When I went to the dentist recently, I found out that one of my fillings needs to be replaced. The filling has been in there for a long time and I knew that fillings (or crowns) aren’t forever and do need to be replaced over a lifetime. I’ve been pretty lucky the past few years. My teeth have always been a bit bad (it’s genetic) but I haven’t needed major work in a while. I’ve had lots of work done, but I’ve had a nice break and I guess that streak is over now.
As soon as I found out I needed work, my panic started. Part of that panic is because this time while they are hoping that this is just going to be a filling replacement there is a chance I will need a crown. It’s one of those situations where they weren’t going to know until they started the work and I had having unknowns in my life. But there was no way to find out what it was going to be until I had my next appointment so I tried to just deal with the sense of panic I had.
Fortunately for me, the panic wasn’t too horrible between my cleaning and the appointment to have the work done. I was panicking the day of my cleaning when I found out that there was work I needed done because that’s not what I was expecting. But I didn’t really feel panic again until the day before my appointment (and then it got pretty bad the day of my appointment). I know how bad things have been for me in the past and I just didn’t want that to happen again.
But I was trying to think about all the changes that have happened in my life since my last appointment for major dental work. I’ve been meditating for over a year now and that has been helping me stay calm in the moment (although it doesn’t seem to help the panic from building up before). That has seemed to help before with my MRIs.
And speaking of MRIs, I’ve had so many MRIs since my last dentist appointment and each of those have involved 2 needles (the blood work and then the IV for the contrast). I have been hoping that with all of those needles over the past few months that maybe my issues with needles has become less of a thing. I know that I’ve still been having blackout moments with needles in my recent blood work and IVs, but it has gotten significantly better. And since my incidents at the dentist were usually less than what I dealt with at the hospital, I was hopeful that this appointment and the needle would go a lot smoother than I feared it would go.
The day of my appointment was pretty tough. My appointment was right after I was done with work and I spent my entire shift in a panic and feeling sick. It was a sense of impending doom that I used to feel before a regular cleaning. I hadn’t had to deal with this feeling for a while, so it threw me off a bit. Fortunately, right now is the slower season for my day job so I didn’t have to help too many customers. I was still able to work, but I know that I wasn’t at my best while worrying about my dental appointment.
Once I got to the dentist, the panic was feeling pretty unbearable. I didn’t take my panic meds since they don’t really work that well when I take my eating disorder medication. And to me, right now it’s more important to manage my eating disorder than it was to stop some temporary panic. And I knew that as soon as the work started, the panic was going to go away and I would be fine.
The staff there tried to keep me distracted and calm while we waited for the dentist. They were asking me about what was happening in my life (I was telling them some of my crazy online dating stories), but I was still just anxious that the shots were coming and I wanted to get it over with. Everything in the dentist office looks so scary even though I know most things there aren’t anything that could hurt me.
Once the dentist came back, we got to the shots quickly. He does numb my cheek up with some gel before the shots so it does help a lot. And with the first shot I didn’t totally black out. But with the second shot (which I couldn’t actually feel because I was already pretty numb), I did black out like I have with my recent IVs. But it’s still a huge improvement over the last time I had to get shots at the dentist.
The last few times I’ve needed shots like this, it was for major dental work. Those appointments last quite a while and you have the option to watch a movie while they work. I should have known this would be easy when I wasn’t given the option to watch a movie but instead just had to wear protective eyewear. And this appointment ended up taking no time at all!
The drilling of the part of the old filling that had to come out took less than 5 minutes. Then they filled it back it and had to use the tools to dry it. Then it was only some checking of my bite and before I knew it I was sitting back up and rinsing my mouth out with mouthwash. The entire procedure (not counting waiting to get numb) was under 10 minutes.
I felt so silly when it was done for freaking out as much as I did. Then again, I had no clue it was going to be this simple since it seems like whenever I have more than just a cleaning it is pretty extreme. And I’m lucky that I have a dentist that is super on top of things since this could have been much worse if we didn’t catch it as soon as we did.
I still think I’m going to always have my panic issues at the dentist, but I’m glad that they are getting better. I’ve proven to myself for a while that I am doing much better with the cleanings. Now I’ve proven to myself that I can do ok with shots and bigger dental work. Hopefully I won’t need more major dental work for a while, but I know that there will be more in the future and I feel more prepared for it after this successful appointment.