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Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

Enarete

Enarete

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Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

My first post in this section and feeling physically sick even writing this.

During an exam there is this part where the dentist has to touch certain parts of the face and the neck. My dentist did this on my first appointment but I was dissociated and not too aware of what was going on. I then had 8 appointments to get desensitized and can cope with basic things, but we never did this particular part again.

My next appointment is in September and it will be a check up and this particular part is worrying me to an extent that it makes me want to cancel everything altogether and never get back. I could discuss this with my dentist, but even talking about this while sitting in a treatment room would be too triggering.

There are some questions that might help me find a way to deal with this... :

1. Is this particular part of the exam something that has to happen on every exam or something that just happens when a new patient gets in? (If so, then I'm fine and you can forget all other questions)
2. Can this be done while a patient is sitting upright? Or maybe even outside of the chair?
3. And at which point does this happen - is it in the middle of an exam or as the last part?
4. How many seconds / minutes / does it take?
5. Is it necessary to keep the muscles relaxed for this part / If my neck muscles get tensed, will it spoil the exam?
6. How do you deal with patients who cannot cope with this?
7. What exactly gets touched - I remember the lower jaw and some points on the face when I had to open and close and I am wondering if there is anything that involves the neck

Sorry for the many details, I struggle with this so much and I was thinking of posting this for about a month and it is just driving me crazy.

Thank you very much
 
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krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Re: Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

Thank you for being so real..! I wonder how dentists consider how touch in the facial/head/teeth areas can affect an anxious patient or a patient with previous trauma . It is something you do everyday during exams or treatments but not something that a patient with anxiety/trauma experiences day to day. I too am curious about this.
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

Enarete - I have never experienced this in 10 years of going to my current dentist and I don’t remember it with any other dentist. It almost sounds like something that was done to check for TMJ or something similar. My guess is you can just ask your dentist to skip that part of the exam or at least ask her/him what the purpose is and if it’s necessary. Hopefully a dentist here will be able to provide more info.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Re: Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

Thank you both for your replies, I am psyching myself up so much because of this. I struggle with proximity and being touched and get triggerd even by words about this. I can cope with treatment now, but this part is so heavy and even mentioning it to my dentist seems impossible. I wanted to ask these questions from the first visit on but didn‘t find a way how.. and now it is chasing me as the check-up is coming closer.
Maybe this is something that some dentists do and some not? Or something depending on a country..? Anyway, I can manage it, if it needs to get done, just need some details to prepare myself and find a strategy.. and it would be great to have a dentists feedback to this. And please, if anyone also struggles with this, let me know because I feel more and more like a weirdo and quite stupid.
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

I’m in the US. So I’m not sure if it’s about the country. I can say that, 10 years ago when I started going my dentist, what you are describing would have totally freaked me out - so you’re not alone. Now I don’t think it would bother me, but I have had 10 years (and way too much dental work) to build up that trust.
 
Gordon

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Re: Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

1. Is this particular part of the exam something that has to happen on every exam or something that just happens when a new patient gets in? (If so, then I'm fine and you can forget all other questions)
2. Can this be done while a patient is sitting upright? Or maybe even outside of the chair?
3. And at which point does this happen - is it in the middle of an exam or as the last part?
4. How many seconds / minutes / does it take?
5. Is it necessary to keep the muscles relaxed for this part / If my neck muscles get tensed, will it spoil the exam?
6. How do you deal with patients who cannot cope with this?
7. What exactly gets touched - I remember the lower jaw and some points on the face when I had to open and close and I am wondering if there is anything that involves the neck

1) It's a routine part of a thorough exam, you're feeling for lumps/bumps in the lymph glands, looking for a swing of the mandible from one side to the other on opening and closing and clicks/grating in the TM joints. I'd tend to do them every couple of years for a regular patient and at the first visit of a new patient.
2) Sure, can't see why not, if you're sitting in an upright chair and the dentist stands behind it would be easy enough
3) I used to do it as one of the first things.
4) Less than a minute unless I found something and wanted to recheck
5) Nope
6) Don't do it. It's not the end of the world :) Longer coffee break next time for me...
7) Below the mandible, sort of at the top of the neck where it meets the mandible and above the TMJs so just in front of the ears

Please talk with your dentist in advance, tell him/her that you don't want to have an external exam at the moment and it'll be fine. If it isn't, you've got the wrong dentist and you might as well find out now :)
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Re: Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

Thank you very much, Gordon! :respect: You gave me all the details that help me to know how it works and reading this is also the first step to desensitization. I might be able to find a way to get through this and suggest it to my dentist. He is kind and caring beyond my wildest dreams and makes a lot of efforts for me to be able to cope with a treatment. If I asked him to sing a song for me during that exam, he probably would do even that (I won't try that though).

Thanks again! :thankyou:
 
Gordon

Gordon

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Re: Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

You're very welcome.

One of the scariest things that we inflict on our patients is lack of information. We speak in a foreign language and don't usually try to explain in simple terms what the heck we're doing, especially in an area so far inside of a person's "personal space". Usually we mumble away behind a face mask as well :)

FYI, I once sang a medley of Abba's greatest hits to a poor wee girl (if you've heard my singing you'd sympathise) to cover up the noise of taking one of her molars out.

Seemed to work for the patient, but my poor nurse needed a stiff drink afterwards!
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Re: Several questions to a particular part of a check-up, do not feel able to cope

I once sang a medley of Abba's greatest hits to a poor wee girl ... to cover up the noise of taking one of her molars out.

This is beautiful..
 
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