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Old 12-31-2005, 06:56 PM   #1
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Meg82 HB User
Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

I have been reading forums on dental phobia for a couple of weeks and I feel compelled to write something, hoping it may serve as inspiration for those out there who are considering confronting their fears and going to a dentist.
I am 23 years old and I had not been to the dentist in 8 years. I was ALWAYS anxiety ridden about going to the dentist even though I had braces for years and my parents mad me go for my regular check-ups. I had a bad experience at the dentist on my first filling, where they shot me directly in the nerve in my jawbone for a filling (non-intentionally, of course) and I just jumped out of the chair in pain. That was the last time I went to the dentist until recently and like I mentioned, it had been about 8 years.
As the years passed my parents constantly reminded me that I need to go to the dentist. It started to effect how I functioned daily – I was always worrying about my teeth but fear would take over and going to the dentist wasn’t even a consideration. A lot of my dreams would consist of my teeth falling out in public places and such. I used to tell my parents that no matter what, I would not go to the dentist unless I was in so much pain that I absolutely had to go. No questions asked, my fear was that great. My mother shares a similar phobia and as a result has no natural teeth of her own left. A couple of years ago her bottom implants started falling out and she is more or less without teeth on the bottom, though she still has not gone to the dentist. Anyway, what really pushed me to go in recent weeks was the fact that I found out that I will be getting laid off at the end of January and therefore will lose my insurance when my 8 weeks of severance runs out. I normally wouldn’t even consider taking advantage of the dental insurance, but my teeth and gums were slowly falling apart. I noticed heavy plaque build up on the inside of my bottom front teeth, and this was probably because I never floss. Also, I had a baby tooth still that was fused to the bone, no root, and it was hanging on barely and I never ate on that (left) side of my mouth because I was afraid that it would fall out. The right side of my mouth started deteriorating too, one of my back molars split in half a little over a month ago and the jagged tooth was cutting into my tongue and really causing me anxiety, for some reason there was no pain involved. I also have many visible cavities that I can see on my gumlines and I would look at them in the mirror and freak out but still it wasn’t enough to make me want to go see a dentist.
Based on my story and my unbelievable fear, I have a couple of recommendations to those that are riddled with anxiety about the dentist and I hope that I can provide some inspiration for those that are considering going to the dentist, whether it’s been 10 or 20 years, or even if you’ve never gone.
My first recommendation is to go dentist hunting. Do NOT settle and do not feel down on yourself for being incredibly picky. Don’t just look in the newspaper for dentists and compile a list, actually begin dialogue, written (email) or in person with dentists that you are considering. A couple of weeks ago I went to a dentist who specialized in sedation dentistry because their ads said that they cater to those with great dental phobia. I went in there, had x-rays, and ultimately I came out of there crying and in much worse shape than I was when I walked in. I was told I had several extractions, root canals, and cavities, bone graphing etc. needed and this dentist (and his hygienists) did ANYTHING but calm me. At first I thought that it was my dental phobia that caused this reaction, that I was just too scared, and that I should either suck it up and let him do all of these expensive procedures on me, or just give up. I felt hopeless and I felt like a loser for caving in and losing it emotionally in this dentist’s office.
I ended up seeking a second opinion from a dentist that two friends referred me to and this dentist was absolutely spectacular. I never thought I could walk out of an office with so much hope and so little anxiety. He was calming, gentle, reassuring, and also practices sedation dentistry, which for me is a must. I also experienced a completely different diagnosis! No root canals, only 8 fillings, one extraction and an implant (the baby tooth), and all 4 wisdom teeth extractions, and a crown. They have wonderful payment plan options and I decided that I could overcome my fear and get all of this done. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t like a dentist, just keep trying, there are wonderful ones out there with all of the patience and understanding in the world. In fact, a lot of his staff had dental phobia at once and they were even telling me about how they locked themselves in the staff bathrooms before procedures because they were so scared. This really helped me to relax.
My second recommendation is sedation dentistry! Before my first procedure a couple of days ago I was given a pill called halcyon to take an hour before I went in. They gave me an IV when I got there and honestly my only recollections are going to the dentist and getting home into bed. They pulled all 4 highly impacted wisdom teeth, my baby tooth, and installed an implant into my jaw. Yeah, I have been looped up on pain pills the past couple of days but I cannot express to you the relief and happiness I feel that one of my procedures is over with finally. And I don’t remember anything. Before I went in I googled and read about people’s sedation “horror stories” and they freaked me out! I was convinced that I would be awake for part of the procedure, or feel pain, or be aware, but I absolutely was not at all. Reading those stories online only made things worse for me and made me lose sleep. I now only have one more appointment to get fillings and a crown, and a “deep cleaning” and since I am so comfortable with the dentist and know that I can more or less be unconscious (as far as I am concerned) for the procedures, I plan on going regularly to prevent all of this from happening again.
I understand that there are worse cases out there where, for example, people have to face the fact that they need to have all of their teeth pulled and get partials, but it is never too late, and if I can do it, you can. Believe me I couldn’t sleep at night before even my dentist x-ray check-ups, I was so nervous. The longer you wait the worse it gets, and if you can find a nice sedation dentist you can sleep through everything that you are afraid of.
Visiting all of these dental phobia forums has made me start to think that society would really benefit from having a dental reality series, where people with extreme fear have cameras follow them to the dentist and through their recovery. I think it would help that part of the population that is struggling with this so much.
If anyone would like to talk any more about dental anxiety, I am happy to share dialogue. My email address is [email]( REMOVED)[/email]
I am in Colorado too if anyone needs a dentist recommendation.
Best of luck and strength,
Megan



