• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is very afraid of dentistry or who suffers with dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a dental problems forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

No Turning Back: My Journey to a Radiant Smile

A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
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!
 
B

Beccab213

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
61
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!
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
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:
 
B

Beccab213

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
61
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!
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
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
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
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.
 
T

takeheart

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
27
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!
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
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)
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
Ah, the next stop in the process has begun. Just got the call from the dentit’s asking me to give them my paperwork. Paperwork I informed them I don’t have, which surprised the secretary. I said that I wasn’t aware I was supposed to have it already (I mean, Carrie told me to pick up the paperwork for November when I paid the deposit, but it wasn’t given to me at that point), and then when I made the appointment for October, she said she’d be in touch about it. I guess she must have assumed I already had it.

The secretary was a bit pushy, I won’t lie. She said it needed to be done and back by Thursday, and that they really want me to come in today even though I informed them tomorrow might work better for me (considering it’s already afternoon here, and I have a headache, and our family dog is currently at a groomer so I have to pick them up later.) I doubt going on Tuesday will make a difference but you know.

I felt anxiety during the phone call and seeing the Caller ID on my phone. There was a split second where I just thought “what if I don’t pick up?” Not that that changes anything so I did. I had to stand up and pace during the phone call and I felt the adrenaline surging through my body with the anxiety. But it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. This time at least, I’m not shaking, well not right now. My stomach is in knots and my breathing is a bit faster but that’s about it. So that’s good! I also reminded myself “acceptance not fear.“ Which was meant to be “hope not fear” but eh, it works too! They’re a bit interchangeable LOL

Edit: oh okay. It’s been a few minutes and now it’s hitting me a bit. I‘m very tired, and I kind of want to cry. I suppose that’s normal! That’s what trauma does to a person right? Also the knowledge that I have to go into the office is a bit scary, even though it’s good for me. I’ll only been in there for a minute or two max and it’s probably helpful to have that experience before I go in for my major appointment :)

I do think I might have disassociated a bit during the phone call though now that I think about it. Like it stopped feeling real, this experience doesn’t feel real. I won’t say that’s a good thing, but I won’t say it’s a bad thing either if it helps me get through it and come out the other side.

I’ve only had one counselling session focused on my dental trauma at this point, and even then, it was about prepping for the upcoming appointment. I’m writing out a detailed description of E-day, so my counsellor and I can go over what I think will happen that day and what I visualized (aw man homework!) It’s supposed to help me prepare. But it’s not work on the past trauma of course, I just don’t have the time. So if disassociating a bit, and thinking of it as a dream, helps then bring it on.

Anyway, that’s my little update. Hope getting the paperwork goes smoothly and I don’t end up crying in the office (I hate crying in front of anyone ick)
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
I hope that my constant posts here won’t be too much for anyone! I know it’s my journal, but it still feels like a lot. Things are really moving now though, so expect more daily updates.

Today I went and got my paperwork. I actually made it in and stood at the counter for quite a few minutes (they had to search for my paperwork, eep.) I felt nauseous and scratched at my skin quite a bit but I did it! I DID IT. Small victories!

The place was very quiet and the door to the back where all the rooms are was closed (it isn’t usually) and there was a smell like a gas station? Not sure what they were doing today but I didn’t like that gas smell. Still, I liked how quiet it was and that they were clearly respecting privacy.

Anyway. Paperwork is filled out (anyone else hate how vague some of those questions are? “Do you become short of breath easily?” Well technically yes but also not really? It sort of depends! That was me checking off an “unsure” on that one LOL); also the doomsday speech with the consent to general is never nice. I know, it’s gotta be that way so I know the risks but I would love if it sounded a little more positive. Maybe they should put stickers with it :ROFLMAO:

Tomorrow I go back to return the paperwork and to maybe pay down more money toward treatment, we’ll see. But I’m proud of myself for what I did today, and even though I’m exhausted, it was successful! This is a big part of the healing process. And my anxiety wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. Bad? Yes. The worst and completely unable to even function? Surprisingly, no.

