• Dental Phobia Support

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PLEASE HELP!! Severe, severe dental phobia!

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pauln2719

Junior member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Rockford, IL USA
I am hoping someone here can help me. I don't know where else to turn.

I had an appointment with a new dentist today. Everything was going just fine. The x-rays were just fine, the nurse and hygienist were nice. Then the dentist came in.

I told him in advance that I have a fear of dentists. This doesn't seem to have registered with him, because the first thing he said, pointing to the x-ray, was "You know THIS ONE has to come out."

:scared: :frantic: :terror:

I lost it. I went into a panic attack, the likes of which I've never experienced. Unbelievably bad. Literally sitting on the floor, shaking violently and hyperventilating bad. I became convinced that I was going to die.

Given this dentist's demeanor, I'm now beyond terrified that I'm going to have to have MORE than one tooth out. After my meltdown, he refused to even look at my mouth...then what am I paying him for?!

Yes, it's been awhile since I've seen the dentist and my hygiene isn't the best. I'm out of work without insurance so what can I do? It's NOT MY FAULT that I'm out of work and uninsured but no one seems to understand this...

Since leaving the dentist's office, I've had two more panic attacks at home. My father, who went with, yelling at me afterword didn't help.

My experiences with dentists have been nothing but bad for my entire life (I'm 33). I've had several teeth out (baby and adult). The pain every time is what I remember. I seem to have a hypersensitivity to pain. It's really bad. Plus I'm a bleeder, after the last extraction, it bled for at least 8 hours if not more (after that I stopped applying gauze because I was out of gauze).

Really, it all started when I was 5 years old and the dentist pulled two baby teeth without anesthetic, which no doubt scarred me for life. I've had nothing but bad experiences since. I've tried being put under during extractions, but fear of pain or of something bad happening (nerve damage, hemorrhaging, etc) makes me even more terrified. The thought of being awake is incomprehensible. It's almost to the point where I can't even function if I think about walking INTO a dentist's office. I almost feel like the entire profession is out to get me and make me go through unending painful biological experiments to test the limits of human endurance.

Please help! I don't know where to turn or what to do!
 
C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
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Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,748
Location
Miami, Fl
The answer is actually simple. Go to another dentist. Research carefully first. In America there are a few websites that dentists pay for and only show good reviews unless you don't pay then they show bad reviews like Dr oogle. Reliable opinions are from AngiesList as you have to pay as the end user. Consider your dental appointment like a date; sometimes you have a few losers before you get a deceit one.
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
751
Location
New Hampshire, USA
The answer is actually simple. Go to another dentist. Research carefully first. In America there are a few websites that dentists pay for and only show good reviews unless you don't pay then they show bad reviews like Dr oogle. Reliable opinions are from AngiesList as you have to pay as the end user. Consider your dental appointment like a date; sometimes you have a few losers before you get a deceit one.

I hope you mean "decent" not "deceit"

;)
 
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pauln2719

Junior member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Rockford, IL USA
This is the second dentist I've seen in a week that I saw today. The problem is, I'm tired of feeling like the entire dental profession wants to treat me like some sort of sick, twisted, sadistic lab rat.

I know that I have a problem. I've had a problem for years. I have never had a dentist treat me with decency or respect and I cannot say that I have EVER had a positive dental experience, hence my phobia/fear and the reason why I have put off care until I can't any longer. And now, knowing what I may be facing, is terrifying me. I'm not even sure right now if I can even leave the house, and I've been considering suicide. I really don't have a clue how I can face what is coming down the road, to be honest, I think I'd rather be dead.
 
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tabatha7

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Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
905
Location
US
Paul, I'm so sorry for the torment you are going through. Please don't mention death. I understand your feeling of hopelessness though. Things can always get better when you least expect it. Even though this is the 2nd dentist you have seen in a week, don't let that deter you. There is a dentist out there somewhere that can help you and won't try to frighten you. Don't give up... sometimes it takes work and time to find the right dentist that will help you with the fears that you have. It's your mouth and teeth and you don't have to let anyone touch them that you are not comfortable with. Did you happen to mention where you are from? I hope someone on this forum and can help direct you to someone who can help you.
 
