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Is anyone else terrified of the dentist?

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
I know the tooth needs to be extracted, because a lot of the tooth has broken away. For some reason, I never had much pain with it (the dentist said that was weird). But originally, years back, I bit down on some food and the tooth chipped. At the time, I was a college student and completely broke. I mean, it was a struggle to pay my bills and buy groceries, so my priorities at the time caused me to not go to the dentist. I'm kicking myself now, because it would have been an easier and much cheaper fix then, but you live and you learn. Since then, I think it weakened. Recently, a large chunk of the tooth broke off, which is partly why I figured it was time to suck it up and go in to see the dentist. I figured it would be non-repairable because really only half of the tooth is left now.

From what I've read, I do think that an implant will be a better option than a bridge. I don't really want to put crowns on two teeth that don't need crowns. I plan to talk about it more with my dentist after it has healed though.

I do plan to bring FI's ipod with me. I'm wondering if anyone can talk about their experience with Valium and/or nitrous. I've never had either, and I know that I need to be sedated for them to even get me in the chair. So I'll be taking Valium one hour prior to the procedure and then I'll be given nitrous. I'm worried about the whole "not in control" aspect, but I also worry that I'll still know what's going on and be scared. I know it's weird to be worried about two opposite ends of the spectrum! But I think it would definitely help to hear what it's like from those of you who have done it before.
 

TooPatient

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
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merilenda|1304965083|2916450 said:
I know the tooth needs to be extracted, because a lot of the tooth has broken away. For some reason, I never had much pain with it (the dentist said that was weird). But originally, years back, I bit down on some food and the tooth chipped. At the time, I was a college student and completely broke. I mean, it was a struggle to pay my bills and buy groceries, so my priorities at the time caused me to not go to the dentist. I'm kicking myself now, because it would have been an easier and much cheaper fix then, but you live and you learn. Since then, I think it weakened. Recently, a large chunk of the tooth broke off, which is partly why I figured it was time to suck it up and go in to see the dentist. I figured it would be non-repairable because really only half of the tooth is left now.

From what I've read, I do think that an implant will be a better option than a bridge. I don't really want to put crowns on two teeth that don't need crowns. I plan to talk about it more with my dentist after it has healed though.

I do plan to bring FI's ipod with me. I'm wondering if anyone can talk about their experience with Valium and/or nitrous. I've never had either, and I know that I need to be sedated for them to even get me in the chair. So I'll be taking Valium one hour prior to the procedure and then I'll be given nitrous. I'm worried about the whole "not in control" aspect, but I also worry that I'll still know what's going on and be scared. I know it's weird to be worried about two opposite ends of the spectrum! But I think it would definitely help to hear what it's like from those of you who have done it before.


(If my post is too long, skip down to the bottom for the thing that helped me more than anything)


I had 2 wisdom teeth taken out (same side of mouth) in December and I was an absolute MESS since I really really don't like dentists anyway. Like you, I hadn't been since HS (so something like 7 years?) and was NOT looking forward to going again.

They gave me a prescription for halcion with instructions to take one pill an hour before (and a strong warning from the pharmacist to NOT be left alone after taking the pill because I'd be very out of it). The drive to the dentist was nearly an hour. I read driving directions to FI as he drove and even managed a very clear conversation with the ladies at the desk when we got there (mostly to do with "Umm. I'm still rather alert. Can I take the 2nd pill?"). They were pretty surprised and the dentist gave the okay for the 2nd pill (after confirming that I was in fact still standing/talking quite well). I got to sit and watch the fish for a few minutes before going into the back. They started me on the nitrous well before the novacain because even after the 2nd pill I was still VERY alert.
I think I was SOooo stressed out about the whole thing that the pills just couldn't relax me beforehand. At some point (thankfully before the extraction started), the combination of the pills and the nitrous really did help me relax a bit.
Funny thing is that after all of the worry and stress, the extraction wasn't really a big deal at all. (In fact I semi-remember thinking that if she'd keep her hands out of my mouth for a minute I could tell her to take the others too!)

I had a nice breakfast before taking the halcion (big bowl of chile & rice). (Good idea since I didn't feel like eating again that day). The pills & nitrous really left me drowsy after (got home and pretty much slept until the next day), but I didn't have any nausea or anything like that.


