• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone with an extreme fear of the dentist or dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a general dental forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

Tons of cavities, having trouble being strong

G

Guest

Former Member
I'm really having a problem. I'm in my mid 20s and I've always had good teeth cleaning habits. I brush atleast 2x a day, I use mouthwash almost daily. I floss once a week or so. Despite all that, I've somehow managed to get cavities in almost every single one of my teeth in the past four years. I've taken care of about 6 of them over the years and each time I became more and more fearful of the dentist. I had two root canals too and one of them failed resulting in the need to have it extracted. The extraction really pushed me over the edge when it comes to fear of the dentist.

When I went to the oral surgeon, he injected the novacaine into a vein accidentally. The novacaine had epinephrine which is pretty much like speed and I felt like my heart was going to explode. I sat there for 10 minutes thinking I was going to have a heart attack while sweating and feeling like I was in an oven. When the nurse finally came to check on me, that's when they told me what was going on. Even though I made it through it and didn't die of a heart attack, novacaine freaks the heck out of me like you wouldn't believe.

The ONLY thing that has made me feel calmer was a laser dentist that I went to a couple of times because he didn't need to use novacaine. The only catch was, it was very very expensive for each filling. I now have dental insurance and I'm being pressured by a new dentist to get work done before the first so I can use up this years benefits (only $1000 a year) before the 1st of Jan. He's not the nicest dentist in the world and he seems pushy. That in itself makes me pretty afraid to go to him even though he promises it won't be a big deal and that they even have an automated novacaine injection system called "The Wand". They supposedly do have a laser system there and they have "air abrasion" but from what I've been told the laser system is a first generation machine from 1995 and the air abrasion supposedly sandblasts cavities. If I can avoid novacaine I'd like to but again, I'm really scared to go in general.

I should mention that I have an anxiety disorder. I've literally had panic attacks trying to drive to the dentist in the past. Please help. If I don't get these cavities filled (15+) in the next 12 months my dentist is telling me that I'll need root canals on all of them or need dentures by the time I'm 35. He also is recommending gum surgury to prevent gumline decay from happening anymore. :(

Speaking of the dentist, he just called and said I'll need novacaine no matter what. Now I'm really scared. :/
 
M

mdakers1

Junior member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
7
Hi Ryan,
Sorry to hear about all the teeth problems but that is what we are all here for. I can relate to your anxiety and I will say to keep poking around (pardon the pun!!) here on the site for some very good info.
I would suggest that you really research a dentist and/or oral surgeon and find one that you are comfortable with and that allows you to ask a LOT of questions. I know you are trying to rush because of insurance, but you MUST know what you need before diving in. I just had 10 extractions on 12-23 and an immediate upper denture due to years and years of fear of going to the dentist. Putting it off doesn't help, I can promise you. But it's very important to find someone you are 100% comfortable with, and that can take some time. I'd look into a sedative practice and have everything you need done at once. You'll be sore for several days, but getting it all done at once is the way to go in my book. Perhaps some others will have additional thoughts. Hang in there and be patient. I'd hate to see you wind up losing your teeth, though in some cases that is the best thing (for me it is). But you are very young and I think the key is to find a good pratice to take care of you - they are out there but it does take a lot of research and patience. Come back and post often and keep us up to date.

Regards,

Mark
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,709
Hi Ryan :welcome:

Ryan(Guest) said:
I'm really having a problem. I'm in my mid 20s and I've always had good teeth cleaning habits. I brush atleast 2x a day, I use mouthwash almost daily. I floss once a week or so. Despite all that, I've somehow managed to get cavities in almost every single one of my teeth in the past four years.

If you're prone to cavities, mouthwash may actually make things worse because it can dry out your mouth if it's an alcohol-based one. Also, frequency of brushing is often overrated - you'll be better off brushing once a day thoroughly than three times a day not-so-thoroughly. The biggest factor is frequency of sugar consumption (including soft drinks). Things like dry mouth and acid reflux can also really predispose a person to getting cavities. Has the actual cause of your problems ever been addressed / established, and are you getting preventative care (fluoride applications/prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste)?

