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Dental work and anxiety/panic (Or, My Bad Day)


Quill
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I had to have some extensive dental work today. Because I wanted to go directly from work, I did not have benefit of anxiety medication, or oral sedation (which was what I did for an emergency root canal). I was using all my little tricks to be calm - even listened to an emergency panic meditation in the parking lot beforehand but literally, my heart was hammering so hard it was like I had just run a marathon and I couldn’t really calm my heart. 
I was again trying my mental tricks in the chair but when she injected novacane, I was struggling not to pass out. The hygienist had a little scented cool cloth she put on my forehead, which helped a lot. I never lost consciousness and I didn’t jump out of the chair…but it was a close thing and I felt like the bib was strangling me at one point. I was looking at the back of my hand, noting that it was as white as the driven snow, and thinking,  “I bet my face looks like that too.” 
Now I’m home and safe but I am so freakin exhausted I could go to sleep right now. I still have to go back in three weeks for the permanent crown. Maybe I’ll just take the whole darn day off and get the meds. 😞 

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Due to dental trauma for me recently with the permanent crown, I have a little suggestion for your next visit: make sure they totally numb you for removing the temporary/putting on the permanent crown. I cannot stress this enough. I’m sure it’s fine not to if you’re someone who is chilled out about the dentist or has a good pain tolerance (or maybe the tooth is totally dead). I have some dental anxiety but very well managed. After that experience, I am dreading even my cleaning in 6 weeks. It could have all been avoided if they numbed me (by the time I realized how badly I needed it, I felt like it was too late but it really wasn’t—should have spoken up). 
Anyway, so sorry it was a tough experience for you today. Hope the next one is much better (just make them numb you!!). All the other anti-anxiety meds are great too…just want to make sure you have no trauma from pain.

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20 minutes ago, theelfqueen said:

I take Halcyon for cleanings. Only way I can do any dental work. 

I’m pretty sure that’s what I had for the emergency root canal. I remember nothing at all and I was still half-stoned the next day. 😄

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Many (hugs)

For a time just sitting in the chair triggered panic for me!

I have *always* hated being numbed.  I have convinced many dentists to work on me with nothing.  They are always impressed. 😎  One, former military, brought people over to marvel at my ability to handle pain. Lol!

I found out that the numbing shot has something in it that makes one's heart race.  Heart racing triggers panic in me.  Makes sense that I hate it!  I think the last time I was numbed they used something different because I asked.

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7 hours ago, happi duck said:

Many (hugs)

For a time just sitting in the chair triggered panic for me!

I have *always* hated being numbed.  I have convinced many dentists to work on me with nothing.  They are always impressed. 😎  One, former military, brought people over to marvel at my ability to handle pain. Lol!

I found out that the numbing shot has something in it that makes one's heart race.  Heart racing triggers panic in me.  Makes sense that I hate it!  I think the last time I was numbed they used something different because I asked.

My dentist said, “It’s the epinephrine; some people do react like that.” I have no idea if this statement is accurate; maybe that’s just what they say to reduce embarrassment. 

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6 hours ago, Quill said:

My dentist said, “It’s the epinephrine; some people do react like that.” I have no idea if this statement is accurate; maybe that’s just what they say to reduce embarrassment. 

I had such a bad reaction to the epinephrine when I was in my early 20s that it is listed as one of my 'allergic' medications.  I literally thought I was going to die.  Dentist told me I wasn't but my body thought I was.  And looking back I had built up to that level of reaction over the course of several visits.  I thought it was anxiety and I asked then husband to go with me....so he witnessed me in the chair and hollered for the nurse who took one look at me and hollered for the dentist.  It was terrifying.  They don't have to give you epinephrine.  They leave it out of mine.

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16 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I had such a bad reaction to the epinephrine when I was in my early 20s that it is listed as one of my 'allergic' medications.  I literally thought I was going to die.  Dentist told me I wasn't but my body thought I was.  And looking back I had built up to that level of reaction over the course of several visits.  I thought it was anxiety and I asked then husband to go with me....so he witnessed me in the chair and hollered for the nurse who took one look at me and hollered for the dentist.  It was terrifying.  They don't have to give you epinephrine.  They leave it out of mine.

My ds1 also had a bad reaction to epinephrine and always lets any dentist know. 

Ds3 and I occasionally faint with medical stuff.  It's not consistent, though.  Ds3's reaction is scarier than mine because he has a seizure when he passes out.  I just recently passed out at a doctor's office when he just vaguely discussed possible surgery but didn't get sick at all when I saw the actual surgeon who described exactly what he plans on doing.  Maybe it has to do with blood sugar levels at the time...I don't know but it's SO embarrassing.  We were at a community health event a couple of years ago and I got really sick but didn't totally pass out - the nurse called an ambulance!  I came to just as the ambulance approached and was mortified!  



