Letter to Dentist

In light of yesterday’s trauma, I have decided to send a letter to my dentist.  It’s in an envelope, addressed, stamped, sealed, and will go out in the mail tomorrow.  This is what I wrote:

Dr. ******,

First, I would like to thank you for the work you’re doing on my teeth. I know how important it is for me to get it done. However, that is not my main impetus for writing today. I am concerned over something that occurred during my appointment yesterday.

It’s obvious that my anxiety over seeing the dentist is extremely high, and my pain tolerance is extremely low. I cannot even begin to express how difficult it was for me to bring myself to keep my appointment yesterday. In spite of my fear bordering on terror, I kept the appointment. I wish that I could say that I was whole-heartedly glad that I did, but I cannot.

I was distressed that yesterday’s appointment took an hour and a half to complete when the previous appointment took only 45 minutes. It felt like my pain and anxiety was drawn out-I would have much preferred to have been able to get out of there a lot faster. However, I do understand that sometimes things may take a bit longer.

My chief complaint is not the time my appointment took, but rather a comment your assistant made to me. I realize that I was upset yesterday-to the point of panic, and that it cannot be easy to deal with a panicked patient. After you gave me an extra shot of pain medication I know I became quite distraught. I know your assistant was trying to calm me down. Her comment had quite the opposite effect. She said to me, “There are patients next door.” Had I been able, I would have gotten up and left immediately at that.

One does not calm a panicked person down by telling them just how much they are upsetting other people, even if that is indeed true. It is the kind of comment that incites more anxiety and panic rather than decreasing it. For me, this was doubly the case. Years ago (prior to my anxiety disorder diagnosis) I was abandoned by my ex in a hospital during a particularly vicious panic attack. Instead of treating me, the ER staff put me in a room and proceeded to yell at me for disturbing their other patients.

I find yesterday’s comment to be very invalidating. Yes, I realize there are other patients. I, too, am a patient. I can understand how your staff and perhaps yourself may feel that my great fear is unwarranted and excessive (and if I could just dismiss it, I most certainly would)-but that does not negate it, or make it anything less than what it is. I feel traumatized by yesterday’s appointment. I could not stop crying for hours last night. I am terrified of ever seeing another dentist again.

I know that I have a follow-up appointment with you in three weeks. I’ll be honest-I do not want to keep that appointment, even though I know it is important I do so. If my intent were to cancel the appointment and give in to my fear and NEVER see a dentist again, as is my desire, I would not bother writing you.

At this point, I do not know what is to be done to make this right. I do not know if it can be made right. It is with the hope that it can be made right, that I can work past my fears and this added trauma that I write to you now.

How do you think we can best handle this situation?



We’ll see how he responds.  I know how important it is to get proper dental care–and so I am hoping that I’ll be able to resolve these issues.  As it stands now, the idea of seeing the dentist again turns my stomach.  ~sigh~ 


Quote of the Day

“Trips to the dentist – I like to postpone that kind of thing.”

~Johnny Depp, 1963- (Actor)

Administrative note:  I’m changing the Daily Wrinkle category to the Quote of the Day, and will endeavour to actually have a Quote of the Day every day!

Nightmare at Dentist’s Office

It was a nightmare.  It was beyond awful.

I went in (against my better judgment and will) for the second of two periodontal cleanings today.  I don’t know how I survived last week–oh yeah:  the klonopin, laughing gas, and numbing drugs.  It lasted about 45 minutes–I was pretty much in and out.

Today–an hour and a half.  Of course, Chris thinks it wouldn’t have been that long if the dentist hadn’t given me so many “breaks” during which he went and took care of other patients.  I think those breaks were a bit counter-productive.  The sooner he could have gotten me out of there would have been better.  Did I mention I didn’t want to be there at all?

I don’t know why but the combo of klonopin and gas was not as effective as it was last week.  He started with a whole round of shots in my mouth, which hurt like hell.  Then after he had been cleaning awhile (and after a break) he decides to give me another shot–which hurt even worse.  I broke down.  I couldn’t handle it.  And that was with Chris right there….and the dentist’s assistant says (get this), “There are patients next door.”  I swear if I hadn’t been so drugged I would have gone off on her, to say the least.

I’m sorry–you don’t take a panicked patient (who’s in pain) and tell them to shut up because it’ll upset the people next door.  That’s not going to calm them down.  Not in the slightest.  And it didn’t help that it totally triggered me–quite a number of years ago I was abandoned in a hospital by my ex during an extremely bad anxiety/panic attack and the staff instead of treating me or giving me something to calm me down simply told me to shut up because I was upsetting their other patients.

I can’t stop crying.  I feel so traumatized.  I NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER want to go back to the dentist again–any dentist for any reason.  I wasn’t good with dentists to begin with–and they knew that.  I made sure they knew that.  I want my mom–I know I’m a grown woman, but I still want her and it hurts that she’s gone!  It’s just not fair.  I know, life isn’t fair. 

It doesn’t help that I’m in so much pain either.  This hurts worse than last week did. 

Chris is being wonderful–he was wonderful at the dentist office.  He can’t get much more wonderful–of course if he hadn’t forced me to go today, that might have made him more wonderful; or if he had cold-cocked that witch of an assistant when she made that comment (or at the least put her in her place).  He said I had to go for my health, and he’s too much of a gentleman to hit a woman–even one who may deserve it!  (Yeah, she got my Irish up a little bit!)  And no, I’m not so catty as to reveal her name on-line.

My teeth hurt, my gums hurts, my jaw hurts, my head hurts (all I was told to take was motrin), and I just want my mom!!!