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No Turning Back: My Journey to a Radiant Smile

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APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
101
Location
Canada
I was thinking today, and maybe this is an odd thing to think because truthfully once the extraction process and procedure starts, my life is changed irrevocably. There is no going back. It’s not just partials, it’s the cleanings every 3 to 6 months (they want me back every three, but I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I can afford that right now. We’ll see.), there’s the fillings I still have to do, the relines for the partials, etc, etc.

But I was thinking about the procedure coming up. And I was thinking about something my best friend had told me (in relation to something else) that, in the grand scheme, an event that I’m scared of, terrified of even, can last a few hours but in makeup that is my entire life (all three decades), it’s not as much time as I think it is. The procedure is scheduled for 1:30 pm, and the GA booked is for about two and a half hours. That’s it. That’s all. Two and a half hours. Then I’m done. Maybe even less actually. Arguably, 30 minutes or some such for recovery, then I go home.

And yes, there will be some bleeding (hopefully only some) and the recovery is going to take a little bit. On average, I see most people saying the worst of it is cleared out by day five to day seven. So that’s a little bit.

But on average, it’s a week. Let’s say a week. A week of my life. And then, it’ll be business as normal (and by that I mean the normal I’d established in March back when I discovered that crack in my tooth.)

And really, that’s not…it’s not that long. I’ve spent years and decades and months and weeks being scared and terrified of dentists (rightfully so with my PTSD from some awful dentists!) but when you compare, I’ll have spent so much more time worrying than I will having the actual procedure done.
Also, why not mention this too? I didn’t always worry about my teeth sure, but I sure as hell thought about them a lot as they continued to get worse over the years. I was aware of them even in the back of my mind, even when I avoided. So really, again, in that grand scheme of everything, it’s not going to be that long, it’s not going to be such a big event that it takes up all of my time and I never see the end of the tunnel. Because I know the plan, I know the end goal. I know the timeline roughly. It was laid out to me in that first appointment even, which was more than I ever had at any other dental places. So yeah. Time to focus on that instead.

One thing I did see that I totally agree with is someone on another forum who said one hundred percent you have to get yourself something afterwards. Some treat. It doesn‘t have to be big or expensive, but it can be if you want. But you have to reward yourself. I for one am all for that (hehe) and I’ve been trying to focus my attention on the idea of getting myself a treat. The best treat would be a multi million dollar lottery win but I dunno if that’s possible LOL Still. I’m trying to associate this time with a good thing. Good things and good times (well sort of, it won’t be a fun time but you know.)

I think this has become my motto now: hope not fear. Love not hate. Acceptance not cursing. I may sign off all my posts with it for a while, and I hope you don’t mind. It helps to write it down and continually remind myself. I will be okay. I will have the smile of my dreams. I will do this. And I’ll be able to tell all of you I did it too!
 
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Beccab213

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
51
Location
USA
This post is wonderful! It’s very inspiring to read. I have had 6 root canals and 4 extractions, I have found the anxiety is worse than the actual procedure.
I also firmly believe in treating yourself to something after the procedure. My personal favorite is a pedicure or ice cream.
Best of luck to you!
 
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APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
101
Location
Canada
Thank you so much @Beccab213!

Every single person I’ve read or talked to has told me that extractions are always worse in your head than they are in actuality. Even the complex ones like mine.

Ooh ice cream and a pedicure! Now there’s something hehe. I’m thinking whatever I treat myself to will probably be something practical as well. Maybe some slightly more pricey skincare for example, since (eventually) I’ll have such a gorgeous smile, I need to make sure my skin is up to snuff too! Hehe.

Thank you again for calling my post inspiring to read. I swear some days that’s what’s getting me out the door and to the dentist and keeping me from calling everything off. Knowing that others are reading my posts, and that they might gain hope or comfort from them. I know every time I read a successful post in a journal or just a new thread, I get more hopeful for myself. I really want to be an inspiration to those people, to show them that it can be done, even if the dark recesses of trauma run very, very deep as they do for me.

All the best! :cheers:
 
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Beccab213

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
51
Location
USA
@APhobicQueen my last three extractions were a little complex. They required sectioning, but I will tell you that it went so well.
I brought a blanket with me, a fidget toy, and my favorite guided meditation with headphones.
You totally got this!
 
