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Blog Entries posted by SFChristianGirl

  1. SFChristianGirl
    Hi everyone.
    Here's an update.
    I have mixed feelings right now. I'm not really sure how I'm doing.
    I just got back from my dentist's appointment. It was just a consultation to talk with my dentist and go over my treatment plan in more detail and for me to ask a bunch of questions that I had.
    I got all of my questions answered, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I feel mostly bad right now. I think part of it is just the shock from the appointment and my nervousness, phobia and anxiety. My treatment plan hasn't really changed, but the order of it has. I don't know if that's good or bad.
    I'm still trying to let myself settle down. I started shaking once I got in the waiting room at the office and haven't been able to stop yet. I couldn't steady my hands at all during the appointment and was visibly shaking really bad the entire time.
    He wants to do my filling for my cavity first, because it's an active problem. The tooth will continue decaying until it's filled, so this is rather urgent. He wants me to get that done as soon as possible.
    Then I'll get the crown on my chipped tooth done, followed by the other crowns later on. Those are my two most urgent problems right now. I guess we did a bit of triage today. Just had to figure what can wait and what can't.
    I'm going to talk with my mom. I think we can manage the filling cost right away, $200 plus another $100 for the nitrous oxide. I do want that fixed before it gets worse.
    As for my chipped tooth, he wants to put the crown on soon. He still thinks the tooth can be saved, but it's very fragile. He said we're going to do a temporary crown on it first for 3-4 months and see if the temporary helps to settle the tooth down. He's going to use what he called 'removable cement' that way if we do need to take off the temporary and do a re-treatment then he can do it and still re-use the crown. It's possible the tooth may need a re-treatment before it gets a permanent crown, but he thinks that my pain is from the fracture in the tooth and that the crown will help the pain to go away. After the crown is placed it can take 3-4 months to see if the crown helped or not. Then we'll know if I need additional treatment. Right now the priority is getting the tooth to stabilize and stop cracking further and a crown will hopefully help with this.
    I've made a decision though. Despite everything, cost and no insurance (temporarily) and everything else, I'm staying with this dentist and this office. I know I said on Tuesday that I felt like I'd lost the little trust I'd gained in him, but I spoke prematurely. I was really just upset and angry, because I expected to see him that day and when I just saw the assistant that threw me off. I felt like he didn't want to see me and after the fact I realized that isn't true. I'm sure he was just busy.
    I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but now that I have this dentist who knows my history and all, I'm getting a lot of mixed feelings. I wasn't nearly as nervous at my deep cleaning appointment with the hygenist as I was when I saw my doctor today. Something about appointments when I know I'm going to see the dentist and he's either going to look in my mouth or actually work in my mouth, that sends my anxiety levels through the roof.
    He didn't work in my mouth at all today. We went based on x-rays and notes from previous visits. He actually used my finger to show me certain teeth that I was asking about to help me understand better. That helped me. I'm very visual that way.
    It just seems so weird to me how my anxiety levels change at the dentist based on who I'm seeing (dentist or hygenist) and what is going to be done that day. I didn't think I'd be so nervous when I knew it was just a consultation. Just talking. I was shaking a lot during that appointment today and I know he could tell. It was visible shaking. I was also stuttering and struggling to get my words and thoughts out.
    We'd talked about something before that I'd forgotten. I'm still not used to it, because this is my first doctor who's ever known my history with this phobia and anxiety and how bad it is. He mentioned that he wants to do the filling first to see how I tolerate him being in/working on my mouth and teeth.
    He really hasn't done any work on me yet. The only appointments I've had with him were for my new patient exam and x-rays and then once for him to check my chipped tooth that's been hurting. Neither of those had him working in/on my mouth for longer than 5 minutes at a time. The filling appointment I think is like 20-30 minutes, it may be more though because I'll need the nitrous and extra time for breaks.
    I'm just so thankful how patient and gentle he's being with me. It helps me to feel more at ease.
    This filling appointment is making me so nervous though. I don't know which is worse, the drill or the needle. They both really freak me out and both will be used at that appointment. I think this is partly why he wants me to do this first, to see my reactions and he'll be able to know how we can proceed with my other work.
    From what I know of crown preparation I don't think it involves the drill, but I think he said they use an ultrasonic instrument for that appointment. It's supposed to have a vibrating feeling, I think. Both the sound and the vibration are going to be hard for me to deal with.
    I was thinking of trying to have the filling done without the nitrous, but I honestly don't think I can cope with that. That drill instills so much fear in me that I'm going to need all the help I can get. That appointment is really going to be a trust excercise for both of us.
    So, when I left the exam room today I spoke to the assistant alone a little bit. She was reassuring me to give her a call if I had any questions for her or the doctor and if I needed to come in for anything else. Any other problems or so forth. I told her I'm sorry I'm so nervous every time I come to the office. I feel bad about that.
    We had also discussed on Tuesday, the possibility of me transferring to the other clinic they work with, because of my financial issues. I told her today that I want to stay here, despite the cost. I'm starting to feel more comfortable with my doctor. I'm building trust, little by little.
    Thanks again for all of your support.
  2. SFChristianGirl
    Hi everyone.
    Ok. This is going to be a bit of a long story. Please hang in here with me.
    I have a history of dental traumas starting back when I was a young child. My first traumatic experience involving dentists and teeth that I can remember was when I was 9 years old. This particular instance wasn't anything out of the ordinary per se, but the way I perceived it and processed it was as a traumatic experience. I went in for a routine exam/check up and cleaning and ended up with a couple of cavities. Being a child I didn't have a say in the matter and my parents and dentist decided for me to have the cavities filled the same day. I was given no explanation and no choice in the matter. I basically felt forced into it and helpless. This is when my fear of the sight and sound of the dental drill started.
