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Old 10-27-2008, 10:49 PM   #1
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Fear of Dentists

I wasnít sure where to post this Ö I couldnít find a thread for Ďcrazy, irrational fearsí!

Anyone else out there with a mind-crippling fear of the DENTIST???

I have an appointment at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Here I am, going on midnight tonight, scared to death. I typically go faithfully every 6 months until something happens and I get freaked out. Canít even remember what it was the last time because itís been 3-4 years. Gross I know, but I do good dental hygiene at home! I wouldnít be going now, but I think I have a crown that has failed.

I start gagging the minute I open the office door. SERIOUSLY could they not do something about that smell?!!

And why are dental tools made of METAL??? Possibly a plot conspired by the disturbed individuals that choose to make a living by digging around in peoples mouths? And they always want to show you their tools. What the heck? I do NOT want to see those instruments of torture!

I usually have to call my BFF to talk me in from the parking lot. Iím 45 Ė how pitiful is that?!

Iím seeing a new dentist. My last dentist had posters stuck on the ceiling with pushpins above the dreaded chair. Pushpins? One could come loose and fall in a patientís mouth and choke them. Yes, thatís how crazy-scared I am. Anyone with me?

My dentist and I do an intricate dance. Hope this new one doesnít crush my toes. Wish me luck. Or maybe wish him luck?
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:01 PM   #2
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I know just how you feel. I hate going, but I do go now...
Twice a year

First, I found a dentist that has lots of patience with me.
I dont let him even do a cleaning before putting that nice
minty paste that numbs my gums before he even looks inside my mouth.

I take my ipod with me and I listen to music and that helps me relax.
He also has a big screen TV in front of the chair and he plays whatever movie you want to watch ( he has a library of movies to choose from)

Good luck, I hope its better than you expect
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:18 PM   #3
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Thanks for the vote of confidence, Barbie! Still, after midnight and here I am! Actually your tag line has sent me on another train of thought. Whacked out as I am, I'm mommy to two rescue dogs and I love them to pieces! I'm going to go veg on the couch with them until I think I'm 'calm' enough to go to bed. Thanks for the distraction!
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the vote of confidence, Barbie! Still, after midnight and here I am! Actually your tag line has sent me on another train of thought. Whacked out as I am, I'm mommy to two rescue dogs and I love them to pieces! I'm going to go veg on the couch with them until I think I'm 'calm' enough to go to bed. Thanks for the distraction!
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:52 AM   #5
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I totally understand!!! I have been lucky to have good teeth - so far.. but I think I am in need of maybe a crown - that's how scared I am to go to the dentist!! I even take a pile of tranquilizers when before I go.. but I'm still on the ceiling.

I think if they tell me ( when I get up the courage to go ) that I need a crown.. I'll just say yank it!! It's fairly useless bank molar.

When I go to the dentist, they ask me what are you afraid of - and just so I don't scare you, I won't tell you!!! But by the time I get finished - they look like I am a little too knowledgleable!

I have told my dentist office - don't call me.. I'll call you. I hate them bothering me every six months - relentlessly.. Leave me alone!!!

Good on you for going to the dentist.. I've really been avoiding. I'd like my dh to come with me and hold my hand!
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:59 AM   #6
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I, too, am dental phobic. I do go every six months. My dentist is a woman, and I told her in the beginning how fearful I am. She gave me a prescription for something mild to take the night before, and the morning of my appointment. It helped, as I don't usually take any tranquilizers. Now, I don't take them. I am still very tense, even with just cleaning and x-rays. They play music in the office, and change it to relaxing music for me. My Mother lost all her teeth when she was much younger than I am, and I'm more fearful of that than I am of going to the dentist. Good luck, I understand. Eileen
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:09 AM   #7
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Good luck! Not sure how you ususally interact with your dentist, but I would be upfront with them about your fear. Just tell them that you know it's kinda irrational, but that the dentist really, really scares you. You're not their only patient who's really afraid and they'll be able to handle you a little more carefully if they know upfront. If you have specific things that freak you out, share them with the staff. If you're too upset to do it in the office, type it out and give them a list when you get there.
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:28 AM   #8
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i'm pretty phobic, myself. i think a little valium or xanax might be in order (i have to use it for plane trips). just a little can take the edge off. probably too late now, but something to consider for the next visit. good luck- i can really relate to being fearful!
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:03 AM   #9
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Vonnie, just wondering how the visit to the dentist went.
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:14 AM   #10
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You know, there is a very simple therapeutic procedure you can undergo to "cure" or really decrease your dental (or other) anxiety. It is called systematic desensitization and was one of the very first things I learned to do as a psychology graduate student. Basically, you learn how to completely relax and then very gradually the therapist introduces small doses of what you are afraid of until you are comfortable with it, then gradually increases the feared thing until you learn to completely relax in the presence of your feared thing.