And keeping with the reward based system approach, I bought myself a book I’ve been wanting as a little treat. I hope it works in getting my brain associating rewards with the dentist. We’ll see!
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
Well.

This is my first sign of being a bit...worried I suppose about the dental practice. Which makes sense for us phobic patients, we’re always looking for something to not trust.

Apparently I have to come in on another day because the dentist wants to check out my mouth? I mean I suppose I understand why, but just springing it on me like that? Did they really have to? It feels more like being cornered than anything else (even though I’m aware it’s not.) The dentist just wants to check out my mouth beforehand but I’m not sure why? They were adamant that they couldn’t know anything without x-rays, so now I’m very confused? What does “check things out” mean? I have no idea. Like I suppose logic would dictate they want to check to see if I have an infection or anything that would make it unsafe to do the procedure but still. I’m completely spooked at this point.

Like, my thing is, if you do understand phobic patients, you must understand how hard it is for us to make appointments. You can’t just spring a “oh we need to see you” on us and expect it to be okay? I don’t understand.

Anyway, I chose the later date between the ones given. October 4th at 9:30 am. I chose the morning so I’ll have less time to freak out I hope.

I mean, I won’t lie, I had considered, in these months that I was waiting, that maybe it‘d be good for me to see if I could go in and let the dentist look in my mouth but I never did it. I didn’t feel that I was there in any sense. And honestly, I still don’t. But then I’m not dealing with ordinary circumstances, I’m having to go out of order because my teeth need immediate care.

Which is all to say that there is no possible way this isn’t going to re-traumatizing. The key for me will to be heal what I go through, and integrate it properly before it becomes another instance of PTSD. Luckily for me I have counselling this time so hopefully that will be possible.

My next appointment is on the 7th actually, which was another reason that I chose the 4th, because it was really close to the 7th.

I did have it pointed out to me too, that with any operation or procedure, you generally have to have pre-op done. That means tests a lot of the time, and that this, it’s like that. Only instead of a blood test or a CAT scan, I’m getting a dentist looking in my mouth just to see if it’s all okay to proceed. And probably to see if anything’s changed.

I mean she said four in that initial appointment but maybe it’s more now, or maybe it’s less.

I’m just terrified of gagging. And laying down in the chair. And my gums being poked and prodded or even my teeth. All I can do is speak up for myself and remind myself that I have control, I have the power. I am not helpless. This is part of the healing process, and yes it hurts, and yes, it absolutely sucks, but I have to do it.

(As an aside, my wallet is not going to be happy LOL but there’s no way I’m not getting myself a treat after the fourth!)

My legs already feel like jelly. I feel all over the place, and I feel disassociated too, like I’m just in a dream. Not great, but I’ll have a nice cup of lavender tea, and just chill for the rest of the night and not try too hard to be anything but just here. It’s important to be here, and present but not force anything. Do things I love. Remind myself of things I love. Remind myself of love, hope and acceptance.

And if I need to take some time to cry, if I need to take some time to let out the emotions? That’s okay too. It’s okay.

(P.S. I forgot to say this. The secretary was adamant that my forms needed to be returned by Thursday, but when I asked Carrie to clarify she said to bring them back when I come in. So again, I’m confused. This doesn’t inspire confidence in me because it seems our wires keep getting crossed in some way. Hopefully when I see them again, I’ll be able to clarify this.)
 
J

Jackieallen

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2022
Messages
133
Location
DORKING
Well.

This is my first sign of being a bit...worried I suppose about the dental practice. Which makes sense for us phobic patients, we’re always looking for something to not trust.

