Unhelpful or helpful comments/remarks

shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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My mom was never with me. My office seemed to think it was appropriate to receive dental treatment by yourself at 4 yrs old while mom was in the waiting room :confused:.

Yeah, I remember my mom being w/ me for certain appointments, but I know there were also times when she wasn't with me, either because she in w/ her own dentist (who was in the same building) or b/c she was in the waiting room.

It is hurtful to remember the way my parents didn't (and still don't) understand my fear or try to help me or comfort me at all. Even my best friend once said to me "Nobody likes going to the dentist, but it's just something you have to do". My friend is my age and she's never even had a cavity, so I guess it's easy to not be afraid when you've never even had an anesthetic injection.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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It is hurtful to remember the way my parents didn't (and still don't) understand my fear or try to help me or comfort me at all. Even my best friend once said to me "Nobody likes going to the dentist, but it's just something you have to do". My friend is my age and she's never even had a cavity, so I guess it's easy to not be afraid when you've never even had an anesthetic injection.

My mom kind of tried once to provide support/comfort when I must have seemed really shook up...that was during the appointment that she forced me into though so I wasn't real open to receiving any comfort or support from her at the time and declined any kind gestures offered to me! :mad:Her way of approaching the appointment overrode and contradicted all possibility of understanding anyway. On the brightside, that appointment kind of made the dentist seem like the "good" person and my mom more of the "evil do-er"! :devilish: So I saw the dentist in more objective, neutral/positive light because she really had nothing to do with the conspiracy and I was open to receiving comfort/support from her (mostly because I had no other choice) which she thankfully provided! :cloud9:

I have a best friend who has also never had a cavity and could never fully understand my fear UNTIL she had an infected wisdom tooth that had to be pulled at an emergency appointment and was messaging me freaking out! We understand each other much better now than ever before! :nod:
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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My mom kind of tried once to provide support/comfort when I must have seemed really shook up...that was during the appointment that she forced me into though so I wasn't real open to receiving any comfort or support from her at the time and declined any kind gestures offered to me! :mad:Her way of approaching the appointment overrode and contradicted all possibility of understanding anyway. On the brightside, that appointment kind of made the dentist seem like the "good" person and my mom more of the "evil do-er"! :devilish: So I saw the dentist in more objective, neutral/positive light because she really had nothing to do with the conspiracy and I was open to receiving comfort/support from her (mostly because I had no other choice) which she thankfully provided! :cloud9:

I have a best friend who has also never had a cavity and could never fully understand my fear UNTIL she had an infected wisdom tooth that had to be pulled at an emergency appointment and was messaging me freaking out! We understand each other much better now than ever before! :nod:

I wish I'd had that experience even once. My mom always liked our various childhood dentists, and since dental stuff didn't bother her at all, she was content to sit there and chat with them about whatever while I was enduring needles, teeth being pulled out, etc. I cannot remember anyone ever asking me during those times how I felt, if I needed a break or anything. It was just "get it done".
 
J

jellyfish

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I have very strong anxiety about speaking with health professionals - dentists, doctors, nurses, even the receptionists. I take responsibility for this issue and the problems that it causes, but I often have a very difficult time communicating with the dentist or others. I have less anxiety about having most procedures done (or at least that was the case at the start of the dental fiasco) so people tend to get confused if I randomly start crying during appointments (I am up to a success level of not-crying for about 80% of appointments, so I only tell the dentist/doctor about this issue if I will be seeing them many times or if I think I am likely to get upset during the appointment).

Most of my 'not helpful' comments were from the Terrible Crazy Dentist (TCD) who I only saw briefly but who started off my dental fiasco.

Things that were not helpful:

1. The TCD repeatedly saying "This is stupid, what a waste of time" while starting a procedure, in reference to said procedure. a) if this is a stupid waste of time, then why did the TCD suggest this treatment in the first place, and b) why on earth would anyone say this to a patient while drilling in the patient's mouth???

2. "My patients NEVER have sensitivity from fillings", said by TCD when I went in for the 4th time for an adjustment on the fillings that were so sensitive I couldn't chew bread pudding. I don't care about the other patients, I am having pain, and that comment just made me feel like the dentist thought I was making things up or that I was actually crazy and imagining the pain.

