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Author Topic: Dental work tomorrow -- tips, advice?  (Read 34377 times)
bookishone
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« on: January 17, 2012, 8:09:45 PM »

I'm getting the first stages of two crowns tomorrow. I've had this before and vaguely remember it as not painful, exactly, but pretty unpleasant. I don't have enough of a phobia to warrant asking for Valium or, even better, Versed/sedation; but still, I'm really dreading this series of appointments.

Any suggestions on how to dread it less OR how to make the appointment itself less stressful and unpleasant? (My dentist isn't mean or anything, but he's kind of fake/Romneyesque, so that doesn't help).

I am thinking of trying some "calm" tea that has camomile, but would that interfere with the Novocaine or my premeds (amoxicillin for a heart issue)?
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prytania3
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2012, 10:58:47 PM »

Go to a dentist who has nitrous. You won't care what they do. I've been having dental work, and with the nitrous, I don't care what they do.
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_touchedbyanoodle_
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2012, 11:10:47 PM »

You don't need to have a phobia to ask for drugs to make an unpleasant experience more pleasant. Ask them to give you something.

I haven't had nitrous, but it sounds yummy.
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lohai0
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2012, 11:11:14 PM »

Go to a dentist who has nitrous. You won't care what they do. I've been having dental work, and with the nitrous, I don't care what they do.

+1 I thought I was dental phobic, and then I went to a dentist with nitrous. I'm allergic to Novacaine, which helps to explain my years of dental agony. My old terrible dentist never noticed-I guess someone graduates last.
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collegekidsmom
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2012, 1:21:59 AM »

If you are not doing drugs, it helps me to plan something to really think about -such as planning an outline for an article, or something sort of concrete. I also try to plan something for afterward to look forward to-such as going somewhere that I enjoy after the appointment. It makes the procedure something to just get through on the way to something really enjoyable. I also look forward to being done with the procedure and not having to deal with dentistry for a long long time.
  I don't like masks on my face so can't do the nitrous oxide-but if I had to have some horrible procedure I would do sedation. However, the crown work is not in that category I don't think. I think it's important that the dentist take the time to explain the timing, the anesthesia options, and the exact procedure. Just knowing what is going to happen, and where you are in the process can be helpful. The other thing that's good is to plan a signal so that the dentist knows you need a momentary break, a drink of water, whatever. However, not too much water..
Hopefully, although the dentist seems like a fake type-he's very competent, and efficient in getting the job done quickly and correctly. 
 
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tee_bee
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 1:42:00 AM »

Nitrous is very good. Also, if your dentist is cool with it, bring an iPod/MP3 player/gramophone and tune in to soothing music. When I had my wisdom teeth out, all I knew was that I was floating around listening to R.E.M. "Driver 8" has a new meaning for me now. So, yes, sooothing music and N20. But a small Valium (5 mg) it very likely to help take the edge off, too. Good luck!
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 2:27:28 AM »

It helps me if I ask the dentist in advance what are the steps of the process and then to tell me where we're at throughout, so it doesn't seem like a never-ending saga. I also constantly repeat the mantra "this will be done and over. this will be done and over. yes it sucks now, but it will be done and over". No matter how unpleasant it is, in a short time you will no longer be in the situation, it will be in your past. It will be done and gone. Think about another time when you went through something unpleasant and it felt like it would NEVER end, but it did and that's way in your past.

Oh, and my last visit to the dentist was for crown work with no anesthetic whatsoever. I'm sensitive to the stuff and decided to see what would happen if I went without. Although uncomfortable throughout (who likes a hand in their mouth?!), it was only somewhat painful during one certain part of the procedure. I'm not saying you should go without the anesthetic, just that if it's survivable without, it will be even more manageable with it.
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prytania3
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 8:53:09 AM »

And another thing, if your dentist doesn't have nitrous, switch dentists. I did. I was tired of being tortured, and I'm much happier with the new dentist.
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bookishone
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 12:29:27 PM »

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm home now. It wasn't too bad -- not painful, as I said -- he must have shot a half ton of Novocaine into my jaw, because that side of my face is still droopy. And I had a good book and my iPod (for the wait times). But stressful nonetheless -- trying not to gag on the impression material and on the nasty-tasting glue, and of course holding my mouth open for so long (though my dentist is good about giving me frequent breaks). I do feel pretty wobbly and my mouth/jaw are achy and sore. Once the numbing wears off, you can bet I'll have some soup and then a good dose of Advil!

My dentist seems pretty good, publishes in various dental publications (though not the scholarly ones -- his articles are things like "Molar Crowns: faster and better than ever") which he has posted in the hallways. He's competent and pleasant -- just not chummy, if you know what I mean. He does get enthusiastic when he's describing some new technique or -- as today -- tweaking the process to account for an awkward placement and my crossbite ("buccal! buccal!" he kept murmuring to himself). 

I kept myself going during the drilling out of the old teeth by thinking "POLISHING the teeth, POLISHING the teeth," and my mom's mantra for similar situations, "they're just little rocks, they're just little rocks."

Anyway, thanks again for your suggestions.
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marfa
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 1:51:30 PM »

Glad it went well for you.  All I can say is that when I got my crown, I had nitrous and I was still a wreck.  I guess I didn't have tears running down my face and the dr. didn't stop the procedure in the middle to take my pulse (both of which have happened during fillings!), but I was nervous enough that I kicked my legs against the chair (yes, while lying down) for the entire procedure. 

