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Terrified: A Crazy Canadian's Dental Journey

M

Meichan

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
24
Location
Canada
I've had long standing dental phobia. It stems from being treated poorly by dentists when i was young. In the past 10 years, I have gone through great lengths to conquer this fear and got tons of work done, a smile restoration, an implant- I thought I was at a better place. I have not been able to go to a dentist since COVID lockdowns. For one, I moved and left the only dentist I ever trusted. 2. Both of my parents are dying at the same time. I'm caregiving for my mother with incurable cancer, and my father is in ICU, intubated with renal failure.
I signed his Do Not Recuscitate order- and hope it doesn't come to that.
I went to the dentist today because I noticed a painless lump. Had X-Rays. She will send me to an endo and we'll see if anything can be done.
But what really freaked me out, is she told me my gum behind this tooth had receded to 7 mm between the teeth and there is some bone loss. And that I could lose BOTH teeth now. It just devastated me, because I can't be out of commission with anxiety and terror while I have to make massive life-altering medical decisions for my parents. I feel like I will be disfigured for life. That implants will be the only options.
But the more I look up into this condition, I am missing some key indicators for losing the tooth. For one, I have no pain. I have no tooth sensitivity in that area at all. 2. My teeth are firmly in place. They aren't the slightest bit loose or shifting or anything (which the dentist confirmed). This tooth is not infected at all. Does any of this make a difference?
She also told me I could have this on multiple molars (probably do ffs!). And now I'm sitting here, crying, thinking about how I'm going to lose both my parents, and all my teeth. And that there is no hope.
The dentist said "It's not the worst I've seen, but only the specialist will know".

I'm scared about the cost of multiple implants. I've had to take off work for 2 years to care for my Mum during life extending chemotherapy. Idk if my father will survive. And if he does, in what condition that will be. I'm not even afraid of the pain anymore. (I have no pain whatsoever). I mean the pain of the procedures. I just want hope that it won't be the worst case scenario.
Is there any hope I won't lose the tooth I had no idea there was anything wrong with due to periodontal shite.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Hi @Meichan, first of all, so sorry to hear about your parents, that must be incredibly difficult for you. Wishing you lots of strength in the weeks and months ahead :XXLhug:

No, there's no reason that you should lose your teeth, the whole point of seeing a specialist is to prevent this from happening. I recently came across a video which I think you might find useful. It's a guy called Iain Chapple, who is a professor of periodontics and who also works in private practice, presenting some guidelines for perio treatment. In amongst all the "academic" stuff, he tells a great anecdote about one of his patients though, which might be helpful :). Maybe start at about 25:30 minutes ("What we expect"), this is followed by the anecdote at 26:02 ("Neurosurgeon story"). If you go to the YouTube website to watch it, there will be a handy "Chapters" timeline thingy below the video, where you can jump directly to the sections you want to watch. This guy's pockets were a lot deeper than 7mm by the looks of things (not that I'm a dentist).

*Trigger warning: may contain dental imagery*

 
M

Meichan

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
24
Location
Canada
@letsconnect
Thank you for your reply.

I'm terrified for my appointment on Monday and I'm obsessively looking at all my teeth and comparing them to photos online. I mean the rest of them don't LOOK like the images I see. It's been 3 years since I've been to the dentist (again due to COVID lockdowns and regulations, and my life has been in nightmare mode with critically ill parents). I think this might be a case where a root canaled tooth became infected, of course, I *couldnt feel it*. I had no idea it was there. And over time it's caused bone loss around it and a tooth beside it.
Idk why a dentist would imply ALL my teeth could be in jeopardy. It's obvious just by looking at my mouth that I've been having them taken care of. I had my "pockets" measured 3 years ago as is usual. There were no real concerns.

I just wonder if it's the result of this silent ninja infection and maybe it's isolated. When I floss, they're the only ones that bleed. And again, the 2 teeth affected are solidly in place. They don't move in the slightest. Everything I've read, they try other treatments before going to an implants if the teeth are still firmly rooted. So.. fingers crossed.