Apparently I have to come in on another day because the dentist wants to check out my mouth? I mean I suppose I understand why, but just springing it on me like that? Did they really have to? It feels more like being cornered than anything else (even though I’m aware it’s not.) The dentist just wants to check out my mouth beforehand but I’m not sure why? They were adamant that they couldn’t know anything without x-rays, so now I’m very confused? What does “check things out” mean? I have no idea. Like I suppose logic would dictate they want to check to see if I have an infection or anything that would make it unsafe to do the procedure but still. I’m completely spooked at this point.

Like, my thing is, if you do understand phobic patients, you must understand how hard it is for us to make appointments. You can’t just spring a “oh we need to see you” on us and expect it to be okay? I don’t understand.

Anyway, I chose the later date between the ones given. October 4th at 9:30 am. I chose the morning so I’ll have less time to freak out I hope.

I mean, I won’t lie, I had considered, in these months that I was waiting, that maybe it‘d be good for me to see if I could go in and let the dentist look in my mouth but I never did it. I didn’t feel that I was there in any sense. And honestly, I still don’t. But then I’m not dealing with ordinary circumstances, I’m having to go out of order because my teeth need immediate care.

Which is all to say that there is no possible way this isn’t going to re-traumatizing. The key for me will to be heal what I go through, and integrate it properly before it becomes another instance of PTSD. Luckily for me I have counselling this time so hopefully that will be possible.

My next appointment is on the 7th actually, which was another reason that I chose the 4th, because it was really close to the 7th.

I did have it pointed out to me too, that with any operation or procedure, you generally have to have pre-op done. That means tests a lot of the time, and that this, it’s like that. Only instead of a blood test or a CAT scan, I’m getting a dentist looking in my mouth just to see if it’s all okay to proceed. And probably to see if anything’s changed.

I mean she said four in that initial appointment but maybe it’s more now, or maybe it’s less.

I’m just terrified of gagging. And laying down in the chair. And my gums being poked and prodded or even my teeth. All I can do is speak up for myself and remind myself that I have control, I have the power. I am not helpless. This is part of the healing process, and yes it hurts, and yes, it absolutely sucks, but I have to do it.

(As an aside, my wallet is not going to be happy LOL but there’s no way I’m not getting myself a treat after the fourth!)

My legs already feel like jelly. I feel all over the place, and I feel disassociated too, like I’m just in a dream. Not great, but I’ll have a nice cup of lavender tea, and just chill for the rest of the night and not try too hard to be anything but just here. It’s important to be here, and present but not force anything. Do things I love. Remind myself of things I love. Remind myself of love, hope and acceptance.

And if I need to take some time to cry, if I need to take some time to let out the emotions? That’s okay too. It’s okay.

(P.S. I forgot to say this. The secretary was adamant that my forms needed to be returned by Thursday, but when I asked Carrie to clarify she said to bring them back when I come in. So again, I’m confused. This doesn’t inspire confidence in me because it seems our wires keep getting crossed in some way. Hopefully when I see them again, I’ll be able to clarify this.)
This time next week youll be recovering . Soon it will all be over
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
Another step in the progress road today. I had a text message reminder of my appointment on Tuesday, and was asked to confirm.

I feel that those who don’t have anxiety or PTSD or trauma of any kind, probably won’t understand this. But for those of us who do have this trauma and phobia, even something as basic as confirming an appointment with a “y” is almost too much. I wanted to ignore it, I thought if I ignore it, I don’t have to go and I don’t want to go.

I confirmed the appointment. I did. And I hated to do so, but it needed to be done.

The appointment marks a big step too. I‘ll be going into the exam room myself. Something I haven’t done for over 10 years. Actually, wait, I can’t remember the last time I went into an exam room with a dentist by myself. I think maybe when I was 12? Because after that, I only went in to see hygienists by myself, not a dentist. So that’s a thing. Oh. Well. This is bigger than I thought I guess!

