard to say. I do know that my cleanings were divided up between appointments with quadrants being done rather than a full mouth. Or maybe it was half of my mouth done at once and the other half done later? And I remember the scraper going between my teeth and getting right down to the gum line and how my mouth hurt afterwards with a very noticeable ache. There was also quite a lot of redness and bleeding but I was assured by the hygienist that the bleeding was a “good thing” because it meant the gum was healing by releasing the bad stuff. I have no idea if that’s actually true or the hygienist was making something up because I hate blood in my mouth so much. Even if it was made up, it was quite nice though.

Oh this is a long journal entry. Apparently I had a lot on my mind. Which is why this is here! I can’t imagine rambling like this to family or friends (or maybe I can, I’m sure I will end up doing so.) But at least here I can just yell into a void, or in this case, know that others reading this understand my rambles.

Anyway. I was also reading up on deep cleanings here and I absolutely loved the part about the dentist being a squeamish soul who doesn’t like the sight of blood. Made me laugh.

In any case, I might ask my family members if they can remember if what I was scheduled in with was a deep cleaning or just a regular one. I read about what happens during a regular cleaning and I definitely didn’t have my teeth brushed or flossed. There was the scraping and I had a mouthwash, that’s what I remember.

I almost feel like it was a hybrid of a deep clean and regular clean. I mean who knows? My old practice wasn’t very organized at all, and never even gave me a treatment plan!

I almost feel like I don’t want to stop writing here because if I do, I’ll have to go about my day and I don’t want to. I’d like to go back to sleep and just forget everything for a while. Maybe I’ll take a nap haha.

Also I know this is a taboo subject but I might ask my mom why my uncle had to get his teeth removed. I’ve never actually found out the reason and normally I’d never pry into such a thing, but it’s been on my mind and it might make me feel better to know. Like I’ve just got to keep that in mind. My uncle is living such a full, happy life, with no issues from his mouth, and he has full dentures. If he can have that life, I can too.

I never did finish one of my thoughts either, let’s end with that. I might talk to my therapist about being realistic with what’s going to happen to me and the treatment I need. I’ve sort of just been in “ohmygod I have to get extractions” and thinking of that mode. Getting the partials and impressions, etc, etc. I haven’t really thought about the other things I have to do. It might be time to start facing that so I’m ready when it comes to it. It’s all I can do. And I just have to tell myself I can do this, I can do this! Especially so I can report back to you all about how it went, and be encouraging to current and future members who are facing their own phobias and anxieties and struggles.

Right I’m off to brush my teeth this morning (I haven’t yet, *gasp*!) and then maybe take a nap. And talk to my mom about my uncle if she‘ll tell me. Bye for now!

(Also if you’ve been keeping up with my journal, reading the entires, especially this very long one, thank you! Really. It means the world to me that you would take the time to do so. I hope my story makes you feel less alone, even if it’s only just beginning.)
Ah I think this is the longest I‘ve ever gone without updating! Over a month. Just a little. But hello! I’m sort of back? Although not really because nothing new to report really. Still waiting for my major work to be done in November.

I did have a bad period for a while there while I was aware, although it was because of other health issues and funnily enough, I didn’t think about my teeth once! Of course, recently I have been. That tooth I said is loose that is one of the ones I think they want me to keep? I’m worried there’s a crack in it too. I mean it might just be a trick of the light (honestly would not be surprised) but ugh, I dunno, it feels like to me it’s going to end up being extracted which I do not want! But I think maybe I should prepare myself anyway in case it does happen so when I wake up from General, I won’t be completely shocked if I have more teeth missing than what I originally thought I’d have. I mean there’s a lot of pressure especially when I suck on anything with that tooth and gum area, and it feels loose and I just feel like at this point, it’s probably not something that’s going to last in my mouth you know? I could be wrong (I hope I’m wrong) because anxiety does make everything worse but does it hurt to be prepared? I don’t think so. I’d rather go in with the idea of what I’d do in the worst case scenario (which actually is a method from CBT. Examining worst case scenarios and coming up with a game plan of how you’d handle it if it came to that), and find out it’s not that, then go in underprepared and lose my ever loving mind when I wake up to find that more’s had to come out than what was expected.

