#1
Old 02-25-2012, 08:29 PM
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Scared of dentist...

Ok I'm not scared of going to the dentist as in a phobia

I'm scared of going because of how BAD my teeth are.

I haven't been in about 6 or 7 years because of some stupid mistake where I missed 2 appointments in a row and got struck off my dentist at the time unless I paid them money I didn't have.

From then on, the worse my teeth got the more reluctant/embarrassed I got about going, and now I need to go because my teeth are terrible.

You can't notice it when I smile because it's the back ones (or rather now the LACK of them).

I've now registered with a new dentist in my area and have to make an appointment.

I'm dreading walking in that room. Can they refuse treatment? I think they might take one look at my mouth and tell me to get out.

This is 100% my fault and I feel like an idiot. Any words of wisdom (no pun intended) to make me feel like, 1% better?
#2
Old 02-25-2012, 08:32 PM
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Going to slide this over to IMHO for you.
#3
Old 02-25-2012, 08:34 PM
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No matter how bad it is you are not the worst they have seen.

Good for you for taking this step to take care of yourself.
#4
Old 02-25-2012, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idle Thoughts View Post
Going to slide this over to IMHO for you.
Thanks. I wasn't sure where this should go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by carlotta View Post
No matter how bad it is you are not the worst they have seen.

Good for you for taking this step to take care of yourself.
Thanks carlotta.

I hope I'm not the worst they've seen.
#5
Old 02-25-2012, 09:03 PM
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I have family in the molar business. They see this and much worse all the time. Don't fret, and go in and take care of them you only get one set.
#6
Old 02-25-2012, 09:11 PM
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lots of people have not gone to a dentist in a long time for dozens of reasons. you won't be the worst that dentist has seen.

if some of what has to be done to you is beyond what that dentist can do then you will be referred to another dentist for that work.

if you have money constraints then explain that to the dentist and get done what you can afford that is the most important. you might be able to get treatment spaced over two years if needed.
#7
Old 02-25-2012, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibanez View Post
I have family in the molar business. They see this and much worse all the time. Don't fret, and go in and take care of them you only get one set.
Thanks, this makes me feel a bit better. I'm still worried about that first contact, going in sitting down and them seeing my mouth. Maybe I should explain to them before I sit down? I know I should really 'man up' about this but I can't...

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
lots of people have not gone to a dentist in a long time for dozens of reasons. you won't be the worst that dentist has seen.

if some of what has to be done to you is beyond what that dentist can do then you will be referred to another dentist for that work.

if you have money constraints then explain that to the dentist and get done what you can afford that is the most important. you might be able to get treatment spaced over two years if needed.
Appreciate the reply. I know I'll need a lot of work, as in loads. Hopefully I can space it out as you say ( and afford it.)
#8
Old 02-25-2012, 09:41 PM
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Well, I got a decently good teeth-cleaning job just last week, for the first time in several years.

I've seen people with horribly bad teeth. Everybody has. If you think only your rear-most teeth (past or present) are bad, consider how awful somebody else's teeth are when even the front teeth look that bad. Now imagine ALL the teeth like that. That's what dentists deal with a lot. Because there are plenty of people who are phobic about going to dentists.

This phobia about dentists seems to be some kind of a cultural memory type of thing, from back in the days when a trip to the dentist really was like visiting a torture chamber. Time was, dentists had low-speed drills that were powered by foot-pedals that the dentist pedalled like a bicycle. And NO anaesthetic. It's not like that any more.

This is why Henry Higgins, in the movie My Fair Lady, sang the song "I'm an Ordinary Man" including this (boldface added):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lerner and Loewe
Let a woman in your life, and you're up against a wall,
make a plan and you will find,
that she has something else in mind,
and so rather than do either you do something else
that neither likes at all You want to talk of Keats and Milton,
she only wants to talk of love,
You go to see a play or ballet, and spend it searching
for her glove, Let a woman in your life
and you invite eternal strife,
Let them buy their wedding bands for those anxious little hands...
I'd be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling
than to ever let a woman in my life

Last edited by Senegoid; 02-25-2012 at 09:41 PM.
#9
Old 02-25-2012, 09:53 PM
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Thanks for the reassuring words Senegoid. Yeah my front teeth are okay, suppose I should be less anxious than if all my teeth were messed up...

