• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is very afraid of dentistry or who suffers with dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a general dental forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Terrified but determined

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Emma1988

Junior member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
7
Hey everyone,

First time posting. I have never been a fan of the dentist as a kid as I had a dentist I liked to nickname "Dr Xray" as everytime I went in he would sit me infront of that xray and then proceed to the lecture. He always had the personality of a brick. I got pregnant at 17 and as soon as he saw that on my form he totally changed (I think it was because he couldn't do his xray) and then gave me a ten minute lecture on how I'd lost a lot of enamel on my teeth and I should really get help for my bullemia (I had quite chronic morning sickness, several times a day and believe this is what he was referring to) He carried on until he'd made me cry. After that I avoided the dentist for about 4 years but went after suffering a lot of toothache. Had two fillings that fell out on my birthday and left me in pain and in tears as I couldn't get an appointment until the next morning. The last time I went I had a filling on my front tooth, I was holding my hand up and let him know I was in pain to which he said I needed to "Stop it and let him do his job". So I put off going to the dentist again and it's now been 5 years since I sat in the chair. I have summoned up the courage to make an appointment with a new dentist that I have heard from his patients is incredibly gentle and has a sense of humour. I think I am more nervous about the work that will need doing as I know that front tooth needs filling again along with at least 4 other teeth that have cavities. I also have quite bad gum disease and my breath is truly vile so I'm embarrassed that he will be that close to my face. But at the same time, I can no longer live with holes in my teeth and with covering my mouth whenever I get close to people so they aren't repulsed by the smell, I am doing this for the day that I can kiss someone, or talk in someone's face without fear. I don't want to take anyone with me as I'm embarrassed about my phobia. I am impressed at the fact that I am doing this despite the fact I am not in pain as I haven't seen a dentist in 10 years off my own back. I have been listening to Dental fear hypnotherapy vids on youtube which seems to take the racing heart at the thought of going away a little. My appointment is Tuesday 2nd Feb and I guess I just need abit of virtual hand holding
 
Angeldove

Angeldove

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2015
Messages
400
Location
NJ
First time posting.
Welcome! It's great to have you here. I've been a part of this community for almost a year now (started back in March) and I really enjoy all of the support and care I've received from the members and the dentists who post here.

I have never been a fan of the dentist as a kid as I had a dentist I liked to nickname "Dr Xray" as everytime I went in he would sit me infront of that xray and then proceed to the lecture. He always had the personality of a brick.

Eesh... yes I'm not sure why dentists think it's okay to lecture someone who clearly has something going on. My first experience was when I was in elementary school and it was just for 1 cavity, but I bawled my eyes out because of how terrified I was. The dentist, thankfully, was very kind to me - he was a family friend who took care of my parents too. I just could not handle going to the dentist from an early age and dental care at home wasn't fun (turns out I have an allergy to most toothpastes which leads to itchy and painful gums that can last for a few days).

I believe more dentists have better training in this area - they get that people can have anxiety towards medical work being done and have a lot of shame from not being in perfect medical health. Since going back to the dentist, most (almost all of them) have been super kind towards me. And I think most people here will share the same experience.

I also have quite bad gum disease and my breath is truly vile so I'm embarrassed that he will be that close to my face.

I too have gum disease and it is something that requires care every single day of our lives to combat. I've had deep cleanings and oral surgery to help out too, but it's the daily care that really matters. The good thing about bad breath is that as long as you start brushing and flossing twice a day, it will clear up pretty quickly. I would say within a few weeks of brushing, flossing, and using a mouth wash (as well as a water flosser at times) my bad breath went away completely and I stopped waking up with a horrible taste in my mouth. Almost a year in and my gums look amazing to me - I'm really shocked it's my mouth compared to where it was back in March (I really started noticing this maybe 4-5 months after starting). If you can get yourself into a good daily habit, this is not something that you will continue to be embarrased about.