When I went to the oral surgeon, he injected the novacaine into a vein accidentally. The novacaine had epinephrine which is pretty much like speed and I felt like my heart was going to explode. I sat there for 10 minutes thinking I was going to have a heart attack while sweating and feeling like I was in an oven. When the nurse finally came to check on me, that's when they told me what was going on. Even though I made it through it and didn't die of a heart attack, novacaine freaks the heck out of me like you wouldn't believe.

This can happen on very rare occasions, and it wouldn't be a problem to anyone without heart problems or very high uncontrolled blood pressure (to a normal person, some extra adrenaline in the bloodstream wouldn't cause harm), but it's perfectly understandable that you would feel spooked after this incident - especially considering that you didn't know what was happening at the time.
It is unlikely that it will happen again. Some people find it helpful to know that their own bodies produce a lot of adrenaline in crisis situations, and that what happens during an incident like the one you described is simply an "artificially produced" crisis reaction. It can be unpleasant, but it's not dangerous.


I now have dental insurance and I'm being pressured by a new dentist to get work done before the first so I can use up this years benefits (only $1000 a year) before the 1st of Jan. He's not the nicest dentist in the world and he seems pushy.

If I don't get these cavities filled (15+) in the next 12 months my dentist is telling me that I'll need root canals on all of them or need dentures by the time I'm 35. He also is recommending gum surgury to prevent gumline decay from happening anymore. :(

Have you had a second opinion on this one, or is this one dentist's opinion? Is this the only dentist you can see on your insurance plan, or is there any reason why you have to stick with him? You definitely owe yourself a second opinion. My gut feeling on this one is, basically, - don't go ahead. Apart from the inappropriate use of scare tactics, it all sounds a little extreme.

Going on what you've said, you may be better off not rushing into anything, and take the time to seek out a dentist you feel happy with :).

[I should add that I'm not a dentist - this is my opinion as a layperson.]
 
G

Guest

Former Member
Wow! Can I relate! I have the same anxiety/panic disorder and the dentist will set if off big time. I can't count the times I had a panic attack sitting in a dental chair! Most of my dentist hated working on me, because it makes their job so much harder to do. In fact my anxiety can be so bad that when I drive past an old dentist's office I will suddenly have all kinds of anxiety and then I realize that my subconcious must have picked up on the fact that I was close to a dental office.

I agree with the person who recommended that you look into a dentist who will put you to sleep and have all the work done at once. I wouldn't recommend a bunch of root canals at once, because you would have trouble eating comfortably since they are sore when you bear down on them.

I had an acid reflux problem among other things and I have sat in dental chairs for more hours than 100 people put together. I've spent over $100,000.00 (over the last 10 years) on my mouth. I had every tooth (after many, many, many fillings in each tooth) root canaled and capped and then they started breaking off. To make a long story short, I lost the battle and now I have all dentures. Again, if I could have seen into the future, I would have gotten dentures years ago! It was the best thing for me as my teeth just were never strong. I ALWAYS took great care of them and I went to the dentist for cleanings every 3 months (even though cleanings terrified me and I'd make them numb me even for cleanings) but every time I went, I would have numerous cavities. In fact, at one point I only had six teeth left in my mouth and I went for a cleaning and had 4 cavities!

My point is that some people just have teeth that decay far easier than others. You need a couple of opinions and you need to decide if the pain, fear, money etc. are all worth it, or is dentures the way to go for you. My dental phobia was so bad and I feared dentures so much, I was willing to mortgage my home and everything I had to try and save my teeth. I'm here to tell you that dentures sometimes are better than teeth. At least the uppers are, the lowers can give you more problems. I'm not recommending that you go and have all your teeth pulled, but I would weigh it in as an option. Most dentist will tell you that you have to save your teeth at all costs, but sometimes they are wrong.