I’m reminding myself that they offered me 9:00 am at first, and then 9:30 am, so they must not think it will take more than 30 minutes for me to be in there. Also it’s free, which means they aren’t going to do too much, or anything that they would otherwise have me pay for. And Carrie said it was just a check, nothing else. I’m also reminding myself that I have the power in this situation. That they can get mad at me all they want, but if I feel uncomfortable and can’t do as much as they want, that’s just how it is. I told them of my phobia, of my trauma, they know I have triggers and I’m deeply traumatized by everything. That‘s all I can do. And all I can do is establish boundaries, so they know what they can’t cross over with. Because that’s the thing with boundaries: if you let someone break them, they’ll continue to do so because they know they can. Even if they’re coming from a place where they don’t realize they’re doing it.

In other news: we also had family over for the weekend and wow I never realized how much shame I could feel before about the state of my mouth. They arrived at night, which was good because I laughed openly knowing they couldn’t see my teeth. But in the bright lighting of other rooms, I suddenly clamped my mouth shut and hid away any smile that wasn’t closed mouth, knowing they were staring and trying to look. I hated having my teeth brought up in conversation. I hated talking about it. My whole life, I’ve ignored my teeth so I’ve never really felt shame, and yet now I felt it.

But, love not hate. I’m doing all I can to heal and have a beautiful smile. I’m facing trauma. That’s huge! And there’s nothing shameful in that. My teeth right now are a physical reminder, one that can be seen, of what I went through. Of how my childhood was irrevocably changed. When my smile is healed and new and wondrous, perhaps that trauma will finally be laid to rest. Will not be such an obvious wound. One can only hope.
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
Not sure if this is a revelation about my phobia/trauma/anxiety or not, but hmm, it popped into my mind yesterday. But I think it’s something, definitely.

Yesterday I had a period of time where I felt okay. Truly, properly, okay with going to the dentist and having her look in my mouth on Tuesday. I could envision me getting ready and leaving, could picture me walking in there and even sitting properly in the chair. Oh, I thought, that’s new. I’ve never been able to do that before.

And then I thought about it.

I really thought about my trauma.

Obviously the first dentist I ever went to was traumatizing. But wait, no that’s wrong. It was the hygienist. The dentist was also awful, but to my brother not me. And in the end what happened? Well I was physically assaulted by the hands on my mouth, and I was forced to follow mouth wash, and then I ended up throwing up in public, in front of others, to my horror and embarrassment.
But. That was it. Not downplaying my trauma at all! For a child, that is a lot to deal with (especially when I developed a fear of throwing up.) But in the grand scheme of things, if we zoom out…it’s not actually as bad as perhaps I made it out to be.

Like, teenagers throw up at parties from drinking too much all the time in front of others. I’m just saying LOL

And then I’m thinking of other dentists I went to. Did any of them actually hurt me? No. Emotionally, one of them was awful, and the assistant made me choke on the bite wing x-ray so there’s that, and then you have the hygienist from a decade ago, who ignored my stop signals and said awful, terrible things to me. But those experiences, they never really register in my brain. It’s as though those awful experiences are okay, that I integrated them fully into my memory. I mean I’m still unable to do x-rays if I’m being honest, and I’m not comfortable doing anything but a panoramic, but again, that’s something I could work on with the right dentist.

I was never forced to go to any of these dentists or hygienists more than once. Something else. Maybe something small, but something all the same. And yes, after hygienist appointments sometimes I’d be in pain from the cleaning, but it was the good kind of sore that let me know I was all clean now.

If I zoom out, maybe what I’m saying is I don’t need to be afraid like I have been. Because even through the bad appointments, I always got through them. I was always okay in the end. And I have no reason to believe this will be bad.

