Dry Socket Awareness
“F.E.A.R. has two meanings…
Forget Everything And Run
Face Everything And Rise
The choice is yours.”
By ASHLEIGH BREDENHANN
Let’s just be quite honest here…no judging taking turns…
WHO FEARS THE DENTIST?
Anything medically really…
Okay, since this post is about dentistry… Can I stand in front of the line please and simply scream it out loud to the world…
“I’m scared of Dr. Dentist…and all shiny accompanying stainless-steel extraction / surgical instruments.”
Okay, so it doesn’t really feel any better since I’ve admitted to the whole world my fear of dentists. Because this is something I’ve been doing since the age of sweet sixteen. That’s 22-years ago. Admitting and acknowledging and facing my fear of dentistry.
Has it become easier as I age …does the fear pass? No. Unfortunately, not.
However, I’m trying really hard working on my phobia and often when it’s a bit too late I’ll end up going to the dentist anyway!
“I can’t tell you where it started…this monstrosity of fear. I remember as a child, I actually loved going to the dentist because the local anesthesia was my favorite part of the visit.
As you experience the first prick of a needle, soon after, your mouth turns numb and the fun starts soon after.”
I had a few fillings, tooth extractions here and there. Once I experienced a root canal.
So yes, I’m quite familiar when it comes to visiting the dentist.
If you look at the psychological aspect of things, yes, I did experience quite a traumatic violent childhood. Yet, that never really had an impact on me… so I thought …because as a young adult, I managed to go and have my teeth checked out and I just LOVED the numbness effect of the local anesthesia.
I was in my twenties. It was a root-canal day. I can’t recall much. What I can remember is me sitting in the dental chair, the dentist hovering over me with all these needles and shiny machinery roaring in my ears. Now, this wasn’t my usual dentist. This was some random doctor because at that time I didn’t really understand the value between patient and their personal dentist.
You build a relationship, a trust, a bond. Your dentist will sort of know you, how you react to some procedures and medications. You’ll know the gentleness of his treatment and both of you discover one another within a medical perspective. I was completely oblivious to this. Didn’t realize a relationship like this existed and yes…I paid dearly for it in pain and discomfort.
Getting back to my root canal procedure…it was one hour of HELL! That’s all I can say about that.
I truly believe, my fear started kicking in after this guy and his root canal techniques. No disrespect meant at all. This was just my perception at the time…I really disliked him. It was a case of…
“How dare you hurt me like that! I’ll never return to you. You’ve completely ruined my idea of what root canals should be like. I don’t like you! You’ll never see me again.”
Yes, that was my perception and when I really started pushing dentistry out of my existence. No more dentists! None. Zero.
Fast forward a couple of years.
I’m in my thirties. I’ve calmed down. Dentists were allowed back into the normal daily conversation. I looked back at my own judgment of Dr. Root Canal Dentist and realized I probably should get myself a dentist whom I can actually build a professional relationship with. Whom I can learn to trust and someone who can really understand my fears and be supportive.
I ended up finding a really sweet dentist. The very first moment I met him, sitting in the dental chair I was already shivering and sweating and stuttering, but I had to let him know…just be gentle with me.
I always felt this sting, being an adult and having this phobia. People would usually turn around and make nasty unsupportive comments.
“What, are you six years old?”
“Come on! You’re a grown-up! He’s not gonna kill you.”
“Oh, don’t worry, we all have a fear of the dentist.” – NOT!
So, when I ended up sitting in the chair, I felt ashamed and nervous, but my fear was too consuming. I couldn’t keep quiet. Nervously, I ended up pleading and spilling my thoughts to this doctor. Staring him straight in the eye, confessing my fear and hoping, really hoping he would understand.
And yes, he did!
He was incredibly patient. Walked me through each and every procedure, however, he wasn’t very gentle. He extracted a couple of teeth, but my lips ended up bruised as he placed tremendous pressure on my lips while resting his hands as he tried to pull the teeth.
This brings us to Dry Socket complications. Something I think deserves more awareness.
What is a Dry Socket?