You and the therapist usually make a 10 step heirarchy of your feared thing. For example, the very first step for you might be just thinking about going to the dentist's office. The next step might be making the appointment, the next one might be getting in the car to go to the appointment, etc. You don't go to the next step of your heirarchy until you are confident you can relax during the previous step. You can accomplish this desensitization with your imagination (if your fear is flying, for example), or with the real object (if it is a snake, for example.) You can usually overcome simple fears in as little as 10 sessions or so with a competent counselor or psychotherapist.

This is just a suggestion, I hope you are not offended, of course it would be great if your insurance covers the treatment!

I always have to practice at least 30 minutes of relaxation myself before going to the dentist to have a checkup or procedure done, it really helps me! Good luck!
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:49 AM   #11
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Hi Vonnie,

Not dental phobic myself, but was touched by your willingness to be vulnerable and post about your fears. By now your appointment should be over (yay!), and I'm hoping that it all went smoothly and that the reason you haven't come back and updated us is because you are enjoying a massage or an ice cream sundae right now as a reward for your courage. {{hugs}}
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:24 PM   #12
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Hope everything went well! I have problems with the dentist too. Mine is very understanding though, and prescribes diazapam for me to take before my appointments. It really helps me to relax. I actually fainted when I went for my wisdom tooth extraction consultation!
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:28 PM   #13
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I survived! I was in such a state last night (sorry about hitting the post button twice!) and even worse this morning. I almost didn't go. Finally convinced myself it was time to be a grownup and take responsibility for myself (don't ya hate that?!)

First miracle, I found the office on the first try! (I'm hugely directionally challenged)
Second miracle, opened up the office door and NO SMELL! I was able to enter and walk up to the front desk without at least two people asking me if I was ok!

The hygienist was wonderful. I explained all my fears and she never batted an eye. Kept my head higher than my feet, never tried to show me the tools or tell me what she was doing. Just adjusted to what I needed without missing a beat! Never left me alone except to step out for a couple of seconds to let the dentist know it was his turn. Oh, and no pushpins on the ceiling!

When Mr. Dentist man came in all I said was 'If you're half as good as Miss Shawna we're going to have a long and pleasant relationship!" The real test though for him will come on Monday when I go back. My crown is fine; what I was feeling is a cracked filling (with decay underneath, of course) on the tooth behind the crowned one.

Monday will not be a walk in the park, but hopefully todays success will help. And nitrous. Lots of nitrous! And if, no WHEN, Monday is also successful, I WILL continue with dental checkups every 6 months!

Thank you all for listening, sharing your stories, offering suggestions and empathy. I think I'm ready to be a big girl now!
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:35 PM   #14
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Three cheers for you--and Miss Shawna too!
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:32 PM   #15
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I'm so glad you had a positive experience! I hope Monday goes just as smoothly!!
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:07 PM   #16
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yay!
good job!
thinking good thoughts for monday! and hooray that the crown is good and the filling is relatively cheap (compared to a princess crown)
(did you ask about pre treatment medication?)

