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to be shit scared of going to the dentist

(32 Posts)
nervouschick Tue 14-Jun-11 14:49:43

i have name changed for this as i am so embarassed blush

haven't been to the dentist for nearly 10 years (i know, i know) and i have booked me and the DC in who have also never been (they are 2 and 4)

it isn't for 2 weeks but i am shitting it. absolutely shitting it.

i am both embarassed about my teeth than scared of needing work (although i think i will) i was always scared of the dentist growing up so avoided it where possible. and i don't want to pass that fear on to my dc.

i am very hot on dental hygiene, brush twice a day with an electric brush, use mouthwash and floss but i have 2 back teeth that broke about 8 years ago and now they are both rotten and black (i am so embarassed to admit this)
however the rest of my teeth seem fine and actualy look nice, they are quite white and straight. but i am so ashamed of the black ones at the back, and also scared what will need to be done with them. and i am scared theres going to be problems with the dcs teeth as well (although there shouldnt be as i am v hot on their teeth brushing too and also limit sweet stuff etc)

someone tell me to get a grip please sad and tell me it will be ok.

sarahtigh Tue 14-Jun-11 14:52:01

I will send you a longer answer later as I am a dentist but with DD just waking no time to reply until about 8pm tonight ok

Jaspants Tue 14-Jun-11 14:57:00

It will be ok - most dentists understand that people are fearful and so try to allay their fears.

Well done you for going. I too avoided the dentist and still do sometimes but had to go for the DCs sake so understand where you are coming from.

SybilBeddows Tue 14-Jun-11 14:57:53

I went recently after years, it was absolutely fine. I have a terrible gag reflex since having HG so was dreading it.
Like you I look after my teeth well otherwise and don't eat sweet stuff.

It wasn't fun but it wasn't awful either, and oh, the relief!

go for it, you will be so glad you've done it.

aliceliddell Tue 14-Jun-11 15:04:56

My NHS dentist offers tranquilliser tablets; I've had hypnotherapy for dentist phobia which was pretty good. Don't feel embarrassed, you're only as much of a fool as the rest of us; dentists are used to our ingratitude for their TLC.

GwendolineMaryLacey Tue 14-Jun-11 15:09:47

I'm the same. I didn't go for 20 years. Finally went in 2009 and had to have loads of work which they could only do by sedating me. Now I have a broken wisdom tooth but can't be sedated because I am pg. Aarrgghh. I did get into the habit of going to the hygienist every three months though as it was a handy half way step between dentist and no dentist. Good luck smile

LordSucre Tue 14-Jun-11 15:10:39

i am shit scared of the bill

LordSucre Tue 14-Jun-11 15:11:00

open your mouth and thats 40 quid gone grin

SybilBeddows Tue 14-Jun-11 15:12:59

my children have a huge crush on our dentist. I frequently have to pretend to be her hmm

she is rather lovely.

nervouschick Tue 14-Jun-11 15:19:17

i'm not even bothered about the bill too much. i am lucky enough to have got in with an nhs one so shouldn't be too awful.

god gwendoline its made me go all hot and sick reading your post!

i know i have got to act brave for my dc; as the reason i was so scared of the dentist initially is because my parents were so fearful themselves and made it really obvious hmm

and thanks sarahtigh a dentist POV would be fab smile

VeronicaCake Tue 14-Jun-11 15:21:27

I went for the first time in ten years a couple of months ago. I feel like such an idiot for not going sooner. The dentist was calm, kind and non-judgy, replaced an old filling which was loose, and miracle of miracles cleaned up some stains on my front teeth which I'd been told (10 years ago) were permanent and could only be covered up with veneers costing squillions of pounds. He also gave me some good advice on looking after DD's teeth and was generally lovely. Total cost: £0 (just at the tail end of my maternity exemption).

DH went too (like you we want to set a good example to our DC) and had a similar experience except that he had to pay £47.50 for a filling.

I think there is a lot more emphasis in dental training these days on making patients feel calm etc. They want you to come back after all. Certainly my dentist didn't bat an eyelid about the length of time I hadn't been and only asked sensitive questions about whether anxiety was one of the reasons for not going.

Another good thing is now that I know the dentist is lovely when DD is ready for a check-up (she is only 1) I'll be able to tell her how nice he is and generally communicate that going to the dentist is not scary.

Bluebell99 Tue 14-Jun-11 15:32:07

I understand your phobia as I have it as well, but ironically I force myself to go every six months! In fact I broke a tooth recently and went straight up to the dentist and got an appointment that day! I like the dentist I have now. I broke off a bit of a tooth eating a sweet, and told the dentist and he said "Was it a good sweet?!" which made me laugh. Actually it was a rubbish sweet - think it was a rowtrees pick and mix.

I have always taken my children to the dentist and they haven't needed anything doing at all. More recently I have got my dh to take them, as I find I get anxious about them as well and don't want them to get my phobia. I think though with modern toothpastes and awareness of what foods are bad for teeth , children's teeth tend to be much better today. I drank alot of squash as a child and ate more sweets than my kids do.