So I counted and I recounted and I think even with this ”extra” tooth it’d only be six, unless another one I thought was safe had to come out, then it’d be seven. Which is…not great. Really, really not great. That’d be almost half of them gone which I cannot imagine. That seems like too much.
But as that famous saying goes, you can’t put the cart before the horse. I haven’t had a full exam, or the x-rays I need to know what’s going on. I have to rely come my E-day in November, when they do exam me, the dentist is going to do everything her in her power to keep as many of my natural teeth as possible. My mother, when I was getting anxious about this even reassured me that perhaps my problem teeth are putting the squeeze on this one tooth (it is between two teeth that I know have to be extracted.) And that’s why there‘s this pressure feeling and this looseness. The gum around it is swollen and unhappy, and those teeth around it on unhappy so it’s joining in on the fun. Misery loves company you know?

I really just can’t wait till this time next year when I’ll hopefully be writing about how great it is to have partials and how my life has changed and it isn’t as bad as I thought. Where’s that Click remote when you need it (I stand by the fact that the only reason the Click remote was bad in the film was because Adam Sandler’s character used it too much to fast forward through life. If he’d just used it once he’d have been fine. Actually I wouldn’t even fast foward, I’d remind and kidnap my younger self to stop her from going to the torture chamber that was her first dentist’s office and then tell my family to get as far away from that place as possible!)

Anyway I am very tired from other circumstances so I think it’s off to go nap now. I’ve rambled enough.

(P.S. It’s really hard to maintain a dental care routine when you‘re exhausted. I wonder how I’ll handle that with partials? Hopefully better than now when I keep falling off the wagon a bit. Ugh, life sometimes really just shoves you into a blender and forgets to stop you.)
Back again! A slightly more positive tone to my journal entry today.

Something I was thinking about last night, that hit in my mind and stuck there like glue is this: the work I’m having done on my mouth, the extractions, the fillings, the restorations…it’s all being done by my choice, on my timeline. This whole time I’ve been thinking of it as something I had no choice in doing. That I was forced to do it because there was no other option. But that’s not true. I could have decided not to get any work done. I could’ve decided to live with my teeth as they are. I could’ve not booked that appointment for November.

But if I had, the thing is, what I know to be true is that eventually, my teeth would’ve failed. And then I’d have to have to have them extracted not under my own power and choice, but someone else’s. Because that’s just it isn’t it? Yes, I do have to do this, because my teeth cannot stay like this. But I’m doing it under my own terms. I’m the one who booked the appointment, I’m the one who agreed to general because I knew it would be the most beneficial for me, I’m the one who decided to go ahead and not run away.

Those are all on my own terms. And maybe looking at it that way gives me a little sense of power again. A sense of control. Yes, I wish I didn’t have to have this done, but I’m not doing it because I’m forced to. I’m doing this because I want to. Because I want a beautiful smile again, and because I want my mouth to not hold me back (emotionally or physically.) That’s all for me.

If I was afraid and put it off, and put it off (and I know closer to the date, my brain will start coming up with reasons I can’t go, I’m sure), then whatever happened after that fact wouldn’t be on my terms. That’s what I need to remember right now. This is me. I’m the one who chose this. I’m the one choosing what’s happening in this scenario. I am in control. I need to remember that.
Well my journey has taken a turn.

Carrie called (while I was in the shower.) They were pretty insistant on getting in touch with me, because they left a text message, a voicemail and then they called my landline and spoke to my mom.

They have an opening.

Next Friday.

September 16th.

I can get my extractions, two restorations, and my exam done then.

I don’t know what to do. Luckily for me I didn’t get out of the shower until after 4 pm. Because I don’t think I could have called Carrie while she was still at the office because I don’t know what to do.

I had thought at this point that it was impossible there’d be an opening in September, so I let myself just get used to the idea that it’d be in November. Which is still a little more than two months away. So for me, the act of getting these procedures done didn’t feel real at all. Not even a little bit. It was a distant worry, something to think about at a later date.

And now, oh look, it’s here. Maybe. If I go through with it. My parents have already told me it’s my decision. But my mom was insistant that it might make Christmas “easier” (because I’ll either be farther along in healing, or far enough along to get my perms?) and I was joking in recent days that the song “All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)” literally will apply to me this Christmas.

The thing is, it’s not like putting it off means it doesn’t happen. I know if it doesn’t happen on the 16th in September, if I say no, I’m still getting it done in November. We paid the deposit, I can’t back out. (Well I could, run away and move to a new town under a false identity maybe. Fun fact: when I told my counsellor that she said “wow that’s extreme” and I wanted to laugh. Like clearly it didn’t come through how traumatized dentists have made me!)

Actually, here’s something hilarious for you all too: I am seeing a counsellor and we’re meant to work on my dental phobia…only I don’t see her till the 23rd! Which I’m pretty sure I’d have to reschedule considering. I haven’t seen her in a month actually so I have made no headway with trying to get to a better place with my trauma. An unrelated note, but she’s never around. She’s always taking weeks off and then sees a lot of us only once a month. It’s a problem.

