• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

sheer terror about upcoming extraction



Oct 3, 2012
Hello. The jig is up: Two dentists have told me the upper back molar, #15, must be extracted. It apparently is loose and the bone has reabsorbed. Nothing to save. They discovered this during a routine cleaning six weeks ago. The last cleaning I'd had before that was six months earlier. For the past six weeks I have not eaten on that side and have brushed and flossed that tooth more carefully than usual. My regular dentist is now retired, so I went to a new dentist recommended by a friend. The new dentist concurred the tooth is hopeless. She said she could pull it or could refer me to an oral surgeon. She did not pressure me to have her do the extraction, so I said I'd have an oral surgeon do it. Somehow I thought it might be better to have an oral surgeon do it. He is in my ins. plan's network. I saw a lot of positive reviews about him online on various sites, but no review past 2011. Not sure if these sites are credible, anyway. There were about 3 reviews that referred to his personality as being offputting in one way or another. The majority of the reviews were glowing about how painless and wonderful the procedure was; all of the reviews were about wisdom teeth extraction. Anyway, I made an appointment for next week. The nurse or assistant who made the appointment said he would not be giving me any prescription for pain for afterward unless he thought it was necessary. I thought that was odd. But what do I know? The last time I had an extraction was decades ago, when my wisdom teeth were removed. I don't remember much about it at all, except the noise and all was frightening. It was another era.
I'm certain I was not knocked out; only local injections. That's another thing: This oral surgeon no longer uses twilight sedation; it's local injections only.

When I step into this oral surgeon's office, it will be the first time I've met him; I will have gone in with no preparation. I was expecting maybe to be told I should be taking antibiotics beforehand; or OTC stuff beforehand.

Any thoughts or tips?

Many thanks!
Hi :welcome: to the forum. I am not a dentist but reading about the condition of the tooth, with it being lose I would think it will be easy to lift out, as they don't pull teeth these day they lift which is a lot better than it used to be. I would think it will take a couple of minutes to get out. The longest thing will probably waiting for you to get numb. When I have had teeth out over the last few years they have come out very quickly and it has been over with very quickly.

When you meet the oral surgeon tell him you are nervous, I am sure he will be fine, he does this all the time, day after day so it is nothing to him. It is us that thinks it is a really big deal, and it is to us before hand. He will make sure you are really numb and you will feel nothing. You may not need painkillers after, I usually take an over the counter one before I thaw out just in case but I haven't suffered any after pain in the extraction I have had in the last few years.

You will be fine, GOOD LUCK :clover::clover::clover::clover: let us know how you get on. :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:
Thank you for replying, Carole. I appreciate it.
I just don't feel that everything necessarily will work out fine and that he will be fine.
Sometimes dentists turn out not to be great. My fear is based on some bad experiences.
And reading here online I see where some people have not had good experiences.
So my fear is based on that.
This oral surgeon is rather abrupt on the phone; he does not soothe one's fears. He
is matter of act. His assistnant who answers phone calls is very nonsympathetic. She
actually told me to "calm down and breathe." This is a no-frills approach they have
toward fearful patients. That does not mean he is not a good oral surgeon. But the "less information is more" approach does not help ME.

I called a dental phobic dental practice, which was the opposite experience. The assistant was kind and caring. But the dentist I would see is not an oral surgeon.

So my dilemma now is if I should go with a "just the facts, ma'am" oral surgeon, or to a "let's get in touch with your feelings" phobic-friendly dentist who has lavender aromatherapy in his office, a soothing atmosphere, but is not an oral surgeon?

I welcome all thoughts. I have tried to find "oral surgeon or dentist for extractions" threads but so far have not found them. Perhaps I'm not a good searcher. In any event, I hope to have the tooth extracted by this time next Saturday.

Thanks again.
I would go with the second place you have contacted they are just as capable of removing your tooth. I have had bad experiences in childhood and as an adult, but being with a sympathetic and understanding dentist works wonders, the strictly business kinda guy may not help you at all.

My advice is go to the understanding dentist, I think you will be happier in the long run and they will help with your fear, where as the other one may make you worse.

What ever you decide to do will be the right thing for you GOOD LUCK :clover::clover::clover:
Agree with Carole - unless there's a specific reason as to why this tooth would be incredibly difficult to remove, almost any dentist could do it... did your dentist give a reason as to why an oral surgeon would be better?
Agree with Carole - unless there's a specific reason as to why this tooth would be incredibly difficult to remove, almost any dentist could do it... did your dentist give a reason as to why an oral surgeon would be better?