Betsy
(not a big dental fan either)
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:15 PM   #17
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This is so weird but I love going to the dentist. I love root canals (had 4) and cleanings and the whole experience. I actually fall asleep and they have had to ask me to stop snoring more than once. I would rather go to there than have a massage..now how weird is that? Also weird, I hate pedicures. They creep me out. I still get them every month but I just get a sick feeling every time I go.
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndeelou View Post
yay!
good job!
thinking good thoughts for monday! and hooray that the crown is good and the filling is relatively cheap (compared to a princess crown)
(did you ask about pre treatment medication?)

Betsy
(not a big dental fan either)
Thank you!

I can't take anything before though, because I'll be driving myself.
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:34 PM   #19
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I am right there with you!!! I would rather have a shot in the behind than go to the dentist!!! I am almost 38 and have a great dentist...I keep thinking..."what's the big deal...then I walk in and the smell about brings me to my knees". I am waaay overdue for a check up. And it doesn't help that my Mom is one of these that go every 6 months like clockwork...and every so often will say..."aren't you overdue on your dental check up?". We have awesome insurance, and I try to tell dear daughter that "it's no big deal"...maybe i should have her go with me....hmmmm

I need to make that appointment!!! Thank goodness there are others like me out there!
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:41 PM   #20
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i was just as freaked as you!

i started out with my kids and getting their teeth cleaned and i woudl go and watch and assure them that all was ok all the while telling myself you are such a lier!!lol

but after my last baby i needed gasp 11 fillings most small 2 biggies. and i went each time and each time it got easier and easier. and now i am good to go but it does help to have a fantastic dentist.

i told him of my fear unfounded that it was but fear nontheless and we worked our way through it!!

and we dont have pushpins in the cealing either. but he has done several proceedures on animals he has one of a ginourmous tiger on a table with his hand in its nouth!!!
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:55 PM   #21
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I'm glad your dental experience went well! I actually, don't mind the dentist...probably because my mom was such a stickler and made us go every 6 months.
I was always the first one to go in, out of my 2 sisters-because I didn't mind and would have rather got it over with.
I have also had a lot of dental work done...I've had 2 root canals-my wisdom teeth out-and a lot of fillings...(boo for bad teeth genes)!

Barbie-I LOVE your tagline..I have always had conversations about that with people and we'd all be in amazement that they definitely SMELL LIKE FRITOS..haha
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:32 PM   #22
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There is really no REASON for my fear. I have had 1 root canal, 2 crowns, all four wisdom teeth cut out, lots of fillings when I was growing up - but no really bad experience. But thinking about it now, it does seem like after each 'major' event I would stop going for a few years. I kind of think I'm doomed regardless of what I do - I have ground my teeth literally forever. Any decay I've had as an adult has been under a filing that had been cracked/compromised by the grinding. I literally grind off bits of tooth and fillings. Point being, anything positive that is done to my teeth will eventually be destroyed by the grinding. I've tried several night guards - the 'sports' ones I find in the strangest places when I wake up - my sock drawer, far corner of the bedroom, the toilet. I ground through the custom made dentist one in less than 3 months - then freaked out because I literally had to pick the plastic out of my back teeth! The new dentist today said there's a 'new' kind that we can try - of course that requires the goo-filled impression tray. Um, no. Last time I had one of those I had to be physically restrained in the chair. It wasn't pretty! So the new guy (I'll call him Dr. T) said let's wait and see how I feel after the upcoming success.
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:09 PM   #23
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I really don't mind the dentist...I have had 4 root canals...Lots of filling from chewing sugary gum when little...I hate gum now...Anyway I go to the dentist every 6 months for cleanings. I had a back tooth filling achey when eating sweetened things and very cold sensitive...I had a 6 month check up and cleaning two weeks ago and told them my problem...They first said it looked ok and then he says oh I think there is a small cavity next to a filling....Ok last Monday I went in to get it fixed and he says that it is narrow but deep...I did have xrays 6 months ago and you would have thought it would have been caught...After the numbness wore off I could hardly stand it...It hurt so bad...The next day was alittle better so I thought the nerve had calmed down...the day after I couldn't take it anymore...I was crying...went in and he says that I have a 90% chance of needing a root canal but he would send me to a specialist....