Next time, I'll try Valium.
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2012, 6:37:48 PM »

Quite belatedly, but good for future reference:

Did you know that the local anesthesia for dental work has adrenaline in it?! That can cause a whole pile of anxiety all by itself. You can request anesthesia without the adrenaline and you may remain much more calm.

I finally put two and two together when I went to the dentist yesterday, had the anesthesia, and all of the sudden my heart was pounding. (Normally I go without the adrenaline but I forgot to tell my new dentist. Big oops, because it gives me a massive headache, which I am still recovering from.)
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infopri
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2012, 1:49:22 PM »

If you're experiencing pain--even without nitrous--you need a new dentist.  I used to get nitrous when I was young, but the dentist I've been using for the past 30 years doesn't use it--and I don't feel a thing, no matter what he's doing.  He does all his pain control with  shots of novacaine, which I barely feel because he's very good at doing the injections.  And he knows how to dose it so that I don't feel anything even at the end of the procedure, but within half an hour of leaving his office, I feel perfectly normal again.  None of this "numb all afternoon" nonsense that I experienced with my previous dentists.

I've had a bunch of crowns over the years, and, sure, holding your mouth open for so long is uncomfortable and tiring.  (A good dentist will give you breaks, though.)  And the impression material isn't pleasant.  But it's all pain-free.  And I've never felt my heart racing or any other indication that I've been given adrenaline. 

Unfortunately, I suspect that my dentist is going to retire in the next few years.  (Besides, I now live in Somewhere Warm for six months of the year, very far away from MyCity, where my dentist is.)  When he does, I will look for someone who practices dentistry the way he does.  If going to your dentist makes you nervous, I recommend that you do the same.  For the past 30 years, it has been a completely stress-free experience for me, thanks to this guy.
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scampster
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 8:32:04 AM »

Glad it went well for you.  All I can say is that when I got my crown, I had nitrous and I was still a wreck.  I guess I didn't have tears running down my face and the dr. didn't stop the procedure in the middle to take my pulse (both of which have happened during fillings!), but I was nervous enough that I kicked my legs against the chair (yes, while lying down) for the entire procedure. 

Next time, I'll try Valium.


Marfa, this comes pretty close to some of my dentist experiences. I didn't like my last dentist and I didn't trust him (the first time I went in, he told me I needed three fillings and a root canal). I actually trusted him more when I went in for the root canal and was trying to hold it together, but the tears were just streaming and I also kick my chair, and he stopped and said "I'm not doing this today. I'm going to write you a prescription for valium to take before the root canal and the fillings." He actually couldn't fit in the root canal in the near future, so when he stopped, that meant I had to go somewhere else for that, so he lost money on the deal.

Anyway... I still hate the dentist, but trusting your dentist goes a long way.

And valium. Actually, the root canal doctor gave me halcyon which was the best thing in the entire whole wide world.

I wish I could do nitrous, but I feel like I am suffocating. The same thing happened to me the only time I had general anesthesia.
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infopri
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 12:44:52 AM »

I know this thread was bumped by a spammer, but the timing is fortuitous as I just saw my dentist yesterday.  After six months away in Somewhere Warm, I'm back in MyCity and went for my semi-annual cleaning, during which it was discovered that I need a new crown.  So, yesterday was the prep work and the impression, and the crown will be installed next week.  I am so going to miss this dentist when he retires (or when I have to switch to a Somewhere Warm dentist).  Not a moment of pain, plenty of breaks to give my jaw muscles a rest, and the anesthetic shots wore off within 15 minutes of leaving his office.
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oldadjunct
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 1:36:17 AM »

Ok, I will try to keep this short, but it is rather an amazing experience.

I am a dentistphobe.  Hadn't been to one in the last 12 years.  Two years ago I chipped a tooth on some crunchy granola, true fact.  Small chip, shrug it off.  Then another chip this past spring, no biggy, it's an age thing.  But WTH?

So, this past May some friends come out to visit, and I mention that I probably should see a dentist.  They respond, "You really must come stay with us and see our dentist!"  Reluctantly I agree, I do owe them a visit after all, and I really should see a dentist this century.

Six hour drive to them, next morning two hour drive to the dentist.

It was, and this is the only possible way to describe it, a Zen-like experience.  Four hours in the chair, cleaning, deep, deep cleaning, some grinding on,then packing the two chips.  "You have some small cavities, we could fill them now if you like."  I nod yes, hell if they had said I had a kidney I didn't need I would have given it to them.

Eight fillings later, four hours in total, I smile up and thank them as I write a check for $500.  No drugs, no nitreous, no novocaine, nothing, nothing at all.  I felt wonderful and understood how recommending friend had had a root canal with no drugs with them!

Asian, Vietnamese actually, dentists.  As I try to figure the experience out, I think part of it was their quiet peacefulness as they spoke Vietnamese over me which was disassociative. I actually felt drugged, but that would insult their skill.

Lest you think something weird went on, later that evening we all, my friends, my dentists, their family, and I had a wonderful dinner together.  To the best of my knowledge I still have both my kidneys.

If you are in LA, or OC, PM me if you like.  I am not selling anything, but as a very serious dentistphobe this was a very remarkable experience.
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