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Old 11-28-2003, 03:44 PM   #1
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dronandsue HB User
Question Delurking..dental phobia, bad teeth, HELP!

This is my first post after lurking for 2 weeks.

I have not been to the dentist in MANY years due to shame, embaressment and fear. My teeth are an absolute mess.(Missing, worn enamel etc) I so want to get them taken care of but I am clueless where to start.

Any suggestions?? I have reviewed dentist's websites in my area that
specialize in "sedation dentistry"...is this my best bet??

Thank you,

Sue

Any suggestions please !!!

 
Old 11-28-2003, 03:52 PM   #2
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Location: Houston,TX
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B.Bach HB User
Re: Delurking..dental phobia, bad teeth, HELP!

your best bet at this point is to make an appointment with a dentist so they can see what exactly needs to be done-when you go in they will talk to you,take an x ray ,look at your teeth and then discuss what options you have and you can go from there.The biggest thing is just motivating yourself to initially go and talk to the dentist-if you dont go in nothing will change,and it snot worth living in pain trust me.Also if you have a phobia about the dentist-whenever you get whatever procedures you need done,I'd definetly look into sedation dentistry.

 
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Old 11-28-2003, 06:54 PM   #3
Yos Yos is offline
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Re: Delurking..dental phobia, bad teeth, HELP!

Hi dronandsue,

Congratulations. Believe it or not but you've just made the first important step by delurking (I like that word ). You know you need to see a dentist and you're doing something about it.

If the type of sedation is an issue you should look up current dental sedation methods, read up on them and then look for a dentist that uses the method of your choice. There are different methods and different dentists don't offer all methods. It's important that you choose the method you feel most comfortable with. Concerning your embarrassment, the good news is that many dentists are now more aware that patients are embarrassed by their condition and have improved their chairside manners. The bad news is that there are still too many dentists who only see $ signs instead of people when they see a patient and don't consider their feelings at all. To try to avoid those kind of dentists you can use phone calls, letters or emails to explain your situation and to get a feel for how they treat their patients.

If it's the phobia that's keeping you from the dentist there are some good dental phobia web sites and support groups if you search the web. They can offer good advice on how to face your phobia and give you ideas on how to find a dentist.

Take a little bit of time to search and research. There's a good chance you'll find the help and support to give you the confidence you need . Good luck!

Yos

 
Old 11-29-2003, 05:06 AM   #4
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noneleft HB User
Re: Delurking..dental phobia, bad teeth, HELP!

Hi Sue,
just considering the possibility of seeing a dentist is a huge step for any dental phobic - you've been lurking for 2 weeks, so obviously you're serious about this - this takes a huge amount of courage (I've been there).
It is vital that you find a dentist who'll work with you in overcoming your fears. I don't think sedation dentistry is necessarily the route to go, particularly at the start, but it also depends on your specific needs.
Sometimes, I get the feeling that some dentists offer sedation as an alternative to taking the time / empathy / communication skills necessary to make their clients feel comfortable. Another problem with sedation dentistry is that the drugs you're given severely hinder learning, and therefore the unlearning of fear.
Having said that, sedation dentistry does have its uses (e. g. during lengthy and boring procedures, in certain cases where good pain control cannot be achieved using local anaesthetic - in which case general anaesthetic can be a good idea, where the damage is so extensive that it would take too long to get your problems sorted over a series of appointments, or where full dentures are indicated - in which case there's no great need for unlearning the fear, because you won't have to deal with dental procedures again).
So there are a lot of factors to consider. Choosing the right dentist to help you deal with your fears is of paramount importance - personally, I don't believe that sedation dentistry is the holy grail of dentistry for phobics, but again, it all depends on your particular circumstances.
As Yos mentioned above, you could try and search the internet for dental phobia support groups - this may be a good start!
Take your time and do your research, and don't rush into anything right now! You're by no means alone and there are kind and caring dentists out there, but making the right choice will take some time and research!

 
Old 11-29-2003, 02:47 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 263
Shaman HB User
Re: Delurking..dental phobia, bad teeth, HELP!

Hello Sue,

Congratulations on taking a step forward in facing your fear. Being a "recovered" dental phobic myself, I can understand your feelings about going to the dentist. I agree with Yos on this one. If you don't know someone who has a dentist they know is great with fearful/nervous patients, then phone calls, letters, or e-mails is a good start. Before you start making those contacts, take a moment to think about what is really worrying you and try to find a way to express that to each dentist. I know how scary and embarrasing it was for me to admit to my dentist how long it had been since my last appointment etc. but it really helped him to tailor the treatment plan to my wants and needs. You will know by the replys that you get which offices you would like to try just for a consult, that is just a talk if that is all you feel ready to do.

Yos is also correct that there are a wide array in choices for sedation. Don't listen to the nay sayers who tell you that using sedation will prevent you from really overcoming your fear. Sedation is a tool that you can use if you wish to help you get started on the road to a healthy mouth. Do not worry that you will be denied sedation if your treatment isn't long enough or extensive enough etc. This is not a contest, you do not have to compete to "earn" the right to have treatment in a manner that you choose, nor do you owe me or anyone else an explanation for your choice. My dentist is NOT a horrible person who uses sedation to "cover up" anything. He is a wonderful, caring man, who made a special effort to get several years of extra training so that he could offer people like me a choice in treatment options. Without sedation, I would not have had the courage to face my fear and complete treatment. Sedation taught me that going to the dentist could be a stress and pain free experience, and helped me to build a trusting relationship with my dentist. I have had treatment under several different types of pre-medication/sedation, and found them all to be a little different. Feel free to ask questions about different types of sedation. If I haven't done it, someone else on this board surely has!

Sue, I would like to leave you with a message of hope. There are many, many, kind, caring and competent dentists out there. I know that you will find one who will help you on your journy. I never thought that I would get my smile back, but I have, and I know you will too. Be good to yourself and celebrate each step. I know you can do it.

 
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