I hope some of this helped. You definitely need to talk to a couple of very highly recommended dentists and don't rush in because of insurance reasons. Most of all, phobics need a dentist who is compassionate to a phobic and is willing to do whatever it takes to make them comfortable. I would also highly recommend Nitrous Oxide. It is God's gift to the dental phobic.

Good luck.
 
D

dnm315

Junior member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
1
Hey Ryan. I am the same as you in that I have very bad depression, anxiety, and stress and I also after years of avoiding the dentist I went and found out I have 12 cavities. I was shocked and immediately in a state of panic which I still remain today. Some of the cavities are deep and some are not but treatment is needed and it freaks me out a lot. I also was recommended to get one of my wisdom teeth out but I may have to take a pass on that procedure. Being that the dentist said it would take numerous visits to repair the damage really has me on edge. Also, my dentist would not give me a timetable on how long I can wait before needing a root canal(which I am dreading). My brushing habits were not as good as yours though in that I only brushed 1-2 times a day and never flossed and used mouthwash. Needless to say that visit has upped my dental hygiene and now I floss daily and brush 2-3 times a day with mouthwash. Problem for me is I have no insurance so the money factor also has my anxiety through the roof. But I feel your pain and am here for you if you need to talk.

Nick
 
P

Parsnip

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
298
Location
Kent
Ryan(Guest) said:
 He's not the nicest dentist in the world and he seems pushy.  
I'm a dentist, and I wouldn't have my teeth touched by someone i didn't like! That may not be terribly helpful to you, but if your dentist is being 'pushy' I'd suggest that you find a different one. Nice ones do exist.

Ryan(Guest) said:
That in itself makes me pretty afraid to go to him even though he promises it won't be a big deal and that they even have an automated novacaine injection system called "The Wand".  They supposedly do have a laser system there and they have "air abrasion" but from what I've been told the laser system is a first generation machine from 1995 and the air abrasion supposedly sandblasts cavities.  If I can avoid novacaine I'd like to but again, I'm really scared to go in general.

The wand seems to work well for painless injections, but the Dentist should also have adrenaline-free anaesthetic available too, no matter what technique they use to make you numb. Air abrasion is painless for shallow cavities and removes the dreaded whine of the usual handpiece, but may be of limited use if you have existing fillings which need to be removed. Lasers, I have no experience of so I can't help you there, sorry.

Ryan(Guest) said:
 If I don't get these cavities filled (15+) in the next 12 months my dentist is telling me that I'll need root canals on all of them or need dentures by the time I'm 35.  He also is recommending gum surgury to prevent gumline decay from happening anymore. :(
Did your dentist actually say that to you? If so, I'd vote with my feet. ie don't go back! Go and find yourself a nice dentist. By 'nice' i don't mean a dentist who will pat you on the head and say 'everythings gonna be just fine sonny, now run along and we'll see you next year.' but one who will openly, honestly, and professionally discuss your treatment plan and the options available to you. Word of mouth is a fairly good recommendation, so ask around and see if you can't find someone better suited for you.

Has your dentist discussed prevention? ie how to avoid further cavities. If your oral hygiene is as good as you suggest then there must be something that is causing the teeth to decay. A prevention-orientated practice would normally be looking at the factors involved in decay, be it acid reflux, too much sugar in the diet, poor brushing, or even over brushing. These need to be addressed. What's the point in your dentist filling the teeth if they are just going to quickly become decayed again? Also, what caused the gum-line decay? have you brushed away the gums by being over zealous with your cleaning, or just cleaned all the other parts of the teeth and missed the neck of the teeth?

Most of the factors which contribute to decay are within your control. I'd do some research on that and try to solve any problems that you can identify, especially as you aren't too fond of dental treatment!

Hope that helps in some way. Do post back and let us know how you are getting on.

:)
 
Top