When I first found this site I was too terrified to even pick up the phone and call a dentist. I hadn’t had the courage to visit a dentist for over 10 years, and I was so ashamed of the state of my teeth I had started to turn down invitations to social events because it was easier to stay home rather than be afraid to smile or talk to people so they didn’t notice half my front teeth were in advanced decay. And believe me, they couldn’t fail to notice.
It got so that I would sit at home watching everyone else having fun. And it broke my heart that life was passing me by, and my kids were growing up missing out on family trips. All because I was too terrified to overcome my fears caused by the trauma of being treated for major bottle decay as a young child. My fear was increased by further experiences with unsympathetic dentists (one of whom went as far as shouting at me when I broke down and just couldn’t sit in the chair so they could examine me, even though I was in great pain and wanted so badly for him to treat me).
On top of all that, I knew I was being my own worse enemy, and my fears were irrational. How could I be so scared of something that everyone else did every six months? I’m an intelligent, confident woman, with 3 kids and my own very successful business. Adding more shame on top of everything.
What finally made me do something about it? I turned down a date. With a guy I really really wanted to get to know. Because that would have meant he’d notice my teeth and no one is going to find someone attractive with a mouth full of broken stubs and decay. And that really pissed me off.
So I started to look for a dentist. Then I stopped. Then I started looking again. And stopped. Finally, I found this site ? And for the first time I didn’t feel like the only person in the world who was too afraid to let a dentist see the state I’d gotten into, and my teeth crumbling away. Then I found a dentist. I went twice. And promptly back to square one when the treatment was painful, and even to my inexperienced eye a poorly done job (front filling left unpolished and looking like a lump of plastic). I went home and cried out of sheer despair. After forcing myself to finally confront my fear, I was in a worse state than I before. I felt cheated almost, and certainly let down, after it had taken so much for me to keep that appointment. I stopped going to work because I just couldn’t face anyone even friends at this point. In fact, by this stage, I couldn’t even smile at my kids, because I felt so ugly when I did.
Not a good situation to be in by anyone’s standards ?
The education I’d gotten from reading this site meant I knew that I was well on the road to losing my front teeth. I now knew that they were loose from the effects of plaque eating away at the bones around the roots. After a month, I managed to find what felt like the last of my courage. And started to look again for a dentist. Albeit half-heartedly. I looked at so many web sites I must be more informed about London practices than the BDA! lol
The final step came when I got asked on that date again. Second chances rarely come along after all. I found a site for a practice which seemed to me a little bit different from all the others, although I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that made it that way. And I made an appointment for the next day.
Which was yesterday. For the first time, I met a dentist who spoke to me before looking at my teeth. So for the first time, I told a professional about my dental history. That at the age of 4 I’d had all my back teeth removed under gas. And the time I woke up with ripped clothes and covered in blood after an extraction at the age of 14. How frightened I was that she was going to be cross with me for letting my teeth get so bad. And how ugly I felt and how I found it easier to not meet people and just stay home rather than let the world see the state of my teeth. And do you know what? She understood how I felt, and rearranged her appointments so I could go back later the same day so she could ‘tidy up’ the front teeth so I could say yes to the date.
I went and did some shopping, so I wouldn’t be sitting at home getting more and more worked up at the thought of what was to come, and not go back.
Okay so I was a little late (hey I’m not perfect), but I did go back. I arrived out of breath and apologetic. Again this wonderful human being understood and proceeded to numb my gums prior to the injection. Well, that was a first! Why did she know you could do that when none of the other dentists I’d seen over the years had? And why didn’t they have a TV over the chair so I could watch a music channel while they drilled away the decay? This was not what I was used to at all. A song I liked came on, and suddenly I realised I was tapping my foot along with the music. The next thing I knew, the drilling was done, and the filling had begun. The dentist told the nurse a joke, and I with a mouthful of instruments laughed. Yes, I did. Laying a dentists chair, halfway through three major fillings. I actually laughed.
The worst part of the visit was when she cleaned and polished my teeth after she’d filled them. Despite the injection, I felt something, which made me jump and panic for a second. But she stopped straight away and asked me if it hurt. I explained that it felt very sensitive, and for me, sensitivity is usually followed by pain. So I was reacting to that rather than her actually hurting me.
So she gave me a top-up injection which reassured me and 10 minutes later gave me a mirror to have a look. Which I was quite nervous of doing. Was I going to feel that awful disappointment again that I’d had after the last attempt at facing my fear? But I took a deep breath and smiled at the mirror. And promptly burst into tears. Someone was smiling back, with no black broken teeth or gaps, and no lumps of plastic.
After a little sit in the waiting room, I went back in to see the dentist so she could discuss my treatment plan with me. I’m going back in ten days for root canal treatment. Which I’m really not frightened of, although a little bit nervous because I know it’s going to be a little uncomfortable, but I know that I will be in control and that if I feel anything, the dentist will notice and stop to see if I’m ok. And not be cross about it if I’m not. Then after a second appointment to complete the root canal treatment, I’m going to have an appointment to prepare and take impressions for four veneers, which will be ready to fit two weeks later. After that, I’m having 3 fillings on what’s left of my back teeth. And then finally I’ll go in to remove what is left in my gums of three back teeth I lost long ago. Which the dentist said is a pretty simple straight forward treatment.
I’ll probably be a little nervous before all of these appointments. But I’m honestly not in the least frightened of having any of this work carried out. Because I know there is nothing to be frightened of. Certainly not of the dentist, who is far too friendly and nice to hurt anyone. And I’d be amazed if she’s ever shouted at anyone in her life.
And for those who want to know, the date is tomorrow ?
And I’m more nervous about that , than I am about a root canal lol
Story 19 of 24