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Super, super petrified of dental scaling and cleaning I desperately need.

K

karichan

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May 26, 2019
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30
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usa
I need a dental scaling and cleaning, bad. But I am utterly petrified. I have dentophobia, iatrophobia, and trypanophobia. I also can't swallow medicine pills. I developed these phobias because of a head injury, plus intensive surgery and short stint in the pediatric ICU, plus a week or torture from IVs and doctors forcing me to swallow giant horsepills. The dentophobia is related to this because continuous bad experiences with a family dentist over the years who made every last cleaning I ever endured painful and terrifying. (I'm currently sobbing rn so sorry for any mistypings) When I displayed resistance or told the dentist or my dad I was scared, they would threaten shots inside my mouth and strapping me down if I moved. Compounded fear over those years instilled this phobia so deep that I went years with a broken wisdom tooth for 8 years (it broke little by little over time until it was a tiny sliver exposed, the gum was growing over the broken parts) until I finally got a hold of an oral surgeon to completely knock me out to remove all 4 at once. My husband and a friend, who also has a son that extremely phonic like me, to be there with me. I was given meds to calm me(I had to crush them since they only came in pill form) and my husband, friend, 2 nurses and the anesthesiologist had to restrain me to put the IV in. The procedure was relatively uneventful afterwards and I went on vacation 3 days later. I'm rambling now so I'm sorry. I'm hoping mostly for words of encouragement to book the appointment and maybe a relatively accurate description of what to expect a normal, not painful cleaning and scaling should feel like. I don't mind a bit of pain but I would leave my dentist when I was younger with severely sore and bleeding gums, not able to eat for 2-3 days afterward because of the pain. Please tell me that that's not normal and it's not supposed to be that way.
 
G

geos

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Dec 22, 2011
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521
Location
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
You should feel no pain when getting your dental scaling and cleaning. In my case my hygienist starts by taking a quick look in my mouth. Afterwards, she uses an electric instrument that helps for the scaling. Once she’s done with that she does a bit more with metal instruments. She will then do a polish and flossing. She finishes things with a fluoride treatment. If you feel any pain or discomfort at any point, don’t hesitate to say it. Make sure to let the dental office know how you feel about getting this. You will see by the way they react how the dental team handles anxious patience and if that’s something that can work for you.

You might want to ask them to split the work on multiple visits if that’s something you would tolerate.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Hi Karichan,

so sorry what you have been through :( given your phobias and past experiences even thinking of scheduling is very brave from you. Rest assured that you can ramble and vent and write here as much as you like, that's what we are here for.
We have a very detailed article about cleanings here. Cleanings is a rather easy procedure, you shouldn't have any pain. What I feel is the most important part is to build some trust with your dental team and go step by step. Are you familiar with the dental practice you would like to call or will you be starting from a scratch?

All the best wishes
 
D

Dawn65

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May 26, 2019
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127
Location
Warwickshire
Hi Karichan, sounds like your childhood dentist was a sadistic butcher. For all my horror stories, I never heard of cleaning doing that to a person. I think you are brave to be booking the appointment in light of what they did.

I hate cleaning too, but for different reasons. I find it easier now though with their sonic thingies... the dentists will correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think they even touch the tooth. If they have to hand scale (I don't cope with that well), they will normally agree a little hand signal to tell them to stop if it's too much. You can always come back another day, if it's too much in one go. It's not like a filling, where once started they have to finish. They'll do as much as you can tolerate and stop when you tell them.

I'm quite sure a kind dentist or hygienist would give you total control, especially if you explain what happened in the past, and leave you feeling you could happily eat anything you want directly afterward. Hope you get someone with a good attitude. Lots of luck.
 
