End of a Journey


by RichH

I found this website around 4-5 years ago, right around the time I started dealing with all of my dental issues. I certainly read a lot more than I wrote here, but I cannot overstate how helpful this website and its community was in helping me understand how commonplace dental phobia is, and how reading success stories and messages of support really helped me get through those initial terrifying surgeries. I wanted to come back and share a success story of someone who started at dental rock-bottom and is finally a happy customer of his dentist and on the verge of finishing a very long (and expensive!) dental journey.  

My battle with dental phobia started as a child. I damaged my upper front (adult) teeth severely in an accident and received awful treatment at the hands of dentists at the time and throughout my youth. This poor treatment, and the talk of what was to come for me to fix my damaged front teeth, created a complete terror in my mind at the very thought of the dental chair. I quickly went from regular visits, to sporadic visits, to no visits at all.

Although I would like to say that I made a brave decision to tackle my dental issues and conquer my phobia, nothing could be further from the truth! I would have happily never seen a dental chair again, but my body decided to force the issue on me around 5 years ago. I had been dealing with a massive dental abscess in my gum/jaw, and the pain just got too much to bear. I begrudgingly made an appointment with a recommended dentist … and so my journey began.

The first surgery was simultaneously the worst and the best of all my dental surgeries. I needed root canals on my two front upper teeth to clear up the abscess. To say that I was terrified would be an understatement – however, I’m sure that most of you reading this know that feeling. Sitting in the chair was even worse. Then the needle came and… ow! Oh… hey, that wasn’t too bad. Some more injections later were the last thing I felt for the rest of the visit. And what started as the worst experience quickly became the best when I realized “Oh… that was IT???? THAT’S what I was so terrified of all these years???” Even a multiple-hour, highly complex root canal surgery was really nothing at all.

Over the years since the start of this journey, I’ve been through almost every type of dental treatment imaginable; scans and x-rays, cleanings, fillings, dental impressions, whitening, extractions, normal and surgical root canals, and crowns. Each new experience was met with slightly less terror than the last time, until one day, I realized that my fear had actually gone. What I was feeling was slight, and completely normal, anxiety. What a great feeling!

Next Wednesday I am going in to my dentist to have my long-standing troublesome friends, my two front teeth, extracted and thrown in the nearest garbage! After a bone graft and some healing, I will be replacing them with brand new shiny dental implants. I’m a mix of excited and anxious. But there’s no fear – and that’s really the best part.

This is the last step, the final chapter in a 5-year journey of dental (and dental-related mental!) recovery! For those who are dealing with a dental issue right now but are scared to see a dentist, I will say this. Whatever pain, stress and worry you’re feeling right now is far, far worse than anything you’ll experience at a dental office. Getting over that first hurdle is the biggest step, and each step seems smaller from that point on.

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