In complete, utter, desperation I posted a thread on the support forum on Thursday afternoon. I was right at the very bottom. I even had a total breakdown on Thursday night and became suicidal at the thought of either living with more tooth pain or having to see a dentist. I actually went out the door that night with plans of ending my life.
By the next morning I had painlessly received 6 (complicated) extractions, and was feeling *absolutely fine*.
I hope this can be of some comfort to those who are at the very bottom and can’t face the thought of oral surgery to cure their problems.
Here’s my story. It’s long so bear with me.
In my teenage years I had some very bad experiences with dentists. One dentist repeatedly failed to get me numb during some very deep fillings, and when I was screaming and pleading for him to stop, he refused and claimed I was making it all up. Only when I physically tried to get out of the chair did he agree to top up my local anaesthetic. On one occasion he actually held me down.
I then needed to have both toenails on my big toes removed as they’d become ingrown. I had the same problem. The surgeon didn’t give me enough local, and refused to top it up even when I was screaming. The injections were also rushed and painful, I actually passed out as the LA was being administered, due to the pain. By then I had lost all trust in surgeons and doctors to give me any level of care during an operation.
I then had further problems as the ogre dentist previously mentioned had failed to do several fillings properly and had left me with underlying decay which eventually slowly killed two teeth, with excruciatingly painful results.
In my early twenties my wisdom teeth came in, and since I couldn’t reach them for cleaning, they slowly and painfully rotted too. But despite suffering four concurrent abscesses, I refused point blank to ever, ever see a dentist again.
Over the years this developed into a very complex and severe phobia of everything clinical. Needles, blood, even seeing someone wearing dental or surgical clothing would send me to the bathroom to be sick.
Then, six years ago one of my upper premolars broke in a cycle accident. It rotted away to nothing more than a foul tasting, excruciatingly painful stump. I could hardly eat.
When the pain became too great I eventually tried to find a dentist to just ‘get it over with’. The NHS referred me to a dentist in Dunfermline, and this was the worst thing that could have happened. He was even more of an ogre… blamed me for all the problems, criticised the state of my teeth, then aggressively poked each one with a DIRTY probe – even the abscessed ones. I actually just walked out, refused to pay him, and told him I was going to report him. I was close to physically assaulting the man, I was so angry. I do NOT know how these people are allowed to practise. They should be in jail.
That was two years ago. Thanks to reading the posts on this forum, I eventually got in touch with Fraser Hendrie of Craigentinny dental practice in Edinburgh. What a difference. This guy is so good that he managed to change my view of dentists in a single visit. Although I couldn’t let him treat me, I knew just from his patience and manner that he’d give a whole different level of care.
Fraser appreciated that I’d need some sedation for treatment, and referred me to David Offord of Dunedin Dental Solutions in Edinburgh. David is also a star, and his patience and manner is both reassuring and confidence inspiring. He’s so relaxed, and behaves like a true professional.
So, I had the date set for six extractions under IV sedation (3 of which were broken stumps and one was buried in gum). Still, as the date approached I had nightmares every night, and as mentioned, on the eve of the operation I actually had a complete breakdown and refused to go.
Here’s how I managed to actually do it.
- My girlfriend managed to talk me round to taking it in little baby steps. Getting dressed. Having something to eat. Getting into the car. Having the option of escape at ANY point with no pressure at all.
- Diazepam. It changed me from a locked up, shivering wreck, to a chilled, happy, and controlled person. I highly recommend it.
- Having a 5-minute breather before letting anyone touch me. If your dentist doesn’t let you have a breather, you need to find someone else.
- AMETOP numbing cream. I have a mortal fear of needles, and I find injections unbearable. It doesn’t help being a redhead with sensitive skin. Every injection I’ve had in my life has been intolerable. However, David managed to get the IV in without me even noticing. I actually just turned around and it was in. The stuff is that good. I did not even feel any pressure. You can get a tube of it from your pharmacist for a few pounds, and it needs to stay in the fridge. If you need proof, buy two tubes, and use one a couple of days before your operation, just to reassure yourself how deeply numb it makes you.
- The IV sedation itself. I was utterly sceptical that this was going to work at all but believe me, it’s like magic. One minute my girlfriend was putting an eye mask on me in the dentist’s chair. The next thing I remember properly is waking up in my own bed. I don’t remember being given the locals. I don’t remember a single tooth being pulled. Apparently, he had to section a tooth which required a lot of drilling, but despite remembering hearing a drill at one point, I don’t remember anything else. I do hazily remember little one second snippets of the operation itself, but no pain whatsoever, and no panic. Take it from an uber-sensitive, uber-phobic. It’s MAGICAL.
The way I see it now is this. If you can find a way to get over that IV needle for the sedation, everything else that happens afterwards is irrelevant. Get yourself in the chair. Numb up the injection site. You won’t even be able to count to five and it’ll be over.
Thank you all, and good luck.
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