K

karichan

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Joined
May 26, 2019
Messages
30
Location
usa
Thank you everyone. I have terrible calculaus on the back of my bottom teeth that has gotten super irritating and lightly painful over the last couple months. Knowing that I'll be awake is super terrifying but it's comforting to know that my families dentist was the cause of the pain. He always said it was because I didn't brush my teeth good enough (I was brushing twice a day at that point and flossing so I was confused that I wasn't doing it good enough to keep my teeth healthy). He cemented that thought by telling me I had cavities in my molars but didn't book the appointment to have them fixed for 6 months. When I came into the appointment, his assistant briefly explained that they would use numbing gel so I wouldn't feel the novacaine needle and it would be over quickly. When the dentist came in, he refused to use the gel to help numb my gums, stating I was too old and needed to grow up now. If I wanted to be babied, I should find someone else to do so and he wouldn't fix my teeth any longer. I cried as I walked home, my dad refused to come pick me up unless I got it done, so I had to walk 3 miles back. I still haven't gotten the cavities fixed(one of the molars is broken now, another thing I'll have to get fixed as well as my two top molars that were up against my wisdom teeth also need to come out because they are rotted out after being cracked by my wisdom teeth. I found this out after I went to an oral surgeon for a consult regarding the broken tooth when the dentist entered the room and straight up pointed them out to me, thinking they were the reason for my visit and didn't even ask me what the problem was.) Thank you for helping. I'm gonna call the dentist office that took me in for the wisdom teeth emergency and treated me delicately and with patience. I'm hoping to be able to get everything done, even if I have to split up the cleaning work over two visits or more. I'll have to go for the other things stated so I'll need to make sure I'm comfortable with them. I know that it's desperately needed but it doesn't make it easier to call to get the ball rolling. Only harder.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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Hi Karichan,
I am so sorry about what has happened to you in the past and you are showing a lot of courage just by posting here that you are putting a plan into action. I have a lot of fear about dental situations due to painful cleanings as a pre-teen and young teenager. There are some major differences that I have found about the cleanings that I have now compared to my childhood. First, if I don’t like the dentist I can get up at any time and walk out of the office. Second, if I am uncomfortable for any reason, I can raise my hand and everything immediately stops. Third, they have invented a lovely device that sprays water and does the majority of the cleaning around the gums so there is not nearly as much scraping. Cleanings should not be painful (that was news to me too!). I was forced to go to a terrible dental chain for years with very rough hygienists and then we switched to a better small, privately owned office with much gentler staff when I turned 15. I assumed all cleanings were torturous so when I went to the new office for my first cleaning I assumed the position in the chair-tense/stiff as a board, legs crossed, hands gripping the arm rests, eyes shut tightly, mouth open wide, bracing for pain. The hygienist saw this before she even started and said “you can relax honey, I’m not gonna hurt ya” which really caught me off-guard. Next she brought attention to where I was carrying tension in my face (lips, cheeks, jaw) and got me to release it before she started working in my mouth. Soon after, the rest of my body started to relax and my mind followed. I remember feeling so surprised that she didn’t hurt me because at the time, that was not the norm for me (that was also my first appointment with the new instrument that sprays water and cleans around the gums).
 
K

karichan

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May 26, 2019
Messages
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Location
usa
Honestly, before posting here and reading replies I still thought that cleanings were supposed to be painful. My husband mentioned that he never experienced pain or bleeding during and after a cleaning (aside from a general weird feeling for a couple hours afterwards) so it took me by surprise and I was kind of skeptical of his claims. I stumbled upon this board while looking for posts about being scared of going to dentist. It really makes me feel a bit better to know that I'm not weird or childish for having this fear, even if it doesn't take away the fear, I can at least start somewhere as far as getting more comfortable and finding someone to trust to clean my teeth.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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Yes, it can be a great comfort just knowing that you are not alone which is what makes this forum so helpful! The other nice thing about DFC is that the majority of the members here (with the exception of our helpful dentists that post) are either fellow phobics or recovered former phobics, so if they say something’s painless, it probably usually is!
 
D

Dawn65

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May 26, 2019
Messages
127
Location
Warwickshire
Honestly, before posting here and reading replies I still thought that cleanings were supposed to be painful. My husband mentioned that he never experienced pain or bleeding during and after a cleaning (aside from a general weird feeling for a couple hours afterwards) so it took me by surprise and I was kind of skeptical of his claims. I stumbled upon this board while looking for posts about being scared of going to dentist. It really makes me feel a bit better to know that I'm not weird or childish for having this fear, even if it doesn't take away the fear, I can at least start somewhere as far as getting more comfortable and finding someone to trust to clean my teeth.
Nop, you are neither wierd nor childish. You just had a very, very abusive dentist. There was no excuse for his behaviour.

If your teeth aren't sensitive, you won't even feel it. If they are, they can run a little gel on the gum and you don't have to do any more than you want in one go.

Cleaning has never, ever drawn blood from me. All you should feel afterward, is well...clean.

Why not book a nice meal out somewhere afterward to reward yourself? And enjoy eating it :)
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Karichan,

I too am so sorry for all the tortorus rough cleanings and dental work you have had to endure. And how dreadfully rude and awful that dentist was to you , agh.. I have been there too and its awful to have someone treat you like this . I'm glad you walked away and didn't endure another procedure from this dentist! Thankfully I agree with the rest there now adays it doesn't have to be painful at all for scalings or really any procedure, It can be really painfree, and so many more are understanding of anxieties. 2 years ago for the first time I was told I needed a scaling.. I never had one before and just the word sounded dreadful to me, I emailed my dental office and nearly cancelled and they encouraged me they would take good care of me. It wasn't painful at all . and a very healing experience.