I’m afraid of laying back in the chair, but I don’t know why. The fact I might feel trapped then. But I’m not. No one is binding my limbs, I can tell the dentist to kindly get out of my mouth and get up if I need to. It’s like lying down on a bed. You don’t suddenly lose the ability to get out of bed when you lay down to sleep at night (well most of the time anyway.) I’m worried one of my teeth is going to be poked and prodded and just like…fall out. Oh well, I’m in the dentist’s office so best place that can happen I suppose. Not that it would. I do have roots in my teeth like everyone else. I’m worried about blood, but that’s fine, they have a suction tool (that I hate but nevertheless) and really, I doubt she’s going to provoke my mouth into bleeding anyway. I just have to be clear that I’m a little (a lot) worried about these things.

What I’m saying I guess, or trying to say, is that maybe I can treat this as just another appointment, just like the appointments with doctors I go to every year. That maybe it doesn’t have to be so bad. That if I go into it with the viewpoint of “this is a doctor and this is a pre-op like a test” maybe my brain will get the message to not flood me with anxiety.

I’ve done this before. Numerous times I have been to a dentist, and I’ve always come out the other side. No reason to think this will be any different.
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
Ah two posts in one day again! But I just got finished with dinner (a wonderful vegetarian lasagna) and I wanted to share this because it’s a new thing.

Firstly though. I was thinking earlier about how I have so much to do. How even after extractions, I still have so many more steps to go through. And that’s exhausting. But then I thought of the alternative. Because there is one of course. It’s that all my teeth would need to be extracted. That’s it. That’s the alternative. And you’d know, I’d much rather go through the fillings than lose my teeth. So, there’s that. It’s a good though to have.

Second. Dinner! This is new. I was eating my food and sometimes the food I eat can be a bit hard to keep to one side of my mouth and away from my problem teeth (in particular the tooth with the crack and hole.) That was the case this evening. But oddly enough, it was the first time I had this happen. A sensation. Like a shooting, jolt of sensitivity. It didn’t hurt, maybe a tiny bit of an ache, but really it was just a jolt as though I was biting ice. I’ve had some sensitivity on various teeth over the years, but this is the first time in a while that I had that happen. I think it might have been because I accidentally bit down on some food but I’m not sure? Either way.

And you know what? I didn’t panic. I was annoyed by the sensation (still am, I hope brushing my teeth will help) but I just thought “oh, this is one of my teeth that is being extracted. My worst one. No point worrying about it when it’s coming out anyway.” And then I thought about how after that happens, I won’t have to worry about that sensation happening again, or worrying about the tooth ever again. Once it’s gone, it’s gone yeah, but the problem is also gone. And that’s just wonderful. Even if it’ll be harder to eat without my front teeth for a bit, and then learning with my partials, it’s still going to be better than worrying that I’m getting worse. I have the tools to fix it and I’m on that path.

(But as an aside: having that sensation also means the nerve is still active and that my tooth isn’t dead. That’s a really good thing! So yeah it’s annoying for right now, but hey it can signal something good at least you know?)

Anyway. There’s some comfort is what I’m saying in knowing this problem tooth will be out of my mouth soon (along with a few others.) And I’d rather the problem tooth that already needs to come out have an issue than any of my other teeth.

But this also puts in perspective how proud I am of calling the dentist waaaaay back in March, when I first saw that crack. I called the same day. I‘m proud of myself for that, and for going through with making an appointment and getting this taken care of. I can’t imagine trying to live like this for longer and having this just continually happen and then get worse and the uncertainty. I’ve seen people who have gone years and I honestly don’t know how anyone’s done it. This is brutal enough and it hasn’t even been a year.

(P.S. When I go on Tuesday, I’ll also be paying some of the money I need for the appointment on the 11th. A good chunk of it. That kind of makes me feel a little better to get that out of the way, and have the total on the day be less.)

Well, you should be hearing an update from me on Tuesday (I also realized that both my appointments are on a Tuesday, how funny.) Wish me luck for my mini-appointment on Tuesday!
 
T

takeheart

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
27
Location
Los Angeles
I love reading your new thoughts and epiphanies and I am so proud of you. You are courageous and wise. You’re absolutely amazing. ❤️
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
Ah, thank you @takeheart! I’m trying to summon some of that courage this morning before I leave for this check up appointment. It’s difficult.