And honestly... by the time they have worked on you, they have seen a lot of mouths. I get that it is still embarassing for us going through it, but I've Googled bad months before (as encouragement for me although I feel horrible that people have to live that like) and that just gave me a better idea of what doctor's see during their training and throughout their profession.

I don't want to take anyone with me as I'm embarrassed about my phobia.

I did bring someone (my husband) with me during my first appointment. But then again, he doesn't take care of his mouth at all and was shocked when he saw how badly I broke down when I broke a tooth and knew I had to go to the dentist. I now go at least once every 3 months or a few times a month if I'm actively having work done. For January, I've gone about 5 or 6 times to get a cleaning, 2 fillings, and a root canal. It's easier on me if I can go frequently (once or twice every few months) but does get harder if: 1) I don't go for awhile or 2) I have to go too often. This month has been brutal even though I'm working with dentists I already know.

I only brought my husband that one time because I knew he was not going to judge me at all (the next appointment he did come but stayed in the waiting area and only one other time has he taken off from work to take care of me after oral surgery). He's gotten over the amount of money we are going to have to spend and is supportive of me when I'm frantically texting him about my fears before appointments. But I know not everyone has that type of person in their life (although I have to say - it was so great having him there to tell me it was all okay, wipe away the tears, and talk to the dentist about my fears since I couldn't).

I am impressed at the fact that I am doing this despite the fact I am not in pain as I haven't seen a dentist in 10 years off my own back. I have been listening to Dental fear hypnotherapy vids on youtube which seems to take the racing heart at the thought of going away a little. My appointment is Tuesday 2nd Feb and I guess I just need abit of virtual hand holding

YAY!! GOOD FOR YOU! You should be proud of yourself. One dental appointment might not seem like a big deal to some people, but I am so overjoyed when I can cross it off my treatment plan and know I'm getting closer and closer to being done (I even keep track of it in my signature at the bottom of my posts).

As you check out the site, you might come across some ideas other people use to deal with the stress. I personally love blasting my favorite music on the radio to sing along to while driving to the dentist and they have the TV on in all of the rooms while they're working, which helps to distract me. Some bring teddybears to hold, or stress balls to squeeze, etc.

I'm sure things will go well for you on February 2nd. The first appointment is always the hardest (coming from a person who has gone through oral surgery with just being numbed up), but after that things will get easier. Stick with it :)
 
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Emma1988

Junior member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
7
Thank you for your reply. Sat here feeling silly with tears rolling down my cheeks, it's so nice to talk to people that understand. I just keep telling myself that it is just a check up next week, and then once that is done the dentist will know what's going on in my mouth and I wont have to be embarrassed about anyone new seeing it. It will just be a case of trying to get my mouth healthy.

I suffered quite badly with depression during uni and my early twenties and had an awful diet, basically didn't care about myself and oral hygiene was last on the list of things I cared about. Since june last year I have been off all anti depression medication and I am back on top form, I now brush three times a day (3 times mainly because by the time I get home from work I cannot stand the bad taste in my mouth any longer) and floss twice a day (something I never used to do!) It is now part of my routine and I physically cannot skip it. I'm assuming the smell is because they need a proper deep clean along with treating the cavities I have as I know decaying teeth aren't going to smell nice. The things I am most nervous about are the filling I will need in that front tooth after my last experience along with the pretty bad receding gum I have between my two front bottom teeth. I am still so nervous sat thinking this time next week, it will be tomorrow but I know that I am going to go through with this. I think if I was going to give myself the chance to back out I wouldn't be so scared. I tend to get way ahead of myself and turn the tiniest thing into a huge deal, but I'm assuming we will come up with a treatment plan and it will done step by step and not at all how I'm picturing it. I'm just going to go in there and level with the dentist, I wish I had taken better care of myself, but what's done is done and I'm here to keep my teeth for as long as humanly possible. I'm healthy mentally, I'm working on the body and my mouth is the only thing still stuck in that dark time.
 
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Packergirl

Junior member
Joined
Jan 9, 2016
Messages
17
Location
UK
Hi Emma, welcome to the forum.

