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SolitudeIsBliss's Journal

S

SolitudeIsBliss

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Well, I decided I'm going to start a journal to document my journey.

Sooooooo....there's been a little change in plan.

After not hearing back from the Dentist I had emailed a week ago, I did some further research on another Dentist I was considering seeing. To be honest, I was a little upset that I never got a phone call back from the Dentist I emailed.

I'm very impressed by this other Dentist. I've found several review sites and the comments about her are amazing. Everyone mentions how kind and caring she is. About how much they recommend her to everyone they know and that they make her their regular Dentist. A lot of these folks also comment how nervous they usually are at the dentist and how much she helped them overcome it. I've been following the Facebook page for her clinic for months and she personally responds to people's comments and comes across as very sweet and unpretentious. She also does charity dental work and visits other countries to volunteer her services. I think that's pretty cool, actually.

The other added benefit of this Dentist is that they are linked up with a dental plan I signed up for which gives decent discounts on all dental treatments. The beauty of it is I can use it in conjunction with the dental insurance I've purchased. I've been crunching the numbers on some of the basic treatments I'm likely to need and it's going to make a lot of the general dental treatments very affordable. The cost is a pretty large consideration for me because I have a feeling I'm going to need a heap of work. Any money saved means that can go to further treatment.

So here's the plan - I'm going to call them tomorrow and book in an extended consultation. Just to meet them, express my fears, ask questions and get a feel for them. Nothing else if I don't feel like it. Maybe they won't be for me, and if not, I'll have broken this spell and will be in a better position to call up some of the other places I'm interested in. I've looked at their website and they have appointments available on Friday, so hopefully I can do it then!

This past week I've made progress in terms of getting what I want to say on the phone and doing some rehearsals. A big fear about phoning was drawing a complete blank and not knowing what I was going to say. I've addressed this and it now seems a lot more achievable to phone.

In a weird way, I'm strangely excited about the idea of this despite still being incredibly freaked out and despondent about it. It's a very weird feeling. lol

Wish me luck and I'll update when I've made the booking. :)
 
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Dg6300

Dg6300

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Go for it!

You are doing great.

I am am looking forward to your updates with great interest.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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You are really doing great and.. this new dentist sounds very good. I hope it works out with her and she is just as good and better in person :)
 
Enarete

Enarete

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This past week I've made progress in terms of getting what I want to say on the phone and doing some rehearsals. A big fear about phoning was drawing a complete blank and not knowing what I was going to say. I've addressed this and it now seems a lot more achievable to phone.
This is amazing, very well done. You sound so much more determinate than before and seem to know what you need and having overcome some the fears linked to contacting a practice. Very impressive and inspiring.

Keeping all my fingers absolutely tightly crossed for this practice to be able to win your heart finally. There is a right dentist for everyone out there, may this one be your star :) Can't wait to hear how the call went!
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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Australia
Okay, so here's the update.

After having some issues contacting them this past week, this morning I finally have booked an appointment for this Friday morning.

It was super awkward on the phone initially and I didn't really know where to begin. Part of my strategy was to just dive into the deep end and not think too much about it beforehand. My brain has a habit of excusing itself and escaping out the toilet window when I get stressed, which it did. I don't think I made much sense to begin with until we started having a conversation.

The receptionist was really nice, calm and chatted to me for about 15 minutes or so. I told her some of my initial fears, such as judgement and potential cost. She said that the dentists are both from the UK where dentistry is cheaper, so they recognise this is an issue for people here in Australia. She said to counter that they practice conservative dentistry. She also said they'll work with me to bring the costs down as much as possible. In regards to anxiety, she said the patient is in complete control at all times and can stop at any time. She said that they wouldn't tell me off or scold me.

I said that I wanted just to chat, but she encouraged me to allow them to have a look. She wasn't pushy about it. I feel really stupid for wanting to go to a dentist to just talk, like I'm the only person who has ever wanted to do that. I felt so ashamed when she asked me how long it had been since I'd last seen the dentist (I actually can't remember when it would have been but probably early teens) and what my issues were. I gave a really vague "it has been years" and "chipped tooth, broken tooth and probably need a lot of small things doing".

