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Thank You For This Site

Sol

Sol

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
264
Location
USA
Hello,

I am a 27 year old who had not been to the dentist in about 8 years. I've lurked here for awhile (maybe you can tell by the date I joined) but never posted much. I wanted to write this as a thank you for providing information and a support forum. This site helped me realize what I was afraid of and I feel like I can give a little back by sharing my story. (This will probably be long :D)

I've always been nervous being around "the dentist". The odd thing is I don't have some kind of horror story to share about extremely miserable appointments like most people with fears do. I've racked my brain to try to find what triggered this anxious feeling and this is the best I can come up with. According to my mother my first dental appointment was when I was 3 years old (I have no memory of this). She took me to her dentist but said I refused to cooperate at all and we left. I think she was embarrassed by this and thought that I was just being stubborn to be stubborn, not realizing that I was probably scared out of my mind. Unfortunately, I don't know what made me so afraid in the first place. (I don't think it was anything the dentist did) Regardless of what started the fear though it was never addressed at that time. So that feeling has been there ever since.

Fast forward to when I was 10 years old, this is the first time I can remember having a dentist appointment. Not sure what prompted my mother to decide to try again but she scheduled me for an appointment with the dentist my father was seeing. I let them do their x-rays and exam but I still felt very uncomfortable. It felt like the assistant was shocked that I had never been and that she and the dentist were talking around me like I wasn't there. Thankfully my mother didn't get good vibes from that place either so we didn't go back. The dentist had mentioned I needed a cavity filled and would need braces so an appointment with another dentist was scheduled.

I ended up back with the very first dentist I had seen (or refused to see) all those years ago. I was anxious about being there as the news of needing braces did not go over well. To my surprise he was the total opposite of the previous dentist I had seen. He was very kind and used the "tell-show-do" method while I was there. It went so well that he filled the cavity and put on sealants during that same appointment. I remember my mother mentioning to the dentist after the appointment if he could believe that I was the same girl who had refused to see him all those years ago. He had the biggest grin on his face. I think that dentist retired not long after that appointment. I continued to go to that practice for a couple of years and got braces.

My fear of the dentist crept back up on me when my family moved out of state. I ended up seeing another dentist for about 6 years on a regular basis. The thing is I don't feel like we ever developed any kind of rapport. It felt like I was just a set of teeth being shuttled in and out of the office every 6 months with an occasional cavity. This lead to problems down the line where I didn't feel like the dentist was telling me everything and I was too nervous to ask about anything during an appointment. The fact that it felt like those appointments happened mostly in silence didn't help either.

I was 19 years old the last time I went there. I saw a hygienist that had just started working there. During the cleaning she said she noticed a cavity forming and mentioned that I should probably have my impacted wisdom teeth removed sooner rather than later. She said she would bring this up with the dentist before he came in to do the exam. From what I remember of the exam the dentist said 2 things "open" and "see you in 6 months". I could tell he was looking and poking around at the soft area of that tooth but he said nothing about that or the wisdom teeth. At the time I was happy to just be out of the office but later felt upset about the visit. It was at that point it dawned on me, why was I still going there if I felt so uncomfortable and like I wasn't hearing everything that I needed to hear? That's when I decided I should go looking for another dentist.

However, the search for a new dentist didn't really start for another 8 years. Part of this due to losing my insurance not long after this happened. The other part came from a new found fear: embarrassment. Just thinking about going to the dentist after all that time would put knots in my stomach. The small cavity grew, its about half the size of the tooth now, and it turned a wonderful shade of gray. My wisdom teeth also decided to move causing some pain and forced my upper back molars out at a bit of an angle. A slight overbite has also returned. I felt really dumb about letting this happen and maybe the braces had been a waste. My imagination also took over and I began to worry what else could be wrong with my mouth. I just kept using the excuse that I didn't have insurance and wouldn't be able to afford the cost.

The time finally came when I found a steady job that offered benefits and I lost my only (somewhat) rational reason for not going. It took me months to get up the courage to call a dentist office that a friend had recommended. The call itself wasn't that bad but I made some mistakes. I didn't mention that I was feeling a bit nervous to the receptionist and when she asked if it had been awhile since a cleaning it didn't register with me that she would schedule a cleaning on that first appointment! The receptionist also wanted to email their forms over so they could be completed before the appointment. Looking at the questionnaire about dental history really made me want to back out of the appointment. I felt bad about letting my teeth go and now it was there in black and white.

I kept the appointment but I had plenty of time to fret about it. As soon as I sat in the waiting room i could feel one of my hands begin to shake a bit. I grabbed a magazine to fiddle with but thankfully the wait wasn't long. Something I remember reading on this site was to ask for early appointments to avoid waiting and I would strongly agree that its a good idea.