That’s all to say that nothing has been done to improve my mental state in regards to dentists. Now, it is important to note that I recently had other health issues crop up that I’ve been trying to deal with and figure out the source of. So far, nothing has been conclusive, but I have gotten mostly better. So a lot of my time in counselling has been spent dealing with my health anxiety or these things that crop up suddenly in my life. The thing is, I kept thinking I had more time to deal with my dental trauma but I also kept thinking that no, I didn’t, and I wouldn’t deal with it until after my procedures were done. It would just be added to the pile. So the idea that waiting would give me more time to deal with it…eh that’s a weak argument.

With that being said, it should be noted that I also don’t have anything for afterwards. I don’t have any soft foods or baby food or protein drinks. Which isn’t to say that in a week I couldn’t go get them but money is tight right now, and I’d have to see if we even have enough. I also need to call Carrie and tell her that in terms of painkillers, I can’t swallow things whole so they do they have a liquid option? Oh and we can’t forget about the paperwork I haven’t picked up yet. That too.

It’s a lot. It’s a lot lot. But there’s a part of me that wonders if I turned it down now...would I regret it? Would I regret not just starting this damn journey fully? I mean, listen, I’ve told people on here, I’ve said to them that they’ve got this. Because they do, I believe that. I really do. But taking my own advice is really, really hard because sure they’ve got this but do I? Am I capable?

I had a cry too. Not my longest, or hardest, but a pretty good cry. I just can’t imagine waking up with gauze in my mouth and blood in my mouth and holes, and…I don’t know. I don’t know how I can handle it.

But then, if I’m like this now, that thought isn’t going to change in a few months. I’m not going to magically wake up in November and be like “Yes I can deal with this!”, I just have to do it? You know?
So. Yeah. I don’t know. I’m a mess. I’ll take the weekend to think about it and phone back Carrie, maybe on Sunday (she might be in then) or definitely on Monday morning. Because I can’t decide this right away.
So. I’m going to take the appointment if I can. As my best friend pointed out to me, it’s better to get it done sooner rather than leave it. And well…leaving it an extra two months doesn’t really change anything? The procedure is still the same. What will happen is still the same. I suppose it gives me more time to prepare but is it worth it?

I had another cry this morning. Woke up extremely anxious and then I just cried. Unfortunately for me my parents aren’t very understanding. Even now, even when I have throughly explained my trauma, explained what they failed to do for me as a child and how that worsened what happened, and then what they continued to do as I grew up (i.e. did you know my mother once lied to me and told me we were going shopping only to shove me into a dentist’s office when I was a teenager? A dentist who sneered at me and told me I had the “worst teeth” he‘d seen in 25 years, which is pretty hilarious considering the man was in his 30s. I didn’t realize kids could become dentists! Anyway.) They’re still doing the same BS they were doing before.

My mom is pushing me, telling me to hurry up and call. Dismissing any attempts I make at discussing how scared I am. She doesn’t want me to talk about it at all. She wants me to ignore it. That’s a bit of an issue because ignoring it doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it worse. And it sucks. I do have a plan to call a walk-in counselling line when they’re open on Tuesday, to see if I can talk to someone because even if it’s just for an hour, it might prove helpful. But even with that, I still need that support system you know? And it makes me cry harder to know I don’t have it.

I’m just so frightened that I’m going to be told I have periodontal disease and they’re going to tell me terrible things. That I’ll need a bunch of procedures and that my teeth and gums are just not salvageable. I pretty much did this to myself when I was watching a dental hygienist talk on Youtube, I really shouldn’t have. I mean informative yes, but also really scary when you don’t have all the details on your own mouth so you have no idea what anything the dentist told you during your initial visit means.

On the other hand, my usual counsellor, the one that I had to keep rebooking appointments with because I had other things scheduled, I know what she’d tell me. She’d tell me to look at it the other way. What if things go better then expected? What if my teeth and gums aren‘t as doom and gloom as my fatalistic mind is saying? What then?

Well I’ll shout from the rooftops then. Of course I will. And I’ll try my best to take care of them and be the best patient I can be. Taking care of teeth is really hard though (did you know that the ideal is to brush your teeth before you eat breakfast, wait 30 min to an hour after breakfast and do it again? I mean who has the time! I generally brush before breakfast.) I guess it’s hard for me to see that side though, the better side, because to me it seems I lost my chance for that one already.

