Intense anxiety/panic since braced

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Gia
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Location: New Jersey

Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#1 Post by Gia » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:02 am

I feel like a complete basket case. I never expected the adjustment to braces to be so difficult, thinking it would be the same as when I was 11 the first time around. All the advice here got me through that stressful first week, and I really thought things would get better as I got used to them. But the anxiety and panic attacks are getting worse. Friday was so bad I thought I would jump out of my skin. A psychiatrist I work with suggested taking Benadryl to take the edge off until I could get in to see my orthodontist. It helped a little. I see him this morning. In addition to everything I'm so embarrassed. I was anxious with the invisalugn trial, and that's a lot why I went with braces instead. I thought it was just having my teeth covered so tightly. I thought braces would be fine, since they were before, not thinking they would be a trigger too. About 25 years ago I had a surgery where the anesthesia sequencing was off. I was paralyzed (couldn't move, breathe or talk) before I was asleep .it was terrifying and left me with panic attacks. They got a lot better over the years, as I avoid some triggers and use deep breathing and imagery when they start and that works. They often are triggered in situations where I can't move freely or feel I can't escape. Enter braces. I think the constant feeling of tightness and my mouth seeming so crowded with stuff is triggering them. The breathing, etc just isn't working at all. I don't want to remove the braces, and wonder if an SSRU will help. I hope he's OK with talking today. My braces experience as a kid was fine. My experience with the orthodontist back then was not. I'm pretty sure this guy doesn't behave the same way (old orthodontist literally yelled when I made an it hurts sound the first day). I was a shy, sensitive, well behaved kid so it was awful, as was the admonishment never to make a sound again. After that I felt sick on the way to every visit. This conjures up that same feeling of dread and being a bad patient. I'm too old for this baggage, especially unexpectedly. Also called therapist I used to see when panic first started. Hopefully something will make a difference. I swear I'm not certifiable, just feel that way.

wendydong
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#2 Post by wendydong » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:38 am

maybe try to find something else to concentrate on? I know i have a "little" OCD, and I have been OCDing over my teeth every waking moment of the day.. my work definitely has suffered..

so i have decided to try to OCD on something else.. like work, or maybe OCD on other cosmetic work i can do on my face.. I have been thinking about getting my eyelid skin tightened, so i am trying to OCD on doing research on that..

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Speck
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#3 Post by Speck » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:36 pm

Might it help to often remind yourself that you, more than anyone else, are in control of treatment and can, therefore, have braces removed at any time you deem necessary?
-Andy


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Gia
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#4 Post by Gia » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:08 pm

So funny you said that Andy. I cannot believe how wonderful and supportive the orthodontist was today. His message was just that, "you're in complete control" and that he would support any decision. If I want them off at any point he would get me in to do it. He suggested changing the wire to one less tight, but it's already the least forceful. He suggested removing the wires so that I could try to get used to them first, and then putting the wires back. He said he would go as slow as need be. He wasn't annoyed, was patient and spent over a half hour talking to me. I actually feel a little more relieved with the idea that I am in control. Seems your a great therapist Andy !

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Speck
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#5 Post by Speck » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:25 pm

Gia wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:08 pm
I actually feel a little more relieved with the idea that I am in control.
Ha--that was exactly the intention of my post!

Thank you for the kind words. :)

And, BTW, it sounds as though you have a great ortho!
-Andy


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djspeece
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#6 Post by djspeece » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:27 am

Great words of wisdom, Andy. And I agree, you have a wonderful ortho, Gia! Best of luck to you.
Dan

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. -- Buddist saying

Gia
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#7 Post by Gia » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:10 pm

Thanks wendydong. Distraction does help. I had a panic attack as he was putting them on and was focusing on breathing, imagery, etc. I didn't say anything to him. Whether coincidence or he notice he started talking about the Yankee game the night before, distracted me and I did better from then. I am really happy I trusted my gut and went with him. He was highly recommended and had great reviews, and I went to him 30 years ago and just had a spring aligned then. My dentist recommended two others, but I wasn't comfortable with either or their offices. I can't imagine most orthodontists would spend so much time and really listen and try to problem solve. My anxiety isn't any better, but knowing I can get them off at any time, I'm able to say for now, today I choose to continue. If I can't I can call and get them off tomorrow. In the meantime, the bracket on the crown came off again. The woman in the press so great on the phone. I wonder if he might have said something to them because she was trying to get me in today, but I said I couldn't till tomorrow. Right now I'll do it one day at a time. Thanks for the good wishes.

EmilyTravels
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#8 Post by EmilyTravels » Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:30 pm

I'm so sorry that you are going through all this, Gia. But I'll agree that you have an amazing ortho! I have never shown my ortho how much anxiety I have about my braces...not really about braces per se but just long-standing dental anxiety. I look at everyone in the other chairs and try to realize that they're going through the same, and that it's not nearly as bad as getting dental work done, even when it is uncomfortable. But I've been anxious about having them taken off and the glue polishing procedure, and that is getting closer, so at this point I almost don't want to get them off since I have to go through that! Everyone keeps saying "Oh, you'll be so happy to have them off!" not realizing I am dying inside at the thought of what I'll have to go through to get to that point. And I recently read some posts about people having crowns come off when they had impressions made for retainers, so that is my latest paranoia! :roll:

So, if it makes you feel any better, you aren't the only anxious orthodontia patient! We all have different triggers, but you are not alone. I hope you can hang in there and develop strategies to cope with braces, so that you can complete your treatment. In my case, my main fear is pain, so I load up on pain killers before all my appointments (2 ibuprofen and 2 Tylenol), which helps me feel more in control. Even though adjustments still hurt (and the pain meds make my stomach hurt), I find that just knowing that I've taken them helps me feel a bit less panicky.