I just hope they can be repaired/restored. I've spent so much money for it in the past. I'm willing to spend more. I'm just terrified of looking terrible and never wanting to smile again.

I just want to to die. I'm becoming afraid to eat anything as well.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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It sounds as if this dentist really put the frighteners on you. I suppose sometimes dentists tend to exaggerate to "motivate" their patients into taking action, when it would be much better to simply explain what action you can take :(. Using interdental brushes like Tepes once a day is recommended (rather than floss), especially when there are "pockets".

Is this the new dentist to you? If so, it might be an idea to find someone who is a little less alarmist and more helpful...
 
M

Meichan

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
24
Location
Canada
@letsconnect Hi again

I really appreciate your replies btw, Thank you so much <3.

Yes, this dentist is new. I previously lived in another city 3 hours away, and I loved my dentist there. I felt I had conquered my dental fears with her. But I bought a house 5 minutes away in my parents city because i could get way more for my money here, and I wanted to be there for them as they're senior citizens. This was just before COVID lockdown. In Canada, these persisted for nearly 2 years. As stated in my OP, I moved at the right time because my parents both are experiencing severe health issues that require loads of care over the last 2 years. It's been emotionally traumatizing for me, the thought of losing both of them, an I have no help. Taking care of and watching the person you love the most through chemotherapy- watching them deteriorate is soul crushing. It's all consuming. Then my father was suddenly overwhelmed with sepsis. It landed him intubated in ICU. He is surviving, but he has ICU delerium and I've been fighting doctors over his care. My life has been Hell. So looking for a new dentist, knowing my phobia and fear, and how picky I am, was something I was going to do when I had a minute to breathe.
Then I found a small painful boil on my gum that ruptured when i hit it with a toothbrush. My heart sank, but the tooth was otherwise asymptomatic. Searching the area, I found a hard bump way at the top, and realized "holy crap, my gums over these two teeth are inflamed". I researched dentists, chose one based on reviews. I had to wait 2 weeks because 1. I was told my father was going to die any day (it didnt happen). 2. When I did call the dental office was closed. So I decided to wait until it opened.
So yes, it's the first time she has ever seen me. I explained at length to her dental manager the stress I was under and my intense fear. In hindsight, I think maybe this dentist was trying to prepare me for any and all scenarios?
I knew the one tooth isn't looking good (it's crowned, but the gum is inflamed around it). I had no idea there was bone loss. After my own research, it makes sense because inflammation can eat away/destroy tissue. And it might be affecting the tooth beside it since it went undetected. I have no idea how long this has been there (accept it had to be in the past 3 years). However, especially the tooth in front that I was shocked she said might have to come out, *it isn't loose in the slightest*. Neither of them are to be fair. Regardless of deep pockets.
I've obsessively looked around my mouth and I DON'T think I have "periodontitis" anywhere but on these teeth directly under the infection. Other than a bit of gingivitis on one or two the gums are pink and look pretty normal. So idk why she would put that in the mind of someone ruled by dental anxiety. To be a Google/armchair Endo. I think I have asymptomatic apical periodontitus cause by a failed root canal. It has sinus tracts.
I'm just hoping this Endodontist is nice to me. I've had such a horrible year. I'm stretched so thin. I don't want these people to think I've neglected my teeth like a Meth addict because other than since COVID, I was very good prior to life going to hell. I've thoroughly explained to the Endodontist secretary/manager how hard my life is atm and how Im terrified. It made no difference with the general dentist, but hopefully it will with the specialist.

I'm TERRIFIED on the CBCT scan. Not the scan itself, but i HATE when dentists put the picture in front of me because it makes me nauseous and makes me want to run. I don't want to see it. I hope they respect that.

But my biggest fear, is that there is nothing that can be done. That they will just extract two teeth that are asymptomatic- and one looks pretty grim- and that I won't even be able to get implants because of the bone loss and affected gum tissue (those 7m pockets). I feel I'm too young to have some kind of fake teeth you take in and out. My self esteem is already terrible because my entire life has been disrupted and taken offline for caregiving (I'll never regret it, but I'm not myself).

