Personal Stories of Anxiety Disorders and Dental Phobia

12 years away but finally went to the dentist and it was a really positive experience

by MonteCristo

Used to have panic attacks just thinking about going to the dentist, bad childhood experience and I remember once fainting in the chair as a panic attack hit. So I just avoided going, and it had been 12 years since I last went. I knew my teeth had deteriorated in that time, fillings needed at the least, but I just couldn’t face it.

So throughout those 12 years, it would always play on my mind, when I was lying in bed at night was the worst, and I’d struggle to get to sleep some nights. At times I thought I’d just grow old, in pain with teeth falling out as I couldn’t face going, my heart would flutter just thinking about visiting.

So I went and saw my doctor about something else a few weeks ago and mentioned my dental phobia and she prescribed me 1 Diazepam tablet 5mg (just one) and said take it before your first visit, you’ll have no panic attack. She even said all I’d feel is “drowsy” in the dentist chair and relaxed. She also said “tell the dentist about your phobia when you phone them and see if they have experience”.

Well, of course, I read about the tablet online, and people said they did calm them down so just with that thought I felt a bit more confident that I had this pill that could help me. Without this reassurance of a “relaxing” tablet I’m not sure I could have phoned the dentist, but having it just gave me a bit of a boost.

So it took me another two weeks to pluck up the courage to phone a dentist. I found one near me which said they “treated nervous patients” and I must have rehearsed what to say 50 times before I phoned. I mentioned I hadn’t been for 12 years and that I was dental phobic and had seen that on their website they were good with nervous patients and they were totally relaxed about it, suggested I come in for initial appointment and they would put me with their most “sympathetic” dentist.

So the day came round today for the visit. I was so nervous but popped the tablet about an hour before my visit and the heart flutters did go, and it seemed to calm me down. It was weird because before I took it, I was a nervous wreck, but 15 mins after swallowing it I started to relax a bit. As I walked to the dentist for once I felt I wasn’t going to faint. So arrived and the dentist called me in, and we just sat on a chair and had a chat, she was brilliant. She said that I could do whatever I wanted and at any time she would stop, all she would do today is have a look if I was ok with that (which I was) and throughout the whole process, she was chatty and reassuring. We have a follow up in a week’s time for a hygiene clean, but again she said she would do that (not her normal hygienist) so I would feel more confident with her.

I couldn’t praise her enough. She was realistic and said some work was needed (a number of fillings), but it wasn’t like I’d have to get loads of teeth pulled out, and she said most people worry about the worst and it isn’t like that these days.

Was in there half an hour and at the end, I walked out into the sunshine, and the feeling was euphoric. The first visit over and a dentist that understands me.

So all I would say is this, the tablet helped, if you can get the GP to prescribe you just one, it just gives you that bit more confidence and will relax you just enough. Then totally be upfront when you phone the dentist and get the right dentist, experience of nervous patients is a must because it makes such a difference… I think I got my life back today…