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Is this claustrophobia or what?

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Old 11-29-2005, 04:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 9
MaryME2u HB User
Is this claustrophobia or what?

Recently I had a root canal done, and I had a trapped feeling when the Dr. put the dental dam in. I had problems w/it during the whole procedure. Difficulty swollowing, breathing...rapid heart beat..panic type feelings etc. The Dr. asked me if I was claustrophobic...I said I didn't know. When I went to my family dentist to get the root canal tooth ( a crown) filled w/permanent filling I had the same problem when he told me to NOT touch the tooth w/my tongue or swollow or anything while the filling cured..I felt so trapped..It was horrible. Does anyone else get these feelings when you are having dental work done? Now I am worried that I won't be able to handle any more dental work because of the anxiety. I have had tons of dental work done..and this just started...
Please reply...I need answers..


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Old 11-29-2005, 04:42 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 145
barkingshark HB User
Re: Is this claustrophobia or what?

I am not sure, but in some states, I think the dentist can give you something or you can go to a doctor, prior to the dentist, who will give you a prescription for a single valium or some other med to stop this. If you do go to a doctor prior and he gives you a med, you need to discuss it with the dentist as the med he administers to numb you can cause the other med to be immediately be processed out of your system.

I have Schizophrenia and within 20 minutes of being given the shot by the dentist, my antipsychotic med gets processed out of my body and for the next several hours until the dentist's shot wears off, I have to suffer full blown Schizophrenia.

I think many, many people feel what you do when you go to the dentist and that is why so many people wait untill their teeth rot out before they go

Also you need to tell the dentist this, as you may be allergic to something that he is giving you or putting in your mouth, as it may be triggering an asthma attack.

Last edited by barkingshark; 11-29-2005 at 04:45 PM.

Old 12-17-2006, 10:33 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 21
blueflamingo HB User
Re: Is this claustrophobia or what?

That's me to a tee! Any kind of restriction of my body, particularly around my face brings on a panic/claustrophobia attack. I haven't been to a regular dentist for years because of this. But last year I had to have a broken/abcessed wisdom tooth extracted and I went to a dental surgeon. He gave me something in an IV that made me unaware of the whole thing. He said I wasn't completely sedated--I would follow directions, etc--but I have no memory of any of it. Now I need to find a dentist to do all appointments like that!

Old 12-18-2006, 10:21 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 406
music12 HB User
Re: Is this claustrophobia or what?


Yes, this is claustrophoebia. I have it as well and it surfaces during dental work, and other situations as well, for instance, in elevators. I always tell the dentist my situation and ask them not to use the dam. They don't have to. I have never encountered a dentist who wasn't willing to not use it. Another area where my claustrophoebia surfaces is when a crown is being inserted and you have to keep your mouth shut tight until the gluing substances dries. In this situation I first ask how long the procedure will take (it's usually 2 to 4 minutes). I then ask them (the dental assistant can do this) to tell me when each minute passes. This reduces the panic that can arise from feeling that the situation will never end and it also gives me a feeling of being in control rather than trapped and controlled. I am also allowed to get up and sit in a chair, stand or walk around if I feel like it, which also helps with that trapped feeling.

Claustrophobia is an irrational fear, which makes it more difficult to deal with. Hope this helps because I know how debilitating it can be.


Old 12-19-2006, 04:55 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,006
Sannah HB UserSannah HB User
Re: Is this claustrophobia or what?

Mary, I get panicky sometimes over situations where you lose control. When that dam is in your mouth you no longer have control over swallowing, etc. If I get physically restricted I start to panic.

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