I'm grateful of the replies, thanks people. There's no one in my "real life" I could talk to about this, because no one knows. I actually feel a bit better already.
#10
Old 02-25-2012, 10:45 PM
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I hadn't gone to the dentist in centuries until a wisdom tooth started hurting a couple of years ago. I dragged myself to a place and was full of apologies before I even opened my mouth. I knew it was gonna be bad. The tooth was rotten and had to be extracted, but turns out that was the least of my problems.

Suffice it to say, I'm really glad I broke my long absence from the dentist. Yes, it was scary hearing about all the problems I had let accumulate, but facing them full-on is more empowering than deluding myself, which is what I had been doing. I found a dentist that doesn't make me feel bad. Every bit of bad news he gives me, he follows it up with "Don't worry. I have seen much worse." Since I know my mouth has issues now and I have been sufficiently scared about losing teeth, I am more diligent about flossing and making regular appointments.

I think dentists are used to getting patients that are ashamed and embarrassed, so they know what to say to ease their fears.
#11
Old 02-25-2012, 10:52 PM
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What's embarrassing is to live in a country where dental care costs a lot of money, and you simply can't afford to get your teeth taken care of; and then moving to another country where dental care is covered by the national health insurance program, and the dentist there is shocked that anyone would have any reason whatsoever to wait so long to take care of those horrible teeth.
#12
Old 02-25-2012, 10:56 PM
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I'm petrified of dentists but recently had to get a tooth dealt with which had decayed so badly (unbeknownst to me) that it was basically hollowed out - I only became aware of this when a chunk broke right off. My dentist was blase about the entire thing; I had to get a root canal and it wasn't particularly pleasant but also not the horror I'd expected. Once you go in and explain the situation, I think you'll be surprised at how professional and reassuring they can be. They're in the business of fixing things, not of judging and inflicting pain on ugly sets of chompers.
#13
Old 02-25-2012, 11:47 PM
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It's amazing how many of your teeth can be saved nowadays. When I was a kid there'd be no chance, and indeed dentures were often the only choice for people even in their 20s. But now most of your teeth, even if far gone, can not only be saved, but restored to pristine condition with crowns, or, failing that, implants. Plus it's painless, except for in the wallet department.
#14
Old 02-26-2012, 12:56 AM
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Closing lines from "The Painless Dentist Song" by Allan Sherman:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Sherman, The Painless Dentist Song
That's it... now it's over.
They'll be a puffiness around your cheeks,
You'll have to eat soft food for three more weeks,
And if you'll kindly stop those ghastly shrieks,
I'm through.
You can find it to listen, somewhere on YouTube, I'm sure.

Last edited by Senegoid; 02-26-2012 at 12:58 AM.
#15
Old 02-26-2012, 01:04 AM
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I can't stand going to the dentist. Still go twice a year, but, man, I'm a nervous wreck. To me, the instruments look like something out of Dead Ringers. (Yeah, the items in the pictures are gynecological instruments! )
#16
Old 02-26-2012, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
I can't stand going to the dentist. Still go twice a year, but, man, I'm a nervous wreck. To me, the instruments look like something out of Dead Ringers. (Yeah, the items in the pictures are gynecological instruments! )
I get the impression that dentists are, uh... painfully aware of their traditional perception as torture-meisters, and deliberately do a lot of things to make a dental visit less traumatic for the patient, compared to other doctors. I believe this is a standard part of a modern dentist's training these days. Witness:

-- Dentists commonly have TV and/or headphones, where the patient can listen to soothing music or watch something on the tube, while the dentist hacks away. Did you see anything like that mentioned on all those nearby colonoscopy threads?