 

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Oh, girl, I get IV sedation for crowns. Pure awesomeness. Yes, take off work if you can, take some meds, and have someone take you!

I recently had a cleaning done with nitrous oxide and it was okay. You can drive right after. 

(((Quill)))

Edited by MercyA
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30 minutes ago, pinball said:

FYI…you can get numbing med rubbed on your gums by the hygienist before cleanings. It takes the edge off.

I am not concerned about pain or discomfort from dental work -  numbing gel would do nothing for me. My anxiety is to do with laying powerless with my mouth open while people do things I can't see to me. And their general close invasion of my space. The hygienist putting their hands IN MY MOUTH is my issue.

I need strong meds to let them do it.

 

Edited by theelfqueen
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2 hours ago, theelfqueen said:

I am not concerned about pain or discomfort from dental work -  numbing gel would do nothing for me. My anxiety is to do with laying powerless with my mouth open while people do things I can't see to me. And their general close invasion of my space. The hygienist putting their hands IN MY MOUTH is my issue.

I need strong meds to let them do 

Edited by pinball
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I hope that it is helpful for someone.

I think theres a widespread belief that dental anxiety is all about pain - for most people it isn't. The one hygienist at my dentist office who is NOT allowed to touch any member of my family is because she's terribly condescending not because she causes pain. She has spoken to me, my husband and my kids in ways that frankly piss me off... good thing I like the dentist himself lol This woman (among many other things) pulls the "does that hurt, oh I'm not even actually touching you" BS. And when I told her - I'm a home birther, pain isnt the issue she was pretty nasty. 

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2 hours ago, theelfqueen said:

I hope that it is helpful for someone.

I think theres a widespread belief that dental anxiety is all about pain - for most people it isn't. The one hygienist at my dentist office who is NOT allowed to touch any member of my family is because she's terribly condescending not because she causes pain. She has spoken to me, my husband and my kids in ways that frankly piss me off... good thing I like the dentist himself lol This woman (among many other things) pulls the "does that hurt, oh I'm not even actually touching you" BS. And when I told her - I'm a home birther, pain isnt the issue she was pretty 

Edited by pinball
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2 hours ago, theelfqueen said:

I am not concerned about pain or discomfort from dental work -  numbing gel would do nothing for me. My anxiety is to do with laying powerless with my mouth open while people do things I can't see to me. And their general close invasion of my space. The hygienist putting their hands IN MY MOUTH is my issue.

I need strong meds to let them do it.

 

Yeeeesss. 
My hygienist did use the numbing gel. It’s not the pain of the needle; it’s a control/fear response. 

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4 hours ago, Scarlett said:

I had such a bad reaction to the epinephrine when I was in my early 20s that it is listed as one of my 'allergic' medications.  I literally thought I was going to die.  Dentist told me I wasn't but my body thought I was.  And looking back I had built up to that level of reaction over the course of several visits.  I thought it was anxiety and I asked then husband to go with me....so he witnessed me in the chair and hollered for the nurse who took one look at me and hollered for the dentist.  It was terrifying.  They don't have to give you epinephrine.  They leave it out of mine.

I guess the epinephrine component *can* be the reason, but I don’t think it is for me. I was on the edge of panic in the parking lot; my body was already in overdrive “fight or flight” response. 

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4 hours ago, Kassia said:

My ds1 also had a bad reaction to epinephrine and always lets any dentist know. 

Ds3 and I occasionally faint with medical stuff.  It's not consistent, though.  Ds3's reaction is scarier than mine because he has a seizure when he passes out.  I just recently passed out at a doctor's office when he just vaguely discussed possible surgery but didn't get sick at all when I saw the actual surgeon who described exactly what he plans on doing.  Maybe it has to do with blood sugar levels at the time...I don't know but it's SO embarrassing.  We were at a community health event a couple of years ago and I got really sick but didn't totally pass out - the nurse called an ambulance!  I came to just as the ambulance approached and was mortified!  



 

I’ve been there so many times…

I do have strategies that help mitigate medical situational fainting; eating (raise blood sugar) is one of them. I did do my things for this dental appointment but the meal was like a rock in my stomach and then I was afraid I might vomit. There’s just no winning for me except with drugs. 

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35 minutes ago, Quill said:

I’ve been there so many times…

I do have strategies that help mitigate medical situational fainting; eating (raise blood sugar) is one of them. I did do my things for this dental appointment but the meal was like a rock in my stomach and then I was afraid I might vomit. There’s just no winning for me except with drugs. 

Yes, it sounds like you need meds to get through appointments like this and there's nothing wrong with that! 

Interesting what you mentioned about blood sugar.  When I met with my surgeon I was afraid I'd pass out again like I did at the doctor's office recently so I made sure I had eaten more than last time and I was actually fine even though I was much more nervous and his description of the surgery was graphic and more involved than I had expected.  

Big hugs to you.  Dental work is already tough enough!  

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