It's really no secret that I despise the dentist. It's nothing personal, but I just hate it. All of the drills, sounds, smells, and not to mention having someone's hands in your mouth for any amount of time - it's just not my cup of tea. Add the pain that goes along with it, and you can COUNT ME OUT! Seriously, I do.not.like.the.dentist. And that goes for any kind of dentist.
A few weeks ago, I was hit with a dental emergency. It sucked! So much that I'm still dealing with it today. I'm so ready to be able to eat and talk normally again, it's not even funny. Actually, nothing about this experience has been funny. At all. Yesterday, however, marked my last visit with the endodontist to correct my problem. The retreatment for my root canal apparently had to be done in two sessions, two weeks apart. That's right, yesterday was part two! Finally! After recovering from yesterday's procedure, I won't have to go back to them ever again! Well, not for six months anyway, when they just want to follow up with an xray to make sure everything is healing as it is supposed to. Check out my new tooth job.
Pretty badass if I do say so myself! Apparently, I have looooong roots, which might have been the issue from the initial root canal six years ago. Whatever, I'm over it.
To go along with my utter dislike of the dentist is my irrational fears of the dentist. I'm a wuss when it comes to pain, and when it's mouth pain, it's intensified by about a million. I will never forget the pain that this infection caused me - you know it's bad when a vicodin and 4 advil PM don't alleviate the pain! Every single time I had to step foot in a dentist's office, the nerves are all over the place, butterflies are psychotic in my stomach, and I start to nervous-sweat. I also want to vomit. Every single time. This might be because of the fact that every time I've been to the dentist that I can remember (a few times in high school and now this), it's been because of something wrong and lots of pain. Thanks brother for pointing that out yesterday! I look forward to the day when I can go to the dentist strictly for a cleaning with no pain. One day...
With that, I give you How to Survive the Dentist when you're irrationally scared out of your wits and want to run away screaming. You're welcome :).
Find someone to support you. You're already in pain and scared, so going in alone only adds to the anxiety. When I was in high school and had to get my initial root canal done (thank you frozen m&m cookie dough), my dad went with me to get it done, and I was so grateful! Now, every appointment since my dental emergency a few weeks ago, with the exception of yesterday's finale, my amazing husband has been by my side! He even sat with me in the actual room and listened to the drills and watched them start it out two weeks ago - crazy! He definitely makes me feel better when I'm nervous, anxious, or in pain. Thanks husband! Yesterday, he had to work while I was scheduled to go in, so my amazing brother offered to take me and pick me up. Although he didn't stay for the appointment (I don't blame him; I wouldn't have either!), it helped to just be able to talk about my anxiety and fears...thanks for listening, bro! Regardless, as with most things in life, going at it alone is extra scary; find someone that loves you enough to take time out of their day to support you. It helps.
I don't know about anyone else, but the sounds in the dentist's office (especially one that specializes in root canals all day every day) are deafening in the fact that all you hear are drills - high pitched, squealing drills coming from every single room. Umm...no thank you! I just wanted to run for the hills. However, having music really helps to drown out those terrible drills and the 'teeth talk' from the dentist and technician. I honestly don't want to hear about every instrument you need and what exactly you're doing - just fix my mouth, please! I bought some nifty (yes, nifty) headphones two weeks ago for my initial appointment, and those suckers drown out all sound! I cranked up the volume and focused on the lyrics. Although I could still feel the pressure from what the dentist was doing, I didn't have to listen to them and I didn't have to hear as much of the drill (although, you can never drown this out completely, as it is a drill grinding down on your teeth...ouch). I brought them along with me yesterday and the technician just laughed - hey, it helps and I don't care if she finds amusement at my ways of coping with my hatred for her practice. Whatever floats your boat, I say! But I definitely would recommend music with your appointment, especially if it's a root canal or retreatment - those suckers take HOURS.
3. Put it in perspective
Yesterday, as my husband wasn't there to squash my irrational nervousness, I had to do it myself. To do this, I reminded myself that I would be numb (God willing) and that it would soon be over. Also, I put my situation into perspective. I work with victims of violent crime every single day. These people have to go to the dentist when their injuries require it, and they are far worse than a retreatment for a root canal. Seriously, my situation is nothing compared to what these people have already endured and still have to endure for the coming days, months, and years. Suck it up, Bri! And guess what? It helped! I was being a baby, and I reminded myself that although this wasn't my fault either, those innocent victims didn't ask to be punched, kicked, or shot in the face. Also, if going to the dentist for this is the worst thing that's happened this year, I'll take it. Many, if not all, victims have to go to medical appointments for things much, much worse than this. My situation is nothing compared to theirs. Thank God.
Before I left for my appointment yesterday, I made sure I had comfort to come home to. I set up the couch with the biggest, softest blanket, had the remotes set out by the couch, comfortable clothes to immediately change into, and ice cream to eat. Find whatever works for you to go home to and wallow in your pain and discomfort for a little while - it's okay! It definitely helped my healing process each and every time. Don't expect to be in the best mood or be in the least bit productive (and if you are, kudos!). Accept that you'll just need to veg out for a while afterwards or even take a nap. I've done both, and both helped wonders!