I was probably unclear about my situation: The "phobic-friendly" dentist is a dentist, not an oral surgeon. And from what I've read online, charges a lot. He is not in my network. I found him online. My original dentist, someone who is new to me, didn't elaborate; she just said either she could pull it or an oral surgeon could pull it. She left the choice to me and didn't pressure me. For some reason, I assumed an oral surgeon might be best for an extraction. I was hoping to find articles and discussions here as to what tends to be "best" (if there is such a thing): oral surgeon or dentist for an extraction.

I then went to an oral surgeon the dentist referred me to. Note I said referred, not necessarily recommended. The dentist was looking for an "in network" oral surgeon for me, and this is the name she came up with. He is the "just the facts, ma'am" oral surgeon I was referring to.

The "phobic-friendly" dentist is a third character in this saga. He is someone I found online and partly through this forum as well. My actual dentist knows nothing about my having researched and reached out to the "phobic-friendly dentist."

Carole, my problem is that I really don't think that I will be fine or that my decision will be fine. I know I could be fine. But we don't know that yet. People do have bad experiences; not every experience turns out fine. I have been to several dentists in my adult life, leaving each one when he or she was impatient with me when I told them the numbing shots weren't working. Because sometimes numbing shots do not work or you need more of them. I have had many times where they did work, and worked really well, and then I was as fine as one can be in such a situation. What I'm trying to say is that I have not had consistent success with numbing shots, even with the same dentist. And I have had several dentists. So it's not true, for me, anyway, that my choice will be fine or that the procedure will be fine. See what I'm saying? (I'm not someone who says "it'll be fine" unless it really is.)

The phobic-friendly dentist has told me his office does not use sedation, does not believe in it. His goal is to help the patient "face his fears." That's actually not my goal. I think it's fairly common to be fearful. I would be fine with being knocked out under sedation if I could find a dentist or oral surgeon who would do it and wouldn't charge an arm and a leg.

The molar has become loose; there has been a gap between it and the molar next to it for some time. There wasn't an indication of an abscess, swelling, or infection as of a few weeks ago. I have not chewed on it for over a month; I gently brush it and floss it and that's it. But who knows ... by now it could be infected.

P.S. THANK YOU both for answering me. Please don't think I am not grateful to you for your kindness in responding. I'm just trying to explain how I see these things. If I have reasonable "evidence" that something tends to turn out fine, I will try my best to adopt that attitude. But without evidence, it has never worked for me to tell myself, "it'll all be fine" after I have read horror story after horror story about dry socket, intense pain, etc., etc. :)
Last edited:
Personally I prefer a dentist that keeps what they are doing to themselves and doesn't tell me, it freaks me out. I'd rather not know :)

But if you're really scared, I would go to the more phobic-friendly dentist :p
Unless the extraction was ultra-complex for some reason, I would presume that most dentists would be able to do this :). I think I know which dentist you are talking about, and he does have a strong preference for behavioral methods, so if this doesn't suit you and he's not a good fit for you, maybe have a google for reviews of other dentists in your area who also offer sedation?
I understand where you are coming from, and I do know how you feel. It is an ongoing battle to face dental treatment even when things do go right, because as you say there is no sure way you can presume that things will be fine. The only thing we can do is to find a dentist we can get a trusting relationship with that we can place our faith in to do their best and someone that will listen and consider how we feel.

I hope you can find someone that you feel comfortable with, as comfortable as you can in the circumstances as you say. I hope things go well for you and that you don't get dry socket and the other things you mention. If you did they can be dealt with quickly and easily by the dentist to give you relief.

Try not to get too stressed, I wish you Good Luck with your search and extraction. I would be interested in how you get on good or bad, if you would be so kind to let us know. :grouphug:
I have learned so much from this blog and this community. I have probably spent too much time here the past few days, but I'm trying to arm myself with as much knowledge as I can. Thanks to all of you who have responded with your ideas and support. I have veered this way and that, but have decided that what I want is a dentist and oral surgeon who are sensitive to phobic and fearful patients, but not necesssarily want to go with a "face your fears" phobic-friendly one. I also hope to find one who will offer IV-sedation as an option; someone who isn't totally against it and who doesn't totally push it as an option. I think I have found an oral surgeon who fits this bill; he also seems to have an expertise in implants, according to his site anyway. He got a lot of great reviews on Dr. Oogle. I will give his office a call this week as he is also in my network. I am on the fence about IV-sedation as I will not have anyone to stay with me afterward and am worried about being alone. Also worried about the expense. But I like having the option! Believe it or not, I have had a hard time finding a dentist who will offer IV-sedation. Some of the ones I've talked to don't even offer gas. I wonder what's up with that? Is it it the expense?