    Over the years I went for my routine dental work faithfully even though each appointment led to an increased fear and anxiety regarding dentists and dental work.
    It didn't take me long to start developing many triggers for my fear and anxiety. Mention of cavities and fillings make things worse. Even knowing that I'm going in for an exam/check up and/or cleaning makes me really nervous now. Other triggers include visual things, such as the dental explorer or dental drill.
    Now, I did experience many traumatic experiences over the years between ages 9 and 28. I'm 28 now. I don't know if this was bad luck or poor dentists or some combination, but that's what happened.
    Most recently my fear, anxiety and nervousness have worsened due to having 4 root canals done in a 2 year period. The first one was done by a general dentist for people with a low income. I was nervous at that appointment due to my history and the unknown of never having had the procedure before. I think it was around that time that my numbing issues started. I'm very difficult to get completely numb and staying numb. I often need more novocaine injections during procedures and this includes simple fillings.
    My last 3 root canals were done in about a years time and two of them were done a couple of weeks apart from each other. This procedure is especially hard for me due to TMJ pain and problems. It's very difficult for me to keep my mouth open for a 1 1/2 hour procedure. These 3 were all done by the same endodontist. I trusted him at first, but have lost trust in him now. He was good at first about stopping when I needed him to the first time I saw him. The last 2 times I saw him, I felt that I was rushed and forced through the procedure. I'd use the stop signal and he wouldn't stop. The only times he'd stop is if I told him I was in pain and he'd only stop for a few seconds to give me more novocaine.
    That's what started my loss of trust in him. At my last appointment with him for my most recent root canal, I'd had enough. Let me try and explain. When I first started having this pain come back 4 weeks ago, I started to get anxious even back then. I knew what it felt like and where that had led in the past. It didn't help that this problem has been recurring due to misdagnosis or undiagnosis in the last 8 months. That has really played a major role in all of this. I told my doctors what was going on and they did nothing but re-examine and come to the same conclusion.I don't know why my telling them I'm in pain wasn't enough. They kept looking for physical medical evidence which they couldn't find until a week and a half ago.
    So the anxiety never completely goes away when I know I need work done. It started when the symptoms started. It got worse when I went to the dentist and sat in the chair. It got even worse when I went to the endodontist and sat in that dental chair.
    For me I get a fight or flight response in these situations. I can make myself sit there and endure it, but the whole time I feel like I want to get up and run. This is even with my coping skills that I use. The music distracts me and I squeeze the stress ball when the anxiety really gets high.
    I'm glad that they did my root canal all in one, 2 hour appointment. Having it in two appointments is really hard for me.
    The appointment was nerve wracking for me like I expected. I just have really bad dental anxiety and phobia, so it was difficult for me. I was on edge emotionally the entire time.
    All in all it went ok. My nervousness didn't help, but I let them do the procedure. It was one 2 hour appointment which is hard for me. The root canal was successful and the affected tooth was not infected which I'm grateful for.
    My endodontist always gives a topical numbing agent before he injects the Novacaine and it helps some, but you can still feel some pain from the needle. Normally I think the doctors give you two shots of pain medication. I have very sensitive teeth and for me they had to use 5 shots that day. He gave me two, then let them work. Then he gave me another two and let those work. Maybe about a half an hour into the procedure I had to get the last shot, because I started to feel pain. I've always had a hard time with dental numbing and that day was no different.
    I think I became dissociative during the procedure in order to deal with my anxiety and phobia. The music in my head phones helped me to zone out and my vision was blurred and I wasn't focused on anything in particular.
    I also have TMJ problems and during a long procedure like this they tend to act up. The last hour of the procedure was painful for me, because my jaw started hurting and that lead to a major head ache.
    The endodontist knows about my history with TMJ but didn't let me take breaks to rest my jaw when I needed to. I ended up moaning from the pain and the doctor knew to speed things up a bit. It's really hard to talk with that dental dam on, but he knew what the problem was without me saying anything.
    I've tried using bite blocks before, but that actually makes my pain worse, so I don't use them.
    Him not stopping though, despite my using the stop signal several times and despite the fact that I was moaning in pain. It just made me completely lose my trust in him. I was moaning in pain and I kept moving my head, trying to get even remotely comfortable. I wish I could've just got up and walked out, but I felt trapped.
    So, that was my worst dental appointment ever. Now I find it extremely hard to trust anyone who works on my teeth. That includes dentists, dental assistants, hygenists, endodontists and orthodontists. Anyone who works on my teeth is going to have a hard time gaining my trust from now on.
    Now I've finally made the decision to see a new dentist and I've see him 4 times now, but I'm still having a hard time trusting him or his staff. I really want to trust them, but my traumatic history makes me keep distancing myself so that I don't get hurt again.
    I'm trying to get past this. I want to get past this. It's just very difficult.
    Thanks for listening.
  3. SFChristianGirl
    Hi All !
    I go by JJ. I was adopted at 4 days old through Calvary Chapel in Downey, CA, USA. It was an open adoption, but I haven't had contact with my birth mom since I was 5 years old.
    I currently have 2 female cats, Pearl and Lillie. Pearl is 3 years old and Lillie is 2 years old. They were both adopted from a shelter as babies. Pearl is the 2nd cat I've had and Lillie is my 4th.
    My first cat Tasha, passed away in 2011 at the age of 13, from kidney problems. My third cat Callie, passed away in 2012 at the age of 1 year and 1 month old, from kidney problems she had from birth.
    I'm a non-denominational Christian and was saved at the age of 5. My faith is very important to me.
    I am currently going on my third year of working as a Medical Assistant.
    That's all for now.
    Thanks for listening.
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