I am a newbie here myself. And I can empathize with you. My parents never took me to the dentist when I was little and by the time I went by myself I already had a cavity that needed filling asap. Then I suffered from mild depression from my uni days till recently (sometimes it feels like I'm still going through it) and I only recently started flossing, brushing twice a day and using mouthwash properly. Sometimes I blame my parents and sometimes I blame myself with the way my teeth are now and the problems they are giving me. I'm 23 and I seriously hope my teeth will still be intact for many years to come.
All I can say is that you are on the right path. It's better to at least do something than to do nothing at all. Its good that you are brushing and flossing regularly now. And that you are seeing a well recommended dentist (the first one sounds like a proper pr*ck, forgive my language). Can you let the dentist know that you are a nervous patient? I hear some dentists are experts with those.
And it's okay to cry once in a while and let it all out, there is nothing wrong with that.
Good luck. And let us know how you get on :)
 
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Patti

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
749
Location
Michigan, USA
First of all, you should NOT be embarrassed of anything. That is the dentist's job. They wear a mask, so don't worry about your breath. Again, it's their job!

Secondly, I had a dentist with the same personality----and I got another dentist. You don't need lectures, you just need them to fix the problem and be understanding.

I was the same as you--scared out of my wits! But I did it! Over 3 months of weekly appointments for fillings and 2 wisdom teeth out that had bothered me off and on for over 30 years! I look back on that and could kick myself for not just dealing with it 30 years ago! I'd stockpile antibiotics when they'd flare up. It's so nice not to have that monkey on my back anymore! Or the pain!

Going to the dentist that much and now going every 6 months for checkups and cleanings sort of desensitized me. Every time I would go AND FEEL NO PAIN (during or after) helped me that much more and got me to the point where I am now. Not 100% I guess, but close enough to wear I can tell my anxiety where to go! LOL

I have a toothache now, called yesterday and have an appt today. Am I nervous? Not of the dentist but I'll admit I'm little nervous he will say root canal. I always fear the worst. HOWEVER, I KNOW that there is no pain in dentistry anymore so whatever needs to be done, I will do it because there is NO WAY I will ever live in pain again because of fear---because I found out there is NOTHING to fear! If you think about it, the dentist's leave their doors open. If anyone was in pain, they would probably close the doors, right?

It's easy to let the bad thoughts in our heads override common sense and allow the anxiety to take over. I had so much anxiety a few years ago over dental stuff that I lost like 20 pounds inside of a short period of time.

Nitrous is wonderful. I used that when I had a tooth pulled. It was AMAZING! Of course, there was no pain but the best part was I didn't care. About anything! After that I said I would love to have a can stashed in my desk drawer at work! HAHA! The oral surgeon was actually annoying me because he was talking and I was too busy not caring and relaxing!

I think the #1 thing you should do is find a dentist you are comfortable with. It really makes all the difference. I drive 45 minutes (both ways) to my dentist because he is worth it. He and his staff are like friends to me. I threatened him that he better not ever retire! LOL
 
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Emma1988

Junior member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
7
I want to thank you all so, so much for your support and words of encouragement.

I have been an absolute snappy crocodile at work all day and shaking (even went to do my filing for abit and have a sob!) I have honestly never been more scared of anything in my entire life and I like to think I'm tough as old boots. I was riding to work and as stupid as it sounds I was praying I fell off my bike and broke my bloody leg just so I wouldn't have to go through with it! (logical right?!)

I stood outside the door with jelly legs, feeling like my heart was going to burst right out my chest. Then I got a text from my best mate saying "You'd be stunning even if you were gummy, get in there Emma" and that was the push I needed.

Walked right in, receptionist was so lovely and said "Hi, are you our new lady?" I said "Yes, very nervous lady" and burst out crying. I hate crying in front of people and very rarely do it but I couldn't hold it back any longer. She was absolutely lovely and talked very slowly through me filling in the forms because my brain does NOT work when I'm scared or nervous (God knows how I got through my uni exams!) The entire time she was very nice and told me to take a deep breath and try and calm down. I sat in the waiting room for about 5 minutes which felt more like 5 years.

