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Time to face the truth!

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ScaredJo

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May 26, 2011
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43
Location
UK
Hi

After looking through this website and finding it enormously helpful it was suggested that I start a journal. I know I have a tendency to over think things so here goes. :redface:

I am 32 years old and absolutely terrified of dentists. I stopped going to see them when I was about 11. I then went a few times in my early twenties. At the time my dentist was private and he was an incredibly old school patronising man. I would walk in and he would make me feel like the smallest person in the world. I was so scared every time I went and was greeted by a supercilious, patronising man who would treat it like I was being a silly little girl. I then had to move house and thought this would be the perfect time to pretend I would get round to it eventually. So here I am, 32 and about to join the dentist.

What has prompted me to do something about it is I had a tooth that had crumbled away to literally nothing, this I of course ignored, hoping it would go away. It didn't! I then got an abscess at the base of the tooth and that I couldn't ignore. I ended up getting an appointment at the emergency dentist. I plucked up the courage to go, went in and he told me that I would need to take some antibiotics and he couldn't take out the tooth until the course of tablets was completed. That's when I got a bit hysterical and explained that he had to take the tooth out right now. He very nicely, explained that he could do it, but it would hurt a lot more and was I sure. Of course I was sure, it'd taken all my strength to walk through that door, if Id've left then I wouldn't be going back.

He took out the tooth, reassuring me as he did and told me how well I was doing all the way through. He then noticed that I was crying asked me if I wanted him to sing, I said yes and bless the man he sang to me all the way through the extraction! :giggle: As I was leaving he very calmly told me that I had severe periodontal disease that I had to get looked at or my teeth would fall out and that I needed 'loads' of fillings. He told me that he thought I must drink lots of fizzy drinks. I was embarresed so didn't correct him. I don't drink lots of pop. I brush my teeth properly and use interdental cleaners and antibacterial mouthwashes. I do however have an auto-immune disease that I recently discovered not only affects my body but also makes me more prone to gum disease and such.

I came home and looked at my teeth in the mirror. Sure enough, I have a receding gum line, two of my teeth have moved, pretty much every tooth in my mouth needs filling, I have stained teeth and worst of worst, one of my back teeth on the other side at the bottom has a great big hole in the side. This is how my other tooth started and I am NOT going through that again.

This was about three weeks ago. I have now called and joined an NHS dentist. I have my consultation next Thursday. My heart was doing somersaults when I made the call but I did it. I then as calmly as I could walked back into the office and booked a days holiday for that day, I cannot just take a few hours off and act like everythings fine, I'll be all out to make it through the door.

I keep telling myself I can do this, I HAVE to do this but the panic is creeping in. What if he's horrible? What if mine's the worst mouth they've ever seen? What about when they look at me with that she's never even seen a toothbrush look. What if they tell me that they have to extract all my teeth? What I they tell me nothing and I leave with all these unknowns still flying through my head? And so on...


Roll on next Thursday cos this is driving me insane ... :o:shame::scared::hidesbehindsofa:
 
brit

brit

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Congratulations on making an appointment - that must have taken lots of courage.
Actually you already know your diagnosis thanks to the Emergency dentist's summary. Be sure to point out the autoimmune disease and its impact on dental health and that should head off insensitive remarks.
You may or may not like them, NHS dentists are a lottery since you only choose the practice but they can allocate you any dentist or Associate dentist and the Associates frequently turnover quickly and often there can be a language barrier which is not helpful when you are afraid. Under NHS and GDC guidelines you should be treated with respect though.
Phone back and ask who you will be seeing so you have some idea what to expect...are you seeing a male or female dentist for instance...I can well believe they haven't even shared this information.

Your original private dentist sounds horrible but you chose to stay with him despite his being horrible because you didn't realise there was an alternative I suppose. I would strongly recommend if the NHS dentist disappoints that if you can afford it, you find a private dentist able to spend the time to sort out your gum issues - you may need deep cleaning and then regular maintenance with a hygienist. http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/faq/deep-cleaning/
All dentists are not the same but it is much easier for an unrushed dentist to give you optimal care and a pleasant experience.

Was the extraction painful without the antibiotics first by the way? I hope not as if so this will have fed your phobia some more and got you into thinking dentistry has to be painful when it doesn't. If your experience with the emergency dentist was good, can you not have him as your normal dentist? Must be easy enough to track down where he practises.
Finally have you 'driven past'/visited this NHS practice, does it seem pleasant on the face of it because if not, the next on the shortlist might be a better bet (IE grotty premises do not for good experiences make).