I really admire how many people on this site have really faced their fears after not having seen a dentist for many years in some instances. I have routinely gone to the dentist for cleanings and have had root canals and crowns and fillings. But I have consistently run into dentists who become impatient with me for being nervous, even though I sit there quite still in the chair and don't squirm or make a commotion. I do make it clear that I am fearful, and I don't pretend to be stoic. I do speak up when being told I shouldn't need a numbing shot, or being told the shot I was given should be adequate. Sometimes it is not, and I speak up. And then they get annoyed with me for disagreeing with them about how I feel. So then I usually leave and find another dentist. And the saga starts up again. This is why I can't get enough good experiences under my belt to feel calm about this upcoming extraction.

I promise to give a report here after I've had this damn thing extracted, whether it's a good or bad story. And I am really going to hope it's a good story I have to tell. I want to allay the fears of other posters here as est I can. Many thanks again to all of you for responding to my posts. I realize I have been a little tedious. I've just been so nervous, that's all.
I am glad you have decided on what you want to do. You are in no way tedious, if you are then join the club we all are nervous and afraid of having treatment.

I have also had the good, the bad and the downright couldn't give a monkeys about your feelings kinda dentists too it is a roller coaster. I also know there are good and caring dentists out there still, we just have to find one that suits us and will listen. I hope the one you have found works out for you and that you can stay with this one and continue to get treatment you may need after the extraction.

Good luck and all the best :clover::clover::clover: :grouphug:
I am glad you have decided on what you want to do. You are in no way tedious, if you are then join the club we all are nervous and afraid of having treatment.

I have also had the good, the bad and the downright couldn't give a monkeys about your feelings kinda dentists too it is a roller coaster. I also know there are good and caring dentists out there still, we just have to find one that suits us and will listen. I hope the one you have found works out for you and that you can stay with this one and continue to get treatment you may need after the extraction.

Good luck and all the best :clover::clover::clover: :grouphug:

Sigh. Here I am again. And back to square one: undecided. After a chat on the phone with the oral surgeon (the implant specialist)'s assistant, and given many details and a breakdown of the costs (and what my ins. co. would not cover), I am now a little worried. He is very implant-friendly, as that's his speciality, but I am not at all wanting to decide about that right NOW. I was told that at the time of the extraction, he would THEN do a bone grafting--with some material he would insert. In other words he obviously wouldn't be grafting it from ME. And this is why he wants the patient to use IV-sedation. I asked if he couldn't simply extract the tooth, let me decide if I want numbing shots or IV-sedation, and then let me come back later for the grafting procedure if I decide I want a implant. I was pretty much told no. The thing is, if I decide on an implant, I think I'd probably go with him. But I don't want to decide now if I want an implant. So ... I'm really getting nervous now for different reasons.
It is your mouth and your money, there is no reason why you should be dictated to. If you just want the tooth out now, then go to the phobic friendly dentist you have found, do you think this man will turn down your money in the future if you decide you want an implant. Even if he did there will be somebody else that can do it for you.

You should not be pressured into having treatment you don't want, have the tooth removed for now if that is what you want, and see how you feel later. Is it a tooth near the front, sorry if you have said.

Any treatment you have must be your choice and not something you are pushed into, you may not even need an implant, it is something you can worry about later. :XXLhug:
Carole, thank you.

I got on the phone today and talked to his assistant again. I misunderstood her. I feel better about that.
I'm still very nervous about having to have the thing extracted, but am trying to believe that the odds are it will be a piece of cake (I guess I shouldn't mention anything sweet, should I) given that it's pretty loose. So now I have a few days till D Day (or E, extraction, Day) to give myself pep talks. I will get to decide at the time I go in if I want the IV-sedation or not. Have you ever had that? If so, did you feel you needed someone with you afterward? Thank you again for your support!!
I am glad that you rang back and that you had misunderstood, good that is cleared up now. Good for you for ringing and checking, you are doing really well you know :jump::jump::jump: it is so hard to deal with this and have these discussions with dentists and you are doing it, I think a pat on the back is in order, you should be really pleased with yourself.

I have only had GA and that was years ago for my wisdom teeth out that were impacted and I had other complications so that was the way to go at the time.

I hate the thought of sedation, I like to feel in control, as in the fact I have in my head that I can run if I need to, don't worry I have never run yet, I just like to think I can. I hate the feeling of being drugged up or drunk so sedation would be no good for me.
I once took some tablets years ago that were supposed to calm me down, but they did nothing for me, they made me panic worse. That was because I had unrealistic expectations of two little tablets, the problem I have is that as soon as I feel like I not in control I fight the effects, so for this reason they didn't work also if I was sedated in any way I hate it so much I would just fight it.

I don't want to fight it, and I wish I could just be sedated and not remember anything but it isn't for me.

Everyone is different and it works really well for a lot of people, I have a problem with taking anything medicinal in general even a headache pill sends shivers down my spine. I have no problem with having my gums made numb for work doing, so as long as I am well numb and half my face feels numb I can calm down and with a trusted dentist get work done.

