Wow, has this been a year with my dental anxiety journey. In many ways, with mask-wearing that is happening, it could not have come at a better time.
For me, the dentist is a necessary evil, and I don’t say that in a mean way or manner, but it is so triggering for me. I know people tell me they have anxiety about going to the dentist, but what I’m talking about is anxiety beyond the normal stuff.
I knew I needed to get this work done, but for one reason after another, it had not happened. Some of the reasons were out of my control while others were not. Dental anxiety was a big part of this, but even now, after all these months, I still try to minimize just how bad the anxiety is.
It wasn’t until tooth pain got so bad that I had no choice. When it takes that much pain to get me to finally go, it is sad. I know it is best to keep up routine visits, but when you have anxiety this bad, that’s a pipe dream.
To get into the dentist’s office, my dentist gave me a sedative. I dislike taking these things, but I had no other choice. It was either take them or suffer in pain, and the pain was excruciating.
Fortunately, I have an excellent dentist and her staff understands. Without that, I’d never have been able to get this completed. It would have gone on and on, due to my dental anxiety.
My Facebook Post On Dental Anxiety
If you want to know more, check out the following post I wrote on my Facebook page. It goes into more detail about what I have gone through.
As I said in that Facebook post, I’m not sure how I am still standing. The work got intense, and the changes shifted my mouth in very dramatic ways that have taken a lot of adjustment.
The continuous shifts in my mouth made the dental anxiety worse. As different parts were completed, I would have to learn again how to eat. My poor brain got so confused at times.
It felt like there was a six month period in my life from start to finish where not much else happened. If it was a week that I wasn’t in the dentist’s office, then I was recovering. Some of the weeks were painful, and some left me feeling like roadkill.
The triggers through this time are ones that I am just now understanding. Anytime someone puts anything in my mouth, I feel like I’m suffocating. I do understand where some of this comes from, but even to this day, I’m still confused by it. While my mind may not remember all of it, my body knows what happened many years ago.
Dental anxiety is horrible, and for someone like myself that has been raped and molested, it gets much worse. The physical, mental, and emotional abuse add to the difficulty.
Possible Origins Of Dental Anxiety
One of the things that I don’t remember experiencing is getting my mouth washed out with soap. I saw my two brothers go through this severe form of discipline, but I don’t recall it happening to me. It is hard to believe that they would not have done it to me, but only to my two brothers. There’s a good chance I’m just blocking it out, and it may be part of my dental anxiety. I have no idea at this point.
The one thing I do remember, though, is how my face was shoved down in the bed as I was being raped. You can read my book, “Overcoming A Mysterious Condition” for more on that part of my story. Like I shared earlier, my dental anxiety picks up when someone is working in my mouth. I feel like I’m being suffocated.
The anxiety doesn’t even wait until I arrive at the dentist’s office. Often, it is at the moment I know I need to make an appointment. The dental anxiety picks up so badly at least 24 hours before an appointment and doesn’t go away for a few days after I get home.
Support And The Right Dentist
All I know is that it is not easy, and I have a lot of support to help me make this happen. I’m doing much better now, at the time of writing this blog post. There are still some things to get done, but I’m taking a break from stuff. All the work was overwhelming and exhausting me.
Dental anxiety is not fun, and if you struggle with it as I do, please know that you are not alone. Find a dentist that can work with you and if a sedative of some nature is needed, do it. Work on breathing and relaxation techniques to help decrease the load on the nervous system. Find a friend that you can trust to be with you if possible.