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Terrified after 8 years

A

AnneInCali

Junior member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
6
Location
California
I have extreme dental fear that I have hidden from everyone, my husband included. As I kid I was routinely subjected to dental and orthodontic appointments, I had braces twice, I even had concrete glued on retainers to open my jaw. Needless to say I had so much work done in my mouth from 6 years old to 18 that I developed A LOT of anxiety. I am 31 now and haven’t been to the dentist since I was 23. I know I have cavities and I’m pretty sure I have TMJ- my jaw has slid back (again) I have had head gear 4 times!! I’ve even had dental tools dropped down my throat and I’ve choked-Basically I’ve always had issues with my jaw, bite and teeth - my parents spent a fortune on them! The fear of anything around my mouth has only gotten worse (wearing a mask gives me panic attacks and even kissing my husband too long makes me panic- I feel like I can’t breathe!).

I finally mustered up the courage to call my dentist and I go in on Thursday. I’m so scared I’m going to need all my teeth removed and need dentures! I wake up in panic attacks that all my teeth are going to fall out. I have visible exterior cavities on my gum line on a few teeth and I’m so scared I’m going to be toothless!!

I’ve also suffered with anorexia on and off since I was 12, the coronavirus lock down (needing to work full time from home and teach 2 kids) has only made both my eating disorder and my anxiety worse- I’ve been grinding my teeth at night and clenching my jaw. I know my vitamin D & calcium intake are not what they should be.

I just don’t want lose all my teeth! I’m so embarrassed!! Any help or reassurance would be greatly appreciated.
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,547
Location
United States
Hi AnneInCali,
Welcome to DFC! Unfortunately, our minds always like to find the worst case scenario so I would try not to focus on the prospect of losing any teeth just yet. Dentistry has come a very long way and there are so many ways to save and restore teeth. It‘s a very stressful time in the world so remember to be kind and forgiving to yourself. Although you probably feel alone in your situaion (I also hide my fear from everyone), you will find that you are definitely not alone in your fear here. Based on your past experiences, your fear sounds like it’s coming from a valid place. It is wonderful that you were able to make a dentist appointment despite everything. The first appointment is likely only an exam/xrays. Do you have any experience with this dentist or is there a specific reason you chose them? The first appointment is the hardest because there are so many unknown factors but I think once you know what you are dealing with, you will probably feel much better about the situation. Just focus on getting there and let the rest of it fall into place. Feel free to post here if you want to vent, ask questions, or just think outloud. We are happy to support you in anyway that we can!
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,682
Location
Minneapolis, MN
AnnieinCali..

:grouphug: ahhhh. I'm so sorry reading what you went through .. it is alot.. and headgear 4 times..I've been through headgear with braces and it was so miserable..choking on dental instruments too would be so traumatic.

You are very courageous stepping up and going to the dentist after all that . I agree with Kitkat in that there is a lot they can do now and just take one step at a time starting with the first appointment. I hope they will be very kind and good to you! You deserve patient ,kind care especially after all you've been through.

Give yourself alot of credit!! you are very resiliant and brave!! and now you have people who understand you and can support you here at DFC!!
 
A

AnneInCali

Junior member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
6
Location
California
Hi AnneInCali,
Welcome to DFC! Unfortunately, our minds always like to find the worst case scenario so I would try not to focus on the prospect of losing any teeth just yet. Dentistry has come a very long way and there are so many ways to save and restore teeth. It‘s a very stressful time in the world so remember to be kind and forgiving to yourself. Although you probably feel alone in your situaion (I also hide my fear from everyone), you will find that you are definitely not alone in your fear here. Based on your past experiences, your fear sounds like it’s coming from a valid place. It is wonderful that you were able to make a dentist appointment despite everything. The first appointment is likely only an exam/xrays. Do you have any experience with this dentist or is there a specific reason you chose them? The first appointment is the hardest because there are so many unknown factors but I think once you know what you are dealing with, you will probably feel much better about the situation. Just focus on getting there and let the rest of it fall into place. Feel free to post here if you want to vent, ask questions, or just think outloud. We are happy to support you in anyway that we can!
Thank You! This is the dentist I went to when I was 6-23. I figured he has all my past records and they didn’t consider me a “new patient” so I could get in. They told me on the phone the first day would be X-Rays/Evaluation/treatment plan and then I would schedule an appointment(s) for treatment and they could give me something to make me not anxious prior.
I’m still terrified of the evaluation/treatment plan. I don’t care how much it costs I just don’t want to have no teeth!!

I feel so guilty and ashamed hiding this fear from everyone. My teeth don’t look bad from the “on looker” so it has been fairly easy to hide. I’ve made the decision that I don’t care how much it costs I’m going to get them fixed.
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,861
Location
The Hague , Holland
Dear AnnInCali,
Having 2 kids while coping with the Covid19 crisis is very difficult. Unless you are suffering from an urgent dental problem, I find it very reasonable to wait a few more weeks till at least the kids can go back to school (if that is the case) and allow you to breath a bit. We cannot do everything at once and have to prioritize.
You can focus first on having a basic dental check up and maybe a cleaning. The check up is a great opportunity not only to gain some information about your dental situation but also on whether the dentist is gentle and respectful. I talk about that in my video :
You feel frustrated And shame about Hiding this fear, this is incredibly common. In fact, with every kind of anxiety (fear of flight, snakes, heights and so forth) there is always avoidance behavior, and that includes hiding this issue from others. What is needed is switching from avoidance to coping, and coping means seeing a dentist, even just for a conversation or a check up.
the past experiences will not repeat themselves, of that I am certain.
 