It is personal choice on the method you use to get work done, you choose whatever works for you. If the tooth is lose it will just pop right out of there with no trouble I would think. The oral surgeon is so used to doing this, the tooth will probably surrender and jump out itself :ROFLMAO:

I would be worried in your position but in my experience of having teeth out it is so quick and easy, it is annoying how much we have worried before. The weeks or days before are so much worse than anything I have had done at the dentist, this doesn't stop me being worried but fear has no logic.

All the best :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::friends:
Thank you for your support, again, Carole! And for sharing your thoughts. I, too, have big issues with not being in control. I get scared to take medicine, too, but mainly because of the myriad side effects-warnings that come with the medication. And long-term. I do take ibuprofin frequently, for arthritis and related joint pains. But that's mainly because I have to take SOMETHING, and I don't want prescription pain relief. Anyway, it sounds like your wisdom teeth situation was pretty serious. I'm glad you got through it. I think the fear for me with IV-sedation is stuff I've read online (possibly even here) about how you have to have someone with you at home afterward, since you might think you're fine but might not be. And I will be alone and really don't want to ask someone to come babysit me. I had IV-sedation years ago, valium and demerol, for a health procedure, and it was just fine. I didn't fall asleep, didn't feel groggy or stoned or even wobbly. It was as if "mentally" someone had waved a wand and my mental attitude had changed to someone who could just "go with it" and be aware of the procedure but without fear. Which is a great way to be, actually. No loss of control. No pain, though a little bit of pressure. I remember the whole damn thing, and afterward I felt just fine and walked for several blocks. Never for a minute was I feeling drugged out or sleepy. But they don't give that "cocktail"; at least I don't think so.

Anyway ... I am actually scared to death, just obsessed with fear. And feeling so embarrassed. Several friends--and they are good friends, really--and family members keep telling me, with various degrees of success at concealing their annoyance, "it'll be fine." So I appreciatehaving a place to whine to. Because I am terrrified. Honestly, I think I would rather have major surgery to my body, where I'd be knocked out cold, than go to the dentist.

You're right: We build it up in our heads so much....

And you're also right that having the right dentist makes such a difference. But so many of these dentists are nice at first, then grow impatient. One of them even told me my nervousness made him nervous. Which annoyed me, because SURELY I am not the most nervous he'd ever encountered.

Oh, well. Others here have worse problems than I do. All four wisdom teeth out all at once?

Thanks again, Carole.

All the best to you. I hope you are not currently facing any procedures yourself.
Hi Sunny :), I don't want to put a dampener on things, but after dental IV sedation, you absolutely must have a responsible adult take you home and stay with you. I don't think any dentist would let you leave on your own (if they did, they'd be acting very irresponsibly and leave themselves open to legal action).

So if you'd like to keep open the option of deciding on the day, do make sure you bring an escort along who is prepared to take you back and look after you for the rest of the day!
I'm with letsconnect on the having someone accompany you Sunny. When I had my IV sedation I was in 'la la land' for a good few hours, and whilst I may have got home in one piece - I probably would have created havoc all the way back ;)

Try not to look on it as being 'babysat' after all, if you knew a friend or family member was having the same thing done, and you offered to go with them, I doubt you would feel you were babysitting, just doing someone a favour :)

Hope you get sorted.

Thank you to letsconnect and Kim for the warning about IV-sedation. I appreciate it. I did NOT ask anyone to take off their job to accompany me, and would hate to do that, anyway. So I won't do it. I'll just go with Novocain or whatever it is for injections and will cross my fingers I'm numbed sufficiently.

I wonder if you need someone to accompany you home after laughing gas?

I'm a city dweller and take a bus everywhere; tomorrow I will take a taxicab home.

I've had big bouts all day of SHEER TERROR. I mean, really, so freaking terrified. Right now, I'm physically tired after a long day at work and am feeling relaxed physically. But am still thinking about it. Trying to figure out logistics (what kind of gauze do I use; should I really use tea bags and, if so, what kind?; how can I avoid the dreaded dry socket, etc., etc.) and also trying to "visualize" myself sitting in the chair, head back, trying to get accustomed to the "scene" and keep in mind how many people do this all the time, and worse. And that I have been no stranger to Novocain shots and procedures. I just have no faith that I'll get totally numb. I've read up everything I think on this site, and there is a blessing and a curse to stuffing yourself with info. Yes, you get armed with knowledge, but not all knowledge is favorable.

I will certainly try to think positive thoughts, and work on breathing or whatever the hell you're supposed to do. I'm not going to just keep saying to myself, "I'm scared I'm scared I'm scared."

Thanks again to everyone for the support! I'll give you a report when I am able to.

I wonder if you need someone to accompany you home after laughing gas?

No you don't. About 1 minute after you stop breathing it you're back to normal.