Sorry if this seems negative, I just want you to have a pleasant experience so you can keep up your visits and enjoy dental health from now on. You do need to break the pattern as only going along for emergency extractions is not really helping you stay healthy.
:grouphug:
 
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ScaredJo

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May 26, 2011
Messages
43
Location
UK
Thanks for your advice, I actually haven't driven past, but that's a good idea and I will do that. I do know someone who is registered with them and thinks they're fine (but doesn't have any issues to deal with, phobia etc). I have also checked out a couple of reviews that seem to be positive. It's an nhs only dentist but I'm not sure I'm not sure if that's a good thing (not quoting different prices etc) or bad (may need to look around to research other options) The emergency dentist I had was wonderful but from what I could gather he only works at an emergency nhs clinic. There is a normal clinic attached but they are not accepting patients at present, to be fair, hardly anwhere near me is other than one who didn't want to answer his phone ever which put me off slightly, hard enough to try and call without having to call all day. In fact the dentist I joined only started accepting patients they day before I called.

The extraction actually wasn't that painul, I'm not sure of the terminology but he did say that he wasn't going to use the injection he normally uses but was going to use something else that he then injected right next to my tooth and I didn't really have that much pain(was panicking at the time hence the badly worded explanation).

I think I may end up having to go private eventually but I'm hoping I can make a start on the NHS. Fingers Crossed o_O
 
brit

brit

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T
The extraction actually wasn't that painul, I'm not sure of the terminology but he did say that he wasn't going to use the injection he normally uses but was going to use something else that he then injected right next to my tooth and I didn't really have that much pain(was panicking at the time hence the badly worded explanation).
Delighted to hear that and glad you are not going in 'blind'. Fingerscrossed as you say and if you don't like them, you can go elsewhere.
 
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mghstl

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Joined
Oct 16, 2010
Messages
672
Location
Midwest USA
I LOVED hearing that your emergency dentist sang to you! What a wonderful guy.
I've been around here long enough to know the NHS is a gamble...but doing NOTHING is a sure-fire road to future pain and bigger problems. You have had a good experience, so take that memory with you to your new dentist. If he/she isn't as compassionate - move on! You will truly, honestly, I promise, feel so much better as you continue this journey. Can you imagine having another absess? Can you imagine never having an absess? Those thoughts were my biggest motivator. Keep posting here, because the support and empathy here is life-changing.
And, yes, absolutely tell your new dentist and his staff about your "phobia" and your auto-immune issues. You won't be the worst they've seen and you probably won't be the first patient with your special issues.
You will do well. I'm sure. Best wishes!
 
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ScaredJo

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May 26, 2011
Messages
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Location
UK
Thanks so much for support, I can honestly say that I wouldn't even be contemplating this without the experience with the emergency dentist and the support I've recieved here already.

Just got to hope that I manage to get a dentist that is straight to the point without being rude. I can always go private but the price difference is huge and I know that whether I keep my teeth for a while or not, I'm gonna need a lot of work doing.

One of my worries is that yes that guy was amazing but he's an emergency dentist, which means that 95% of the people that he see's are probably just like me and haven't been to the dentist for a while, otherwise they wouldn't need an emergency dentist.

Maybe I should try to remeber they guy singing when I get in there to remind myself there are some nice dentists out there.

Worried about how far gone it is now and what they're gonna say, if nothing else I know I need to pluck up enough courage on Thursday to try and get some definitive answers on how bad my prognosis is and if, (most likely when actually), I can expect to lose my teeth. The not knowing is killing me, at least when I have a rough idea I wont be jumping from one end of the spectrum to the other in my head. A friend of mine went to the dentist recently and they took x rays but didn't get the results straight away so still has no idea on the prognosis. I'm not sure after gearing myself up like this I could handle that.

Four days to go!
 
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Didn't see it coming

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Apr 1, 2011
Messages
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Hey Jo...glad you started a journal. Its the best place to come when you're feeling at your worst - hell, even your best!
I've been wondering if nhs good enough or not, had loads of probs, but...turning out ok - so far.
When I'm in doubt, I turn to internet for nhs dentists currently recruiting - some may be out of date but seem ok from nhs direct (i think it is) - for my back up plan. So, try that if it starts getting a bit 'hmmm this doesn't sound right'
My dentist pretty straight to the point - not always what I wanna hear - but its honesty, so I agree with you there. They shouldn't fob you off. ~And there's always a second opinion - if you're in doubt.