By FAR the thing that helped me more than anything was having FI in the room with me. He let me snuggle up with him and watch part of a movie before going to the appointment then held my hand as I checked in. I hauled him along with me into the back and he held my hand while we waited for the dentist to get started. When she came in, I insisted he take my shoe off and hold onto my foot until it was over. Having his hand on my foot gave me something nice to focus on and his gentle massage helped relax my muscles.
(gotta love a guy who's willing to sit through a tooth extraction giving you a foot massage!)
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
Thanks for the response, TooPatient! Did you know what was going on with the combination of the pills and the nitrous? That's kind of what I'm worried about. That, like you, I won't be able to calm down enough because I'll be so anxious and amped up. FI is taking me, but he gets really squeamish around blood or medical procedures, so I don't know if he'll be able to sit in the room with me!

I think maybe what scares me the most of all is that they said the procedure will take an hour and a half. I can't imagine sitting there with my mouth wide open for so long!
 

Krae11

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2011
Messages
53
@TooPatient, your FI sounds like he's TooSweet! What a great guy!
Back to dentist fun...when I had my wisdom teeth removed (@23), I was completely knocked out. I woke up so confused and disoriented, but I felt nothing and was aware of nothing. I was, apparently, pretty amusing afterward though. :)
 

TooPatient

Super_Ideal_Rock
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merilenda|1304974789|2916624 said:
Thanks for the response, TooPatient! Did you know what was going on with the combination of the pills and the nitrous? That's kind of what I'm worried about. That, like you, I won't be able to calm down enough because I'll be so anxious and amped up. FI is taking me, but he gets really squeamish around blood or medical procedures, so I don't know if he'll be able to sit in the room with me!

I think maybe what scares me the most of all is that they said the procedure will take an hour and a half. I can't imagine sitting there with my mouth wide open for so long!


I thought I knew at the time, but I really didn't care. All of the detail bits about the actual extraction I was only vaguely aware of.... like I knew it was happening but the connection just didn't form in my brain?

That's a really bad description. I was TERRIFIED the week (weeks) leading up to it and tried really hard to just forget about it once I made the decision to go ahead. The day of was MISERABLE up until the pills/nitrous really took hold. After that I was just sort of... I don't know.... almost like I was having it done but not really there so it didn't really matter. I had a pretty good infection going so the needle for numbing was a bit (okay... lots) painful initially, but after that I really didn't feel anything and even any sounds were there but not really something I cared about. I actually have vague memories of wondering to myself when it was going to get bad.

To give you an idea of how bad I went into this, I apparently went into (or started to go into?) shock before they even started according to FI and dental assistant. This was after taking both pills.


Looking back at it now, I wish they had given me a mild anti-anxiety pill to take for the few days (or week) before so that I wouldn't have already been too tense/stressed for the heavier duty pills to work. When I have to go back for the next procedure, I'm going to request that but even if they don't agree I'd happily (okay.... nervously) go in and let them do what they need to do. The worst part of the extraction was the misery of the days leading up to it.


ETA: My extraction wasn't THE most difficult around, but it was more complicated than "normal" because the roots were huge and (from what I'm told) growing in opposite directions plus I had an infection.
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Feb 27, 2007
Messages
26,134
I wouldn't say I am terrified of the dentist but I sure don't like to go. I still have my wisdom teeth, have several crowns, some cavities and have on area that gives me major pain which will probably end up as a root canal. I'd almost rather do anything than have teeth problems and go to the dentist but sadly sometimes we just have to go. ;(
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
TooPatient, your thoughts & experiences were really helpful to me going into all this!

I just wanted to give an update because I had the work done yesterday. Like TooPatient, I took the pill (diazepam or Valium) an hour before my appointment. I tried to lay down and relax and FI gave me a backrub. But then I started getting anxious about the fact that I was still anxious, if that makes sense. When it was time to go, I kept telling FI as we were getting in the car that I could totally drive myself and they didn't know what they were talking about (note: I wanted FI to take me, I was just trying to make the point that I COULD have driven). We live less than 10 minutes away from the hospital (I work there and I was worried I'd run into co-workers!).

Well, about halfway there, I blinked, and when I opened my eyes, there was a guy dressed in brown walking along the side of the road. I literally jumped and then started laughing hysterically because I thought it had been a bear. So I guess the meds WERE doing something.