-- Dentists these days always keep their instruments of torture behind the patient's chair, out of sight of the patient. (Years ago, when I was young, they didn't do that.) And they commonly don't even have them set out until after the patient is settled in, so the patient doesn't see them as he enters the room. But when you go into the doctor's procedure room for that electromyogram or endoscopy or whatever, you get to sit there in a chilly room in your skivvies for twenty minutes until the doc comes in, all the while having the relevant instruments of torture sitting right there before your eyes.

-- Dentists commonly offer ativan or nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") to partially sedate a patient for things like fillings, root canals, extractions, or worse. Doctors never offer such palliatives for procedures of similar magnitude. (This is separate from local anaesthetics.)

-- Most modern dentists I've been to in recent years have carpeted floors in their procedure rooms! When was the last time you saw that in a doctor's office? (How the hell do they maintain a sanitary and hygienic work space with carpet on the floors anyway?????)

Do we have any dentists on board? Am I right about all this?
#17
Old 02-26-2012, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Maybe I should explain to them before I sit down?
Let me tell you something about dental fear. One of the greatest things you can do for yourself is to tell people up front, openly and frankly, "I have to be honest, I'm a little afraid, my teeth are quite bad." Less than fifteen words, but if you can spit them out two things happen.

Firstly, these are trained professionals, familiar with bad teeth and dental fear. They will pick up the thread and run with it, offering reassurance and comfort.

Secondly, just telling the people around you, frees you from having to put on a brave face. You can relax a tiny bit more. Just getting it off your chest will give you an enormous release, and you'll feel wonderful. Don't deny yourself this boost if you can manage it.

And I tell you, all of this, as a person with terrible teeth and years of dental fear experience. If you have a music player you should load it up with your favorite upbeat music, an entire appointments worth, then turn it up loud!

Last edited by elbows; 02-26-2012 at 12:51 PM.
#18
Old 02-26-2012, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlotta View Post
No matter how bad it is you are not the worst they have seen.
Yeah but you know there HAS to be someone that's the worst they've ever seen...
#19
Old 02-26-2012, 08:36 PM
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There are dentists now who specialize in sedation dentistry. You sleep through the whole treatment. These dentists have special training to do this. You should be able to find one in your area. My dentist does it but I don't need the sedation.
#20
Old 02-27-2012, 12:42 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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My husband is retired Army. The last job he had before he retired, he was the facilitator for the Dental Clinic at Ft Knox. There are people coming and going at all times at that post, plus you've got the trainees as well.

Army regulations say every soldier must have a dental exam/cleaning once a year. As the Facilitator, he would get the printouts of every single military member on post, and he had to make sure they all got a little checkmark next to their name, from the Post Commander on down.

He heard ALL the stories.

He had people who were so terrified with the dental visit, they couldn't even tolerate the EXAM. No problem! These folks were scheduled at the post hospital, where an anesthetist would knock them out. It was routine, and people were handled compassionately and efficiently.

Hubster also got to hear the stories of WHY these people had their phobias. One young man said when he was a kid, his father took him to the dentist and said, "Do whatever work you need to do, but no novocaine. He needs to learn how to be a man." Dad then SAT on the kid so the dentist could work.

Yeah, I'd be phobic, too.

I would also like to find that particular father, AND the dentist who went along with it. They should be locked up. AFTER I get through with them.


~VOW
#21
Old 02-27-2012, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spymaniac View Post
. . . I'm dreading walking in that room. Can they refuse treatment? I think they might take one look at my mouth and tell me to get out. . . .
Get out? More like: ka-CHING. Although the good ones will work with you to make decisions based on what you can afford.

