- 7 years ago
- Wedding: June 2012
IMPORTANT: NO DENTAL HORROR STORIES HERE!!!
Some of you might remember some past threads of mine lamenting the tale of my dental phobia, and my inability to take any antianxiety meds (they all mess with other conditions I have, and laughing gas makes me gag so I can’t use it either). Well, I had an appointment for x-rays and an exam sometime in early November. And it did not go well.
Fiance came back with me, as he always does. They took my x-rays, which was no problem for me because they don’t hurt whatsoever and are over in 30 seconds. My x-rays showed at least 10 cavities and 2 root canals…on one side of my mouth. We didn’t even get to the point of checking the other side because I freaked out so much by then. The dentist came in and started to use the pick on my teeth to examine them. After about 5 seconds of him having the pick in my mouth I screamed so loudly that I choked and hurt my throat, grabbed his hands and pulled them out of my mouth, sat up, thrashed at everything in my reach (including my poor Fiance…I slapped his arm repeatedly in my fit), and continued screaming and hyperventilating for a good five minutes. Fiance took me home and on the way to the car I was crying so hard he practically had to carry me, I could hardly stand or walk. I spent the rest of the day in bed weeping, and cried myself to sleep the next two nights.
The hygienist at that office referred me to another dentist in the area, who is known for using relaxation techniques on her anxious patients who can’t/won’t take antianxiety meds. She even gets people to mentally “turn off” their teeth when they need small fillings so that she doesn’t need to use novocain, and she sends her patients on vacations in their mind’s eye while she works on them. She is also extremely receptive to stopping and taking a break if a patient is in pain or just needs a breather, which is extremely important to me — part of the reason I freaked out at the previous dentist was because I was telling him to stop (or trying to, anyway, with his hand in my mouth) because I was getting scared and needed to take a breath — when he didn’t stop even after I practically begged it escalated my fear more and more. I made my appointment with the new dentist for December 9th, which is this Friday, and I’ve been seeing a therapist in the meantime to help conquer my fear.
And guys…it’s working!! Within a week she had me over my fear of flossing, and I now floss every single tooth every night before bed. The first time I did it (and this was literally the first time EVER in my LIFE) I cried I was so happy and proud of myself. She’s also taught me breathing techniques to use during the appointment if something actually hurts that I can’t really help, like the shot of novocain.
During the therapy sessions she first relaxes me, and then has me go through a visualization of an entire root canal procedure, from arriving at the office to walking out afterwards, and has me hold my hand up if anything gets too scary. The first couple of appointments had me in tears and holding my hand up to stop her even before the dentist walked into the room. Now, just three weeks later, I can get through an entire root canal visualization without stopping her or panicking at all. I am so freaking proud of myself, guys. This is huge for me. Last week I cried again during the visualization — but this time because I was so happy and relieved and proud.
I have two more appointments with her before the dentist on Friday, plus all the practice I can do at home, but I feel like I’m starting to lose some of my nerve. Because the appointment on Friday is the real deal — I’ll be in that chair, practically upside-down, with needles and drills and picks and weird stuff in my mouth for an hour, instead of sitting on my therapist’s couch with her puppy snoozing on my lap. But I am empowered with the knowledge that I can just hold my hand up at any time and the dentist will stop what she’s doing and let me breathe for however long I need, and my Fiance will be there holding my hand and helping me remember my breathing the whole time. He has been so supportive this entire time, telling me all the time how proud he is of me for overcoming this as much as I have.
This is the start of a new era for me. I have a lot of dental work that needs done beyond this root canal, but I’m ready for it. Half of what’s causing my dental phobia is knowing that I have so much to get done, and knowing that my mouth hurts at the slightest touch…and yet I’ve been afraid of getting it done, so it stays untreated and hurts more, makes me more afraid, etc. etc. It’s been a vicious cycle for the past 5 years and I’m ready to end it, to have healthy teeth again, to get back on schedule with 6-month cleanings, and to not constantly be in fear of my own mouth. Once I get this work done I will be a normal person with normal, healthy teeth again, just like anyone else. I have not felt that way in many, many years.
But the real test is on Friday. Bees, I need all the words of support and encouragement I can get…if I know I have a whole hive of you ladies rooting for me that I will feel even stronger. 🙂