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Old 01-01-2006, 10:02 AM   #2
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wintersun HB User
Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

I don't haver any dental phobia, but feel bad for those that do.. I don't care about pain, and I have an extremly high tolerance for pain. There is NOTHING they can do to scare me-lol! I've had a baby, and don"t care about that, either. I just know that doctors/dentists HAVE to hurt you to help you- simple as that..
They just DO- nothing you can do about it.. I think most people are scared of the pain.. YES, You WILL have LOTS of pain- So what? It is just SO!!
I think your idea of a reality show is cool- and VERY helpful- although I can't relate to it, because I don't care about pain.. It would still be interesting to watch!


I really do believe it's all about your pain tolerance-mine is so high, I could go through ANYTHING, and still be OK. Pain does NOT scare me. I bet for a lot of people, that's what it is..

That's how it is for me, maybe I'm one of the fortunate ones...I don't care about needles, surgery, childbirth-NOTHIN'!!!
It's just a part of life, and you have to get through it like anything else..

PS: I'm in colorado also, which you can read if you read my profile..

Last edited by wintersun; 01-04-2006 at 03:57 PM.

 
Old 01-01-2006, 07:52 PM   #3
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suzyisdizzy HB User
Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Thank you so much for your post.

I have exteme dental anxiety.
I have a dentist appointment on Thursday that I am already worrying about. I will be getting 2 filling filled. I have about 10 more to go....
I am not afraid of pain. That is the least of my worries. It is the TIME I have to spend in the chair that freaks me out. Feeling trapped.
So did you have any side effects from the sedation? Did it make you feel nauseous?
I have never tried it and I'm too scared to.
I will be taking an ativan pill before going on Thursday.
Thanks again for the post!

 
Old 01-02-2006, 10:50 AM   #4
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

I too have really bad dental anxiety. I had a root canal done in the summer and I was up all night the night before going through the worst panic attack. Everything went fine but I have a very hard time being relaxed and I have big trust issues with dentists now since the one who did my root canal came up with a list of over $8000 in work he wants me to have done which after talking to my father's dentist I found out that I dont even need. When I refused to let him do the work (I was in to have 2 cavities done that are really sore) he went irate and said that he will not allow me to come into his office and tell him what will abd what wont be done. He was so money hungry and really did a good job at making me feel 2 feet tall. Never in my life have I been treated with such disrespect! Thursday I am going to see my dad's dentist to get the cavities taken care of. I'm really nervous but I'm glad that I wont have to deal with that other dentist anymore.

 
Old 01-02-2006, 10:52 AM   #5
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Also, it's not the pain that scares me. I have 9 tattoos and 14 piercings so I can deal with the pain. Anything remotely medical scares me to no end and I'm not even sure why.

 
Old 01-02-2006, 01:08 PM   #6
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suzyisdizzy
Thank you so much for your post.