I just can't get over the fact that someone is going to look closely in my mouth and see all the things wrong with it. To me, my mouth is so personal and I'm so ashamed of the state it is in. I think I'm going to need to take some valium beforehand.

I feel really overwhelmed and scared. :(
 
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letsconnect

letsconnect

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That's great news :)!! Well done :grouphug:

Please don't worry about what a dentist might think (easier said than done I know), it's their job and it's what they're trained to do. I don't know if you've seen our web page on embarrassment, but it has lots of info on what goes through dentists' minds: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/fears/embarrassment/
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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Thanks letsconnect!

I find myself alternating between "cancel your appointment!" and "screw it. I'll just get this over and done with!".

I had a brief look at that page months ago. I'm going to have another read of it.

I think I'm going to binge on "success story" posts tomorrow in preparation.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Heyy, these are amazing news! :jump: I feel like repeating myself all the time, but: well done, very well done.

Glad to hear that the receptionist was nice and took enough time to talk to you. That shows that they keep their staff educated about how to support patients on the phone and put them at ease, so this is a very good sign. It sounds like she could free you from your concerns to some level but wasn't too pushy.

It's not stupid to just want to chat to your dentist first. It's actually a good idea - you want to make sure that you like the person who would want to have a look. The good thing about it is this: you will chat with your dentist first, because chatting is what dentists experienced with nervous patients do to build some trust. And if your dentist then asks if you would let him/her take a look, guess what: YOU decide ;) because you are in control. It's also a good thing that you told the receptionist about your worries and she will hopefully informed the dentist about this being a difficult point for you so that he/she will be prepared for that.

Now it's normal to have some roadblocks on the way and I remember that the thought of the dentist having a look scared me a lot on my own journey. But here is the point you keep forgetting in your thoughts: your dentist is experienced with nervous patients and knows that this might be hard. He/she will also have some kind of communication training and experiences in creating a pleasant friendly atmosphere and waking trust. He/she will know how to take a lead on this in a manner that will make you feel comfortable.

My experience from my first dental visit: I was so worried about the dentist taking a look and imagined all terrible scary awkward scenarios.. but in reality, we were chatting and chatting and chatting, I felt totally understood, we even laughed a bit because he was funny and everything was flowing. As he suggested me to let him take a look, it felt like the most natural thing to do and I literally don't know how it happened. I guess it worked because I felt being absolutely equal and having the dentist wanting to work for me, not wanting to do things to me.

So give your new dentist a little bit of trust in this and let him demonstrate how he can put you at ease. The point is not stopping being scared (you will be scared, you will want to cancel and it will be hard, that's a fact) but to do it anyway and keep the option to leave should you dislike anything about them.

Will be thinking of you on Friday and can't hear how it went. And again, thinking of your first posts here::you-rock:
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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Thanks Enarete!

I can't believe I've actually done this. I recall that the receptionist was encouraging me to let them have a look so they could maybe give me some idea of what the extent of the work would be. You're right though. I'm in control and I'm hoping that the receptionist will give them a bit of a heads up about what my fears are.

After the initial awkwardness, I noticed that the phone call with the receptionist became quite normal and I wasn't that nervous at all. I think in a way I was "mimicking" the receptionist. She was very calm, friendly and responsive. She came across as this not being a big deal, but not in a "I don't really care" way. I'm hoping that this may happen with the dentist, because there was something very comforting in that.

I'm really glad I didn't book the appointment too far ahead of time. It's the early hours of the morning here and I can't sleep. My tummy hurts too from nerves. If my appointment was in a week's time, I'd be stressed out for an entire week.