Well a specialist, I thinking, my regular dentist did my other root canals...he said it was the back tooth and they are a little more tricky...Ok went yesterday to the specialist...cost over 900.00 and insurance picked up 80%. It went well. Then he says good news is it seems to have went well but bad new is the tooth in front of it has a bad infection under it, this tooth had a root canal about 5 years ago by my regular dentist. He asks me what's up with this tooth? Well it did have a cavity under the crown a few year ago. He says he have to do another root canal on it again to see what went wrong and if that doesn't go good, I'll have to have it pulled...and get a bridge...Ok I'm going in next Monday and my cost is 515.00 because the insurance will be all used up...I'm wondering why is my dentist missing all of this...How much is a bridge going to cost? I looked up bridges and found out they cost around 5,000 dollars...Now what?...I also found out most crowns only last for 10 years...
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:20 PM   #24
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I am completely with you on the dentist!! I literally leave with a headache every time! I sit in the chair completely tense and I have to have a magazine rolled up in my hands so I have something to squeeze. I hate going to the dentist!
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:47 PM   #25
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Wow, Im so proud of you for going!!!
Isnt that nitrous ( I dont know if I spelled it right) the BEST!
I love that stuff.

Perfect for us girls that hate the dentist.
Well, not the dentist Just what they do

Good luck on Monday. Keep us posted. You should be proud of yourself.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:14 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StampingCrazy View Post
I am completely with you on the dentist!! I literally leave with a headache every time! I sit in the chair completely tense and I have to have a magazine rolled up in my hands so I have something to squeeze. I hate going to the dentist!
When I do have work done, I grip the arms of the chair and then only my head and the back of my heels touch the chair - stiff as a board the whole time! My muscles are sore for days afterwards. My theory is if I'm already all tensed up, I won't jerk at a sharp pain. Of course this theory has never been tested so I don't know if it actually works! Today I just interlaced my fingers and squeezed.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:20 PM   #27
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I hate the dentist! The only reason I am going is because one of my wisdom teeth cracked the other day.
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:20 PM   #28
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This is so weird but I love going to the dentist. I love root canals (had 4) and cleanings and the whole experience. I actually fall asleep and they have had to ask me to stop snoring more than once. I would rather go to there than have a massage..now how weird is that? Also weird, I hate pedicures. They creep me out. I still get them every month but I just get a sick feeling every time I go.
Love you Queenbee, but you are TOO TWISTED FOR WORDS! The dentist relaxes you and yet pedicures and massages creep you out? My God woman! What's wrong with you?!

Isn't it funny how as grown women we all still have our 'little' quirks? I am scared to death of the dentist but I LOVE getting tatoos. Relax, I only have two; only visable when I want them to be.
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:00 AM   #29
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Today I just interlaced my fingers and squeezed.
I do this too. I cross my legs at the ankle and fold my hands together on my stomach. I'm not afraid of the dentist, but often find myself in this tense position. It's kinda comforting. I can make myself relax, but generally will go back to the same posture when I'm not paying attention.

Glad to hear it went well. Best of Luck on Monday!
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Old 10-29-2008, 06:04 AM   #30
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I do this too. I cross my legs at the ankle and fold my hands together on my stomach. I'm not afraid of the dentist, but often find myself in this tense position. It's kinda comforting. I can make myself relax, but generally will go back to the same posture when I'm not paying attention.

Glad to hear it went well. Best of Luck on Monday!
I do the same thing! I really do think it helps.

Glad your experience wasn't too awful. It really does help to have a great hygeniest!
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:07 PM   #31
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Vonnie,
So glad everything went well. I, too, am afraid of the dentist. I have a SEVERE gag reflex (if they look at me wrong, I will gag). For years, dentists and the staff sort of laughed at me - like it was something I was doing intentionally!!! Anyway - then one of the hygeniests told me to put salt on the end of my tongue and it keeps you from gagging! It works like a charm: I don't go to the dentist without salt packets.
Recently I bought a water pik, although I'd always balked at using one. I love it! Can't wait to use it every night.
But I can't fathom anyone enjoying a dental appointment!!!
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:00 PM   #32
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I didn't go to the dentist for over 6 years until I finally went last year (and that was only because I had broken 2 broken teeth!!! I ended up having 2 root canals, 2 crowns w/out root canal, and 3 fillings. That will teach me not to wait so long !!!! Had I gone when I first broke my teeth I could have prevented at least 1 of the root canals.