Like you, I re-entered regular dentistry after many years with no insurance. Then the new job had dental insurance, but there was a maximum of $1,000/yr and I had many fillings that had been missing for years and at least two teeth that would need crowns. He was also the first dentist to tell me that the fillings were failing because I had bruxism (I grind my teeth at night) and that I'd better get a guard or I'd be cracking them to bits.

Fortunately, when I asked around at the office, I got multiple recommendations for a guy who turned out to be the best dentist ever. We did a juggling act for about 3 years. A cap and fillings this year. Another cap and the guard the next. He does a little cheer if there's nothing new broken when I come in for regular cleanings.
#22
Old 02-27-2012, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spymaniac View Post
... Can they refuse treatment? I think they might take one look at my mouth and tell me to get out..
Businesses aren't usually in the habit of chasing away paying customers. It'll be fine, and you'll be glad you went.
#23
Old 02-27-2012, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
Businesses aren't usually in the habit of chasing away paying customers. It'll be fine, and you'll be glad you went.
Concur.

I'm glad this isn't because of a phobia / anxiety issue (though if you find the right dentist, he/she can work with that, I speak from experience).

Your dentist should be able to come up with a plan to deal with your issues - you won't be the worst they've seen. The plan might range from a whole bunch of fillings, maybe some root canals, to implants. Unfortunately if things have progressed to actual missing teeth, you're probably looking at implants ($$$) and/or partial / full dentures.

If you have dental insurance, beware that this typically has an annual cap which winds up covering only a few procedures. I was a few dollars under the limit for mine last year with one implant and a couple of partial root canals. I delayed some other work until this year for that reason. Seeing an in-network specialist will help the insurance money go further - my regular dentist (who is now in-network, phew!) had NO specialist names when referring me for root canal / implant work. I wound up having to print a list of participating specialists and having her pick one that she knew of.

So - sticker shock may set in. If there's a dental school anywhere near you, that can lead to considerable cost savings, if requiring a bigger time investment.
#24
Old 02-27-2012, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
There are dentists now who specialize in sedation dentistry. You sleep through the whole treatment. These dentists have special training to do this. You should be able to find one in your area. My dentist does it but I don't need the sedation.
I go to a clinic that does sedation (and I use it, too) - I had a root canal and an extraction done just two weeks ago under sedation. It's not perfect, but as a hard-to-freeze person, it works well enough for me (I still felt the extraction, but it was like, "Yeah, that hurts, whatever...").

Just git 'er done, spymaniac. One thing you can be 100% assured of, is that your teeth won't get better by waiting longer.
#25
Old 02-28-2012, 01:49 PM
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It doesn't sound like spymaniac is necessarily fearful of the procedures, or hard to numb - but sedation might not be a bad idea anyway if they're doing a whole lot of stuff at the same time. Makes time pass by, I think the staff can work faster because you're not tense, and hey, you don't care what's going on. I tell everyone that my first experience (5+ hours in the chair) with sedation, everything was groooooovy and they could have cut off my toes if they'd wanted to, I sure didn't care.
#26
Old 02-28-2012, 03:41 PM
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I went to the dentist for the first time in my life a couple of weeks ago, at 23. I didnt have insurance when i was a kid, and my mom HATES dentists. She had a very bad experience. When i finally got insurance i felt the same way, I kept fearing I would go in and the dentist would flip out on me for letting it go for so long. I finally went and it was no big deal, they understood, and they also were saying that my teeth werent bad for going so long without care. I have heard stories from friends that their dentist lectured them, but if you get a dentist like that I would say to tell them to shut it, they arent there to lecture or make you feel bad they are there to fix or help you with your teeth and gums.
#27
Old 03-05-2012, 08:33 AM
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hi guys

thanks to everyone who took time out to give me some encouragement, I really appreciate it.

I just had my appointment, and it went............okay.

I was so nervous I didn't even sleep last night, felt awful walking there, sitting and waiting etc.

I told the guy my mouth was bad before I sat down and he didn't really say much, just poked and prodded around in my mouth for a while. turns out I have 6 teeth completely gone and 4 which are serious.