SybilBeddows Tue 14-Jun-11 15:58:22

My children loved the fact that they weren't scared and I was grin

They were extremely kind and supportive and told me I would get a sticker.

emptyshell Tue 14-Jun-11 16:32:18

I have a massive massive dental phobia - my record's 2 years with toothache before the pain got too much and even then I had to be physically restrained from running out of the waiting room. I scream, I sob, I physically shake, my stammer (which only ever really appears when I'm under emotional pressure) hits ridiculous levels - it's a genuine phobia and not a dislike.

Have had various dentists who really didn't "get" this and made the situation worse (it stems from a childhood where my teeth grew in cramped, the dentist would pull them without explaining it to me and they never let me spit the blood out afterwards so I had to walk back to the car gagging on mouthfuls of blood), including the one whom I plucked up the courage to go to, knowing full well my teeth were a mess, who decided to do the whole "your teeth will fall out" routine on me - he didn't see me again surprisingly.

Get a good one - ask friends like crazy for recommendations. The one I have now is fantastic once she got over the initial "oh everyone doesn't like coming" and realised it was an actual phobia. She takes no nonsense but she does actually appreciate the babysteps thing - getting in the chair and getting prodded, then getting the descaler thing on (I find that excruciatingly painful), then anasthetic (and working out I'm a wierdo who actually works better having seen it's only a scrawny little needle attached to the huge plunger o' doom) and I managed 4 fillings in one sitting - all arkward as fuck back teeth (one of which she was convinced would have to come out at one point that she's managed to bodge job up) with her making quadrupuly sure that there was so much anasthetic in there I wasn't going to be in pain. It's taken me being confident enough and articulate enough to explain the bits I find particularly distressing as well though to hit that point).

I used to teach a dentist's child who happily issued orders to the class as they went off on Easter break - "Have a good holidays and eat lots of sweets so my daddy makes lots of money" - cheeky nowt!

Best I ever had was the filling that fell out just as I went into a run on the treadmill in the gym - I know I've got the grace and light feet of an elephant but clump, clump, THUNK was NOT fun!

northerngirl41 Tue 14-Jun-11 18:47:10

Couple of tips - firstly, get down the doctors and ask for some valium - works wonders for that first scary visit. Have one the night before and one the morning of.

Then figure out what it is you don't like: being in the chair (some dentists will do check ups sitting in a normal seat if you're scared); the drilling sounds; the smells; the injections... Whatever you're scared about the dentist should be able to figure out a way round it. If they can't it's a walk away deal breaker. You'll find someone who does take your phobia seriously and will try to accommodate you.

Ask for a full examination so you know exactly what you're dealing with and everything is checked but NO TREATMENT. Make sure you get copies of the xrays so you can get a second opinion if you want.

Next don't be brave - if it even hurts a little bit tell them straight away. There are loads of different drugs they can try and they can top it up a fair bit too.

Look into IV sedation - really is very good. I can only remember one bit of the treatment and actually can't understand why they just don't do all dentistry like this.

boxoftricks Tue 14-Jun-11 18:56:00

i'm a complete wuss. was really scared. but had to go due to massive toothache.
When i had my wisdom teeth out, (separately, 2 teeth, 2 visits)
i had bubblegum flavoured numbing gel put on the gum around the tooth. then they injected anaesthetic. didnt feel a thing and had to actually ask if it was done as i had my eyes closed!
was pleasantly suprised and now love my dentist!!

roundtoit Tue 14-Jun-11 19:31:00

ring the dentist and tell the receptionist that you are terrified. The Dentist will do all he or she can to calm you. You have to be brave for your children otherwise they are going to go through life thinking the dentist is a thing to fear and end up just like you . things have changed so much over the years, hand on heart i can honestly say there is no pain involved, some uncomfortable pulling around and noises but no pain these days. Come on girl you can do it, you say you have nice teeth well you want to keep them as long as possible. Boxoftricks well done.

Grumpystiltskin Tue 14-Jun-11 20:02:25

on't self medicate before you arrive though, it affects the consent process and I would definitely not treat someone who had got sedative tablets from their GP without seeing me for a consultation first. That said, I would prescribe them myself if we (me & patient) thought it best. Good luck and remember, no matter how bad you think your teeth are, your dentist will almost certainly have seen worse and if not, the worst they will be is fascinated from a professional point of view.

emptyshell Tue 14-Jun-11 20:09:15

They don't do sedation in my health trust sad it's crap and we're looking at me possibly ending up in hospital under GA for a tooth extraction if the filling doesn't hold.

Yes find your real triggers - for me it's not the drill noise surprisingly, it's the smell, and it's that band they put around your teeth to pack fillings down into. Smell I have to pretty much just work through - but she tries to avoid using that band thing as much as possible since she found out how badly that freaks me out. I also cope better seeing the needle before I get the whole dealie of it approaching out of the corner of my eye. She also has a system with me where I can lift my hand and she'll stop drilling - all little bits of control, and I take hubby into the actual room with me (mainly to stop me legging it out).