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pauln2719

Junior member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Rockford, IL USA
I am from Rockford, Illinois USA. And I'd just like to point out that I have been in a very dark place for five years, and every time it seems like things are getting better, I get kicked in the (you know where) and shoved back down into that deep, dark hole from which there seems to be no escape. I'm honestly starting to believe that there isn't an escape, there is no hope, there is no chance of ever being happy or normal again...
 
jayra

jayra

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Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
11
Paul - I go to the dentist tomorrow and I'm terrified. I was considering sedation dentistry, but I'm not sure that's right for me and have no one to take me. There is a sedation dental clinic in Rockford that says they handle dental phobia patients. Perhaps try them? [out-of-date link removed]
 
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letsconnect

letsconnect

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5,725
He gets pretty crap reviews on ratemd's though :(

But yeah, there must be some caring, good and friendly dentists in Rockford - it's not as if it's in the middle of nowhere or anything :).

We've collected some general tips for finding a dentist on this page:


Often the best way of finding a caring dentist who is good with very nervous/phobic patients is word-of-mouth - have you tried asking around friends/acquaintances/family/colleagues? Not everyone is able to do this because of embarrassment but it can be a good way of finding someone.

oh and :welcome: to our forum :)!!
 
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pauln2719

Junior member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Rockford, IL USA
Thank you, that sounds like what I may need. It's really not the procedure itself that worries me the most, honestly, it's the pain and the worry about something going wrong.

Knowing that the doctor is fully trained in emergency procedures would make me feel A TON better. My biggest fear is something going wrong...and the doctor not being able to save my life or not being able to save me from hideous disfigurement (ie nerve damage that would leave me looking like I had a massive stroke). Which is the strangest part of my phobia perhaps, I have a degree in biology and I suppose I should know better...of course the pain is not something I am looking forward to either but...
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Hi Paul I think we just cross-posted (see above) - the reviews for that dentist didn't look too brilliant (of course, you never know what's real and what's not on the internet, but still...)
 
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pauln2719

Junior member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Rockford, IL USA
Just a quick update...

My parents have gotten me an appointment with the family physician (haven't seen him for years but he did bring me into the world :)) for Saturday. "Doc" is apparently thinking that I should take a prescription sedative before seeing ANY dentist, so that would help level out my emotions before/during a consultation to avoid a repeat of today's severe panic attack. Don't know what yet but it might be helpful; I'm not saying that I want to be drugged all the time but if it would help...

FWIW, the dentist I saw today (Aspen Dental, Rockford, IL USA--don't go there!!) made a referral to a different dentist for me; turns out it is a clinic for the developmentally disabled, which I am definitely not! I am rather seriously offended at the insinuation that, because of my phobia, I must also be developmentally disabled. (Please don't take this to mean that I have anything against developmentally disabled people, I most definitely do not. I am glad that there is a facility in town for people with special needs. But I am not, and resent being told that I am because I have a phobia).

I've also got an appointment for next week with one of the top dentists in town, he comes highly recommended from multiple sources so here's hoping for the best there...

I'm also going to speak with "Doc" on Saturday in order to possibly address some of my fears of something going horribly wrong (massive bleeding, nerve damage, disfigurement, etc); he's a highly qualified doctor/surgeon with nearly 40 years' experience so he should hopefully be able to help put my mind at ease.
 
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tabatha7

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Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
905
Location
US
Hi Paul, it's always good to know your oral surgeon has years of experience. I have some of the same fear you do about nerve damage because of my age. I think that risk is very very low though. I highly recommend some anxiety meds for you. It helps me a great deal. I think I have said this already on a different thread but as soon as this appt was made for the consultation I had to start taking xanax every other day or so. I already had it but hardly ever used it (for others stressful stuff going on in my life) but now I'm definitely using it. It does not make me feel drugged or out of it. It relaxes me and takes that panic and knots out of my stomach. It also helps me to think rationally again. It doesn't completely take away my fear but it helps a great deal. I do recommend it for you. I truly hope the os is able to put your mind at ease. I want so badly for you to have a positive experience to help get your over some of your fears.
 
