My Dentist (phobia?)- part 2


So, after the botch-up on Wednesday (described in the last post) I was given an appointment for this week to go back to get a new inlay fitted on my root canal treated tooth.

Just because I love the visual, please welcome back, *American talk show host accent*

“Misterrrr Drill and Fill”

The reason I made a part 2 to this post is that something happened on Friday.  The something that happened is my temporary filling remained true to its calling.  It turned out, not only to be temporary, but also temperamental, refusing to last until my next appointment.  Couldn’t last seven days.

It is a different kind of filling to last time, which was also a temp, but this new one doesn’t have to be drilled out.  According to Dentist he ‘just flicks this one out’ – no drilling – YAY.  Except…

it suffers from premature ejection.  A very embarrassing condition for any filling.

I was eating a salad.  I thought an olive pip had found its way past the pitting machine, as I bit something hard.  Retrieving the object I realise with horror it is my ‘just flicks out’ filling.  Thank God I was at home.  I still had a freak-out, though. 

The prematurely-ejecting filling is white, hard, and rather large.  It looks and feels quite toothy, probably because there’s not much of my original molar left above the gum line, so the position the temp was filling in for was a central, executive position.  Lots of stress.  Like filling in for Richard Branson, maybe, while he’s pissing about in a hot air balloon.

Anyhoo, I get a bit stressed, “ohmygod,ohmygod,ohmygod”, holding the temp in my shaking hand.  I swear I didn’t used to be phobic about dental stuff.  I’ve had two dubious dentists, a few bad experiences, and now I’m a mess around them all.

My molar without the filling resembles a castle ruin.  I’ve got my next appointment tomorrow morning – eeeeeeek!!!

I’m sweating right now.  I feel sick.  I’m so bloody anxious and my stomach is turning over.  Occasionally the rational side of my brain hazards a know-it-all comment, “there’s nothing to be this scared about”, “get a grip”, “maybe you should just think exactly what it is that’s making you anxious and work from there”.

I’m anxious because I associate him with pain, discomfort and dodgy technique.  I’m also annoyed because every time I have to do something that is anxiety-provoking, it knackers me afterwards.

Anyway, as a side dish, I was thinking about whether I have “dental phobia”.  I don’t think I do, you know.  For me, a phobia involves a few things:

  • avoidance of the feared situation
  • disproportionate fear about the situation/thing
  • physical and/or psychological disturbance around the object of ones phobia.

I don’t avoid going to the dentist – I may have been guilty of postponing in the past, but if necessary I go.

I do have a disproportionate fear about going.  I mean, my fight or flight response is in full-swing, and really this much adrenalin should only be released if one is in imminent danger of being hit by a bus.  BUT, although disproportionate, the fear isn’t totally unfounded.  I have had several reasons to be wary of my dentist, and he has caused me discomfort and made dubious decisions (for instance, he waited until I was in agony before doing an emergency root canal treatment, rather than reacting to the increasing pain I’d told him about).  So, although my anxiety is excessive, I think some anxiety would be rational.

I do, obviously, have butt-loads of psychological and physical disturbance both in anticipation of my dental procedure and whilst having anything done.

So, I hit two out of three for the phobia criteria (of my own devising, not DSM or anything).  I think I have a huge fear about being treated by this particular dentist.  But, I think that if I had a good experience with my next dentist (I’m definitely changing practices after this gets sorted) my fear would markedly diminish.

This is all drivel in terms of it wasn’t really necessary for me to write or analyze it, but I’m SHIT-SCARED so I suppose writing it down is my way of coping with/dispersing the fear.

5 thoughts on “My Dentist (phobia?)- part 2

  1. This might be a stupid question, but could you not change dentist? I had a couple of really crap dentists, so I justkept switching until I found one that I was more comfortable with. I am not sure how good she is, as she takes approximately 2 minutes to do a check up, but she doesn’t scare me… It is quite hard to find dentists accepting NHS patients, but they are about. x

    • no, not a stupid question. I want to change dentists, but I felt that I needed to get the lengthy root treatment process finished before moving. Now that the last bit has been done I can hopefully move x

  2. I agree with what others are saying. I think having the right dentist is a really important aspect of what kind of feelings you have about dental care. Some important things to do to know if you have the right dentist is whether they are willing to sit down and talk to you about your care, if they are minimally invasive, use some of the safest technologies, and overall have an orientation toward patient comfort. If your dentist doesn’t and you are attached to them many dentists just as myself are open to doing things for their patients that improve their patient experience. We wrote this article that may help you or your dentist.

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