I asked him if my teeth were so bad that I might die. he kind of laughed and told me I have 2 options: implants (expensive) or dentures. because I'm not in any pain I told him I'd like to think about it.

And that was it, I was in and out in under 10 minutes. so I've definitely got a lot of work ahead but at least the initial hurdle's been crossed now. I still feel an idiot for not going to the dentist for so many years!

...just thought I'd add that update. thanks again people
#28
Old 03-05-2012, 09:07 AM
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No matter how it shakes out, it'll probably be a financial hit of some sort. Ask your dentist if he accepts CareCredit. I used to work front desk for a dentist, and many of our patients used it. (It sounds like you're in the US. If not, nevermind.)

You can get up to a year to make payments, interest-free, and it can only be used for medical purposes. We never had a patient that was not extended credit, as far as I know. It's a good program.
#29
Old 03-05-2012, 03:04 PM
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Thanks for the update, spymaniac - I'm glad to hear it went (relatively) well. I just had a molar pulled, and I was surprised by how little it actually hurt, so there's that - it might not be as bad as you're afraid. Get all the bad ones pulled, get some fake teeth, get on with your life and eating whatever you want.
#30
Old 03-05-2012, 03:54 PM
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Good for you for going! Dentists today are a lot different from when I was a kid.

BTW, did you notice that just as you were leaving, the dentist picked up the phone and called his wife, "Honey, call the realtor... I think we have the down payment for that beach house..."
#31
Old 03-05-2012, 04:21 PM
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Several of my friends have had implants. Be prepared for sticker shock. You're looking at least $3,000 per implant. And despite what the commercials say, implants cannot be done in one day. Ten teeth is a third to half of your mouth. You might seriously consider dentures.
#32
Old 03-06-2012, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spymaniac View Post
hi guys

thanks to everyone who took time out to give me some encouragement, I really appreciate it.

I just had my appointment, and it went............okay.

I was so nervous I didn't even sleep last night, felt awful walking there, sitting and waiting etc.

I told the guy my mouth was bad before I sat down and he didn't really say much, just poked and prodded around in my mouth for a while. turns out I have 6 teeth completely gone and 4 which are serious.

I asked him if my teeth were so bad that I might die. he kind of laughed and told me I have 2 options: implants (expensive) or dentures. because I'm not in any pain I told him I'd like to think about it.

And that was it, I was in and out in under 10 minutes. so I've definitely got a lot of work ahead but at least the initial hurdle's been crossed now. I still feel an idiot for not going to the dentist for so many years!

...just thought I'd add that update. thanks again people
I missed this thread the first time round, but I've read it all now and just want to say congrats. Pat yourself on the back, you done good.
#33
Old 03-06-2012, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peedin View Post
Several of my friends have had implants. Be prepared for sticker shock. You're looking at least $3,000 per implant. And despite what the commercials say, implants cannot be done in one day. Ten teeth is a third to half of your mouth. You might seriously consider dentures.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing, either - maybe implants for the front teeth, and partial plates for the molars.
#34
Old 03-06-2012, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peedin View Post
Several of my friends have had implants. Be prepared for sticker shock. You're looking at least $3,000 per implant. And despite what the commercials say, implants cannot be done in one day. Ten teeth is a third to half of your mouth. You might seriously consider dentures.
It is indeed pricy, but if you have multiple done at once there might be some savings. Also, if the OP has dental insurance, that *may* pay something; the one I had last year was partly covered, and I used an in-network oral surgeon.I was, nominally, out of pocket for something like 1200 of that cost, plus the cost of the crown that will go over the post when he exposes it in a couple of months.

Of course, most insurance has a cap on what they'll pay in any given year (I delayed a crown on another tooth until January for that reason).

I'd never heard a commercial saying they could be done in one day, that's patently insane (the post has to be in the jaw for months before they can do the next step).
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