I'm sorry you got a lot more answer than you needed. Im just scared and I'm too embarrassed to talk to anyone irl about it except for my Mom. And she doesn't understand it, and thinks "it will be just fine. Just get an implant if you have to!".
sigh.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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So sorry you've had such bad luck (despite doing your research), how horrible. At least you know from past experience that with the right dentist, things can be ok :XXLhug:.

I hope the endo you see on Monday is personable, kind and understanding. How do things work in Canada, can you choose your own endodontist if you don't like this one?
 
M

Meichan

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
24
Location
Canada
@letsconnect in Canada, there is no universal dental care. Only universal medical care. So for dentists, we're on our own and many employers have some sort of dental plant. Those plans can cover 50-75% of things like cavities, cleaning, root canals. They do not cover any restorative dental work. They don't cover things like a CT scan (which Im getting Monday). They don't cover implants, even if for molars, as they deem them "cosmetic"when there are cheaper options available.

Much like the rest of the western world, good dental care is rather dependent on income :/ .

I looked up the Endo and she seems to have very good reviews. I warned their office I have really bad anxiety and I'm terrified (and a character). When i go there Monday, I'll have to tell them I don't want to SEE the actual 3D scan. It will make me freak out and it won't be good for anyone. I hope they can accept that.
Like, just tell me I'm doomed and get it over with. I don't need to see how bad it is under my skin and muscle tissue, yanno?
Hey, do you think this could be moved and made into a Journal in the journal section? This might actually help me. Just to log it. I think I'm going to write through my journey. Because I'm determined to get through this no matter how terrified I am. I determined that I'll get my issues sorted out. Whether that takes me to Endo, Perio, Implant- whatever.

Idk if that's possible. But i do know that reading people's journals on here, and some of them even 6-7 years old, has been helping me. On Google, sometimes this forum comes up first, and has had some of the only valuable content on severe dental anxiety. I can't even find anything on Reddit.
This site is amazing.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Of course it can be moved to journals, no problem! Will do so in a second...

Thanks for your kind words regarding the website, you must have hit the Google jackpot because when I put "dental phobia" or "severe dental anxiety" into Google, DFC is nowhere to be found :ROFLMAO: (<-- actually, I'm not amused, but if you don't laugh you'll cry :p).

That's great about the endo having very good reviews, fingers crossed she has a genuine interest in helping her anxious patients :thumbsup:! Not sure if this might be useful, but we have Dental Fears Patient Form in the Downloads section:


I was going to suggest asking the endo for recommendations for a general dentist, but if the one you saw refers to her, it might be awkward for her to recommend somebody else...
 
M

Meichan

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
24
Location
Canada
Ok so an update

What a bloody week from hell.

On my way to the endodontist, I literally BROKE MY FOOT.

It's kind of funny. Painfully funny. But yes, there it is. I broke a bone in my foot.

The Endodontist was a very nice lady. She did tell me my issue is that one tooth (the farther back) is actually cracked. She didn't need to give me a 3D scan. And she said the issues with that tooth are affecting it's "sympathetic neighbour" (the tooth beside it that I'd really like to keep for now), but that if what I call the "cursed tooth" is extracted, there is a good chance the neighbouring tooth will heal up. For now, it is solidly in there and there is nothing wrong with it. She also said the deep pockets (which are deeper than 7mm YIKES) are caused by the INFLAMMATION of the area. And that upon extraction, any pocket on a neighbouring tooth could heal up. Ok.f
Off I went to Urgent Care to get a cast LOL.