Then I got called in, the dentist smiled and said "Hi Emma, I don't believe we've met before, are you ok?" and shook my hand and passed me a tissue. I told I was nervous and embarrassed and ashamed and he said "You have nothing to be ashamed of, you're here now and I want you to leave with a smile on your face. I'm just going to have a look and I promise it won't hurt a bit". Sat in the chair and he said "Ready when you are". That first moment of opening my mouth and letting him look had me in tears yet again. He counted and checked the teeth and was incredibly gentle. Then I had some xrays done and was sent back to the waiting room. Another 17 days passed while I was sitting there!

Then the absolutely lovely dental nurse called me back in. After all the panicking and all the shame at the state of my mouth I thought it was going to be terrible news. I said "Am I going to have to have them all removed?" He laughed and said "I am happy to tell you all of your teeth are staying in there!" Showed me the xrays and told me I need 4 fillings (all 4 of those are to replace old fillings that either have some decay under them or are loose/cracked from me grinding) and a good scale and polish. I asked him about the other teeth I thought were done for because I didn't quite believe him and he said what I see as damage is actually nicotine stains, not decay. Boo to me being a dirty smoker but at least there's no decay there.

As he was explaining it the receptionist actually came in because she was desperate to see how I was doing and couldn't wait any longer apparently.

So yeah, 2 fillings to be done on the 2nd March and 2 fillings and the cleaning on 15th. I could actually have a healthy mouth in 6 weeks time and the thought of that makes me so happy. I thanked them all for being so kind and they said they were just happy to see my grin!

I will never not go again, I need to work on this fear once and for all. Just want people to hear that just because you think it's all a huge disaster doesn't mean it will be. Sorry for the 1000 word essay but thank you to you all for your help. Now to psych myself up for the fillings!! x
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
2,166
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Yay!!! It sounds like you've found a 'keeper'! It also sounds like he will be able to talk you through the fillings and keep you pain free. A huge congrats to you!!!
 
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Emma1988

Junior member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
7
Really is true what everyone says - having a nice dentist/team really does make the world of difference!
 
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Patti

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
749
Location
Michigan, USA
How awesome! We always think things are worse than they are. I'm guilty of it myself. I thought the same thing as you, and it was mostly just a bunch of fillings--which are no big deal!

I had the smoking and coffee stains too. I guess we don't realize because it happens over time.

Just wait until they clean your teeth and see how much better they will look after that!

So glad you faced your fear. I know when I did, it felt like the weight of the world was off my shoulders!

I am so happy for you!!!
 
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Emma1988

Junior member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
7
Thank you! Now i'm just convincing myself that more work needs doing than he's letting on. Just need to keep reminding myself that this is his JOB and he knows a lot more about teeth than I do. I'm abit worried about a front tooth that I think has a cavity but he says it's just staining. Hard to let go of that anxiety because I've built myself up for it to be so much worse for so long I guess....I shall know more when I go back!
 
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Patti

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
749
Location
Michigan, USA
One of my front teeth had a cavity (in the back so I never knew it)! I was scared about getting that one filled too but guess what? It was no different than the others. I felt NOTHING. NO PAIN. I repeat, ZERO PAIN!

I want to tell you something else, too: I had just broken a filling and my dentist fixed it. He told me he wasn't going to numb me for it. Okay........ I heard the whizzing of the tools but never felt a thing. That's proof not to let any sounds bother you.

I would think it would be unethical to not disclose to you anything else that is wrong, so it's probably just what he said.

I have a tooth that is patched up but will need a crown and I'm not even the least bit worried. Want to know why? Nothing hurts at the dentist anymore! My dentist told me he doesn't do pain, and then listed off a number of drugs that make that possible. He hasn't lied to me yet!
 
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