Forum: Advice / Girls & Guys PG-13

I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Spiorad
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 02:13 PM

I don't know why I just know its always been that way and now I finally went to the dentist because I thought I had lost a filling, well whatever happened wasn't that serious its actually easy to fix but I have a few cavities that need to be filled and I am absolutely terrified.

I need to get this done before I start school again because its going to be harder when I do and I just can't bring myself to actually call for the appointment. I actually feel sick just thinking about it.

The thing is that ever since I went to the first appointment not a day goes by that I don't think about it and it just makes me feel horrible.

I don't know what to do because I know that I need to go get the work done but I feel like crying every time I think about it.

I don't know what I was looking for posting this, maybe just getting some of this out will help me be able to go through with it, I really don't know. But thank you for listening.

23 Replies to I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...

re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 02:20 PM
What exactly are you scared of is going to happen?
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist... (karma: 1)
By RingingPhonePremium member
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 03:47 PM
I know how you feel. I avoided going to the dentist because I hate needles... I generally avoid needles. It took me about 4 or 5 years to work up the courage to even TALK about getting my wisdom teeth taken out!

What's helped me is two things. One- I like to prove to myself that I can do things without something going wrong. Two- I control the situation.

Example 1: I knew I had cavities that needed to be filled. I made sure I knew what the office looked like and that I had the dentist of my choice. I even practiced pinching my gums to try and understand what the pain of the needle would be like (except there wasn't any!). I told my boss that I might not come back to work in the afternoon, in case I felt weird afterwards.

Example 2: I avoid needles (as above), including my immunizations, because I throw up afterwards and I get really embarassed. My doctor recommended a series of needles before I travelled, but it wasn't necessary. I made the decision to get the needles (ME controlling the situation). I told my doctor about my needle phobia, and she booked me as the last patient so I could lay down in the room afterwards (she also let me lay down for the needle). I brought snacks to eat when I felt my blood sugar getting low. I made sure to have someone pick me up so I wasn't stressed about driving home.

When I know I have to do something (like the above), I look at how to control the situation. Knowing that I'm in control eases my anxiety for the next time I'm put in the situation. (In example 2, I needed 3 needles total- the last 2 were a breeze because I had controlled the situation of the first. Now, I don't panic about getting immunizations anymore!)

I'm a list maker, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I can check something off my list. Getting cavities filled at the dentist without freaking out? Check! Getting immunizations without throwing up and crying! Check! Getting wisdom teeth out? Will be checked by the end of the year. :)

I don't know if this helps you, but it's helped me in getting over my anxieties with medical stuff :)
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Spiorad
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 04:34 PM
Theresa, I'm not really sure to be honest. I think a big part of it is the pain factor. I'm not scared of needles in any other sense but them going into my mouth and being pushed through my gums well that does scare me.

The noises the smells it all just really gets to me.

RingingPhone, thanks, yeah the dentist I went to who told me I needed the fillings was really stiff and cold so I'm going to see if I can go to the dentist I went to last time. She was really nice and I didn't feel any pain at all with her.

The thing is that I really don't get it. I mean like I said the last two times I went for fillings or work I haven't had any pain or discomfort I still feel this way.
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By kerplooey_dancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 04:49 PM
I'm totally with you. I practically have panic attacks whenever I go to the dentist/orthodontist, I absolutely hate it. Plus it doesn't help that my dentist is completely rude. Alas, I have to go. I ask for nitrus oxide (laughing gas) whenever I'm having any sort of procedure. It definitely works to help relax you, you actually do laugh sometimes. It just makes you calm enough to the point where you feel so at peace you don't care that you're at the dentist. i'd ask and see if they could let you have laughing gas for your procedure. You're so calm you can hardly feel any injections or anything at all, you might feel it, but you won't care lol.

let us know how it goes!

-Kerplooey
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Arakmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 07:38 PM
There are dentists who will sedate you for routine cleanings, because lots of people are afraid of the dentist. Find out if there is one in your area.
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 08:04 PM
If it's the breakdown of what's happening that's freaking you out, don't think of it that way. Every time you catch yourself going "Ok, so the needle is going to puncture the skin...", just stop yourself, with a real sharp "NO!", and force yourself to go off on a different subject. Also request that they not give you the breakdown.