3. "Why do you want X", asked by various dentists when I expressed a preference for a particular restoration type (in this case, gold crowns). I understand that they are asking because it is an unusual preference, but it makes me feel attacked and very defensive. I also feel like I will annoy them if I mention that I like to research things by reading dental journals online, which makes answering the question more difficult. I end up pretending that I know a lot less than I really do to avoid getting the dentist annoyed.

4. "You were very brave", said by the TCD after first bullying me into having a filling done without anesthetic (for no apparent reason other than the office running more than an hour behind schedule) and then completely ignoring my repeated stop signals of hand-waving and making unhappy noises when it felt like the nerve was being pulled out of the tooth and tasered over and over and over. I ended up scrunched into the bottom of the chair, soaked in sweat, and in a bit of a state of shock. This comment came off as completely insensitive and made me very angry - I didn't want to have be brave, I wanted her to stop and give me the anesthetic like she had promised to do if I had any pain. I was in too much shock at the time and didn't say anything, but now I wish I had told the TCD how much it had hurt and how disrespectful her behavior was.

5. "Oh, your tongue is a little numb." said by the endodontist when I called the day after RCT#1 to tell him that I had paresthesia from the nerve block. I was at work in a shared office space and trying very hard not to start crying hysterically on the phone. This comment felt dismissive, as if he was minimizing the paresthesia, and I was too intimidated to say "No, actually I am having constant stabbing, burning pain". I realize that this is again my issue with the communication anxiety, but if he had instead just asked how my tongue was feeling instead of telling me how it felt, I would have been able to tell him that I was actually in a lot of pain.


Things that have been helpful:

1. The most helpful was actually an intervention by the really great dental assistant at the New Dentists office (where I fled with a host of problems induced by TCD). The endodontist office had not sent along the report that they were supposed to send, and the ND and I ended up having a very confused discussion since I thought that ND had all the info from the endodontist and he had no idea what I was talking about, ending up with me becoming extremely frustrated and on the verge of tears. The assistant, to whom I had explained what the endodontist had said at the start of the appointment, intervened and got things straightened out before I became completely incoherent and/or started crying (again).


Things that were not said that would have been helpful:

1. I wish that TCD had given me an explanation of exactly what the treatment plan was (instead of a printout listing of gibberish), explained the pros and cons of composite fillings (that I would not have agreed to if I had known about) and also mentioned the possibility of needing RCT if the filling replacements went wrong (I had no idea). Because she explained nothing, and I ended up with pretty much a worst-case scenario outcome, I now have zero trust of anything that I am told by any dental professionals, and I feel like I need to do all of my own research instead.

2. I wish the endodontist had at least given a token apology for causing the paresthesia. I just wanted some acknowledgement that the injection ended up causing me months of pain. While I know there is a huge fear of being sued, it was an accident, and I don't blame him, plus I went back for two more root canals before the paresthesia even wore off, so there was no reason to be afraid of me and plenty of opportunity to say something.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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I wish I'd had that experience even once. My mom always liked our various childhood dentists, and since dental stuff didn't bother her at all, she was content to sit there and chat with them about whatever while I was enduring needles, teeth being pulled out, etc. I cannot remember anyone ever asking me during those times how I felt, if I needed a break or anything. It was just "get it done".
Well I didn't get much from her she just asked if I would like her to go back with me and I said no thanks. I prefer to face stuff on my own and don't like people seeing me in a vulnerable state it only makes me selfconscious and exacerbates my anxiety. That is horrible that your mom was insensitive to your distress though. No point in having her with you if she is not going to advocate for you. The first time a dentist was ever concerned about how I felt was at that appointment I was forced into. Probably a good thing or I never would have went back and I was almost of age to make those decisions.
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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Well I didn't get much from her she just asked if I would like her to go back with me and I said no thanks. I prefer to face stuff on my own and don't like people seeing me in a vulnerable state it only makes me selfconscious and exacerbates my anxiety. That is horrible that your mom was insensitive to your distress though. No point in having her with you if she is not going to advocate for you. The first time a dentist was ever concerned about how I felt was at that appointment I was forced into. Probably a good thing or I never would have went back and I was almost of age to make those decisions.

Yeah, it still makes me mad when I think of the way my parents dealt (as in, didn't deal with) my fear. I know that I cannot blame them forever, and I know that they have no idea how much it impacted me or how much I struggle with it now.