A

AbbyH85

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
56
Hang in there Paul. You are deffinetly on the right track with seeing your GP about some anti anxiety meds. They will help you. Panic attacks are awful, I'm a long time sufferer. They can make you feel very hopeless. I am sending lots of postive vibes your way buddy. Let us know how you do :)
 
M

misti

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
68
Location
singapore
...I'm not even sure right now if I can even leave the house, and I've been considering suicide. I really don't have a clue how I can face what is coming down the road, to be honest, I think I'd rather be dead.
Hi Pauln, you are not alone. You will be able to manage your fear. Your doctor recommended tranquilizers to help you get over there. Take it, and learn some relaxation exercises, eg. tensing and relaxing your muscles. Once you learn how to relax on cue (on calling certain words like "relax", "peace" or any word that you'd prefer), you will be able to conquer half the world. I was once agoraphobic, meaning, I cannot get out of the house, so you can imagine what a nightmare a visit to the dentist can be like.

You need tools, tools to manage your fear. I am not an expert but I feel for you. To break down and shake like that at the dental is understandable. Your dentist is very unsympathetic. Good for you that you are strong enough to come in here and write about it.
I wish you courage, I wish you strength. You will be able to handle it much better at your next visit. It sounds like you found a more understanding doctor/dentist. That is very reassuring, to know that the professional person in front of us is able to contain us if we lose control. We KNOW we are not going to get so drastic, but it helps to know that they will not panic like us :ROFLMAO:. And don't think too much negative thoughts of what can go wrong, think more of the good positive things that will be set right after a visit to the dentist. Good luck, Pauln! :friends:
 
Aldridge

Aldridge

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Mar 21, 2011
Messages
344
Location
Somerset UK
I'm not saying that I want to be drugged all the time but if it would help...

Hi Paul,
When you find the right dentist for you (which I am sure you will), you will probably find you
won't need to be drugged all the time, but it can be a very good move at the start of your
dental journey. I just wanted to wish you luck with your appointment next week. :XXLhug:
 
coolin

coolin

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FWIW, the dentist I saw today (Aspen Dental, Rockford, IL USA--don't go there!!) made a referral to a different dentist for me; turns out it is a clinic for the developmentally disabled, which I am definitely not! I am rather seriously offended at the insinuation that, because of my phobia, I must also be developmentally disabled. (Please don't take this to mean that I have anything against developmentally disabled people, I most definitely do not. I am glad that there is a facility in town for people with special needs. But I am not, and resent being told that I am because I have a phobia).

Just wanted to add that in the UK all sorts of people come under the umbrella of 'special needs' dentistry - ie people with physical disabilities, mental health problems, learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and people with severe dental phobia.
It only means that the person needs a dentist who is able to take more time, take extra care and use different tools and techniques to help the patient achieve good dental health.
I've never heard any good stories about Aspen Dental - and I'm sorry you had to find out the hard way:(
The oral sedation sounds like a good place to start and it's good that you have the support of your family and GP.
Good luck in your search. Keep posting :) Coolin
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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What coolin said :) - I would presume that special care dentistry in the US also encompasses dental phobia, just like it does on this side of the pond?

BTW, Aspen Dental has a reputation for being the pits (if you google for reviews for Aspen Dental, you'll see what I mean!).
 
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pauln2719

Junior member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Rockford, IL USA
Just wanted to take a moment to update everybody with new developments...

Saw the doctor (GP) this morning, and I have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (no surprise) and a panic disorder (also no surprise). He prescribed Xanax to be taken only when seeing the dentist, but given my proclivity for panic, I think I will take one the day before as well as the day of (seeing the dentist).

I will be seeing my new dentist (third in as many weeks) on Tuesday morning. Hoping for better results (with medication) and better news...and I'm also hoping that this time the doctor will tell me WHY I have to have a tooth (or multiple teeth) taken out...saying "Because" is NOT a good enough answer!
 
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pauln2719

Junior member
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Rockford, IL USA
So I went and saw my new dentist today and things went SOOOO much better! Being on Xanax definitely helped, but he was so much more accommodating and nice and FINALLY answered my questions! Even better, it (so far) looks like my treatment won't be as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, one tooth will have to come out b/c it is seriously decayed. But it sounds like, based on the exam, the rest of the treatments might be something I can tolerate (root canals or fillings). Thanks so much to everyone here for offering me encouragement! Maybe this is the start of something positive! :)
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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Jul 22, 2012
Messages
751
Location
New Hampshire, USA
Good for you! It makes me happy to read posts in which people have had good news and/or good experiences! YEAAAA!!!:dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2::dance2:
 
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