Anyhow, I have a huge gag reflex, too. When I have crowns done and they need to mold my mouth, I nearly always have to go through 2 of them because I start gagging and I spit it out before it's completely ready.

My dentist is awesome, though. I was new to the office, then he took over a month later, and he didn't make the best impression on me. He goes to give me a shot and he STABS me in the lip with the shot!!! Well, I think he was nervous, too, and I certainly was. But after that everything was fine and he's so accommodating to my gagginess. I had the very upper back tooth with a root canal and I kept gagging because of all the stuff in my mouth including one of those rubber dams to isolate the tooth and I couldn't breathe, plus because it was on top I was practically laying backward on my head. So he sat me upright and he STOOD UP to finish my root canal so I wouldn't gag anymore. I don't think many dentists would put in that extra effort (my old one wouldn't have!!).

Anyhow, to the Original poster, I too think I have a failing crown. For about 2 weeks I am extremely cold sensitive and if I bite down on something hard I feel a little pain. I can hardly brush my teeth unless I use warm to hot water. I don't have my 6-mo. checkup until December but I"m going to call next week to see what's going on. I'm more nervous about the bill (bceause I think I"m already over my annual max on insurance) than any pain or a possible root canal.

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Old 10-31-2008, 10:04 PM   #33
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Iím glad to see people are still finding this thread Ė it helps to know Iím not alone in my fear! I was all sunshine and rainbows after last Tuesdays successful cleaning and checkup. But just heading into the weekend Iím really starting to panic about Mondayís appointment. That will be a filling on a lower tooth and I do have some hope that it will be uneventful (LOTS of nitrous!). But I will need one more appointment for a filling on an upper tooth. I donít even want to think about that one. Iíd really just like to stick my head in the sand and deny the whole thing! But now that Iíve started down this grown-up, responsible path I need to stick to it. Sunday night is going to be tough though! Yes the hygenist was awesome, but Mr. Dentist man is still an unknown. I asked if he used that rubber dam, and was told 'sometimes'. That will not be a good thing! Early Friday night, and I'm already having to tell myself to stop imagining the worst and BREATHE. I'm not actually going to have a NEEDLE stuck into my gum. There won't really be a DRILL in my mouth. Oh, and my tongue - apparently it has a mind of its own and tries to block any invaders! I'm afraid one of the filings will end up needing a root canal. Don't even want to go there.

Seriously, if someone said to me 'If you give birth one more time, and raise that child for 20 years, you will NEVER have to go to the dentist again and your teeth will be fine' I WOULD JUMP ON IT! How rational is that - that at the age of 45 I would rather go through 9 months of pregnancy, childbirth, and then raising a child in my 'golden years' just to avoid a trip to the dentist??? I'm a pitiful puppy!

I've got a full weekend - visiting my grandchildren tomorrow; meeting my youngest sons new girlfriend for the first time (and I think it's SERIOUS!); spending several hours in the office playing catch up; crafting two swaps that have to be postal on Monday; and filling some BRAKS and Wish-RAKs. But no matter how busy my weekend is - Sunday night is still going to come, and Mondays appointment is right after it. Sticking my head in the sand is looking really good! Really, it's a crap-shoot at this point - I don't want to go, but I know I have to.