So yes, hello everyone! I’m going to post this before I leave for my appointment, and then I’ll finish it later (with another post) when I get home. I thought it might be wise to try to write out what I can beforehand (though I don’t have much time LOL) and then compare it with after the check up is all said and done.

This morning has seen my IBS act up, which is unsurprising, since we know the gut and anxiety are so closely linked. Having an upset stomach and stomach pain though really sucks. I’m also shaking a lot and trembling which I hate, mainly because I feel embarrassed doing that in front of anyone else. But what can I do? My anxiety is finding its way out in its own way.

I’ve felt like I’ve wanted to cry a few times but haven’t so that’s uh good? I think? Who can say at this point :)

In any case, my fears seem to be mostly in the unknown factor here. I don’t know how long the appointment is going to be or what exactly the dentist is going to do to me while there. I know it’s being offered for free and the first appointment they offered me was only for 30 minutes before the next one so it can’t be that long, but the fact I have no concrete answer is sending me spiralling. What if she does something I don‘t want her to do? What if she doesn’t listen to me? What if I wind up trapped? That’s why I don’t like sitting in the chair properly, because if I am ignored, it’d be harder for me to bodily fight my way out (not that I think that will happen, but as I’m sure everyone here is aware, anxiety and trauma aren’t exactly rational companions.)

I keep wondering I can get out of it. Claim some emergency and just put it off (even though, guess what everyone? Today marks 7 days till E-Day! I am a mess on that front too but less so with the instructions for anaesthesia which were actually a little comforting. I think I should go over those instructions in a separate post, talk about why the comfort.) I’m also trying to remember right now the truth of the matter which is that this is all normal. This is my brain trying to protect me with its hardest might, its most power, from something it perceives will be dangerous to me. So really, it’s trying really hard!

But I’m also remembering how many people have read my journal (I mean did I ever see that view count coming? No, not at all!) and the kind words of everyone here and I know, I have to do this, so I can report back to you all, and can continue to be who I am on here. I want to give people hope. I want to give them encouragement. And I can’t do that until I face my own demons too.
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
And I’m back! Hello everyone, I have survived my dental appointment LOL And actually, it went really well. Here’s my detailed description of everything that happened (I wonder, do you think it’ll be like a novel by the end?)

So first of all, I was so extraordinarily anxious going in. And we were late. Unfortunately, someone decided to do construction on the middle of a very busy road and use one of those automatic stop/go lights rather than a flag person. This created a backlog of vehicles going into our town and I ended up having to call the office to let them know! Luckily I was still able to get in for my appointment about five minutes late. Whew. If not, I was going to have to be moved to a later time and I didn’t want to wait around for that.

Because of that though, I immediately had to get my mask on and go in. No time to waste. I went and signed in and waited in the waiting room. Very much like before, I actually fidgeted a little, but not that much? Not compared to what I’m used to, to be honest. I was pretty still. I think it was maybe a three minute wait before they called me back.

So I don’t know if they do this for everyone or just for phobic patients but, not only did I have the same dental assistant as before, but they also brought me to the same room. Reflecting on this in the car later, I thought “well that’s nice!” Because of course, that kind of thing makes one feel a little more trusting of the situation. It starts to become familiar. It’s an “Ah I know you.” and “ah, I’ve been here before!” not a new room or anything.

I told them honestly how anxious I was and they were very nice, both assured me we were really just “talking” today, though she did want to have a peek in my mouth a bit.

At first I was sitting the way you would on a bench, with my legs hanging over the side of the chair (so sitting sideways.) But then I had to lean back and sit back in the chair. I did, and I was really scared here. Happy I was sitting down though because even coming into the dental practice made my legs feel like they wouldn’t work right honestly. Then of course, we got the dreaded tilting back of the chair. At first it wasn’t too bad. But then it kept going, and going, and—okay is this thing ever going to stop? I really think I’m back far enough now!