As soon as I was out of my parents' house, I decided I was never going back to a dentist. I was tired of being poked and tortured and reprimanded; of course, that plan only worked for about 12 years before I had to go back. But at least now I'm at a different office, in a different state, and my husband tries really hard to understand my fear and help me through it whenever it flares up. Plus, if I ever have children, I am going to bend over backward to make sure that they have positive experiences with dentistry, and if they are afraid of something, I will know how they feel and comfort them.
 
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gettingthere

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Yeah, it still makes me mad when I think of the way my parents dealt (as in, didn't deal with) my fear. I know that I cannot blame them forever, and I know that they have no idea how much it impacted me or how much I struggle with it now.

As soon as I was out of my parents' house, I decided I was never going back to a dentist. I was tired of being poked and tortured and reprimanded; of course, that plan only worked for about 12 years before I had to go back. But at least now I'm at a different office, in a different state, and my husband tries really hard to understand my fear and help me through it whenever it flares up. Plus, if I ever have children, I am going to bend over backward to make sure that they have positive experiences with dentistry, and if they are afraid of something, I will know how they feel and comfort them.

I couldn’t agree more with this.

My own childhood experiences had a distinct pattern to dental appointments.

The reminder card would arrive in the post and mum would start to stress about the upcoming appointment saying she was afraid to go. My father, who has never seen a dentist during my lifetime and when asked used to tell me that (a) only women go to dentists and (b) he doesn’t like them and when you are an adult you can decide not to go, would get exasperated and shout at her saying that she was making too much fuss and should either put her mind to going in which case she shouldn’t complain, or, if it were too stressful, decide not to go at all. Black and white. Easy as that!

Of course, I realise that both my parents were, and probably still are, dental phobic and my dad was covering up and projecting his own feelings onto my mum. I should also note that neither have ever been difficult or abusive and generally had a very loving relationship but dentistry brought out the worst in our family.
So mum and I would trudge to the nasty dental office and would always go into the room together. My mother would go first and as soon as she sat in the chair would start to shake and often cry. Here’s the thing; I remember the dentist being really quite to her and talking her through everything to try to relax her. Unfortunately I was witness to some horrific looking fillings, injections and other procedures with massive scary instruments being used whilst me mother writhed and cried. Then it would be my turn and I would try everything to avoid getting near that chair and going through the same. You would think my mother would comfort me but no, by this time she would have gone into the same defensive projecting mode as my father and would get angry at my misbehaving. Rather that offering me the same comfort (which was obviously stored for adults only) the dentist would take cues from my mother and tell me I was naughty and every time would end up with me being wrestled and pinned onto the chair to threats of “wait ‘til I get you home/tell your father” from my mother and being mocked and told I was being silly by the dentist. There was never any empathy or comfort. When I was 14 I decided to take a stand and demanded to see the dentist on my own on a different day from my mother. I was terrified, of course, but determined to let it be a turning point in taking control of my fear. All went well until my father, of all people, turned up at the school gates to announce to all my classmates that they knew what I was planning and couldn’t be trusted to attend the appointment alone, so frogmarched me to the office in tears. That was my last appointment for 13 years and when I refused to go back my dad just told my mum that given his example, I couldn’t be forced.

I have tried to talk to both parents about their fear over the years but they see it as a personal attack and deny that they would ever be so weak-minded. The strange thing is that although I am now pretty much dentally healthy and have been seeing a fantastic dentist for 6 years, I still feel I have to keep this a secret from them as it is better for them to think I am avoiding dentistry then nervously attending appointments. Yep, people are strange. My fears are grounded in reality though – just earlier this year we had a family meal where my brother mentioned he had given blood that morning which gave both parents an opportunity to single me out and recount all the times I had been pathetic, screamed the place down during injections and even continued this kind of behaviour into adulthood. Certainly no chance of ever getting sympathy or comfort from them.

