First filling and scared!

Competsoph
Competsoph Posts: 282 Forumite
First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
edited 16 November 2020 at 10:38PM in Health & beauty MoneySaving
Hi everyone, I’m writing this in the hope that actively thinking and discussing this may help with my anxiety, but you may also be able to reassure me somewhat.

Following the impact of COVID and my routine check up cancelled in August, I went to my dentist recently and was told I need a filling. Now, I’m 26 and have always looked after my teeth as much as possible. I admit I have the largest sweet tooth but try to curb this relating not only to my teeth but more to my general health. 

Anyway, the story. I have a tooth which, over lockdown was sensitive. Went to the dentist thinking she’d say it’s fine. She did. But then she says, oh, I think there’s a problem with another tooth and I want to drill it (ie a filling). Now this tooth is one I’m not having problems with. In fact she thinks there is a hole on the side of the tooth, the side which is up against another tooth. She thinks this because of the X-ray she took, which she showed me, and although I’m not a dentist I’m a senior healthcare profession who reviews xrays and scan daily. I know what I am looking at, and I agree I saw some disruption to the coretex. That said, I’m worried this dentist may be being over velours. I’m not having any issues with this tooth and always believed fillings were if you were having a problem. I also felt like she changed her mind several times initially saying, and I quote as I sat down in the chair ‘it’s nice to see someone who takes care of their teeth’ to then ‘oh I didn’t expect that at all’ (on reviewing the X-ray).

All of this is playing havoc with my anxiety and only tonight I’ve been able to even watch a you tube video of what a filling involves. My partner tried to explain what happens but I just clamp up, almost like I can’t even face considering it. Sorry for the long winded ness of this post but can anyone give me any words of encouragement, guidance or reassurance, I feel like a failure despite how ridiculous that sounds. Please be kind, I’m really really struggling with this. 

Thank you xx
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Comments

  • IANAD but as far as I understand cavities only start causing pain once they're at a certain depth. Catching it and filling it before it gets to that point is FAR better than waiting for it to get worse, cause pain and possibly become infected.

    What specifically scares you about having a filling? (Genuine question, then the dentists here can probably put your mind at ease.)
  • Aranyani
    Aranyani Posts: 817 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    A routine filling is not pleasant, but its completely manageable.  You should tell the dentist beforehand that you are quite anxious and that you would appreciate it if she can talk through everything she is doing so that you understand what's happening and why, and so that you are prepared for the noises/sensations and not surprised. 

    Your mouth will be so well numbed by the local anaesthetic injections (and these are not as bad as you might think, you don't have that many nerve endings in the parts of the mouth that they inject into, if you did eating would be painful!) that you won't feel any pain. 

    It is definitely better that you have this wake up call now as a motivation to curb that sweet tooth.  There are lots of sugar free sweet treats nowadays, and you can still enjoy sugar as a treat but have it as a dessert straight after a meal rather than picking through the day which is a constant assault on the enamel. 
  • What specifically scares you about having a filling? (Genuine question, then the dentists here can probably put your mind at ease.)
    Thank you for your response. I'm not sure. I'm not scared of pain, or it's not that that is causing me the most anxiety. I maybe think it's because I feel like needing this procedure means i've done something wrong or 'failed'. My dad would always be angry if the dentist mentioned I needed to brush my teeth better. I think it's maybe relating to that. I know many many people who have multiple fillings by my age, I have never required any procedure on my teeth, perhaps it's the unknown. Sorry for the lack of clarity. I think it's a few things all rolled in together. 

    @Aranyani I appreciate your response but when I say I have a sweet tooth I mean I love sweets and cakes but rarely have them! Mostly, I have something sweet on an evening, around 8pm but never snack during the day, between meals. Part of this is because I weight train a lot and so this doesn't usually fit into the meal plans I am following. I've started to look more into sugars in food, not just carbs, protein and fats and I was surprised how many day to day items have high amounts of sugar. That said, as I say, i've not needed ay procedures up until this point of 26 so surely i've been doing something right? I am certainly trying to cut down on them now.
    The dentist did seem nice, i've never met her before, but she also seemed a little scatty, talking a lot, sometimes contradicting herself. Perhaps that's why I feel uneasy.
    Officially a homeowner 🥳🥳
    September Grocery Challenge: £146.60/£200
    October Grocery Challenge: £175 (rough estimate)/£175
    November Grocery Challenge: £77.96/£150
  • Aranyani
    Aranyani Posts: 817 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    What specifically scares you about having a filling? (Genuine question, then the dentists here can probably put your mind at ease.)

