My First Appointment After 16 Years


by DLW

🥳 So I went to my first appointment yesterday after 16 years and 3 weeks of constant worrying and anxiousness and if I am to be honest…… It wasn’t that bad at all; in fact, I kinda feel a little silly that I spent so much time obsessing and worrying to the extent that it made me physically ill.

It took every ounce of strength to walk through the front door and sit in the waiting area. Luckily, there was a lot of paperwork to fill out which kept me preoccupied; the dentist was running a little late which I was secretly happy about because I just could not see myself sitting in that chair!

When it was finally my turn, she apologised for keeping me waiting and was there anything specific that was bothering me (gosh where do I even start). I explained to her that I have so many broken teeth and I am petrified of dentists, and I haven’t been in like forever and before I knew it, I was in tears. She was so nice and said that she completely understands and that she always prefers to speak to her patients first so she knows exactly how to deal with them because each person is different.

She asked if she could take a look and explained that because I was a new patient, she was going to do a full exam and tell her assistant what to write down and not to be alarmed. I had a set of x-rays, and she cleaned my teeth without any numbing stuff, but she made sure to check that I was ok and said that when I come again, they would do a deep clean when I am numb which would make it a lot more comfortable. The cleaning wasn’t that bad – a little uncomfortable but by no means unbearable, and a lot of what I thought were possible cavities turned out to just be tartar, she said that I did so well and not many of her patients do so well with even a cleaning, I felt really proud of myself.

Before I got to the dentist, this is what I thought was going to happen:

  1. Lots of extractions, maybe even the ones in front (that was my biggest fear – losing all my teeth)
  2. Wisdom teeth removal (I have one that is impacted, I can feel it sticking out the side)
  3. At least 3 or 4 root canals
  4. Lots and lots of fillings
  5. Very large chance of dentures (top and bottom) 😱

This is what I was told:

  1. My teeth were not half as bad as I thought 
  2. I do need a couple of fillings and a really good cleaning
  3. 1 root canal and possibly an implant at a later stage. (So I know I need to start saving already because my medical aid doesn’t pay for implants)
  4. 2 extractions
  5. No wisdom teeth extraction (because they weren’t worrying me)

What a relief. I have already made my next 2 appointments to get my fillings done, and I couldn’t be happier that I went and came out the other side unscathed.

Here is my advice for super anxious patients: 

  • NB – STAY OFF GOOGLE there is nothing on there that will make you feel any better
  • Even though you think you won’t be able to make it through the front door, you will, and you will be happier for going
  • Things are usually not as bad as you imagine them to be.

Am I still scared of the dentists, NO, (finding another one will still be a challenge tho) but I am still scared of the tools and procedures. The difference now is I finally found a dentist that I feel I can trust and with her help I feel like I can get through any procedure.

My biggest fear was the judgement and the embarrassment once that was gone being in the chair didn’t seem that bad 😉 

However, I would never have taken the leap to go without all the help and support and success stories from the people on this forum. I will be forever grateful to all of you.

Story 18 of 25

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