I have exteme dental anxiety.
I have a dentist appointment on Thursday that I am already worrying about. I will be getting 2 filling filled. I have about 10 more to go....
I am not afraid of pain. That is the least of my worries. It is the TIME I have to spend in the chair that freaks me out. Feeling trapped.
So did you have any side effects from the sedation? Did it make you feel nauseous?
I have never tried it and I'm too scared to.
I will be taking an ativan pill before going on Thursday.
Thanks again for the post!
------------------------------------

I totally relate to worrying days, even weeks in advance before an appointment! What killed me most was actually picturing myself in the chair, imagining pain (for me) and what the dentist would do to me, and it would really worry me and stress me out. Now that I have actually gone through with the procedure I feel that I can confidently reassure you that you will be calm and all of your fears will dissappear, and most importantly you will lose concept of time and it will fly away like nothin'. Making things up in my mind as to how it would feel or what it would be like in the chair was not a good idea but it can't be helped for someone with a phobia like this.
When you take the pill, you may be trying to convince yourself that you are still afraid, and that is OK, and you may tell the dentist that when you get to the office. Before you know it though, and it will be strange, you will be done and on your way home. I found it extremely hard to believe that anything could sedate my fears and anxieties because they were SO GREAT. I couldn't even enjoy myself at xmas parties weeks before my appointment because I was so worried. I was very, very skeptical but after I took the pill before the dentist, I felt totally different. I still felt in control but it's almost like it turned of those things in my brain that would cause all of that anxiety. Which was just what I needed. It worked and it wasn't scary in the least.
As for nausea, I am EXTREMELY sensitive to any meds, and get sick very very easily. I wasn't nauseous at ALL. The last thing they wanted me to do was to get sick because I would pop my stiches and infect the area, etc. I was nervous about getting sick but even with a lot of gauze in my mouth, all of the meds I was under, and the sedation, I was not nauseous AT ALL. I did fast for 6 hours prior to the dental work though which may have helped. I was nauseus afterward because I was prescribed very strong pain meds and only eating apple sauce and such, makes for queaziness, but anyway, I would advise that you will be just fine.
Please update me on how it goes! I will be going back for 8 fillings and crown in a few weeks and I will keep a postin'!
Good luck, you can do it!
Meg

 
Old 01-02-2006, 01:14 PM   #7
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TattooGirl
I too have really bad dental anxiety. I had a root canal done in the summer and I was up all night the night before going through the worst panic attack. Everything went fine but I have a very hard time being relaxed and I have big trust issues with dentists now since the one who did my root canal came up with a list of over $8000 in work he wants me to have done which after talking to my father's dentist I found out that I dont even need. When I refused to let him do the work (I was in to have 2 cavities done that are really sore) he went irate and said that he will not allow me to come into his office and tell him what will abd what wont be done. He was so money hungry and really did a good job at making me feel 2 feet tall. Never in my life have I been treated with such disrespect! Thursday I am going to see my dad's dentist to get the cavities taken care of. I'm really nervous but I'm glad that I wont have to deal with that other dentist anymore.

You are absolutely right in going to a different dentist. The first dentist I went to was a complete and utter ***. I saw all of the people in and out of the office so I aassumed that he had to be a good popular dentist, but for me, he made me feel awful, more worried, and I did not like his joking dimeanor or the way he tried to calm me by saying "I've done this for 30 years!" I don't care how long you've been doing it, I want you to calm and reassure me!
I am so glad that I didn't stay with him. I felt like a failure but once I found the right dentist I knew that I was in good hands, and as the work is getting done, I am feeling better and better about it.
I wish you luck, and if you still don't like the dentist thta you are going to try to look up sedation dentistry. It iis more expensive but you can get everything done in one or two appointments ad sleep right through it all. Take my word for it, it is a godsend!
Best Wishes,
Meg

 
Old 01-02-2006, 01:16 PM   #8
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TattooGirl
Also, it's not the pain that scares me. I have 9 tattoos and 14 piercings so I can deal with the pain. Anything remotely medical scares me to no end and I'm not even sure why.

For me it is loss of control and basically a phobia, just as anyone would be afraid of spiders or snakes. We share dental phobia, and it is OK and common. At least we are getting our work done, only 50 % of the population actually goes to the dentist regularly.
Meg

 
Old 01-02-2006, 01:52 PM   #9
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

I have dental phobia as well and have an appointment this month to have my wisdom tooth removed...I am PETRIFIED!!..Scared to death about needles and whatnot =/
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Old 01-03-2006, 07:45 AM   #10
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

I do also have extreme dental phobia. Only way for me to have work done no matter how simple or complicated is via sedation. I don't know what it is when you get in that chair. I start shaking like I am having seizures and sweat profusely through my clothes.