We got there, and I was still scared, but the dentist went over what they were doing with me again. And they started the nitrous. At first, it just smelled a little sickly sweet, but I didn't think it was working. The dentist told me to take some deep breaths with him, and pretty soon, it was DEFINITELY working. It was a weird feeling. I mean, I did still care about being there, and it was still unpleasant. But it just made me too drowsy and out of it to really do anything about it.

I tried to relax during the procedure, and I drifted in and out. I had FI's ipod set to a rain forests sounds MP3 that's supposed to blend out drilling noises (it really didn't, but it was still pretty relaxing). It felt like the procedure took a while, but when it was over, they let FI come back and help me out of the office. When I looked at the clock, I couldn't believe that it was 2:30 (we started at noon). I guess for some reason, it took an hour longer than they had thought, but I was too out of it to really care enough to ask why.

FI has been so wonderful through this. He took care of everything at the office (he took the instructions, took care of billing, etc). He's been giving me foot rubs, back rubs, neck rubs, and he's always asking to see if he can get me anything.

Probably the scariest part of the whole thing was an hour or so after we got home. I wasn't bleeding much when we left the office, and they said to discard the gauze after 10 minutes and either re-apply or I might not need it anymore. Well, I'm not sure what happened, but I started bleeding REALLY heavily. I hadn't touched the site at all, I hadn't been spitting, nothing. It said on the after-care instructions to bite down on a tea bag if you have abnormal bleeding, so FI went to get me one out of the kitchen. This is gross, so TMI warning if you're squeamish! But when he came back, I literally had blood coming out of my mouth onto my face, hands, shirt, and our comforter.

FI is very squeamish around blood and bodily fluids, and I would have thought he'd have freaked out and panicked. But he acted quick, got the tea bag into my mouth, took my shirt to clean it up and got me a new shirt, and wiped down the comforter before it stained. I was so impressed. He also tried calling the dentist, but the office was closed, and he didn't answer the cell number that was given. After the 2nd tea bag, the bleeding really slowed down, and it's been okay since then.

The upper right side of my mouth (where they did the root canal/placed a temporary crown) has been pretty sore since yesterday. I would liken it to the same kind of discomfort after getting braces tightened. I took a vicodin yesterday and got really nauseous, so I was worried about taking another. But I tried taking one a few hours ago after eating some applesauce and I didn't get nauseous this time.

I'm glad the procedure itself is over and can't wait until I get to feeling normal again. I'm so glad I scheduled this for a Friday. They said I could work the next day, but no way would I have wanted to go to work today. I'm going to get the permanent crown placed at the end of May. Even though we're dieting, I think we'll take a night and go pig out at one of the casino buffets after that.

Taking care of my teeth is something that's been on my major life to-do list for a number of years now, and I've just been too scared (and not had the financial means) to do it until now. I'm proud of myself for finally doing this, and I'm planning to suck it up and get regular checkups from now.

FI has some things that he needs to get done, but he's wanting to wait until his dental insurance kicks in later this summer. If he needs to have any major work done, I hope I can be as thoughtful and loving for him as he has been for me. We're both getting excited and antsy to be married at this point, and after this, I'm only more excited about that!

Sorry this is so long, but I'm laid up on the couch all weekend, and I can only watch so much tv before I need a distraction!
 

nfowife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
544
I'm so glad you made it through! It isn't easy, but it sure beats dentures :) .
Glad you found some techniques that seemed to help!
 

ksinger

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 30, 2008
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5,078
Excellent! Sounds like the worst is over. Glad you made it through and that the meds helped and that your FI was such a trooper .
I hope the permanent crown and into the future is smooth sailing for you. :bigsmile:
 

daydreaminguk

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2011
Messages
3
hi merilenda,

I'm actually a dental student and i totally understand your fear, a lot of patients have traumatic childhood experiences at the dentist which grow into fear in adulthood.
Its not at all uncommon and i have dealt with many patients like this.
You need to remember that dentists are only trying to help you and relieve your pain, we don't like seeing patients in pain however its a balance between trying to do whats best for the patient in terms of treatment and trying to limit discomfort.Remember anything that we do is to prevent you from having worse pain and further problems.
I think sedation is probably best for you as it is a very pleasant experience and helps many patients to relax.
If you are very nervous ask your dentist to explain everything they are doing and to take things slow and before you know it it will be over, also bringing someone along with you for support may help.