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APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
101
Location
Canada
@Beccab213 Thank you so much for sharing that with me! I’m glad they went well for you! I’ve got a plan to wear the comfiest clothes I can, but nothing else since I’ll be out like a light. I do plan to try to get my bedroom prepped beforehand for when I come home though!

I asked on here a while ago if anyone who had complicated and/or simple extractions noticed a difference between the two and everyone said “nope.” The word surgical makes it seem a lot scarier than it is. Honestly they need to come up with better names for these things!

I’m not sure yet if they’re sectioning mine or if they’ll be having to make some cuts into my gum, but I guess I’ll find out afterwards? LOL
 
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APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
101
Location
Canada
Hmm. I’m very, very tired today (was up far too early this morning) so this post will have to be short and sweet but honest thoughts of the evening (in my journey to accepting my circumstances and being hopeful and loving myself): is the act of going to the dentist not an act of loving my child self?

Is everything I’ll go through to get my teeth fixed not adult!me taking the hand of child!me and saying ”hey, look, it’s all right. We’ll be okay. It’s going to be very, very hard, and yes, you’re going to wait just a little too long, but that’s fine. You’ve always done things the long way sometimes.“
Is this not an act of love? It may have started as desperation and inevitable. I had no choice but to make an appointment when I saw the crack, and I felt I had no choice but to go through with what will happen in October.

But no. I did have a choice. I had the choice to not do it. To call it off and put it off and continue to let my teeth get bad. I also have the choice now, to be how I was before, to be afraid (well, not that I’m not, just to be afraid in a hateful way), to be shameful and hateful towards myself. I‘ve made the choice now, not to to do so. To instead focus on what I want out of life. Because you know, it’s not just been my teeth that have held me back, but other circumstances too, and I for one, think it’s time to adapt. If I can do this, I can do anything. When I face this trauma, I’ll be letting go of such a huge part of my life, a big dark cloud that was always there, chasing me through the nights and days, whispering awful things in my ear.

Obviously it won’t all leave, but maybe instead of being a black cloud, it can be a grey one. Maybe the rain it releases can be something I can dance in, something more gentle than even I know right now.

What rambling I do when I’m tired. Anyway, much love to all of you right now.
 
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takeheart

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
26
Location
Los Angeles
I am so incredibly happy to see this shift in your perspective. You are treating yourself with the compassion and forgiveness you need to get through this hardship and heal from it. 💕 Your words are those of a person who is healing and they're beautiful. Thank you for sharing your inner journey. I hope more frightened, hurting people will read it and be inspired to forgive themselves and come to see the dentist as an ally. And I hope that your procedures go well and you can live your best life!
 
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APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
101
Location
Canada
@takeheart Thank you! It’s really like a light bulb went off in my head a bit. Yes, I’m terrified, but who wouldn’t be? Even a normal person without any trauma would be scared of extractions! (Most are, look at the wisdom teeth stories from perfectly regular people.) So why should I be harder on myself for trauma? It does nothing to heal me. It does nothing to move me forward.

It sort of reminds me how sometimes I’ll get mad at my body when I’m low energy (I am chronically ill, so sometimes low energy is like…below even ground level LOL) and then I end up not taking care of myself and just lying around being mad that my body won’t work right. I completely ignore the in between of taking care of myself in the best way I can that day, versus since I can’t do everything, I’ll just do nothing (I’m a bit embarrassed to say that often means I don’t brush my teeth in the morning, oops :redface:)

But, my point is that I think I had and have very black and white thinking sometimes and part of the healing process is to change that. For example, yes maybe I didn’t brush my teeth in the morning for a few days when I should have but I made sure to brush my teeth at night! I was still brushing at least once a day, which is better than not brushing at all. (It reminds me of what my counsellor and I discussed. She said if I’m going to think of the worst case scenario, then I also have to think of the best case, and then the most likely case too.)

But thank you again! I really hope that pouring all my inner thoughts (which is so weird too, being so vulnerable on the Internet like this, but it helps. I don’t know where I’d be without this forum) that can help others. That they can take refuge in my journey and maybe, just maybe, find some healing from it too.

(Sorry for the rambling reply! I apparently have a lot to say LOL)
 
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