I do have a real bee in my bonnet about the way some parents do not empathise with children over dental anxiety and like Shamrockerin would bend over backwards to comfort any child in my care who displays the kind of anxieties that I did – and still do – as a child. More annoying still, are the people who instil a sense of fear before the poor kid has even entered the office. Even the best destists hardly stand a chance in these situations. I remember when my nephew had his very first appointment, he was quite nonplussed until his parents, grandparents and other family members started mocking him in that patronising sing-song way “Oh poor little boy” “never mind, it will be over quick” or the horribly ominous “you’ll know all about it now…”. Then there were the well-meaning “don’t worry, it won’t hurt” or the misguided threats of “just remember to sit still, behave and do what the dentist tell you so that you don’t make him angry”. I tried to redress the balance by talking to him about making a new friend in the dentist and how much fun(!) it can be to ride on a big moving chair and how the dentist would count his teeth and clean them which would feel really nice afterwards but my FiL roared in saying that the dentist is no-one’s friend and I wasn’t doing the boy any favours by shielding him from the truth. By the time the appointment came around the poor little guy was in floods of tears because he didn’t want to go.

I also still see far too many parents and carers who seem so involved in ensuring their child is happy and free from pain or trauma in every other walk of life, refuse to comfort them after a dental procedure or discuss their fears with them in advance because there is still a prevalent feeling of dentistry is painful but a necessary evil and we all just need to get used to it. The idea of changing to a more sympathetic dentist probably never occurs. I think many people also believe that every child finds these things scary but most grow out of it in adulthood, whereas the truth is that if more dentists treated children with more respect and parents offered more support also, the fear would not have the chance to take hold.
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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I couldn’t agree more with this.

My own childhood experiences had a distinct pattern to dental appointments.

The reminder card would arrive in the post and mum would start to stress about the upcoming appointment saying she was afraid to go. My father, who has never seen a dentist during my lifetime and when asked used to tell me that (a) only women go to dentists and (b) he doesn’t like them and when you are an adult you can decide not to go, would get exasperated and shout at her saying that she was making too much fuss and should either put her mind to going in which case she shouldn’t complain, or, if it were too stressful, decide not to go at all. Black and white. Easy as that!

Of course, I realise that both my parents were, and probably still are, dental phobic and my dad was covering up and projecting his own feelings onto my mum. I should also note that neither have ever been difficult or abusive and generally had a very loving relationship but dentistry brought out the worst in our family.
So mum and I would trudge to the nasty dental office and would always go into the room together. My mother would go first and as soon as she sat in the chair would start to shake and often cry. Here’s the thing; I remember the dentist being really quite to her and talking her through everything to try to relax her. Unfortunately I was witness to some horrific looking fillings, injections and other procedures with massive scary instruments being used whilst me mother writhed and cried. Then it would be my turn and I would try everything to avoid getting near that chair and going through the same. You would think my mother would comfort me but no, by this time she would have gone into the same defensive projecting mode as my father and would get angry at my misbehaving. Rather that offering me the same comfort (which was obviously stored for adults only) the dentist would take cues from my mother and tell me I was naughty and every time would end up with me being wrestled and pinned onto the chair to threats of “wait ‘til I get you home/tell your father” from my mother and being mocked and told I was being silly by the dentist. There was never any empathy or comfort. When I was 14 I decided to take a stand and demanded to see the dentist on my own on a different day from my mother. I was terrified, of course, but determined to let it be a turning point in taking control of my fear. All went well until my father, of all people, turned up at the school gates to announce to all my classmates that they knew what I was planning and couldn’t be trusted to attend the appointment alone, so frogmarched me to the office in tears. That was my last appointment for 13 years and when I refused to go back my dad just told my mum that given his example, I couldn’t be forced.

I have tried to talk to both parents about their fear over the years but they see it as a personal attack and deny that they would ever be so weak-minded. The strange thing is that although I am now pretty much dentally healthy and have been seeing a fantastic dentist for 6 years, I still feel I have to keep this a secret from them as it is better for them to think I am avoiding dentistry then nervously attending appointments. Yep, people are strange. My fears are grounded in reality though – just earlier this year we had a family meal where my brother mentioned he had given blood that morning which gave both parents an opportunity to single me out and recount all the times I had been pathetic, screamed the place down during injections and even continued this kind of behaviour into adulthood. Certainly no chance of ever getting sympathy or comfort from them.