I'm the worst for self prognosis. I was right in my case, (lol, I would say that!) but only for some...and it has been my undoing. The worst time is when you book an appointment, and you WAIT and WAIT - a chance to think up what you will!
Its a kind of coping mechanism. But it doesn't help. It sounds like you expect to lose all your teeth, and are just waiting to be told that. Is that true?
Even if that does happen - there are different options, and things don't have to be as drastic as losing them all at once, and thats worse case scenario anyway.
You really can only start dealing with it all after that first visit. So - believe me, after you have done it...the worst really is over - no matter what you are told.
I had xrays and told the plan on the same day - so I guess it just depends, don't try and dwell on that...just get urself to that appointment.
 
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ScaredJo

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Messages
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Location
UK
You're right I am just waiting to be told that. To be honest even if I do get told that I think I'll handle it better than this. At least I'll know the facts rather than driving myself crazy. The worst bit for me too is the WAITING. I really should stop doing this to myself but it's Monday and I'm hyperventilating already. I could do with an off switch for my brain.
 
D

Didn't see it coming

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Messages
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We all know what its like...you can't think of anything but bloody teeth!
The one good thing about thinking the worst is that you are somewhat prepared yet hoping for better news, and the outcome goes one way or another.
Try to keep your mind off it as much as you can...
i know thats really hard...but just try to pamper yourself as much as you can, rather than think of the obvious.
When the day comes, get on here and rant or dance as much as you want to!
You will handle it...very well to...and we are ALL here to support you through it!
 
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ScaredJo

Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
43
Location
UK
Well today was the day. :oAfter driving myself into a frenzy this week I finally went to the dentist. I've never taken so much care to get ready to meet someone, full make up (even though it took me forever - mascara and shaking hands do not mix o_O) even had my hair done ( I think I was overcompensating for the state of my mouth). My partner of ten years came with me which almost reduced me to tears as she's terrified of dentists she won't even consider joining. Anyway I got there and the dentist was really nice. As soon as I walked in the dental nurse asked if I was nervous as my chest was bright red, so I explained how scared I was, my background etc.

The dentist was really nice and relaxed, didn't hold my hand (couldn't have handled him being too supportive but was incredibly friendly and non judgemental). The initial news was as expected, I have severe gum disease brought on by a combination of the auto-immune disease and a history of family diabetes (not the kind of gifts I was looking for from my family). I also need lots of fillings. News I didn't expect was I only need one tooth removing. I do have teeth that have moved a lot but the main ones have moved to fill the gaps from previous two extractions and since I've been using clorehexidine and they're actually pretty secure. Yes this will give me three teeth out in total but they're all at the back and on different sides. Apparantly the tooth with the side missing at the bottom looks worse than it is and can be filled.

What was re-assuring was I told him about my new and improved tooth-care regime of which he wholeheartedly approved, no lecture came :)and my appointments are happening really fast. I have one two weeks tommorow and another the following Thursday. He also said that he's gonna do the teeth cleaning at the same time as my first appointment :confused:. So at least I'll be numb and it's one less appointment to go to.

He told me all this like it was the worst news in the world but it's actually a lot better than expected so he probably thinks I'm slightly mad now as I was actually thrilled to be told the news.

I do seriously want to give everyone a huge thank you and a hug :XXLhug:for there support on here and see the emergency dentist and give him a big kiss (or maybe just a thank you card) as between you all giving me the courage to go, you've saved (or at least prolonged the life of) my teeth.

Yes there's work to be done and yes I'm still scared, but I can do this! :jump::jump::jump:
 
D

Didn't see it coming

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Hey Jo! Well done you!!! Omg...u must feel so much happier :)
I can't stop smiling for you...I came on today to see how it went for you, and what news!
It proves that first step is the hardest, and the earlier it can be done...all the better!
So proud and pleased for you, I really am xx
 
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ScaredJo

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May 26, 2011
Messages
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Location
UK
It provres that first step is the hardest, and the earlier it can be done...all the better!

Thank you so much! You're absolutely right and as I mentioned before I would not have seen it through without the support I've had on here so thank you for helping me walk through the door. I still have work to do and the dentist still really scares me but that was by far the hardest step.

I had a positive (if embarrasing) thing happen to me yesterday. I saw my mother yesterday (my birthdays coming up so went for a few :sleepyjuice:. I obviously have mentioned none of this to her. Out of the blue as only a mother would she told me that my teeth were looking a whole lot better. It was embarrasing for hear it acknowledged how bad my teeth had got appearance wise but at least it proves that me new and improved (obsessive lets be honest) teeth cleaning regime is paying off.

I've got this far this far, I will not let the fear stop me now!
 