I need to make a decision about whether or not to drive to the dentist or get a taxi. I'm not sure I'm comfortable driving there, especially if I'm going to be taking higher dose of valium.
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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I had a missed call on my phone when I woke up this morning. I checked my voicemail and it was the receptionist calling to say that my appointment needed to be cancelled due to a family emergency (the dentists are husband and wife). I called back to reschedule, which I managed to re-book for Tuesday morning.

It's a bit of a bummer, because it's going to extend the nerves a few more days. On the bright side, I think it gives me a bit more time to work on my mind frame and sort out some other things that I was just going to do on the fly.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Good luck for Tuesday. May the waiting time bring you some good thoughts and make you feel even more ready.
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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Ugh.

I received another phone call from the receptionist. Unfortunately, the dentist has had to go into hospital (which I'm guessing is why Friday was cancelled) so it looks like my Tuesday appointment will be canceled also. I'll have to call tomorrow morning to reschedule, it looks like it will be the following week. :\
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

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Hang in there.

You are demonstrating great patience.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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So sorry to hear that :( - I hope it's nothing too serious and that s/he'll be ok?
 
Enarete

Enarete

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A nervous patient who keeps wanting and trying to go but the practice keeps cancelling and rescheduling.. that's something that doesn't occur too often. Sorry to hear this, sounds somehow serious.. how bad that it's right the first apt, I guess it would be a bit easier for you if you would have met them at least once. Keeping my fingers crossed for the dentist to be ok soon.. :clover:
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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I called this morning and have rescheduled for June 11th.

The receptionist said to me that I could see the other dentist before then if I wished. However, given that I'm not in any pain, she recommended that I see this particular dentist because they specialise in working with nervous patients.

They didn't really mention what was wrong with the dentist, just that she was ill. Hope she's okay. I assume it's nothing too serious, because they seemed pretty certain she'd be back next week.

The one thing all this rescheduling has done is gotten me use to calling the dentist. Something that took me years to do, I've done four times in the last week or so. lol

Strangely, a few nights ago I actually had a dream about the initial appointment and since then I have been a little more comfortable with the idea of it all.
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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Well, I have my appointment this Monday morning.

I'm really regretting it. I've been really depressed this past week. A bad experience at the dentist would probably do me in. Unfortunately, I can't cancel now without having to pay a fee and the dental discount plan I signed up for being voided.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Sorry to hear this.. what would have to happen for you to call it bad experience? From what you know about the practice, how probable is it that this could happen? How could you make sure that it won't happen?

May you feel better soon. You have come a long long way. Could it be that your depression comes from the anxiety or just because you hadn't been in touch with the practice for the last almost two weeks?

The first appointment after a long time is the very worst in my experience. You will hardly ever have such a high level of anxiety like before the first appointment.
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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I guess a bad experience would be being lectured or shamed, being met by a dentist who is uncaring, rude and doesn't want to listen to me, someone who is pushy or being told really bad news. It's just bad timing, I guess. Had the appointment date been as originally was planned, I would have been in a better headspace. It's hard to make concrete plans into the future because my depression is episodic and I never know when I'm going to have a bad period.

I don't know if I should mention my depression and anxiety. Sometimes it works in my favour and I'm treated with a lot of compassion by the right person. I don't think it's irrelevant information - it explains in part why I have so many issues and why I've waited so long to see a dentist. This is going to be a hard mental journey for me. I do need someone who is onboard with that and will help guide me through this. I'm so scared and feel so hopeless.

In all likelihood, I probably won't be able to get beyond talking tomorrow. I'm really fragile (I've been having suicidal thoughts) at the moment and can't really take a hit. I know I'll be disappointed in myself if I take the easy option out. I can't really get out of it, I'll have to pay a cancellation fee and probably be seen as flakey by this dentist. To get continued discounted dental treatment I need to give 48 hours notice for a cancellation. Otherwise, I lose my cover for good.

Sorry for all the whiney posts. This is a huge struggle for me and I don't really have anywhere else to vent about it.
 
S

SolitudeIsBliss

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Well, in under 8 hours I'll be at the dentist. I'm terrified.

Doubt I'll be getting much sleep tonight.
 
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