I do have a real bee in my bonnet about the way some parents do not empathise with children over dental anxiety and like Shamrockerin would bend over backwards to comfort any child in my care who displays the kind of anxieties that I did – and still do – as a child. More annoying still, are the people who instil a sense of fear before the poor kid has even entered the office. Even the best destists hardly stand a chance in these situations. I remember when my nephew had his very first appointment, he was quite nonplussed until his parents, grandparents and other family members started mocking him in that patronising sing-song way “Oh poor little boy” “never mind, it will be over quick” or the horribly ominous “you’ll know all about it now…”. Then there were the well-meaning “don’t worry, it won’t hurt” or the misguided threats of “just remember to sit still, behave and do what the dentist tell you so that you don’t make him angry”. I tried to redress the balance by talking to him about making a new friend in the dentist and how much fun(!) it can be to ride on a big moving chair and how the dentist would count his teeth and clean them which would feel really nice afterwards but my FiL roared in saying that the dentist is no-one’s friend and I wasn’t doing the boy any favours by shielding him from the truth. By the time the appointment came around the poor little guy was in floods of tears because he didn’t want to go.

I also still see far too many parents and carers who seem so involved in ensuring their child is happy and free from pain or trauma in every other walk of life, refuse to comfort them after a dental procedure or discuss their fears with them in advance because there is still a prevalent feeling of dentistry is painful but a necessary evil and we all just need to get used to it. The idea of changing to a more sympathetic dentist probably never occurs. I think many people also believe that every child finds these things scary but most grow out of it in adulthood, whereas the truth is that if more dentists treated children with more respect and parents offered more support also, the fear would not have the chance to take hold.

Gettingthere,

You have expressed everything so well. I def. got the idea that dentistry was "a necessary evil" when I was a kid, and even now people say similar things like "Well, no one likes going, but it's just something you have to do" etc.

I have written before about how much it pains me to see videos of children at the dentist, getting injections, crying out and in distress that their parents filmed. I will never understand why people do that or what purpose they think it serves. I'm an adult, and those videos scare the crap out of me, so I cannot imagine being a kid and seeing the video.:o

Even now, as an adult, I see other adults try to instill fear into one another. When I first started going to a dentist again, I informed my (now former) boss that i needed the afternoon off due to an appointment. He was just joking but he asked "Are they drilling and filling?" and I unconsciously put my hands over my ears and said "No I can't talk about it!". He was clearly surprised by my reaction since I am usually a very even-tempered person, not melodramatic at all. I know that very few people actually enjoy any dentistry, I think dentists themselves are aware of that.

It's one thing to think of it as inconvenient or uncomfortable or "a bummer", but it's not the same as being terrified, and this is why so few people understand the cycle of phobia and avoidance.
 
G

gettingthere

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Gettingthere,

You have expressed everything so well. I def. got the idea that dentistry was "a necessary evil" when I was a kid, and even now people say similar things like "Well, no one likes going, but it's just something you have to do" etc.

I have written before about how much it pains me to see videos of children at the dentist, getting injections, crying out and in distress that their parents filmed. I will never understand why people do that or what purpose they think it serves. I'm an adult, and those videos scare the crap out of me, so I cannot imagine being a kid and seeing the video.:o

Even now, as an adult, I see other adults try to instill fear into one another. When I first started going to a dentist again, I informed my (now former) boss that i needed the afternoon off due to an appointment. He was just joking but he asked "Are they drilling and filling?" and I unconsciously put my hands over my ears and said "No I can't talk about it!". He was clearly surprised by my reaction since I am usually a very even-tempered person, not melodramatic at all. I know that very few people actually enjoy any dentistry, I think dentists themselves are aware of that.

It's one thing to think of it as inconvenient or uncomfortable or "a bummer", but it's not the same as being terrified, and this is why so few people understand the cycle of phobia and avoidance.

Completely understand and agree with everything here. I have never actually told my work that I need time off for a dental appointment because I have seen these kind of jokes made to others - or everyone starts asking very personal questions about what is to be done. I always try to take the time off as annual leave or if this cannot be done and I do need to work for part of the day I say I have a doctor's appointment - which never leads to follow up questions or jokes and is still true. Dentists are doctors. My CBT Therapist suggested this when I spoke about how I feel almost "cured" and able to deal with dentistry as long as I am in control but all it takes is one tactless comment to set off the anxiety prior to an appointment.
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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I feel almost "cured" and able to deal with dentistry as long as I am in control but all it takes is one tactless comment to set off the anxiety prior to an appointment.

I understand how that works. It's not that anyone in the office ever made rude comments or tried to make me feel bad, but the little jokes like the chair being my "favorite place to be" and getting the room with the view made it hard to even try to imagine being anywhere else.