So I felt like, ok. I can handle one implant. I've done it before. But the Dental office didn't phone me yesterday (the day after my appointment with the Endo). So with my anxiety, I decided to phone the Endo office again, and have them reassure me my "Cursed tooth" would not like, attack the other one in the middle of the night or something. I'm an artist by profession (one who makes money not who just paints in my backyard, not that there's anything wrong with that), and I get these images in my head of the Cursed tooth getting out a White board, and plotting a tactical strategy, getting it's protractor out and calculating the angles of how to take my other tooth out as fast as possible. I wanted reassurance that I had some TIME before it succeeded in it's nefarious plans. The Endo Staff person looked at my file and said it should be ok, but my dentist office should contact me soon.
Ok.
They contacted me this morning. And I think I'm beginning to realize a problem.
So with this dental office, I think the issue I'm having is with the Dental OFFICE MANAGER. She is the one that when I was panicking, lectured me on the phone about how it doesn't matter if everyone is my life is dying, doesn't matter if I went into a deep depression being a sole caregiver for 3 people who are seriously/terminally ill, that is no reason to not go to the dentist for 3 years. I actually felt like I had to defend myself against this woman for merely asking for a bit of reassurance- that a dental implant was possible (the Endo said she couldnt see why I couldnt get an implant in 15 bloody seconds btw).
In the dental manager's defense, she felt bad for being unsupportive and gave me a call back the other day (before the endo appointment) because she left me crying. And I appreciated that. Did she make me feel better? Not too much. I just don't think this woman is good with empathy. Probably a crackerjack medical office manager, but doesn't know the right things to say. Nonetheless, I appreciated her effort. I know she was trying and she didn't have to.

Then she calls me today as a follow up after the Endo appointment to give me a referral to an implant surgeon. So the extraction is on hold until this guy's office gives me a call. But then of course, she has to POKE the bear of anxiety again and tells me "I'll have him consult you about BOTH of the problematic teeth".
Wait a second. I spoke directly to the Endodontist. I followed up again this morning to confirm what they said. WHY do I need to have the man who banks off of implants "assess" a tooth that the Endodontist said "for now, does not need treatment and will most likely clear up once the cracked tooth is removed"??? The dental office manager sounded pissed off I would even ask her about this. She has a bullying personality. And she said "Your file says that tooth is QUESTIONABLE. Want me to read your file?". She said she wanted his opinion on it so I didn't need TWO consultations if that tooth doesn't heal as expected. So I don't have to pay twice.
This makes no sense to me. I've learned from a young age that if a dentist thinks you have the means, they will try to upsell you. So now I'm envisioning this Implant surgeon telling me "Well you might as well get two implants now because this tooth will be gone in 2 years!".

Idk what the hell to believe now. Do I believe the Endo? Do I believe the bullying Dental office manager who sounds like I just annoy the shit out of her? I asked on average how long it takes to get the consult with his office. She said she doesn't know bu the referral will be sent today.


I looked up the surgeon they are referring me to. He has very good reviews from the last 2 years. But the ones prior to that talk about his arrogance, how "you can tell he's in a bad mood", how he does good work so just deal with his mood swings.

I have no goddam idea what to do now. I wanted to have the rest of my teeth checked and fixed for any problems, but idk if I can deal with this bully of a Dental office manager again. I'm sitting here with a broken foot. My Mom has cancer. My Dad has been in hospital for 3.5 months in renal failure, with delerium and sepsis. I have an EVIL, cursed tooth plotting against it's neighbours.

Do I just look for a new dental office, write to them, tell them where I'm at and see what comes back? ALL dentistry in Canada is private. This is all elective. Why should I give my money to people who bully me? Should I wait to see if this surgeon is an ass? I don't think I want to deal with this office manager again. I feel like since I had that panic attack with her on the phone, she just has shoved me into a "difficult patient" category and will always treat me that way. At the same time, I'm afraid every other dental office will be the same.

This is WHY people hate dentists. I'm tired of paying thousands of dollars to feel like this :(. Idk what to do.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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OMG, so sorry to hear about your foot :scared: - the last thing you need at the moment!

Why should I give my money to people who bully me? Should I wait to see if this surgeon is an ass? I don't think I want to deal with this office manager again. I feel like since I had that panic attack with her on the phone, she just has shoved me into a "difficult patient" category and will always treat me that way. At the same time, I'm afraid every other dental office will be the same.

I'm not sure if this might be helpful, but we've collected some tips for finding a dentist over the years. Actually, it's such a big topic that we've dedicated not just one, but two pages to it:



No harm in at least having a look at other dentists, as you said, it's elective and you don't need to rush into any decisions :)... Great to hear though that the endodontist turned out to be a nice person!

Wishing you a very speedy recovery :XXLhug:
 
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