Gia
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#9 Post by Gia » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:52 am

Emily, I completely understand! You should let your orthodontist know your anxious about it so that if you need a pause when they're polishing the glue or removing a bracket you can get it. I had some dental anxiety before this from my orthodontist as a kid and a couple of other experiences. T stopped being a problem when I told the dentist I was anxious. My former dentist of 20 years and my current one just have me signal if it hurts or u I need a break. As for impressions, I have 4 crowns and they didn't come off with the one I just had to make the essix retainer. I hope it's smooth sailing for you. When's your date? I'll be sending good thought and excited for your pics! Thanks for the support! Want to continue and am focusing on that.

EmilyTravels
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#10 Post by EmilyTravels » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:36 am

Thanks for your reply, Gia! I will definitely let the tech know that I am anxious about the removal and may need breaks. I have had two brackets re-positioned over the time I've been in braces, so I kinda know what to expect. It wasn't awful but not pleasant either. But some of my teeth seem to be more sensitive than others, so I'm still nervous.

I think I am actually getting my lower brackets off today and my permanent retainer installed. They took an impression for the permanent retainer at my last appointment (and my crowns didn't come off!), but didn't tell me I'd be getting my braces off on the bottom arch today. When I called yesterday to confirm my appointment, she said I'd be getting the lowers off today! So, I guess that is happening, much to my surprise. I think the uppers will come off one week later, as ortho is still doing some tweaks with my central incisors.

If I get my lowers off today, that means no more elastics! I've been wearing them for 9 months total, so that will be a real change. But until I go in this afternoon and they actually start removing brackets, I won't quite believe it.

I expect I'll have to get another impression on the bottom arch for my Essix retainer, and one on the top. I hope all my crowns stay put.

Gia
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#11 Post by Gia » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:06 pm

Well he decided not to replace the bracket for the time being. It's on a lower second molar. He said he's not doing much with it at this time. He said the procedure to rebond it with a different material was going to mean my sitting there for a while, and he worried that it might worsen the anxiety of being trapped, and didn't want to do that to me now given what a hard time I am having. Likewise he said using a molar band would probably make it feel more crowded and tight, and again he didn't want to make the anxiety worse. He said that at some point down the road he'll need to rebond it, but hopefully the anxiety will be more manageable by then. He reminded me again I'm in control and if it doesn't get better we can stop at any time, and depending on where we are I can just use retainers to maintain any progress and try to minimize any more damage. He asked if I wanted to remove the wires to see if that helps the anxiety. I decided against it for now, as I worry about having it start all over when he would put the wires back, and I'm not sure I can do that again. I feel like I was very lucky to find him. For now I keep telling myself I choose to continue today, and can call any time to get them off if I need. My goal is to make it to my first adjustment (November 16th) without having to go back or call him! The staff are all so nice, but I feel like I just want to slink in and out with a big scarlet "a" on my chest!

Gia
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#12 Post by Gia » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:50 pm

Got in to see my PCP today after I texted him about the anxiety and panic. He prescribed Prozac and a very low dose of xanax until the former can start to work in a wet or two. Hopefully this breaks the cycle and I can tolerate it better and use the CBT techniques more effectively.

EmilyTravels
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#13 Post by EmilyTravels » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:26 pm

I hope the meds help, Gia.

I was pretty lucky, I guess...my lower braces removal went pretty smoothly, and the half Valium I got from my mom, who also suffers from dental phobia, may have taken the edge off a bit. I have the other half saved for when I get my upper braces off a week from today!

I got my lower Essix today, and although it feels a bit weird, and is a pain to have to take out before eating/drinking anything but water, I don't have the claustrophobic feelings you were getting when you tried the retainers. That could change once I get the upper Essix, I guess. One side benefit is that when I am wearing it, I don't grind or clench my teeth, which had become quite a habit in braces, and unfortunately continued even after removal of the bottom braces. I hope that wearing retainers full-time for a few months will break this awful habit.

Best of luck to you!

Gia
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#14 Post by Gia » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:44 am

Thanks Emily. Great to hear about your essix!! I'm sure next week will go well. You must be excited about the move too! I find myself clenching too, maybe it's from bite changes, as opposed to my just attributing it to anxiety. Unfortunately I had one of the same brackets come off last night, and have to call again this morning. I'm still only eating soft stuff and avoiding that did, so I don't get it. The water flosser is the only common denominator as I noticed all 4 (the same two twice) while using it. But it doesn't seem that forceful!

EmilyTravels
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Re: Intense anxiety/panic since braced

#15 Post by EmilyTravels » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:01 am

No, I wouldn't think the water flosser should dislodge brackets, as so many people here use them. I gave up on mine because in our tiny RV bathroom, it just took up way too much counter space and was messy. But as I've mentioned before, I lost brackets with some frequency on my crowned teeth only.

After seeing how easily the tech removed my lower brackets this past week (all metal brackets), I am actually amazed brackets don't fall off more often. It seemed to take very little pressure to pop them off, but I am sure the tool she used made it much easier. I know that ceramic brackets can be more difficult to remove and occasionally shatter during removal, so I am crossing fingers and toes my upper braces removal goes as smoothly as my lower.

Good luck getting back into your ortho quickly!

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