• Dental Phobia Support

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So, so nervous

J

jordan22

Junior member
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Everett, WA
My whole dental story is a bit long. I'm 28, and back in October of 2021 I went to the dentist for the first time in probably over a decade (ugh). Luckily I only needed a simple cleaning, but I did have a handful of cavities and one tooth needed a root canal. This was all a bit difficult to go through, I had never even had one filling before. My whole childhood I never had a cavity. Unfortunately I had several years of pretty severe mental health issues and financial problems in my teens and twenties and taking care of my teeth fell to the wayside.

The root canal itself was fine, I got it done by a specialist and he was amazing. The crown prep, on the other hand... Oh man. That's a long procedure just for one tooth, but my dentist also did a deep filling on the tooth next to it as well, then got through that and decided that it needed a crown as well, as it was too slanted towards the other tooth and would just cause problems with hygiene (I've always needed braces, my bite is pretty gnarly). All in all I was there for 3 hours, and I ended up crying about 2 hours into it. Pretty embarrassing, and man my whole face was sore after that.

I got through it though, got the crowns put on and they made an appointment for 6 months out for another cleaning and probably to get the rest of the fillings done. I ended up cancelling, it was supposed to be back in April. Ever since that crown prep appointment I get shaky just thinking about it. I made an appointment with a new dentist closer to home, that's for this Friday and I am TERRIFIED. I'm scared I won't be able to get through it, I'm scared they're going to tell me my whole mouth has gone to hell and every tooth needs a root canal or they all need to be pulled or I've developed severe gum disease.

Plus I know I need to get braces, I just feel way too old. I still have 3 of my wisdom teeth as well, I likely need to get them out. I'm just feeling overwhelmed and like I can't do this. I know I still have several fillings I need, I hope they're still just regular fillings but I don't know if I can make it through it without panicking.

I guess I just need to be brutally honest about my anxiety with this dentist and not just try to white knuckle my way through it. I hope they don't think I'm an annoying patient or something. Hoo boy. I just hope it goes well and it's not as bad as I think. I've been more consistent with brushing and flossing than I ever have in my life these past 8 months or so, I'm hoping that means something. Send good thoughts my way, I'm sure I'll need it. I hope I can make it though this.
 
J

Jackieallen

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2022
Messages
133
Location
DORKING
I am 51 and terrified . Its never as bad as you imagine. Wrt the braces you can get invisible ones now so they may be a option . I hope its a positive appointment
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,731
Hi @jordan22 and welcome!

It sounds as if you've done really really well, and that you don't have a problem with routine dentistry as long as it's delivered in a gentle and compassionate way (as your experience with the specialist shows). I think virtually anyone would freak out if their appointment went on for 3 hours, with such a lot nerve-wrecking treatment involved. Was this planned (i.e. did you book a 3-hour appointment slot), or was this just something that happened? I'm finding it hard to believe that the appointment couldn't have been split up into two shorter appointments. It also sounds as if the dentist didn't take your emotional state into account when deciding to push on... is that so?

Anyway, your reaction was absolutely normal considering the circumstances, and would surely turn some people who had never experienced dental fear before into phobics... it sounds as if you got really unlucky there.

So it's really good to hear that you've made an appointment with a new dentist, who hopefully will be a lot more tuned into your needs (and into patient comfort in general!) 🤗. Maybe you can treat this first appointment like a job interview - it gives you the chance to find out whether you like and trust this new dentist (and if not, find someone else). In fact, if you could arrange that this appointment will be just for a chat, that would be ideal!

We've also got lots of tips and info on our website in case you haven't come across it yet, for example here:


Sending lots of good thoughts your way!!
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,246
Hi Jordan22 :welcome:

there's not much I can add to what @letsconnect said. It was such a huge thing to schedule again and it's so understandable that you're anxious after that last experience.
Your plan on being brutally honest about your anxiety sounds like a good one. In that way your dentist can make sure to plan small steps that will feel manageable for you and won't overwhelm you.

All the best wishes and keep us posted!
 