    @Aranyani I appreciate your response but when I say I have a sweet tooth I mean I love sweets and cakes but rarely have them! Mostly, I have something sweet on an evening, around 8pm but never snack during the day, between meals. Part of this is because I weight train a lot and so this doesn't usually fit into the meal plans I am following. I've started to look more into sugars in food, not just carbs, protein and fats and I was surprised how many day to day items have high amounts of sugar. That said, as I say, i've not needed ay procedures up until this point of 26 so surely i've been doing something right? I am certainly trying to cut down on them now.
    The dentist did seem nice, i've never met her before, but she also seemed a little scatty, talking a lot, sometimes contradicting herself. Perhaps that's why I feel uneasy.
    Cut that once a day down to twice a week!  

    You are obviously taking care to look after your teeth, but you are still very young and you want to hold on to that good start you've got!  Do you drink diet soft drinks or energy drinks at all?  Acid is the enemy of tooth enamel just as much as sugar.  Do you floss every day?  With the cavity being in-between two teeth, that could be the thing that prevents further damage in those areas. 

    If you don't feel comfortable with this dentist, what about having a chat with a different one or two to see if you feel any differently?  This would obviously mean going private though.  I do think its important that you fully trust your dentist as you can feel pretty vulnerable in that chair, unable to talk. 
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,929 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Unfortunately it is very difficult to avoid cavities due to the sugary nature of many of the foods we eat - even natural foods have sugars, and wild animals that eat a natural diet often have dental problems including cavities. You are actually doing really well to have not needed a filling until now.  You haven't done anything wrong. 

    Telling your dentist you are anxious is a very good idea. I have had a number of fillings and found the procedure to be merely uncomfortable, mainly because you need to keep your mouth open for longer than normal. I find the initial injection of anaesthetic hurts a little, but it is so brief that you forget about it moments later.

    Ask your dentist how you can signal to them if you need them to stop so you can move your mouth a bit. Just knowing you can get them to stop at anytime helps you keep your mouth open a bit longer if you realise that they are close to finishing - sometimes the conversation between the dentist and the nurse will indicate they are nearly done drilling out the decayed area. If you feel any pain during drilling, signal the dentist to stop and describe the level of pain to them.

    Hopefully all the advice above will help you cope better with the idea of this procedure. It is necessary, and will help your teeth last as long as possible. It's potentially better to have your first filling as a child, so that you are not worried about it as an adult. It is entirely logical for an adult to be wary of any medical procedure, especially one that might hurt. Please don't worry about this one. It will be fine.  
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Aranyani said:
    You are obviously taking care to look after your teeth, but you are still very young and you want to hold on to that good start you've got!  Do you drink diet soft drinks or energy drinks at all?  Acid is the enemy of tooth enamel just as much as sugar.  Do you floss every day?  With the cavity being in-between two teeth, that could be the thing that prevents further damage in those areas. 
    Thank you! Yes I floss daily and only ever drink diet soft drinks if its a G&T which again is only really ever on a weekend although COVID and being frontline NHS may have meant a few more frequent tipples over the past 6 months! :wink:
    I never drink energy drinks, can't stand them!

    I agree I probably need to curb my sweet treats down and try to focus less on them than before or group them with meals which is something I have never really thought of. 

    tacpot12 said:
    Unfortunately it is very difficult to avoid cavities due to the sugary nature of many of the foods we eat - even natural foods have sugars, and wild animals that eat a natural diet often have dental problems including cavities. You are actually doing really well to have not needed a filling until now.  You haven't done anything wrong. 

    Telling your dentist you are anxious is a very good idea. I have had a number of fillings and found the procedure to be merely uncomfortable, mainly because you need to keep your mouth open for longer than normal. I find the initial injection of anaesthetic hurts a little, but it is so brief that you forget about it moments later.

    Ask your dentist how you can signal to them if you need them to stop so you can move your mouth a bit. Just knowing you can get them to stop at anytime helps you keep your mouth open a bit longer if you realise that they are close to finishing - sometimes the conversation between the dentist and the nurse will indicate they are nearly done drilling out the decayed area. If you feel any pain during drilling, signal the dentist to stop and describe the level of pain to them.

    Hopefully all the advice above will help you cope better with the idea of this procedure. It is necessary, and will help your teeth last as long as possible. It's potentially better to have your first filling as a child, so that you are not worried about it as an adult. It is entirely logical for an adult to be wary of any medical procedure, especially one that might hurt. Please don't worry about this one. It will be fine.  
    Thank you for your kind words, there are some good suggestions I will take to my dental appointment next week. She knew as soon as she mentioned drilling, when my eyes filled up and I went white as a sheet, that something wasn't quite right and I wasn't overly keen so hopefully she'll be extra supportive. 

    You're all right. I think a lot of my anxiety is surrounding the vision that I have failed (something I take from my childhood) which isn't necessarily true but I do need to take the advice i've been given and use it to prevent any issues down the line. I've had such a lot on my plate recently with the house purchase, working full and over time and my anxiety really is high at the moment. I'm not usually so stressy about everything!! 
    Officially a homeowner 🥳🥳
    September Grocery Challenge: £146.60/£200
    October Grocery Challenge: £175 (rough estimate)/£175
    November Grocery Challenge: £77.96/£150
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