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Didn't see it coming

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Messages
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It's always great to hear that...it really is!
And for your Mum to say it unprompted!!! Even better :)
You know something - i dread (i really do) anybody saying 'my what nice teeth you have' to me in the future - and no, not in a red riding hood way :)
Ok...they may not haha, but I won't get odd looks...so I do dread it!
I understand the embarrassment side of it, truly.
But it also goes to show how much we all harden ourselves up to others with having bad teeth, and to relax that is just - unthinkable!
So...Jo...start getting used to those compliments...and learn to love them!
keep up your regime, and even though the dentist is a scary monster ( :) ),
don't give up going...ever! Its worth every penny :)
 
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sina13

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Jun 5, 2011
Messages
2
Hey there, just reading your post, makes me feel I can relate to this, I just recently put in a post, 'bout going back to the dentist to remove my 2 front teeth, out of all teeth it had to be the front 2? lol my biggest fear is knowing that my husband has a wife with missing teeth? thats my biggest fear, I don't want him to feel that yucky feeling that my body parts are falling apart? lol I know it sounds terrible, but its just the way I am feeling, the last visit to the Dentist was in December 2011, I am from NZ, and it's 7.47am in the morning and I woke up to a jolt that I dreamt my 2 front teeth had fallen out? lol I don't have anyone else I can share this embarrassing feeling, so yo don't know how nice it was to type into Google and see all these different posts and it made me feel at ease, its funny I can share what I am feeling to people I don't know and haven't met yet, but not share this feeling with someone that I have known of 15years? I have this week to visit the dentist to remove my 2 front teeth ( an accident that happened when I was babysitting my 2 nephews, both their big heads sitting on my lap and they jolted back and hit their back head on my teeth, surprisingly their heads were not hurt, but it nudged my 2 front teeth) and since then, its been loose and I know it must look silly but I just coulldnt bear it losing them, but now i have left it too late, its a public holiday here in NZ so i wasn't able to go dentist today..lol I will keep posted of the outcome, but i am thankful to read your posts and feel a bit more courage...cheers
:thumbsup:
 
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ScaredJo

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Hi Sina13

Hope it all works out for you. Let me know how it goes. My next appointment is this Friday
 
brit

brit

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I have this week to visit the dentist to remove my 2 front teeth ( an accident that happened when I was babysitting my 2 nephews, both their big heads sitting on my lap and they jolted back and hit their back head on my teeth, surprisingly their heads were not hurt, but it nudged my 2 front teeth) and since then, its been loose and I know it must look silly but I just coulldnt bear it losing them, but now i have left it too late, its a public holiday here in NZ so i wasn't able to go dentist today..lol I will keep posted of the outcome, but i am thankful to read your posts and feel a bit more courage...cheers
:thumbsup:
Sina
If it was an accident you might be able to get care paid for by ACC cover in NZ. I looked into what was available for adults for dentalcare in NZ for another poster. That would extend to replacing your teeth as well which would otherwise be expensive.
I doubt there is any need for you to go round permanently without two front teeth if the cause was an accident so long as you get your treatment through ACC. Your dentist should be able to advise how to claim. At least enquire. Good luck.
http://www.acc.co.nz/
 
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S

ScaredJo

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Been on holiday for a whle so not had chance to post properly (was great camping, no people looking at teeth :)). So after days of winding mysef up into a frenzy again, I had my dental appointment yesterday. I was absolutely terrified yet again, although not as scared as last time. Mixed news to report. The dentist is a lovely guy and was incredibly friendly and supportive all the way through. He was doing several fillings and had to clamp my teeth to stop them from moving about which was unpleasant and a scary reminder of how wobbly my teeth have become. What did pleasantly suprise me is fot the first time ever having fillings it didn't hurt at all - although my jaw now feels like someone's tried to rip it open :censored:. He also told me that one of the teeth he's filled may end up having to be pulled out anyway as he filling is right on top of the nerve.

The main problem is that last time I went he didnt mention cleaning my teeth (they have no hygienist there as it is a small nhs dentist), so I asked him about it. Even I know that with severe gum disease it's vital. He told me that he would just clean them at the same time, so I assumed that he would be doing all my bottom teeth (I am having work on the bottom left and top left side of my mouth, but no work on the right side). He didn't he only cleaned the teeth he was filling. So now I have decided that the next time I go (next Thursday) I need to ask him again what will happen with the cleaning. If he will not clean them then I don't think I have a choice but to find another dentist, which is a traumatic thought, as I actually feel relatively comfortable there. :confused:




I'm back at the dentist
 
brit

brit

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I think the wording is that a clean is included in the check up for Band 1 if the dentist considers it necessary....recipe for neglect of gum care. Glad the fillings were pain free though. I doubt the clamp things were because your teeth were wobbly- they often put a matrix band round a tooth to hold the filling in place before it sets, it's like a jelly mould.
 
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