At least after a while in the chair, I can listen to my music and try to 'zone out' as much as possible, but those moments leading up to the chair are pretty hard and I don't think they understood why those comments might not be helpful to me.

One time I got into a huge fight w/ my husband b/c after his first appt. in 10 yrs, he was bragging about his "flawless mouth" (after 10 yrs away, he only needed one tooth filled!). This really set me off b/c it seemed to imply that because my teeth had so many problems that I was very flawed. I was already self-conscious enough about my fear and my teeth, and that comment, which he intended as a joke, caused a big fight.:redface:
 
T

tabatha7

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Erin, you have come such a long way. You are getting there. It's wonderful that you have a good dentist you can trust.
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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Erin, you have come such a long way. You are getting there. It's wonderful that you have a good dentist you can trust.

Thank you Tabatha. Sometimes I feel very proud of myself for getting all the dental work I need, and then sometimes I feel like it's something I should have been able to do anyways b/c seemingly everyone else in the world can do it.

I am starting to trust my dentist more. I trust his experience and his knowledge. But truthfully, I am still pretty scared every time I go because I keep waiting for something to hurt- it just seems like eventually something will, and it's just a matter of waiting for it.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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Thank you Tabatha. Sometimes I feel very proud of myself for getting all the dental work I need, and then sometimes I feel like it's something I should have been able to do anyways b/c seemingly everyone else in the world can do it.

I am starting to trust my dentist more. I trust his experience and his knowledge. But truthfully, I am still pretty scared every time I go because I keep waiting for something to hurt- it just seems like eventually something will, and it's just a matter of waiting for it.

You should be very proud shamrockerin! You really have come such a long way! You should look back at some of your old posts and see how far you've come. You say that it is something that you "should" have been able to do anyways but you are comparing yourself to others without fears. It's not about them, it's about you and your journey only. There are people who climb mountains, sky dive, and swim with sharks everyday too and are unphased by it but that would be a very big deal for me! I can't compare my situation to theirs and say that I should be fine because they're fine. Every person is on their own journey.

I also tend to anticipate pain unnecessarily. I feel like even with the most skilled dentists, there is always that possibility looming and we don't really have control over that. I feel like there is no way to ensure absolutely painless treatment. There will always be flukes here and there and I have had to stop my dentist more than once in the past. What we do have control over is the ability to intervene and communicate if we feel pain to change it so that we are not enduring painful treatment for the duration of the appointment. I think for me, it was good to feel a little pain and interrupt her because I felt like it was inevitable. I needed to know that I could stop her if I needed to and now I trust that she will stop and address the problem in the future. I still fear the possibility of pain but my anxiety is less knowing that I can do something about it. It also helps that she tell me over and over to stop her if I feel anything and frequently checks in to make sure I'm comfortable. It's only human to brace for the worst though, especially when we have been conditioned by negative experiences in the past to expect it.
 
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griffinej5

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This is 100% understandable. I also cannot stand people, dentists or anyone else, making snide comments about my teeth or my fear. Really, what do they hope to accomplish by doing that? I am very sensitive and embarrassed about my phobia as it is, and even a comment that's not intended to be sarcastic can be interpreted as a commentary on it.



I also HATE this! I remember them saying stuff like that all the time to me when I was a kid! I'd be hyper-ventilating/crying/panicking and they'd say things like "You're OK, you're OK" or "See it's not that bad" etc. I felt like they were lying to me, because I KNOW that I was not "ok". Also, it really invalidates the patient's feelings to say things like that b/c it is basically telling them that there is no reason they should feel the way they're feeling. It drives me crazy when I see videos of kids at the dentists (that the parent filmed for some reason) and I can hear dentists saying things like that in the background when the kid is obviously scared and in distress.





You and me both!;)

The sarcastic guy who told me I survived... yeah, I think he needs to do some of the work on one my teeth, or my dentist needs his help on something. The fact that he has to be involved makes me want to ask my dentist what would happen if we did nothing at all. Or maybe I'll go ask it here.
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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You should be very proud shamrockerin! You really have come such a long way! You should look back at some of your old posts and see how far you've come. You say that it is something that you "should" have been able to do anyways but you are comparing yourself to others without fears. It's not about them, it's about you and your journey only. There are people who climb mountains, sky dive, and swim with sharks everyday too and are unphased by it but that would be a very big deal for me! I can't compare my situation to theirs and say that I should be fine because they're fine. Every person is on their own journey.