I get antsy about the dentist. I've got a horrible gag reflex, and anything going in my mouth gives me anxiety. But you know what? My dentist is good, and fast. And well aware of my gag reflex, and patient about it.

If half the discomfort is in your current dentist, then by all means, get a new one! Lifes too short to have a sucky dentist!
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Allymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 08:14 PM
I have TERRIBLE anxiety over needles.
Most people have given you great advice.

Can you request gas? I always get gas whenever I have to get fillings, which is a lot because of the anatomy of my teeth and my previous issues with purging. It works well, it kind sends me to lala land so I don't get tensed up. Does your dentist not use the numbing gel before the shots in the gums? Also, I just keep my eyes shut so tight.
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By SLBdancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 09:19 PM
I have horrible dental anxiety as well, and funny you should bring this up today because I just went to get my teeth cleaned this morning.

The pediatric dentist I used to go to sat on top of me when I was three years old and pretty much traumatized me (I mean really, a full grown woman sitting on a three year old child....not pleasant at all, and my parents didn't believe me and made me continue to see her until i was 16). From then on, I've had the worst panic attacks before every single dentist visit.

First of all, if you are afraid of the pain factor, if you have a good dentist you shouldn't feel a thing. My old dentist didn't numb me properly, but the one I switched to is great, he makes sure everything is nice and numb before he starts doing anything. Also, could you bring an ipod or some music to help you relax? I refuse to step foot in the dentist office without my own music to listen to since it drowns out the sound of their tools.

I did counseling for other anxiety issues, and I was able to control it in every situation EXCEPT dentist appointments, so I talked to my doctor about it and she gave me a low dose of xanax just for before appointments. It's absolutely great, I wish i had gotten it sooner. It's not enough for me to lose the ability to drive safely or anything. I just feel very relaxed and at peace and I'm able to go without panicking or throwing up or anything. The best part is, afterwards, I don't even remember being there and yet I was conscious the whole time. If your anxiety is really bad like mine, maybe call the dentist or your doctor and see if something like this is a possibility? If not, the laughing gas can be helpful too, however, it can't start until you are already in the chair. My problem was more the beforehand until I got into the chair part so since I could take the pill an hour or two before, I was fine when it was time to leave. I hope this helps a bit, and good luck, I hope you are able to go and get everything done comfortably!
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By dancinqt5013member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:33 PM
I just got two fillings done yesterday and I was a little scared for them. I have a little bit of anxiety going to the dentist. To be honest, the shot of novocaine did hurt a little (but I have really tense jaw muscles, so it probably hurt me more than most people since you're not supposed to tense up while getting a shot) and I almost had a small panic attack after that, but I just took a few deep breaths and tried to get my mind off of it. The rest of it didn't hurt at all. My dentist had a painting on the wall and there was a moon in the painting, so I just stared at the moon in the painting the entire time to get my mind off of what was going on, but I always forget that you really can't feel what's going on. And most doctors' and dentists' offices have something on the wall that you can look at.

If you get your cavities filled now, you will be spared the pain of those cavities getting bigger in the future. It can be scary going to the dentist but it's just one appointment that will be over in less than an hour. Find a way to keep your mind off of what the dentist is doing and you should be fine.
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By emmaleex99
On Thu Aug 13, 2009 01:07 AM
My dentist is really nice and he goes soooo slow with the anesthetic. He puts on a numbing gel first, then uses the needle... but the way he does it, he's basically numbing ahead of the needle as he goes, so I never feel a thing.

That's funny that you mention asking him not to give you the breakdown, Theresa, it's the only thing that calms me down. I ask lots of questions, because the only thing that freaks me out is a random noise or feeling that makes me go 'OH MY GOD WHAT WAS THAT', lol. He indulges my curiosity and gets a very cooperative Emily in return.
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:13 PM

That's funny that you mention asking him not to give you the breakdown, Theresa, it's the only thing that calms me down. I ask lots of questions, because the only thing that freaks me out is a random noise or feeling that makes me go 'OH MY GOD WHAT WAS THAT', lol. He indulges my curiosity and gets a very cooperative Emily in return.