Again, I just want to thank you all for comforting me by letting me know that I'm not alone in my fear.
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:11 PM   #34
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Hey girl! You know you will be just fine. Who'se freaking out right now? I think I'd rather go to the dentist than what I'm doing this week-end. And I hate the dentist too. ****sitting here eating leftover candy****
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:48 AM   #35
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You know, girls, there's a commercial running on one of our local radio stations for a dentist that sedates you - that could be an option for some of us (maybe me if I have to go through another root canal/crown). I even had to have a root canal done THROUGH a crown once. But the endodontist I had to go to for that was really nice.
And, Simmy, I hate that rubber dam thing too! Hate it!! I've had 2 or 3 crowns, and I had to "zone" to keep that mold in my mouth. Try the salt, though, for the gag reflex when they're cleaning or taking x-rays.
Good luck, Vonnie, on Monday. Put your big girl panties on, girlie!
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:28 AM   #36
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I go to the dentist my daughter works for. She laughed at me one day after my appointment. She said I was stretched out so stiff in that chair I looked like rigor mortis had set in. Now I am painfully aware of this every time I go and paranoid about how I look. I will have to say, this dentist has NEVER hurt me, nor the endodontist when I had a root canal. But I'm still prepared, just in case.
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:33 AM   #37
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I always find myself "rigid" in the chair too! So I relax....and before I know it, I'm that way again. I think the dentist I went to as a child wasn't very nice to me and it's affected my opinion of dentists - no matter how nice they are.....they're still DENTISTS! (Why would anyone want to go into that profession anyway- poking around in mouths all day- yuk??) Of course, I thought the same thing last month when my husband and I went for our colonoscopies....!!!
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:22 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by virtualyvonne View Post
Iím glad to see people are still finding this thread Ė it helps to know Iím not alone in my fear! I was all sunshine and rainbows after last Tuesdays successful cleaning and checkup. But just heading into the weekend Iím really starting to panic about Mondayís appointment. That will be a filling on a lower tooth and I do have some hope that it will be uneventful (LOTS of nitrous!). But I will need one more appointment for a filling on an upper tooth. I donít even want to think about that one. Iíd really just like to stick my head in the sand and deny the whole thing! But now that Iíve started down this grown-up, responsible path I need to stick to it. Sunday night is going to be tough though! Yes the hygenist was awesome, but Mr. Dentist man is still an unknown. I asked if he used that rubber dam, and was told 'sometimes'. That will not be a good thing! Early Friday night, and I'm already having to tell myself to stop imagining the worst and BREATHE. I'm not actually going to have a NEEDLE stuck into my gum. There won't really be a DRILL in my mouth. Oh, and my tongue - apparently it has a mind of its own and tries to block any invaders! I'm afraid one of the filings will end up needing a root canal. Don't even want to go there.
Vonnie,
I was paranoid the first time I had a root canal (last year) and the panic was all for nothing. Really, besides it taking longer than a filling there is no difference. I think we get scared because it's the unknown. I had heard horror stories of them and so afraid but it was easy and I was so glad when it was over cuz there will never EVER be any pain in that tooth again!!!! That's the only good thing about having them.

As much as I hate crowns ... I try to think of this. I will no longer have a big giant filling in my tooth. I will have a nice white crown. Slowly but surely I will have a mouth full of WHITE TEETH, no fillings! hahahaah.

You'll be fine MOnday. We'll all be sending good vibes to you. I can't remember if in previous posts you said they had movies available, but if they do try watching one. My dentist uses these goggle things so only I am seeing the movie. Your filling will be over before you know it !!!

simmy
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:49 AM   #39
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Hey Laurie, you wrote and excellent post with great suggestions! I used hypno-birthing when I had my last child and what you wrote reminded me of that. Fear can be so crippling and force us to stay in such a small comfort zone, but when you break down your fears, and go out of your comfort zone bit by bit and find your "happy place", it works wonders.

And heck if none of that works...valium or xanax could be a great temporary solution!
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:54 AM   #40
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You know what Vonnie? I am an avid hiker, backpacker, and I'm into snakes, bugs, and all kinds of creepy crawly stuff. I can watch surgeries, even on myself, including dental surgery..which I have watched. But you get me in a car where someone else is driving up in the mountains and I FREAK! We're talking full blown panic attack. I don't like driving up into mountains myself either...but I have no problem climbing up in them lol...as long as I'm on my own tread.

We all have our fears as crazy or irrational as they might seem. So don't be hard on yourself. You are doing a good thing by coming here and talking about it.
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