When I met with the dentist he introduced himself and then quickly went over the medical/dental history forms. I had written on the form that I was embarrassed to have not been in awhile but he and his assistant just kind of carried on like they would with anyone else. In the end that might have been for best since I didn't feel like they were judgmental in anyway or that this was unusual to them. This appointment was the absolute opposite of previous ones where I felt like I wasn't getting enough information. They took photos of my bite, digital x-rays and used an intraoral camera to take photos of each tooth. After that the dentist said we would go over all that in a follow up appointment but over all things looked good with a few spots that needed to be looked at. I did go through with having the cleaning after all that just to get it out of the way. It was honestly a great feeling to have both parts over and done with.

Second appointment happened yesterday and the dentist went over everything in detail with me. Thankfully at this point the gray tooth just needs a crown and not an RTC. There are some other things that need to be taken care of (my 5, yes 5, wisdom teeth) and some other minor things. But I feel better having some kind of plan going forward. I guess the next test will be in a couple weeks when I have the crown the done.

I'm hopeful that I can get out of the rut that I was in for so long and that I've found a dentist I can work with.
And if you made it to the bottom of this kudos. I didn't think I would write that much, lol.
 
carole

carole

Super Moderator
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
7,917
Location
UK
Hi Sol I did read all of your post and THANK YOU for taking the time to write this down for us to read. I am sure other people that have not been for a while will take comfort from what you have written.

I am also pleased for you that you have now found a dentist you can build up a trust with and feel comfortable working with.

Congratulations :jump::jump::jump::cheer::cheer::cheer::dance2::dance2::dance2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::yayy::yay::yay::yay::yay::yay::yay::respect::respect::respect::butterfly:
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,564
Location
United States
Thank you for sharing your story Sol! I have actually reached the same conclusion regarding the start of my fears. I have never had a horrific appointment that I can recall... the fear has just always been there and it went unaddressed for a long time through a lot of silent appointments at offices where I was a set of teeth and expected to sit back and tolerate whatever they wanted to do to me that day. I also was taken to my first appointnent at 3 and I do not remember any of it but my mother tells me that I was a bit forced into an exam and ended up vomiting all over the office and almost got kicked out of the office for bad behavior! :innocent: I've always been a fairly easy going and compliant child so I was surprised to hear this and figure I was probably just terrified! The only difference is my mother continued to make me go to that same dentist for many more years and with time I became more cooperative. I don't remember being forced into doing anything else but I didn't exactly refuse anything either it was more of doing things reluctantly because I didn't feel like I had a choice in the matter. I always remember through childhood whenever my mother told me I had an appointment it was as if someone told me I was being executed that day. The words literally carried the same weight of terror. Luckily I have a wonderful dentist now who has worked with me through my fears. I'm so glad that you have found the right dentist too! It really does make all the difference in the world! I'm not much younger than you. I'm 25. It is great that you have been able to take control of this in your early adult years when you have so many years ahead of you! That is very unfortunate regarding your extra wisdom tooth! Congrats on all of your success so far! :jump:
 
R

rabidstoat

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
40
Five wisdom teeth? You must be super smart!!!! ;)
 
Deejay

Deejay

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
726
Location
Isle of Man
Oh heck I don't have any wisdom teeth, maybe that explains how I can end up losing a fight with a saucepan and ending up in hospital :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::toofunny:
D.J:whirl:
 
carole

carole

Super Moderator
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
7,917
Location
UK
:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: well you said it Deejay :grin::toofunny::toofunny::toofunny::butterfly:
 
Sol

Sol

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
264
Location
USA
Five wisdom teeth? You must be super smart!!!! ;)
If only. :grin: Maybe I should ask them to leave one in so I can keep what little is left of my mind. ;)

@kitkat Its nice to know there are others out there in a similar situation. I always just thought it was odd that I didn't have some kind of memory or experience to link the fear to.
 
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,564
Location
United States
@kitkat Its nice to know there are others out there in a similar situation. I always just thought it was odd that I didn't have some kind of memory or experience to link the fear to.
I always thought so too. I think it is quite rare but it is certainly plausible that one could have a traumatizing experience at a very young age and not remember the details but develop a conditioned response to fear the circumstance. I also don't think an experience has to be particularly painful in order to be stressful or scary enough to a 2 or 3 yr old to create a long lasting negative impression. At that age, you are so defenseless and entirely dependent on someone to "protect" you. I can see where trust issues may develop after a negative first dental appointment.
 
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