LOL! My dentist goes to fast, so I don't get the breakdown. For one appointment, he told me all about the present that he was getting his wife for their anniversary. I'm not going to lie to you - dudes an amazing gift giver. I was really jealous!

(And since I know I'll have to come back and tell the story...she and he were both in the choir in high school and college, and as their anniversary gift, he had a song written for her, and he'd arranged to have their college choir sing the song. She got a framed copy of the sheet music, and he took her to the show where they sang the song. See? That's hella cool! I'm not even into choral music, and that's cool!)
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist... (karma: 1)
By Reidfidleirmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:43 PM
Hey!

Dental hygienist here! haha

I've seen quite a few patients that were traumatized about just coming to the dentist for a cleaning, never mind further treatment. a lot of them had been away for a while. Like 30 years :O

Most people that I've met that don't like, or are afraid of going to the dentist have had a bad or traumatizing experience while still young and impressionable. Has this happened to you? Even something that sounds silly to you now? like they gave you a bad tasting paste? or something worse, like one of my patients who said that her dentist slapped her in the face because she started whining ( she was around 6 at the time).

I strongly second the idea of a mild prescription of xanax or valium before you go in. (assuming you don't have allergies etc. to the rx)

The most recent patient I had was terrified, and had taken valium before she came in (only 20 min before- PLEASE take it at least an hour before!) and she was ok. marginally, but ok. The second visit was much much better.

Then again, the dentist is important too! I don't mean to boast or anything, but I pride myself in being thorough and gentle. If a patient is afraid, I talk to them without doing anything- no donning gloves or mask either at that point.
I like to get their background, whatever they're comfortable talking about (like possible bad experiences), explain things- if that's what they want. In general, I try to be very understanding and accomodating as much as I can.

If I need to do a quadrant scaling ( deep cleaning ), I give them the option of just using the numbing gel, or going further with local anesthetic. Sometimes I go my normal speed, sometimes I slow down, letting the patient take breaks, sit up, get up and go to the bathroom if need be.

And usually they're fine the next time they come back.

OH, and ipods are great!!! Bring your music, you'll be glad you did.

I understand the smell thing. Interestingly, the office where I work now doesn't smell at ALL like a dental office! Just smells "normal." haven't figured that out yet...

ALl the best! Please tell me how it went!

Justine
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Spiorad
On Mon Aug 17, 2009 04:11 PM
Ok I got at least one of the appointments set up (They said it might take two) and I don't feel as bad as I thought I would. Just a little sick and like they're is something stuck in my throat but its already going away.

Because of school and everything I have to wait until next month because I refuse to go to any other dentist other then the one who did my last fillings because like I said before I didn't have any pain or discomfort with her. So I do have to wait until Sept. 17.


Now I'm just trying to figure out what would be the best thing to do to keep my cavities from getting worse. I already brush twice a day and floss but I'm looking up the best mouth washes etc.


I'm sorry if I'm rambling I just hate this whole thing.
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By imadanseurPremium member
On Mon Aug 17, 2009 05:36 PM
I have a huge phobia of the dentist, though it is so much better now that my husband took me to his dentist who is VERY good and VERY gentle.

I couldn't even sit in the waiting room with out tears streaming down my face and once I hyperventilated in the doctor's office and ran out. I never even went back to get my purse. I just canceled my credit cards and got new ones.

I used to have to take valium and have my husband hold my hand the entire time, but now I can go in for procedures with just the gas and my ipod. I will never get to the point where I like it or I am even comfortable, but I no longer have the extreme anxiety or lay in the chair gripping the sides while having white knuckles.

A friend of mine went to a class on self hypnosis and learned relaxation techniques to help her go to the dentist. That might be something to look into in the future to help with the anxiety.
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Spiorad
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 07:06 PM
So I busted up my lower tooth, some how I managed to pull or break or whatever my previous filling. I called to ask if I should go in sooner then the 17 because I can feel and see the hole but they said since I hadn't felt any pain (I'm not even sure when I did it) that is should be fine until the 17 but I might need a root canal(SP?).

So basically I'm thinking of canceling all together. I feel like I'm going to cry any second. Or throw up.

I know a lot of people sugested laughing gas but I can't stomach the idea of willingly asking to be more defensless.