What was interesting to, was I came in wearing a mask, which was for my peace of mind as much as it was for the safety with Covid being what it is. With my mask on, they can’t see in my mouth. It’s interesting…they didn’t ask me to remove it and let me do it on my own time (which I did pretty quickly but was not forced to.)

Now here is where things got interesting (for me at least!) You have to remember that I don’t think I’ve ever been treated like a human being by anyone other than my old hygienist from 10 years ago. And I’ve been to see quite a few dentists and hygienists. My experiences have informed me that walking into a dentist’s office means I‘ll be treated as “less than” and it’s awful and humiliating and terrifying. I’ll be ordered to do things and I’ll just have to do them. Even if I think I have power I don’t.

Ah, not true. I was able to spread my coat out as a blanket (which helped!) I highly, highly recommend having something or an actual blanket at procedures because that was so so helpful to me. I was also able to grab my stress noodle that I can squeeze and bend, etc, etc. They let me grab it from my purse and play with it and it’s this neon bright pink so normally I don’t really like to bring it out (I didn’t have a choice in colour) but there was no judgement from them at all. Just a “oh okay!” They put the bib on me, and the sunglasses. Which actually I’ve never had before.

Yeah, anytime a dentist has looked into my mouth, there have never been sunglasses. Can you believe it? I couldn’t.

Now, because I was so anxious, I couldn’t open my mouth very wide. Wide enough for her to get her mirror in as well as the other tool (the one that scrapes a bit) but it was more that I kept automatically trying to bite down on them :redface: I felt horrible about it and wanted to apologize, and there I was waiting for that other awful thing: open your mouth wider. Come on open it! You can do better than that! But…it didn’t come. Instead I was told I was doing “amazing” and when she went to check my molar she asked me very gently if I could open my mouth a bit bigger but that was it? And then when Carrie was called in (I’ll get to that part in a second) she said immediately “she did so well! She did really amazing.” And I swear, I want to cry right now because I’ve never had that. I’ve never been treated like that. Like she wasn’t making fun of me, like she really believed I had done such an amazing job.

She did scrape with the tool, quite a bit on my upper left side, which is probably my worst area (besides the extraction zone of upper fronts) because I can never seem to get floss back there. But she reiterated this: we’re doing four extractions and all the fillings at once while I’m under. I was surprised by that and said “oh I only have a budget of 5,000 dollars. I don’t know if we can do all the fillings.” And then I was shocked by this news: the dentist thinks she can do it! She thinks my fillings will come in under the budget. Because I’m paying for my partials later (and more on that in a second too because it’s a bit of a conundrum but it’ll be fine, I think.) The scraper as well didn’t hurt, although I tasted a bit of blood afterwards, but that was it! Nothing else. I was shocked.

I won’t lie, the sound is a bit off putting, and the amount of pressure used. You really do wonder if your teeth can stand it but actually, this is odd because I’ve never felt this before: but I felt like I could feel how strong my remaining teeth were? I could feel how solid and rooted they were and that was nice.

She was lovely in that she stayed away from my problem teeth too! Never had that happen before. Only false assurances that I’d be fine. But nope!

I realize now I should probably name my dentist, so let me just call her Dr. G on here (she has a last name that I can’t remember how to spell for the life of me LOL but I’ll learn eventually)
I still couldn’t believe what they said. All…my fillings? Yep! They don’t have the bitewings which she said means that they can’t actually see between the molars so there could be a “surprise” but she was pretty confident. And in my head I was screaming because having this work done all at once would be the most wonderful thing! I think having my teeth filled softens the blow of losing teeth to extraction. Because while I’m losing four teeth, I’m gaining beautiful teeth that are still there.
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
Part two because I had so much to say and I ran out of space. Ahhh, how funny.