In 04 I had a really bad tooth ache. Went to this dentist and he went on about how horrible my teeth were. He made me feel so small because he was speaking so loudly that my friend in the waiting area heard him (as well as other ppl waiting). He was being just rude and sarcastic. Time of the extraction I told him it hurt really bad worse than the actual tooth ache - he was like you want this out and proceeded to tell his assistent to turn up the nitrious up. I had tears streaming down my face cuz he was such a #%#^.

Then last year had another tooth ache that needed to be extracted did it with the IV sedation and it was wonderful. All I remember was the doc setting up the IV and woke up groggy and it was done went home and slept all day.

I have alot of work I need to have done and with the IV sedation it's the only way I will get this done.

Last edited by msterio619; 01-03-2006 at 07:47 AM.

 
Old 01-03-2006, 12:52 PM   #11
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti Social
I have dental phobia as well and have an appointment this month to have my wisdom tooth removed...I am PETRIFIED!!..Scared to death about needles and whatnot =/

If I may ask, what are they giving you as far as sedation? Will you be on laughing gas, or on pills, or on an IV?
Meg

 
Old 01-03-2006, 12:54 PM   #12
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by msterio619
I do also have extreme dental phobia. Only way for me to have work done no matter how simple or complicated is via sedation. I don't know what it is when you get in that chair. I start shaking like I am having seizures and sweat profusely through my clothes.

In 04 I had a really bad tooth ache. Went to this dentist and he went on about how horrible my teeth were. He made me feel so small because he was speaking so loudly that my friend in the waiting area heard him (as well as other ppl waiting). He was being just rude and sarcastic. Time of the extraction I told him it hurt really bad worse than the actual tooth ache - he was like you want this out and proceeded to tell his assistent to turn up the nitrious up. I had tears streaming down my face cuz he was such a #%#^.

Then last year had another tooth ache that needed to be extracted did it with the IV sedation and it was wonderful. All I remember was the doc setting up the IV and woke up groggy and it was done went home and slept all day.

I have alot of work I need to have done and with the IV sedation it's the only way I will get this done.

I totally agree, I have the same fears and sweat and cry in the chair if I am aware, if I can even get IN the chair, which I can't, and sedation is the only way that I will get anything done.
Thanks for sharing,
Meg

 
Old 01-04-2006, 08:05 AM   #13
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg82
If I may ask, what are they giving you as far as sedation? Will you be on laughing gas, or on pills, or on an IV?
Meg
I am not sure..I just know I have an appointment & thats all..as far as an IV-I cant have that..I have an extreme needle phobia although I have a tattoo & piercings,when it comes to medical I just cant do it lol..Its a huge scene when I have to go and give blood,I feel like I am literally dying so I know I wont have an IV..
Which pills are you talking about?..I know about the laughing gas and IV but not sure about the pills
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Old 01-04-2006, 08:41 AM   #14
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Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

I don't know anyone who likes dental work !! I've had alot of gum surgery - 2 left to go and the day before I start feeling very anxious and nervous and just want to get it over with. I sometimes take a mild dose of ativan and that helps. I also saw another patient getting some ativan from the doctor because she was very scared. I'm always the happiest when the surgery is finished - I can deal with the "after" pain. The important thing is saving and taking care of your teeth.

 
Old 01-04-2006, 12:11 PM   #15
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Meg82 HB User
Re: Do you have EXTREME dental Phobia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti Social
I am not sure..I just know I have an appointment & thats all..as far as an IV-I cant have that..I have an extreme needle phobia although I have a tattoo & piercings,when it comes to medical I just cant do it lol..Its a huge scene when I have to go and give blood,I feel like I am literally dying so I know I wont have an IV..
Which pills are you talking about?..I know about the laughing gas and IV but not sure about the pills
----
I was referring to Ativan or Halcion, or Valium or something of the like. Some dentists give these to patients with extreme anxiety before their appointments (I had Halcion) and they really calm them and make the fears dissapate. I would really sugegst that you call your dentist and ask if it is an option to get something to take so that you are more calm and relaxed. They work like a dream! And about the IV, I understand, although if it was an option and you could have it, you wouldn't remember anything about the procedure. I had 5 teeth pulled and I didn't even feel the IV go in because I was on Halcion and it took all feeling away and left me euphoric and happy. This is coming from someone who has to be forced into the chair for even x-rays!
GOod luck,
Meg

 
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