Friday, March 8, 2013

Dental Panic

Like anyone else I have fears, and one of those happens to be a huge dental phobia.   It formed when I was a child after a bad reaction to nitrous gas, combined with numb feeling and pretty much intensified as I got older. 

What I'm most scared of is the numbness the novacaine produces.  The sensation of numbness in the the tongue, throat and lips literally sends me over the top!  We are talking major freak out.

After over 15 years of no dentist, a few years ago I got up the courage to go.  Actually who am I kidding I had no choice my gums were bleeding to the point it became hard to ignore.  That appointment uncovered no cavities which was a huge relief, but I had gum disease....which I pretty much had already surmised with a little help from the internet.

The treatment plan involved planing and scaling the gums. Which basically consists of that taking those sharp silver instruments they pick around your mouth with during examinations and using them to scrap under and on my gums.  The gums are broken down into four quadrants and only one can be done at a time. (left upper, right upper,left upper, right lower)  Each quadrant needs time to heal before they work on the next. 

Most people have their gums numbed when doing it but my fear of numbness stood in the way.  They tried but I freaked out so much when my tongue became a little numb that is wasn't worth it.  So I did all four quadrants without any form of numbing or pain medicine.  If that doesn't tell you how much I fear the numbing sensation I don't know what does as it was painful.  Though I did take a xanax to help relax the body.  At the time I actually thought if this is the worse I have to endure I would just do it.  Shortly after having all quadrants done I lost my dental insurance and could not afford to go back.

Fast forward to now.....

For a dental phobic yesterday was a bad day.  Pain has been plaguing my upper molar for a while but I put off going to the dentist  not only out of fear but because I have no dental insurance.  I found a deal that allowed me to have a basic check up to determine the problem for $25.  What came next was an overwhelming feeling of fear.  I was informed that while my gums are okay, the pain is coming from two decayed teeth that would both need root canals and crowns! (how could this happen to someone who barely eats any sugar and has become religious about brushing)

A true dental phobics worst nightmare....seriously.   All kinds of thoughts overwhelmed will I handle being able to have the work done when the numbing alone will set me in such a freak out they may decide to commit me.  Let's face it when one has xanax in them and still freaks out in fear there isn't much that can be done.  Did I mention I gag quite easily too.  And given some other health factors being completely asleep for it might not be the best option either, plus it would cost even more.  Oh yeah, the price.....$5500!!!!!   And that price doesn't even include the cleanings or yearly xrays that  regular basis as well, those will total at least $300.

Hearing the price is what basically sent me into sobs.  When one is on a limited income, has so many other bills and is told they need the money upfront....well that will do it. Think I pretty much kept mumbling the same thing over and over in between sobs....I can't afford it, what will I do and I'm scared. ha  Sounds silly to some, but between the fear of being numbed and the realization of the price it overwhelmed me.  Of course I'm sure the dentist thought I was a nut case, though she did say she felt bad but there are no long term payment options....not in this economy. Great.

Talked to a friend who happens to be an orthodontist he suggested I could try a dental clinic run by one of the universities in Philadelphia.  But that it would be a substantial wait as the demand is high and it would take a lot longer to fix such an issue.  He suggested a root canal specialist but usually cost more money.  And even if I tried to buy insurance at this point there would be a waiting period of 6-12 months. So I'm out of ideas and my dental phobia is now at least a 20 on a scale of 1-10! 

Though I did try a few dental clinics who informed me they are not even taking any new patients at this point because they are overwhelmed.  Can you imagine? Sounds like I'm not the only one without dental insurance. Anyway....going to have to think about this more, do more research and hopefully find a way to finance it and get over my fear as well.  

Lesson learned while one might thing their teeth look and feel fine, one should always still have regular cleanings and visits with the dentist as a preventive measure.  How to get over intense dental fear or pay for dental visits when one doesn't have insurance I simply have no clue.

Maybe someone reading this might have experienced something similar?  Might know what to do?  Or even have advice?  And those with dental insurance count yourself lucky, as I'm learning it's not a given that everyone has it or can afford it!

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