A

AnneInCali

Junior member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
6
Location
California
Dear AnnInCali,
Having 2 kids while coping with the Covid19 crisis is very difficult. Unless you are suffering from an urgent dental problem, I find it very reasonable to wait a few more weeks till at least the kids can go back to school (if that is the case) and allow you to breath a bit. We cannot do everything at once and have to prioritize.
You can focus first on having a basic dental check up and maybe a cleaning. The check up is a great opportunity not only to gain some information about your dental situation but also on whether the dentist is gentle and respectful. I talk about that in my video :
You feel frustrated And shame about Hiding this fear, this is incredibly common. In fact, with every kind of anxiety (fear of flight, snakes, heights and so forth) there is always avoidance behavior, and that includes hiding this issue from others. What is needed is switching from avoidance to coping, and coping means seeing a dentist, even just for a conversation or a check up.
the past experiences will not repeat themselves, of that I am certain.
thank you, the stress has been totally overwhelming and I know that makes my fear and anxiety about my teeth only worse. I’m just so paranoid that I’m going to lose all my teeth that I think I might feel better if I get through an appointment and can develop a plan to fix them/hopefully keep some.
 

Attachments

Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,861
Location
The Hague , Holland
My dear AnnInCali,
Even though you have not shown us X rays and I have checked you directly, judging from your images, you are not going to have all your teeth extracted. This is purely your anxiety creeping up in the back of your head, terrorising your mind.
 
A

AnneInCali

Junior member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
6
Location
California
My dear AnnInCali,
Even though you have not shown us X rays and I have checked you directly, judging from your images, you are not going to have all your teeth extracted. This is purely your anxiety creeping up in the back of your head, terrorising your mind.
thank you. My dentist was so kind and patient. He just did X-rays today and exam. I can’t stop shaking and crying just having tools/X-rays in my mouth scared me.

thankfully I only have 4 small cavities & I will just need composite filling no root canals. Dentist said they aren’t big or bad and they can wait—The biggest issue is my jaw is out of alignment and horrible tmj. Dentist wants to hook me up to tens unit to relax my jaw and then put molds in my teeth to develop the orthotic. He said that is first priority.
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,547
Location
United States
I’m so glad that your dentist was kind and patient with you! Well done on getting through the xrays and exam and what a relief to hear that things are not as bad as you had originally feared. I didn’t know that dentists use tens units to assist in relaxing the jaw but it makes sense. It must feel really nice to know what you are dealing with now and have a plan in place. You should be very proud of yourself! When are you scheduled to go back?
 
A

AnneInCali

Junior member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
6
Location
California
I’m so glad that your dentist was kind and patient with you! Well done on getting through the xrays and exam and what a relief to hear that things are not as bad as you had originally feared. I didn’t know that dentists use tens units to assist in relaxing the jaw but it makes sense. It must feel really nice to know what you are dealing with now and have a plan in place. You should be very proud of yourself! When are you scheduled to go back?
I know I was so grateful and surprised, he did basically a cranial sacral pressure point exam on my neck, jaw, back of head and said I’ll come in for an hour of physical therapy and tens unit prior to having any dental work done. He’s scheduled me to have a full digital image scan of my jaw and I’ll then have a custom orthotic made. He said prior to sending me to the orthodontist he is going to work on my jaw muscles & tendons in a wholistic/therapeutic way which made me so happy. Until I have the orthotic he gave me muscle relaxers for night time b/c I’m clenching and grinding a lot. He said basically the stress, jaw alignment, clenching & grinding need to be handled first then he will slowly do dental procedures over time because the cavities aren’t super urgent.
I also learned I have REALLY long roots? It took forever to get X-rays because apparently my roots are so long it took awhile to get a picture of the whole tooth. No idea if that is good or bad??
 
A

AnneInCali

Junior member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
6
Location
California
I have to schedule the digital jaw exam first then schedule with him for follow up so I’m calling tomorrow to get everything scheduled. I also loved that everyone in the office was so sweet and normal. I actually forgot about coronavirus the whole time I was there because they were all business as usual!
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,547
Location
United States
I know I was so grateful and surprised, he did basically a cranial sacral pressure point exam on my neck, jaw, back of head and said I’ll come in for an hour of physical therapy and tens unit prior to having any dental work done. He’s scheduled me to have a full digital image scan of my jaw and I’ll then have a custom orthotic made. He said prior to sending me to the orthodontist he is going to work on my jaw muscles & tendons in a wholistic/therapeutic way which made me so happy. Until I have the orthotic he gave me muscle relaxers for night time b/c I’m clenching and grinding a lot. He said basically the stress, jaw alignment, clenching & grinding need to be handled first then he will slowly do dental procedures over time because the cavities aren’t super urgent.
I also learned I have REALLY long roots? It took forever to get X-rays because apparently my roots are so long it took awhile to get a picture of the whole tooth. No idea if that is good or bad??
He sounds like he really knows his stuff and is willing to invest time in getting things right for you! I think having long roots is a good thing. I have read that short tooth roots result in a less secure connection of the teeth to the underlying jaw bone and also make orthodontic treatment a bit more risky/tricky.
 
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