" I'm gonna call the dentist office that took me in for the wisdom teeth emergency and treated me delicately and with patience. I'm hoping to be able to get everything done, even if I have to split up the cleaning work over two visits or more. I'll have to go for the other things stated so I'll need to make sure I'm comfortable with them. I know that it's desperately needed but it doesn't make it easier to call to get the ball rolling. Only harder. "

This sounds like a great plan and a much better place than previous dentists. My current dentist is an emergency dentist and he is one of most understanding ,patient and compassionate dentists, he's seen a lot of pain and one of his immediate goals is to get you out of it as fast as possible and he does so very kindly and gently. I hope you get the same type of care. and really hope your cleaning and all the work goes well. You deserve some positive experiences after all you've been through!
 
K

karichan

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May 26, 2019
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Location
usa
Thank you for y'alls continued support and encouragement about how it's not supposed to hurt to get a cleaning or scaling. I'm still utterly terrified about it. I have called and made an appointment to the dental clinic I was recommended for my wisdom teeth and my mom is taking me (my husband's mother) to the appointment in case I need sedation. I'm hoping to talk more with the clinic tomorrow or Thursday to see if they can send in a script for Valium or Ativan for before I go in.. even though neither of them have been particularly effective to the max, they do help me keep me from fighting or lashing out in fear. Logically, I know that I won't be hurt but childhood traumas continue to make me unable to control this fear and terror. I avoid if I can help it but I know that I can no longer avoid this without the danger of possibly eventually being in more pain or losing teeth.
 
S

Surreyvwphobic

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In dental heaven
My heart goes out to you, since I was also the victim of a very nasty lady back in the eighties and had not seen a hygienist since until literally six months ago (as told in my yarns on here).
Cleaning should not hurt at all; if it does, go elsewhere; there is no excuse in this modern age for anybody in the dentistry world to be treating patients in this way. The technology has also advanced tremendously in recent years, what with numbing gels, smaller needles and ultrasonic water cleaners, so there is no reason for most dentistry to not be relatively straightforward in these times.

Like choosing a partner or builder, it is down to the right person at the end of the day. Interview any prospective practitioner before they even go near your teeth and only proceed if you feel totally happy and at ease with them.

I learned that everyone is different and not every hygienist is a sadistic bitch; the lady I am with is an absolute angel and works perfectly with all the difficult history I carry. My advice to you is to be completely open and honest with any prospective practitioner so both of you know what is expected and how best to proceed.

Sending big hugs down the screen to you and wishing you every success in your onward journey, and if you want to chat personally about how I made it, feel free to write and happy to help further where I can. Simon XX
 
K

karichan

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usa
I've got the appointment set for June 11th at 1245p. My hubby said we can go for frozen yogurt after he gets home as congratulations and reward. He know that I love frozen yogurt. I hope it will help me to tolerate a bit.
 
S

Scared all the time

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NJ
I've got the appointment set for June 11th at 1245p. My hubby said we can go for frozen yogurt after he gets home as congratulations and reward. He know that I love frozen yogurt. I hope it will help me to tolerate a bit.
I need a deep scaling too 😕terrified please let me know how you make
out. Good
Luck!
 
K

karichan

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May 26, 2019
Messages
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Location
usa
My appointment is coming up and I'm getting increasingly scared.. I'm needing a little encouragement.. does anyone know if the dentist office would be able to prescribe me an anti-anxiety med for before the cleaning at all?
 
Enarete

Enarete

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My appointment is coming up and I'm getting increasingly scared.. I'm needing a little encouragement.. does anyone know if the dentist office would be able to prescribe me an anti-anxiety med for before the cleaning at all?
They should be.. give them a call, tell them how scared you are and ask them what they can do. If you have any questions or worries it might be good to ask them about that too. Having as much information as possible about a procedure helps.

Anxiety sucks but remember, being anxious doesn't mean something bad will happen. When is your appointment?
 
kitkat

kitkat

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My appointment is coming up and I'm getting increasingly scared.. I'm needing a little encouragement.. does anyone know if the dentist office would be able to prescribe me an anti-anxiety med for before the cleaning at all?
Some people will also ask their primary care doctor to prescribe something if the dentist office is not comfortable doing so. That’s just another way to go about it. Do you have somebody supportive who can go with you?
 
K

karichan

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May 26, 2019
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usa
I don't have a primary.. My mother in law is taking me to the appointment and she understands how afraid I am a little. She hasn't seen me freak out, I try to keep that side kindof hidden. Not many people know that I even have severe anxiety or phobias.
 
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