Still. Wish me luck everyone! And you know, maybe reassure me that it’ll be okay because man do I need it right now.
You know I was going to edit my original post I made this morning and then decided to just leave it. Because I feel I owe everyone the hard truth of it, how moods can switch so quickly with trauma. It’s gotta be raw and not edited.

So I called Carrie. She was in! Turned out someone already took the September 16th slot, but, they lucked out and were able to add another day, October 11th (right after Canadian Thanksgiving) and I was able to get a slot for 1:30 pm! So a month from now. Moved up from November. One of the first things Carrie asked me was if I was in pain and I said no, and she told me that’s really good.

Anyway. I wanted to also let you know that I took time this morning to really properly floss. My technique is normally pretty terrible but I saw someone mention how you should do it, the idea of the “c” shape around the teeth and I bent my floss pick to get it to form that shape and wow. I actually got stuff out from between my teeth! I could see it on the floss (made sure to wipe it before going back in of course) and when my mom saw my teeth she actually noticed? Like she said they looked nicer LOL

Flossing even once, apparently makes a difference. I did bleed in a few places on my bottom teeth (which is where I did the best with flossing, my top teeth are going to take time because it’s hard for me to maneuver myself into position. But I’m trying!) It wasn’t too bad though. It wasn’t like the Red Sea or anything and when I got freaked out I just reminded myself of Bella Swan from Twilight (listen, that girl was drinking blood smoothies like they were the best thing in the world during Breaking Dawn LOL I can handle some blood in my mouth.)

But proud of myself for doing it. After having a very long cry and saying mean things to myself of course. I told myself I hated myself. I kept repeating why over and over again. Why didn’t I care for my teeth, why did I do this, why am I like this? I also kept telling myself I’m sick of people telling me I’ll handle it and I’m so strong, because no, no I am not. And I know it sounds weird but it helped. It helped to cry and say these things out loud because I’ve been holding them in for so long. It needed to be said. I felt better.

I feel better having a month to prepare too. Now rather than scrambling, I can just really focus on preparing and getting myself to that place. RIGHT. Onwards.

(P.S. Apparently there are NO GA dates in 2023 because they’re booked solid. How to tell your entire town has been traumatized by dentists: a book by me.)
Hey Queen!

It sounds like your situation got better in the way that you can handle the best. :) September 16 was VERY soon, but a month gives you time to prepare. You've been doing the soft foods thing since March, I guess, so you know exactly how it goes. You'll probably be able to eat almost normally after a few days since all of your danger zones will be in the front of your mouth. You can chew again! I'm yearning for real food and the oral surgeon told me, "you can eat a burger tomorrow!" when I got out of the chair, but I'm going to wait at least a week. Figuring out how to sleep and eat has been the hardest part of the healing process. It's otherwise not too bad. Much better than knowing you have bombs in your mouth that could go off at any time and put you in inescapable agony!

As for the other things you mentioned that scared you about extractions: blood in your mouth is gross but the bleeding stops quickly. Probably within an hour or two. You change the gauze, maybe throw a wet tea bag in there. I drove myself there and back (local anesthetic) and had to change my gauze in Friday rush hour traffic halfway home. That kind of sucked but it was fine! Dry socket is scary because it hurts but it's but not THAT easy to cause. You have to baby your mouth for about 5 days and you're out of the woods after that. You might not even need that much time. I could no longer see blood clots on my sites after about 36 hours, just the edges of some white-ish spots, and I was certain that was bone and I was developing dry socket, but I've had no pain ... So I guess my body discarded the clot super fast and the white is new tissue. 🤷‍♀️ You'll be able to see and monitor everything so you'll have more confidence that you're healing!

Fantastic job on the flossing! C-shaped flossing is advanced oral health technique as far as I'm concerned.

Processing the shame and guilt is hard. You will forgive yourself in time, but it doesn't have to happen now. You are already showing yourself gentleness and care by by choosing to thoroughly clean your teeth.

The you who made the choices that led you here doesn't exist anymore. You're not that person today. The person you are today is someone who is facing her greatest fear head-on and making huge changes and sacrifices so that the version of you who will exist months, years, decades from now won't have to be afraid and in pain. You curse the past version of yourself today, but the only thing you can change is the present, and the future you will be so grateful the you of today had the courage to sit in that dentist's chair. You are amazing. Keep moving forward and look forward to a time in the near future when you can show off your beautiful, healthy smile. <3
@takeheart That bomb analogy is actually a really good one! I find myself sometimes being in the middle of eating, and running my tongue over my problem teeth, just to check that they’re okay. It’s a bit ridiculous actually LOL

I’m really hoping that month will be enough time for me to get used to the idea (as much as us phobics can) that this is happening, and make peace with what’s going to be my situation for…a while? It’s sort of in stages because first we have the extractions (and the exam, etc, etc) and then we’ll have me finding out how many fillings I need and anything else that’s going on, and me healing from said extractions. And then…I suppose there’s cleanings of course, and then getting my partials after three or four months. So really I’m just focusing on that first stage.