Thank you KitKat. Like I wrote to Tabatha, I guess I have good days and bad days. . .actually more like good minutes and bad minutes.

Sometimes I think I’m doing ok, and that I’ll be able to keep up on this and that I really need to power through these appointments so I can get a place where the thought of dentistry doesn’t give me a panic attack, and then sometimes I feel like reverting and regressing and just canceling all my appointments so I can get back to a life w/o panic attacks and bad dreams and needles and drills.

I also tend to anticipate pain unnecessarily. I feel like even with the most skilled dentists, there is always that possibility looming and we don't really have control over that. I feel like there is no way to ensure absolutely painless treatment.. . What we do have control over is the ability to intervene and communicate if we feel pain to change it so that we are not enduring painful treatment for the duration of the appointment. . . It's only human to brace for the worst though, especially when we have been conditioned by negative experiences in the past to expect it.

Yes, I always anticipate pain whenever I go. Even for cleanings. Unfortunately I developed a "maladaptive coping mechanism" because of my anticipation of pain. I feel like if I cause pain to myself first, then whatever pain may occur during dental treatment (hopefully unintentionally) will be less noticeable to me. I still have difficulty using the word 'control' in regard to raising my hand to signal pain. It's an attempt to communicate, but ultimately the dentist controls whether or not to acknowledge the signal, and that's not really a huge comfort to me.

I have been lucky so far in that nothing my dentist has done has really hurt, but I still continue to prepare for pain. If he were to cause me pain, unintentionally of course, I think my trust would be directly impacted by his reaction to my distress. Obviously if he ignored my signal, or seemed unsympathetic, then I'd have trouble returning to him again. But if he apologized, or seemed sympathetic to me and/or let me have a moment to recover, then I might be able to trust him still.
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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The sarcastic guy who told me I survived... yeah, I think he needs to do some of the work on one my teeth, or my dentist needs his help on something. The fact that he has to be involved makes me want to ask my dentist what would happen if we did nothing at all. Or maybe I'll go ask it here.

I just saw your post i the Dental Questions section. Is there any other place you can go to get a crown so you would not have to deal with that dentist? Even if you have to ask your own dentist for a recommendation and explain that you do not appreciate the way this other dentist treats you?
 
kitkat

kitkat

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Thank you KitKat. Like I wrote to Tabatha, I guess I have good days and bad days. . .actually more like good minutes and bad minutes.

:giggle: I know exactly what you mean by this! I often experience a whole spectrum of emotions during a single appointment even if it's only 30-45 minutes in length. My anxiety has a few different patterns, sometimes it starts off small and gradually builds til my nerves are completely shot by the end of the appointment, sometimes it peaks at the beginning and calms down slowly, sometimes it goes up and down like a rollercoaster...rarely is it actually subdued the whole time and it never starts off with no anxiety. I hate the waiting room and the initial moment of sitting down and reclining the chair. Once that's over, there is a chance it will simmer down or escalate...it all depends on a variety of factors that I have yet to fully identify.


Yes, I always anticipate pain whenever I go. Even for cleanings. Unfortunately I developed a "maladaptive coping mechanism" because of my anticipation of pain. I feel like if I cause pain to myself first, then whatever pain may occur during dental treatment (hopefully unintentionally) will be less noticeable to me. I still have difficulty using the word 'control' in regard to raising my hand to signal pain. It's an attempt to communicate, but ultimately the dentist controls whether or not to acknowledge the signal, and that's not really a huge comfort to me.

I used to anticipate pain with cleanings because they used to always be painful (I had the hygienists from hell over the years) but now I only get a little nervous about the scaling. I kind of understand your coping mechanism. A few times when I had experienced pain and felt like I couldn't stop the dentist I would dig my nail into the palm of my other hand to offset things or I would squeeze a finger really hard with my other hand. It was the only way I knew to distract myself at that moment and like you said, I guess I would rather focus on the pain that I am causing myself and that I am controlling than pain being inflicted by someone else. Funny that you said that about the "control" issue. Kind of reminds me of horseback riding, they tell you how to control the reigns but anyone who rides knows that you are merely making a suggestion to the horse. It's up to them to follow through with the command you give them which usually works but it's not 100%. It's not a robot, it's an animal with it's own free will, you have to trust that the horse is going to actually comply with your requests.