Maybe you’ve heard of it or experienced it yourself. Or you’re completely new to this dental complication. Just a brief intro to what dry socket is: ‘A dry socket is a condition that may result after a tooth has been extracted. If the blood clot is lost which usually forms right after the extraction, the underlying nerves are exposed. You’ll usually see a whitish bone. This can be quite painful and the duration depends on numerous factors.’
My very first dry socket experience…
One of my premolars broke in half. My teeth have always been quite brittle. Since fear took over, I didn’t go to the dentist immediately. I waited for months and months until the pain became unbearable. Luckily, I got a last-minute appointment with my dentist. He obviously, giving me the evil eye, because I always wait too long…pretty much until it’s too late. Unfortunately, he couldn’t save my tooth.
He extracted it with much difficulty, struggling one full hour trying to get the tooth out.
Fast forward a couple of hours.
I’m at home. Suppose to pack, we’re on our way for a two-week trip. Family getting married. None of our bags are packed. Hubby at home feeding our toddler kiddos. House is in a mess. The clock is ticking. We’re supposed to be on the road since it was a 7-hour drive.
The clock strikes 4 PM. Pain starts kicking in full force! The mouth is throbbing. I gobble down painkillers. No effect whatsoever! Three hours in…I’m crying my heart out with a mouth that can hardly pull into crying action. I’m in pain! And we’re not even through day one yet.
Let me just get this off my chest as well. I’m a gal who can handle pain. My pain threshold is quite high.
I’ve had two cesareans with both my kids. With a 15 cm incision on my bikini line, freshly out of surgery, I already had to start walking by day two. Due to endometriosis causing havoc in my body and reached Stage 4, I had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy of which I was in surgery for three hours. They had to scrape my colon and insides up to just beneath my breast line. That is how far the endometriosis spread. They scraped my colon, patched it up with gauze, and for a full month, I could not poop!
I’m telling you, it was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. Having to pass stool with a scraped patched up colon… Hubby literally had to accompany me in the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet, I placed a cloth between my teeth. Hubby holding my back and pressing my head against his abdomen. My hands are clung to hubby’s body as if there was no tomorrow. And then the pushing starts…to get rid of the stool. Me screaming into the cloth between my teeth as tears waterfall down my face!
THE MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE I’VE EVER ENDURED.
So, when my mouth started throbbing out of control and painkillers having zero impact, it reminded me of my surgery years ago. Just to comfort myself, because really, this pain was seriously consuming me at this stage. Now, I didn’t yet know of dry socket complications. My dentist never informed me.
Fast forward a few days.
We’re at the holiday destination. The wedding is within a few days. My mouth is on fire. I can’t eat, sleep, drink, sit or stand. I can’t stand just being. The pain is unbearable. Hubby steps in, contacts a random dentist because we aren’t familiar with any doctors in the town we’re at.
She immediately schedules me for an emergency appointment.
5 minutes and I’m sitting in her chair. No chance for me to explain my fear of dentists. I can hardly talk. Hubby accompanies me, in fact, kiddos are in the car and mother-in-law as well. Everybody could see the pain I was dealing with and everybody started stepping in to support.
I’m in the chair. Lady dentist pulls out the anesthesia with four vials lined up. Injection one starts. As that needle barely touches the infected area, I jump for the roof. Tears well up and stream down my face uncontrollably. The pain is just sick!
Vial number one…no effect. Vial number two…no effect. Vial number three…no effect. Vial number four…no effect!
Only for her to turn around and mention that when an extraction site becomes infected, anesthesia has no effect at all. Maybe she should’ve known better before trying to numb the area. It would have saved me a lot of pain… These are words that came out of HER mouth…the dentist! Come on!
I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried and cried. Suddenly I grabbed her hand and with much effort trying to utter words, I initiated she should please just leave the injections and just go in, and clean the area. Hubby, now holding my shaking body, just squeezed my hands, knowing I can’t take any more pain. She started cleaning the dry socket area, explaining to me that this is the condition I have. She placed clove oil and gauze into the extracted area and we were basically done.
