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Dental Anxiety

Do you ever have days like that, where you just feel weepy? I get them sometimes. Today I was weepy because I had a very emotionally draining day. Why? I had a dentist appointment this morning. Yep, enough to make someone with dental anxiety (such as myself) feel weepy just thinking about it.

I have a good dentist in all honesty. The office understands that dental anxiety is a thing and they do their best to make people like me comfortable. I had an amazing hygienist who was very personable and had the same love for dogs that I do which helped. I spend the most amount of time with the hygienist so having a good one is really important. My dentist is also super nice and always lets me know what he's about to do so I won't be caught off guard. I just wish I didn't have to see him is all. Nice guy, just not really my jam to be having work done in my mouth. Period.

I had some really horrible experiences as a child and even as an adult with dentists. I had a lot of cavities when I was little and I hated the shots to numb up my mouth. At one point I had to go to a different dentist and I told him I didn't want the shots for numbing. I had a ridiculous amount of cavities that needed to be filled and this dentist listed to a little kid!! He didn't give me the numbing and started drilling. I about came out of the chair when started. It was almost like some sick punishment for demanding to not have the shots. Excuse me, SIR. You are, in fact, a dentist. At no point should you allow a CHILD to be in control of decision making when you know there will be pain involved.

As an adult, 19 years old if you consider that adult because I sure felt like a child still at that age, my wisdom teeth became a problem. I had no idea what was happening but by the time I was seen I had an abscess and needed antibiotics first. I was on public assistance and dentists were limited in regards to whom you could be seen by. I just want to let you know now that the dentist I saw at the time was not in practice for a long time afterwards. I question now how he was even in practice to begin with. (I literally just caught myself grabbing my phone to distract myself from writing. Clearly I've been holding onto this mess for a while).

This dentist was the worst. I wouldn't have recommended him to anyone. I had to have 2 teeth pulled, separately, and I abhorred it both times. As a young mom on public assistance, I didn't have the luxury of seeing just any dentist or having the money to pay out of pocket for that matter. I would venture to say that there is still some sort of abuse happening to those on benefits without options but that's an entirely different topic. So the day comes to have my tooth pulled and I'm very nervous. I'm worried I will feel it because who the hell wants to feel dental pain ever again after her experience as a child? NOT ME!! The sound is gut wrenching and anyone who's been in this predicament I'm sure can relate. The numbing shots were the worst and I give it zero stars and I made it through. The second time was worst than the first.

I brought a Walkman (yes, I know I'm dating myself and hey, Walkman's were the shit back when I was that age) to listen to music so I wouldn't be able to hear the terrible noise. I fought through the shots and then the dentist kept talking every time I started the Walkman. I'm so angry even thinking about this. I didn't get to listen to the Walkman AT ALL because he kept talking and cracking jokes, particularly about the sound, and was clearly enjoying himself watching me in pain. Now you understand why he wasn't in practice long after? I'm disgusted with the whole situation.

That was definitely my worst experience. I had my first root canal in my twenties. I believe that was the time I broke part of my tooth eating caramelized popcorn and toffee. I remember looking through the phone book (yes, again I am dating myself and yes, we seriously used phone books) for a dentist and crying. I was terrified to be seen. I was left alone in a room with laughing gas so I could "calm down" and that was my first and only experience with it. I am not a fan. When it started, I felt even more panicked because I couldn't breathe!! I had to keep taking it off my nose so I could breathe oxygen. It then hit me and I was pretty calm but they took it off to do the procedure. And here's another terrible thing, I wasn't numb enough. I seriously hate how many bad experiences I've had!

Today, I was expecting another root canal. I have a tooth that they've been watching for 4 years. OMG 4 years ago already I started noticing issues. The problem wasn't easily diagnosed though since the pain was very random and could never be pinpointed to any certain thing. They had taken x-rays, even took more today, and what they're guessing isn't visible. They suspect a have a fracture in my tooth because I have long been a clencher. I don't grind my teeth but I definitely clench them. If you're a clenching person, please do yourself a favor and buy a mouth guard to sleep with. It may save you some issues going forward. He gave me a couple options. Option 1 was to remove the existing filling, build the tooth back up and cover it with a temporary crown. If in a month I felt better, then I would get the permanent crown. Option 2 was a root canal but he was concerned that if the stress fracture was to the root that we would have done a root canal only to end up pulling the tooth anyway. I went with his best judgment and we went with option 1.

They put the topical numbing agent in your mouth first which is disgusting but nothing I can't handle. I was fine for that. Then they began numbing my mouth. While uncomfortable, they know I need extra numbing medication (I made them very aware and they tried one time with the regular amount and ended having to add) so I deal with it. While I was laying there though I suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe. I tried to calm down and swallow (while her hand and the needle were in my mouth) but I couldn't feel it. I couldn't feel the back of my throat and my brain was in overdrive thinking I then couldn't breathe. OMG you guys I have never experienced anything so terrifying before!! Thank God I was at the end and they sat me up. The tech asked me how I was doing and I realized when answering that I was literally shaking. I told her what had happened, shocked myself since I have never had that happen before. PTSD perhaps? That was the closest to a panic attack I've ever been!

Anyway, the procedure is complete and I have a temporary crown. My mouth was numb for hours afterward, a small price to pay for making sure I don't feel anything during procedures. I already know I have to go back for another adjustment because it's hitting where the crown is too high. Super hard to tell when you're numb how your mouth feels. I couldn't really eat and obviously I love food so that's upsetting. And today is also the 1 year anniversary of losing one of our dogs. Just an overwhelmingly emotional day for me is all and I feel exhausted. My mouth is still sore right now which is worrisome to me. I also tried to chew on that side of my mouth and had some pain so my ligaments are probably mad with that crown being too high. I guess we'll see how I feel in the morning. I would love to say that this is going to be fine but I'm a bit hesitant at this point.

If you have dental anxiety, I feel your pain, literally. Today was shocking to me the way the anxiety escalated so quickly even when my rational mind was trying to keep me calm. Ugh, why couldn't I have been blessed with good teeth?! My grandpa had partials, my grandma had hers pulled and so did my mom. My dad had lost quite a few of his teeth too. I do everything I can to keep them healthy and yet here we are. Sigh.


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