I have been lucky so far in that nothing my dentist has done has really hurt, but I still continue to prepare for pain. If he were to cause me pain, unintentionally of course, I think my trust would be directly impacted by his reaction to my distress. Obviously if he ignored my signal, or seemed unsympathetic, then I'd have trouble returning to him again. But if he apologized, or seemed sympathetic to me and/or let me have a moment to recover, then I might be able to trust him still.

I think the reaction is more the defining moment than the actual event of pain. I have had a few flukes with my dentist in the last 10 years but because of her reaction (stopping immediately, giving me more local, apologizing, giving me time to recompose, and giving me control over when to start again) my trust was not at all damaged. I had a little more fear of feeling pain again during that appointment but it didn't affect me long-term. Unlike the insensitive hygienists who seemed completely obtuse to my reactions or perhaps just didn't care when they were killing me and my poor gums.
 
shamrockerin

shamrockerin

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:giggle: I know exactly what you mean by this! I often experience a whole spectrum of emotions during a single appointment even if it's only 30-45 minutes in length. My anxiety has a few different patterns, sometimes it starts off small and gradually builds til my nerves are completely shot by the end of the appointment, sometimes it peaks at the beginning and calms down slowly, sometimes it goes up and down like a rollercoaster...rarely is it actually subdued the whole time and it never starts off with no anxiety. I hate the waiting room and the initial moment of sitting down and reclining the chair. Once that's over, there is a chance it will simmer down or escalate...it all depends on a variety of factors that I have yet to fully identify.

My anxiety is really bad leading up to any appointment. By the time I am sitting in the waiting room I am a phobic mess that can barely speak. Sometimes after the injections, I can manage to calm myself a little, but it doesn't stop me from my scratching and digging into my arms the whole time. I think that is the only thing which makes me feel any degree of calmness because I feel like I can control the pain (amount and type) that I feel.

When I went to my dentist initially to have my crown re-cemented on, it took me about an hour to "come down" afterwards. There weren't even any injections during the appointment, it was just the whole experience of being back in a dental chair after so long away. Now I am usually able to compose myself as soon as I know I am done. By the time I get to the receptionist to pay, I almost resemble a normal person.
 
kitkat

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When I went to my dentist initially to have my crown re-cemented on, it took me about an hour to "come down" afterwards. There weren't even any injections during the appointment, it was just the whole experience of being back in a dental chair after so long away. Now I am usually able to compose myself as soon as I know I am done. By the time I get to the receptionist to pay, I almost resemble a normal person.

It's funny how for most of us, our goal is to simply be "normal" people or at least resemble normal people. I am usually a mess in the waiting room too. I can't sit stlll, I'm usually trying to suppress my trembling/shaking and appear relaxed especially if other patients are in the waiting room with me, I can't concentrate on anything or think straight and my thoughts are racing. Once I have sat in the chair for a couple minutes I can sometimes play off the normal card but that is usually very short lived once the chair reclines. Then after a couple of minutes things get better or worse and I don't really know why they get better or worse. I think a lot of it has to do with my dentist making small talk and distracting me or talking to me reassuringly...she can usually snap me out of my phobic state and bring me back down with a little conversation if she catches me at the very beginning and I typically stay pretty relaxed throughout the appointment. If she doesn't say anything and just goes to work, it tends to get gradually worse and my anxiety escalates. I guess I just get caught up in my own head :confused:. My anxiety leading up to the appointment isn't as bad as it used to be. It used to make me physically sick to my stomach now I obsess quite a bit about it but I don't get too anxious til I get to the parking lot. That's when the real doom and gloom comes over me.

Appointments always take a lot out of me though. Doesn't matter what it is, I'm wore out after. I think I get an adrenaline crash. I usually have a headache and feel really tired and drained of all energy. I also spend the rest of the day over-analyzing the appointment and everything that happened there in my head and worrying about stuff like if I appeared to be a sane person.
 
Aldridge

Aldridge

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I also spend the rest of the day over-analyzing the appointment and everything that happened there in my head and worrying about stuff like if I appeared to be a sane person.

I do that too! Every time I have an appointment, I write off the whole day as regards doing anything remotely productive. Good job I am self-employed.
 
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