I've also had dentists in the past suggest I bring my ipod along and plug myself into that to try to tune things out a little bit as well. I also don't arrive early - because the longer I wait the more and more I freak myself out in the waiting room.

GwendolineMaryLacey Tue 14-Jun-11 20:12:59

Sedation was amazing. I had lace up boots on and when I came round I had kicked them off, that's how out of it I was. I remember the anaesthetist telling me it would all go woozy and that's it. Was as sick as a dog when I came round but it was so worth it. Spent the rest of the day on MIL's sofa sleeping and feeling smug smile

Marne Tue 14-Jun-11 20:16:35

I feel your pain, i finaly went a few months ago (after several abcesses) and was referred to the hospital, tomorrow i am going to have one (maybe 2 if all goes ok with the 1st) taken out. I am sh*ting myself sad, one of the teeth i was ment to be having out fell out last week but has left a tiny bit of tooth and some root (i think), my gum looks horrid (not sure whats going on), i'm worried what they will do to me tomorrow but i need it sorted as my gum looks like something from a horror film. I'm going to take calms before going in and hope its not too bed hmm.

MrBloomEatsVeggies Tue 14-Jun-11 20:16:42

I was utterly terrified of the dentist and didn't go for years. In the end an excruciating abscess sorted out my fear for me. I remember very well being sat in A & E with my jaw exploding with pain (this was day 3 of agony), and being sent home to make an appointment with the dentist for the next day.

I never slept a wink thanks to the pain. I was literally pacing about all night clutching my jaw and howling in agony, it was the worst pain I have ever experienced (incl. severe migraine and labour. this was worse).

I was terrified at the dentist the next day, but as soon as the anesthetic took hold, I was in heaven. I have never missed an appointment since. I'm still very scared of dental treatment, but the memory of that abscess is much, much worse!!

You have my sympathy, but you must go, and take your DC's too.

sarahtigh Tue 14-Jun-11 20:31:46

reply as promised
firstly echo grumpy do not self medicate before treatment as she said we can prescribe sedatives if needed, from what you have said it suggests you are scared and very very anxious but not truly phobic, please tell receptionist before hand, if going with 2 DC it will only be an examination possibly xrays.

Trust needs to work both ways dso tell dentist true medical history and what tablets you are taking as if found out you had taken valium and not told us would not be happy

Most practices do not do IV sedation as it requires extra monitoring equipment etc and this is a legal requirement sedation is mostly on referral
you said your appointment was NHS so max bill will be around £200? in england it is more in scotland where I worked (on ML just now) was £380

if you are really scared when the 3 of you arrive ask dentist to see 4yr old first then younger one then if possible can they go into waiting room with their dad or a friend, children pick up very quickly on your nerves/anxirety and its natural if mummy is scared i ought to be very very scared, mostly i think its best to say very little in advance just announce on the day "we are going to see dentist he/she will check our teeth to make sure they are healthy"

try very hard to make out its no big deal just a small mirror to look at teeth, just like a teaspoon with extra long handle,

try and work out what bothers you most and say but not infront of kids hence advice that they go back to waiting room while you are seen and if you need treatment try and get childcare as if you are nervous and cry out it would not be good for your 2 or 4 year old to see this alos are you the sort of person the more info you had the more you are scared or would you rather know the minimum for consent different approaches work for different people. did you have a bad experience or not how to you feel about blood tests etc

As you are not in pain at the moment treatment can build up slowly with smallest easiest thing first, so maybe cleaned before dealing with big black teeth if there is no pain with them the nerve may well be dead in these teeth anyhow

most dentists are fine with nervous people I would think about half of patientsare not bothered at all, about 30% a bit nervous especially about treatment rather than check ups, 10% quite/really anxious and only 5% terrified, however only 55% attend regularly but those that dont not all are scared some dont think they need check ups just come if get pain, some its money and some are anxious, however if the dentist is not fine with it then go elsewhere.

any more questions please ask

EvaPeron Tue 14-Jun-11 20:42:03

Hope it goes ok. I went for the first time in 12 years to set an example to DS. No problems, and dentist turned out to be Greek and rather gorgeous!

Jonnyfan Tue 14-Jun-11 20:56:49

I am just like you, had to go for first time in about 8 yrs, dentist was so understanding and talked through exactly what bothers me. I gag if anything touches back of my tongue throat etc so he uses a numbing spray which works brilliantly. I also dreaded impressions having hade horriblr traumas when I was young and had orthodontic treatment, but he uses mini trays which avoid whole mouth impressions. X-rays were traumatic as I gagged when the technician put the plates by my back teeth so I will ask for the numbing spray for this too in future. Good luck, you will be so proud of yourself afterwards!

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