I know there are anti anxiety meds but I can't really get any and my mother has always been really against all that stuff and I don't feel like arguing when I already feel so crappy.

I freakin hate this and I hate them and just everything about it! ARGH!!!!!!
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Reidfidleirmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:58 AM
Losing part a filling is not a huge deal. Just try to keep it clean for now as best as you can. If it does start to be painful insist on going in earlier.

What is the reason you can't get anti-anxiety medication? The dentist himself can perscribe some for you before you come in.(then again, I don't know your medical history- so it can depend on that). I don't know how old you are, but I think your mother should be a little more understanding. If it's just going to make it an even more miserable experience for you just going in without something to calm you down a little bit, that could affect you later on. It'll just build up more fear and "anti-dentistness" haha.

I really wish I could help more. How did it go? Did you go?

Justine
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:08 AM
I know a lot of people sugested laughing gas but I can't stomach the idea of willingly asking to be more defensless.


But it doesn't make you defenseless. My son just had to get a filling, and his dentist (who is my dentist that I referred to earlier in the thread) was like "Aah, I'm not coming at that little face with a needle. We gotta come up with another plan." (James is only 3, and he typically doesn't take patients until age five).

So they gave him laughing gas. And evidentally, it made everything about the appointment REALLY funny, because you could hear James laughing throughout the entire office, for the entire duration of the appointment. Really!

I've also had laughing gas, recently. I get some work done at the Dental School, and they like to give their students lots of experience in everything, so sometimes they have you use gas. It just made my nose burn.

And the thing about laughing gas, is that it only works for as long as your breathing it in. The minute they take the mask off your mouth, the gas starts wearing off. As opposed to novicane, which will have you numb hours later.
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Josianemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:56 PM
I can understand the feeling. I hate going to the doctor: the smell, the white shirts, etc. But I havn't found anything to make me not anxious to go. I go when I have NO choice.

My father though used to be really scared of the dentist also. My mom took him after a couple of years because his teeth were disgusting (he never went as a child so at 35 you imagine...). Before, they gave him a relaxant because he was waaay too scared. So it might be a good idea for the first time, so then the next time you're less afraid and the third time not at all, and the fourth time you you do it yourself. And the fifth time you apply to go to a densits's college... etc etc.
:)

You could also have a bit of what he had: www.youtube.com . . .

Classic. So funny. :)
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By MJeanette
On Thu Oct 01, 2009 03:28 PM
I can totally relate; going to the dentist is always a big tramautic experience for me. I dread it for weeks in advance, and all I can think about is how much I wish I didn't have to go and how many cavaties I think I'm going to have and how miserable it's going to be getting them taken care of. Since the original post was a while ago, I assume you've had your appoitment? How did it go?
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Staceymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Oct 01, 2009 07:34 PM
I switch dentists every time I go...lol.

I HATE HATE HATE IT. I put it off for a year or two and then switch dentists each time. But this time I need a filling or two done and feel I should return to my previous place because I am familiar with how they do it all, and that they give me the laughing gas too.

My mom said she will make me and her an appointment with a new dentist she knows, and I think change might be good...but maybe familiar for the fillings is better? I don't know...I'll just put it off a few more months... :?
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By MissAshleymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Oct 03, 2009 09:29 PM
I hate the dentists too. The sound of the drills and the most annoying thing must be that little "hook" thing that they scrape and tap your teeth with. Is that really neccessary???

Well anyway..how does the gas make you feel? Do you still need novacane with it?
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Musicdude
On Thu Oct 08, 2009 03:19 PM
A lady goes to the dentist's office and when she sits in the chair she reaches over and grabs his crotch. The dentist asks, "what are you doing!?". The lady says, "We aren't going to hurt each other, now are we?"
re: I have really bad anxiety about going to the dentist...
By Ellen_Eliz
On Wed Oct 14, 2009 05:57 PM
I can totally sympathize. Unfortunately because I get really bad anxiety about the dentist as well, I don't have very good advice.

But trust me I know how it is. I can't even relax for a normal cleaning. I nearly have a nervous break down the whole day before.

I once found a really good website for support for dental anxiety. Unfortunately I don't remember what it was, but try googling and perhaps you'll come across it.

Good luck!

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