I have been mostly on soft food yes! Although thanks to the fact my molars are okay as far as I know (I feel nervous saying that LOL like somehow I’m jinxing it) I’ve been able to eat some hard food like crackers! I imagine it’ll be similar once I’m healed up enough that I don’t have to worry about dislodging a blood clot. It might be a bit harder because I do use some of my canines that are a problem to bite (ones that I know will be okay to do so) but eh, I suppose I’ll just have to learn with a curve a bit won’t I?

You changed your gauze in rush hour traffic? Wow that’s amazing! I can’t imagine doing so LOL But thank you so much for the reassurance! I think this is really something I’m going to have to make peace with and just buck up and kind of get used to it. “There’s going to be blood, and what?” You know that kind of attitude :giggle: I’ve never had this kind of procedure but anytime I’ve bled from my mouth in the past (including recently via flossing!) it’s always stopped pretty quickly. I’m holding myself to that that it will be the same in this case.

It’s so hard to do! Like wow, flossing in itself is advanced techniques 101. I needed a whole course in school on this. Like I know how to do it theory, but manueving my hands and around my small mouth is hard. Also my fairly tightly packed teeth too.

Your last paragraph made me tear up, I’m not going to lie. Wow, thank you so so so much for those kind words. Truly, they‘re ones I’ll keep for a long time. It’s funny because one of the first things I tell people on here is “you can only focus on the present, not the past” and yet I’m so bad at taking my own advice!

You’re right, of course, that I’m not the same person I was. And I’m trying so hard to be better for that future me, who wants to achieve her dreams, and simply cannot do that without her teeth fixed.

There’s an image I’m carrying with me of something that’s happened today: a family member’s birthday, and the family member wanted subs for dinner. The humiliation of me, being able to eat a sub yes, but only if I ate the layers individually and ripped it apart into small pieces. I carry this with me not be angry at myself but to tell myself “you will never be like this again.” It’s such a small thing, something we take for granted, eating food but it’s really not. Being able to eat a food and tear it with my teeth…I have a new appreciation for when I’ll be able to do that again.

You made me think, that if I continue taking care of my teeth, and get them taken care of and keep up with cleanings…why should I ever lose more teeth? Why should I ever be faced with this situation again? There’s no reason I would be. So maybe it’s time I had a little hope rather than a fatalistic POV. At least that’s what I’m hoping to take into my appointment on the 11th. Hope rather than fear. Love for myself rather than hatred. A sense of acceptance rather than cursing.

Again, thank you so much for the reply, it means so so much to me <3
On that note, a bonus post!

That last paragraph I posted made me think: I’m focusing on the wrong thing leading up to my appointment. Yes it’s important to know what to expect, but my dentist will let me know (I’m sure) and this site has a bunch of resources in itself as well. All the Youtubers I was watching, all of the thousands of articles I was looking at. Was I not focusing on the wrong thing? Was I not working myself into a panic over something I can’t control? Because that’s just it. I don’t know yet how it will go for me. Hopefully very well, but every one is different. Having a rough estimate to know what to expect is fine, but obsessively reading about what’s going to happen is just going to lead to more issues in the end.

What I should focus on is what I said: hope not fear. Love not hatred. Acceptance not cursing.

Because it’s all fine and good to understand the physicalities of what will happen (although do I really need to know how the extraction is done? No. Because I’m not the dentist. And I’ll be out cold anyway. It’s the same way when I had major surgery back in 2013, I knew roughly how they did it, but I didn’t know technicalities. And I really didn’t care about that. Because again, I was under general and didn’t need to know. The recovery and the acceptance of my situation was important.)
Because that’s just it. Back in 2013, I knew I was going to be okay and that I finally had relief from years of sickness. I was finally free of that burden and there was an answer for me. Is this situation not a parallel? I think it is.

And thanks to that, I‘ve deleted bookmarks I had of a bunch of articles about extractions and a bunch of Youtubers too. Not that they aren’t helpful! But it’s not what I need right now. It’s just a way for me to panic, a way for me to obsess. Now is the time to just let myself be and exist and wrap myself in a cocoon and prepare.

So yes. This is the plan. I hope it goes well for me, and I can reach that place again that I reached in 2013. 2014 was one of the best years of my life, so maybe this can follow (except with more best years, not just one LOL)