I went home and pretty much slept for two days just pumping my body with painkillers.
Let’s jump a few more years.
It’s March 2018. My wisdom tooth broke in half. Again, me too scared, ignore the inevitable and basically ended up at the dentist again. This time, we’ve moved since. Living in our new area, I didn’t know any dentists personally. However, I just knew I couldn’t wait for months and months before fixing my teeth. The big day arrived and I’m once again in the chair.
A tall young man steps in. Very friendly and kind. Immediately my body kicks into panic mode. Shaking and trembling and stuttering, I beg him…literally beg him…please be gentle with me. Briefly, I introduce him to all my dentistry trauma and this wonderful wonderful man treats me with so much tender loving care.
Step by step he explains what he’s doing. Softly he works in my mouth. He gave the anesthesia some extra time to really kick in. Gently he extracts my wisdom tooth and knowing my history with dry sockets, he takes me through the whole procedure of ‘What to do’s and don’ts.
For the first time in my life, I walked out of the dentist’s office with a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t stop gushing about how wonderful this guy was. Finally, I found my dentist who truly understands my fear and who respects me without judging. He really listened to my needs and accordingly, treated me with so much kindness and gentleness.
People, in general, don’t really listen to one another’s needs anymore. Life has become incredibly fast-paced. Patience with one another is pretty much non-existent. Respect is something from the past. Kindness and gentleness are only for the selected few. Truly listening to what someone has to say…it has become so incredibly rare. Compassion…what happened to compassion for one another?
The post is long and I still have much to say. If you click on my YouTube video regarding the Dry Socket, you’ll learn what happened after I went home with my wisdom tooth being extracted.
Something my favorite dentist mentioned, a fact that nobody else ever cared to share with me and so many other people struggling with fear, anxiety, and panic, was that as you enter a panic mode or experience an anxiety attack, your body releases adrenaline in high volumes. This greatly affects your surgical procedure and recovery process.
All these years I thought somehow, my blood clot just came loose. Apparently, this was not in my case. That’s why I never understood when dentists became confused when I told them, I don’t smoke or drink alcohol. They’ll usually blame these two factors on dry socket complications. My anxiety or panic moments was what caused a lot of complications within my body. It greatly affected my mouth, thus resulting in some serious dry socket complications.
Watch the YouTube video on my wisdom tooth extraction dry socket complication. It was twenty days of …. excruciating pain.
For all of you who fear the dentist or any doctor for that matter, just know that you’re not alone. There are many of us scattered all over the world, fearing that day when we need our teeth checked or having to undergo some type of surgery. Although we can’t always control our phobia or fear, it’s really important to find a doctor who really understands your condition. A medical professional who truly listens to your needs and worries. Someone willing to be patient, kind and gentle. You truly need to find such a medical professional.
Because there are times in our lives which we need medical treatment, for life or death purposes or simply check-ups for our peace of mind, but we aren’t always willing to go the extra mile in finding the right professional. As soon as you’ve found your doctor, you build a foundation of trust. Within time, your phobias and or fears will subside, because you see and feel how gentle and patient they are with you while working on your body as they need to.
For all friends and family who know of members within your circle, don’t judge us because we have some fear for something you will consider stupid or childish. Our phobias are incredibly real within our perception of our reality. We can’t always help it. Sometimes it’s uncontrollable. The best you can do for us…is support us in any way possible.
For those members who know of someone who is currently experiencing a dry socket or have in the past…YES…it is incredibly painful and the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. No hysterectomy or scraped colon with struggling poop has ever come close to this throbbing intense pain.
Until next time,
Be Brave. Be Gentle. But most importantly, be kind and patient with yourself.
The posts on the Lyran Heart Blog detail my own personal experiences in relation to the topic. This can include, but is not limited to, challenges, healing, growth, evolving etc. When it comes to lessons and/or healing tips, we cannot guarantee that you will have the same experiences or outcome. I am not a doctor and cannot provide medical advice. None of the information I share should be used as a replacement for seeking medical attention.
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