Now comes the part that’s a bit of a conundrum. They told me I could pay for my partials at a later date because that’s what I wanted (so the five thousand would just go toward my treatment.) The partials are 2000 dollars separately. I had thought it would be three to four months before I’d have to worry about them so around January? But no. They want to get my partials done and ready by Christmas!

I was really shocked by that because I thought you had to wait quite a while before the jaw bone had done all its shrinking? But I suppose it might be more of a they’ll give me a re-line scenario as it shrinks? I’m not sure.

The problem with this though, is I don’t really have the money to do that at that time. This is already a lot of money, and I was sort of imagining it’d wouldn’t be till next year when I’d get the partials so I might actually have to wait on that. I think it should be fine? I might ask if I can wait a little before getting them just so I have time to get the money for them. But the idea that I could potentially have my new smile by Christmas? I was shocked.

By the end of the appointment I had no anxiety. I smiled and wished them a good day as we left. I was completely fine. Again, I’ve never had that. I’ve never had my anxiety completely disappear while in the dental office. I’ve never not been bothered by the slight taste of blood that was in my mouth,

I’ve never just been so okay like this. It was like a bloody miracle I tell you LOL

Sadly for me, one of my family members has been less than supportive, not understanding why it was such an accomplishment for me to do what I did today. It hurts, because it really was such a big deal, but not everyone is going to understand. A lot won’t. That’s why I’m so happy to have this journal and forum, where I know everyone does.

But yeah, I did it! And it went well! :cheer2:

I’m so proud of myself (also extremely proud that I shut down any negative thoughts toward myself! I refused to let myself be mean. I don’t deserve that. And what I did today was such a huge step in my progress.)

Onwards! To next Tuesday!

P.S. I might be missing some things so if I remember I might make additional posts but that’s pretty much what happened in as much detail as I can remember.
 
A

APhobicQueen

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
148
Location
Canada
I was really hoping anxiety wouldn’t strike until maybe Monday? That would have been nice. But I forgot this is me and oops, we’ve got anxiety! To be fair, I’m also having a flare up of my chronic illness which makes my anxiety physically worse than it normally is so, you know…fun times. It’s also Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and wow, it is a lot.

I had a counselling appointment today and my counsellor was so happy to hear how well things went on Tuesday. She thinks I really have the tools needed to have a good appointment next week, and to have it be a step in the healing process rather than a new trauma. I want to agree, of course, but part of me, this anxious part now, is just absolutely sick with worry (no really, I’m very nauseous and I hate it.) I want to enjoy this last weekend before my appointment but it sucks that my anxiety is taking up my time. Of course, it’s only natural, but I’m still disappointed it’s happening now.

The weird thing is, I can’t even pinpoint what’s terrified me at this point and sent me into anxiety. My best thought is perhaps the nausea is setting off my PTSD from what happened that first time I went to a dentist and you know, ended up vomiting in public later. I feel the nausea and immediately I’m just shutting down and freaking out you know? And then I just spiral from there. To holes in my mouth and blood, and all that. How silly of my anxiety to act like that. How perfectly silly.

Trying to remember my courage and my want to be brave right now. As well as the fact that it’s not going to be as bad as I think it will be. Why? Because every single person I’ve read or watched or talked to who has had extractions has said so. They have all said the anxiety is far worse than the actual procedure. And there is simply no way everyone can be wrong. Nope.

I liken this feeling to cold feet before a wedding honestly. It’s a big step in my life that can’t be reversed at all, so of course I’m feeling anxious and scared about it. It changes my entire life, even if it is, ultimately, for the better. That’s a lot to handle! I must be kind to myself. Kindness not hatred.

Anyway, I shall go now and try to distract myself from this anxiety. Maybe take some medicine for my stomach. I know I said I might make a post about why the GA guidelines for the E-Day were a comfort but I’m not sure if that’ll happen now. Oh well.

And remember to send plenty of positive and good thoughts my way on Tuesday!
 
Top