J

jordan22

Junior member
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Everett, WA
@letsconnect Thanks for the words of encouragement! In regards to the "bad appointment", if I'm remembering correctly she made it seem like splitting it into another appointment wasn't ideal, so I just went along with it. I'm not sure if anything was necessarily done wrong, but she didn't have the best bedside manner in the first place (a random thing was she kept putting the dental tools on my chest when she was done with them, at the end of my appointment I tried to sit up and they all started falling off of me, haha)

This dentist seems nice from reviews, and they gave the the intake form to fill out today to save time tomorrow and I checked "very" on the "how nervous does dental treatment make you?" question. So hopefully all goes well and we can figure out a good plan to get me back to optimal. I'm just scared that somehow everything has gone haywire in my mouth and they'll tell me I have periodontitis or need a million root canals.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,731
@jordan22 That's a really great sign that they have a question about how nervous dental treatment makes you feel! Your fear about everything having gone haywire sounds more like anxiety speaking, rather than reality :). Keeping my fingers crossed that your appointment today goes really well! Please let us know how you got on. Good luck :clover::clover::clover:
 
J

jordan22

Junior member
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Everett, WA
@letsconnect Back from my appointment... Could have been worse, definitely. One major thing is the dentist is super nice and funny and very understanding of my anxiety and claustrophobia. I need more work done than I'd like, buuuuuut, they also do the thing where they can make a permanent crown in one visit so I don't have to go through the whole rigamarole of multiple visits and temporary crowns. She wanted to start off slow and with the easier things to not overwhelm me, so today we did half of a deep cleaning (insurance requires it to be two appointments) and one tooth had a filling with a crack in it so she put a crown on that. She said we'll go over options next week when we do the other half of the cleaning. I might need an extraction on one tooth, definitely need a couple more crowns, one of the ones I got last year has a gap in it so they need to replace that one.... And have an Ortho referral in. I'm trying really hard not to get overwhelmed, but we're just taking it one step at a time. She said we'll try to keep appointments at an hour and a half max and for the bigger things she can prescribe anxiety meds.

I did cry and get overwhelmed at all the info, but she was super understanding. I was like "oh god, crowns, not all this again" so she started referring to the one we did today as "Frank" instead of "crown" and made everyone else call it that too, haha.

All in all, I can't say I'm happy that I need all this work done, but I'm glad I did find a dentist I like that I think will be a good guide on this journey to getting my mouth back to healthy. So I'm trying to look on the bright side and just go with the flow. I'll get through this. Maybe I'll even finally like my teeth at the end of it.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,731
Congratulations @jordan22 :perfect: !! Fantastic to hear that you like the new dentist, and that you coped so brilliantly :thumbsup!:

If you're not happy about needing all this work done, you could always get a second opinion to see if another dentist agrees with the treatment, and then make a decision on what to do :). Often there's more than one possible course of action, so if you're in any doubt, there are always options!
 
J

jordan22

Junior member
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Everett, WA
I had another appointment today, and I'm feeling more hopeless than I ever have about my dental health. I got another deep filling and crown, but then after all was said and done she said it'd probably need a root canal so just let her know if it hurts and we'll do that. So this whole appointment felt like a waste of time, effort and $900. Then I guess the crown on the other side that has a gap and needs to be replaced has to be a root canal now, since jostling the tooth like that will make it be a root canal. That needs to be done by an endodontist, I guess, who's only there on weekdays so I have to try to get a day off next month for that. I already had to ask for an hour ish off in the morning to go to the orthodontist, so I'll feel like an idiot to my boss.

And there's even more that has to be done. Will the orthodontist even be able to do anything at this point? I'm 28 and I'll have a bunch of crowns and a mountain of dental debt. I can't stop crying over how hopeless this all feels. Like I'm just totally screwed and this is all just slightly delaying the inevitable, for thousands and thousands of dollars.

I don't know, maybe it'll be okay but it really doesn't feel like it. It doesn't help that they scheduled my next cleaning for November, so I'm assuming I have to get deep cleanings, or at least cleanings every 3-4 months instead of 6. I feel so gross.

Sorry for the rant, I'm not in a good place today.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,731
Sorry to hear that things have gone a bit pear-shaped :(.

When confronted with a big amount of work, it can often be a good idea to get a second opinion (in the US, that may mean the opinion of a fee-for-service dentist who comes recommended and who has no vested financial interests). Obviously, I don't know if that applies to your situation (you may already be seeing a dentist who fits those criteria and whose judgment you trust). It's something that may be worth considering though...
 
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