• 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 dental problems forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Today was a new beginning

K

Knitfastdiewarm

Junior member
Joined
Nov 9, 2022
Messages
3
Location
USA
Fist off I want to say that I've been a long time lurker and without this forum, it would have been so much more difficult to screw up the courage to see a dentist. So thank you to everyone who has posted their stories and their support.
I am 53 years old and today was my first ever visit to a dentist. My parents never took me as a child and by the time I was old enough to have a job with insurance I was already too afraid to go. This spiraled into an intense phobia. I never talked about teeth to anyone. I would get up and leave the room when commercials involving anything to do with teeth came on. If friends started talking about teeth I would find a way to excuse myself from the room. That shot of adrenaline one gets when something terrifying happens to them? That would happen to me when anyone asked me about my teeth. If someone could just dart me in the wild like a zoo animal and fix everything while I was out and return me to my bed when they were done, that is the option I would choose!
I have had anxiety almost every single day about my teeth. I worried about how much it would cost to fix the issues. I worried about what my spouse would think when I finally told him. I've known for a long time that my bottom front gums were in bad shape. I never had a plan. I was never going to do anything until I was FORCED to do something. I had several abscesses in an upper right molar. The first one was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I was 19 or so and told my manager at work that I had a migraine and went home. I honestly felt like if I died that day, it would have been fine. The subsequent abscesses were not as severe and apparently I have a high pain tolerance. The only reason I was able to go for as long as I have without anyone knowing is that my bottom front teeth at the gumline are not visible when I talk or smile and the back tooth that is gone at the gumline from decay is not visible. Apart from the abscesses, I never really had tooth aches or pain. Telling my husband the whole truth was the hardest conversation I've ever had. He is the most supportive and understanding person I could ever hope for. He simply said "Tell me how I can help."
I was diagnosed with osteopenia when I was 32 and it has finally progressed to osteoporosis. My doctor wants me to start a medication for it and one of the side effects is possible necrotic jawbone. So how would I know at that point if any pain I had was from dental issues, or from the medication?
So today I had x rays and an exam from a wonderful dentist that I met a month ago for a brief meet and greet consult. She did not look at my mouth at that first visit and referred me to another dentist that offered a higher level of sedation than she was able to offer. They provide IV sedation and also general anesthesia, which is what I need to have to do this. So today I finally know the extent of my problems and have a plan going forward. I have a consult appointment set up with the sedation dentist to go over a plan and set up the appointment to get everything fixed.
I will need scaling and root planing, which I figured, and possibly several more deep cleanings to get everything healthy. I have one extraction of the root of that one molar. I have 3 small cavities to be filled. I was shocked that that there weren't more. I was convinced I was going to need like 27 root canals. I will likely lose the two or three bottom front teeth which I also figured. The doctor told me I'd need a partial and I'm going to ask about a bridge since it is only 3 teeth.
I feel like a weight has been lifted. I will be able to get the work I need completed under general anesthesia and when it is finished I can start regular routine care with the dentist I saw today. I took a valium for this visit and it made a huge difference in my anxiety level. The hardest part of the exam was knowing that while I needed my husband in the room for support, that he was going to see all the gory details. I also had a lot of trouble getting the bitewing things in my mouth for the x rays. I have a small mouth and I kept gagging and didn't know what to do with my tongue! I asked the hygienist if she'd tell me how to position it and let me put it in and that worked. She also put salt on my tongue to help with the gag reflex part. Weird- but it worked.
I'm hoping that I can get all the major work done under the general anesthesia in one or two visits.
I wish I hadn't waited so long, but I can't go back in time and I feel so much better about the future.
I also plan on seeking a therapist that can help me with my phobia.
 
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letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,759
Hi @Knitfastdiewarm and welcome! Thanks so much for sharing your inspirational story here :) . Wonderful to hear that you have come such a long way in such a short time!

Please keep us updated on your progress (oh, and do you mind me moving your post into the "success stories" section, because that's what it sounds like to me?)

Best of luck with consult appointment :grouphug:
 
K

Knitfastdiewarm

Junior member
Joined
Nov 9, 2022
Messages
3
Location
USA
Thank you Letsconnect! Yes you can move it. I wasn't sure where to put it. I have a consult on Dec 8th with the practice that will be doing the sedation and the required work. I'll report back then.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,759
Thanks so much, I have moved it :) . Best of luck for December 8th!!
 
K

Knitfastdiewarm

Junior member
Joined
Nov 9, 2022
Messages
3
Location
USA
Yesterday was my consult with the oral surgeon. I took a valium beforehand and my husband stayed in the exam room with me so I wasn't very nervous. I had two additional x-rays taken while I was there and I had a list of questions that I had answered. Work to be done includes full mouth perio/deep cleaning, 3 small fillings, and one extraction of the roots of a top molar that is broken and gone at the gumline. He also recommended some kind of extra laser treatment for my gums and the removal of two wisdom teeth--one on top right and one on bottom left. The bottom left is sideways and both are below the gumline. I agreed to have those things taken care of as I will be under general anesthesia and might as well get it done and not have to deal with it later. He also said that we'd take a 'wait and see' approach with the three bottom front teeth that the other dentist wasn't sure would remain due to bone loss. So I don't have to make any decisions about implants or bridges for now.

The thing I was having the most anxiety over at this point was how much it was going to cost. I'm relieved that I finally have that information, and that I already have the money to pay for all of it.

I wasn't expecting the wisdom teeth removal and that is going to extend the length of recovery and time I'll need to take off from work. I'm a little worried about part, but hey--at least it's only two wisdom teeth and not 4! (I only have two to remove) We're trying to schedule it for Jan 9th--my husband needs to check his work schedule and make sure he can take the day off to drive me to and from.

I've had general anesthesia twice in the past. First for the repair of a badly b roken arm, and the second for the removal of the hardware after the break was healed, so I know what to expect from that and I'm not worried about sleeping through the whole thing. He blocked out 3 1/2 hours to do all the work and my appointment will be at 7 am. I just hope that post surgery pain management and after care will go well.

Wish me luck and I'll post again once I'm on the other side of task at hand.
 
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borderer

Junior member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
8
Location
Wales/England border
Well done and good luck! Your case sounds a lot like mine. I didn't see a dentist from 16 to 56 due to childhood trauma and needed similar treatment. The best bit will be getting rid of the shame and not having to think about your bad teeth every day. You can just get on with life...!
 
S

Shakinginmyboots

Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
37
Location
New Jersey
Congratulations! You were so brave. Thats not a lot of work needed either. I remember that wonderful feeling of getting that first visit over with.
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
676
Location
US
Wonderful! Congratulations.

This is the best thing I’ve read all day.

I am recovering from a root canal (not too bad!), and your excellent posts gave me a little encouragement.

I wish you continued success going forward, including next month.

One little bit of advice for wisdom teeth: prep meals and (if possible) medications beforehand. And, this sounds silly but really helped me: have your Netflix queue ready. A good distraction 🙂
 
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