I hope this helps and good luck with your treatment.

Daydreaming :wink2:
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
Daydreaming (or anyone else with work/personal experience),

Would you happen to know how long I can expect to have pain on the right side? That's where I had the root canal, post, and temporary crown. This is now the 3rd day since the procedure. I started to feel a little better yesterday, but I keep waking up during the night in a lot of pain. This morning I'm having pain but reluctant to take any Vicodin because, as of now I'm working today, and it makes me dizzy/drowsy and nauseous. I'm thinking about calling in for the rest of the day and just taking the Vicodin.

I called the dentist, and they just said it's normal to have discomfort for a few days. And there's nothing they can prescribe that won't have the same effects. They said to call if it doesn't get better by Wednesday or Thursday and they might put me on another antibiotic.

I just don't think I can function well enough to do my job as it is. Oh, and my right sinus is really bothering me, too. It would really help if anyone could chime in with an end in sight.

P.S. I know the normal answer is to supplement the Vicodin with ibuprofin. I'm allergic to ibuprofin and aspirin (although I'm about willing to just deal with the hives I get if it will make my mouth stop hurting). I find that tyelnol doesn't help.
 

TooPatient

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Sep 1, 2009
Messages
10,295
How are you doing?

If you're still having pain, your dentist might be able to prescribe something a little less strong so you can work/drive. The pharmacist was an absolute lifesaver for me -- she was able to help me find something to take if I ran out of prescription before the dentist could send another. (you can also ask the pharmacist how much you can take and how often - I was able to take the "maximum" dose listed on the bottle twice as often as they had printed on the lable ----- obviously do NOT do this without talking to someone qualified about the exact medication you are planning to take)


Dentists seem rather optomistic about the outcomes.... mine said I'd be fine to work the next day too.... yeah :rolleyes: .
I had my teeth out on Thursday morning (took the day off of work), had Friday off of work (Christmas Eve), plus Saturday & Sunday. Survived (barely) Monday. Home sick Tuesday (or Wed?) Home early on Wednesday (Tues?).... I could easily have spent that entire week at home.
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
TooPatient,

I called the dentist this morning and asked already. Unfortunately, they weren't very helpful. All I got was that there's nothing less strong than Vicodin that he can prescribe. And that it's "normal" to have discomfort for a "few days" since I had such an "invasive procedure." I basically got the impression that the lady was telling me "well, what did you expect? buck up for a few more days."

The only suggestion they had was to cut a Vicodin at half while I'm at work, but I just don't feel comfortable doing that. It makes me dizzy and drowsy (and nauseous at times). I drive during my work hours and see medical patients out in the field, so I just don't feel like being impaired (by pain or narcotics) is really safe or appropriate.

I actually went into work this morning planning on doing a short meeting at 10am and then going home sick. My boss looked at me, asked what was wrong, told me I looked terrible, and told me to just go home and we'd reschedule the meeting.

I'm really hoping to be able to work tomorrow. I came home and took a vicodin and slept on the couch all afternoon. Still pretty sore though, and I'll take another one after FI gets home with some soup.

I think the dentist himself was in an appointment because I got stuck just talking to one of the front desk ladies who was supposedly relaying my message to the dentist. But anyway, I also told her that my right sinus has been really hurting since the appointment. She said "oh, well it's that season." Which I didn't really accept, so she said "you may have gotten a little anesthetic into the sinus cavity."

Anyway, this isn't helping with my dental fear. I just don't think it helps to be told things like you can work the next day, and that most people just have a "little discomfort" after the procedure. I mean, because this HURTS. And why would they prescribe Vicodin anyway if it was just going to be a "little discomfort?" I always get a little hopeless after several days of pain, just willing to give up anything to be pain-free again.

Oh the positive side, FI is out getting my Vicodin refilled, picking up more materials to make milkshakes, and bringing me soup from Panera. He's also endured about 3 days non-stop of HGTV because he knows I like it. He's actually into some of the shows now - I caught him DVR'ing one. I have no idea what I'd do without him.
 
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