Kylen: I know, I can do it and it doesn’t bother her, we can give hugs all the time now. Before it was all about hiding it and not knowing. Your clinician wants to be helpful to you so it is good to be open and say that.
Kristi: That’s really something you have to own. And it’s something I didn’t until it was so bad and so obvious and so painful that I had to say something. Most of the time I would let people touch me and just live through it. So one of the things to say to them is listen please don’t touch me without asking my permission or be careful because this is what it feels like.
Even though Kylen knew I was in pain, she didn’t really understand when she touched me it felt like a thousand needles going through my whole body.
Kristi: To say that to someone, they are kinds like “what?”
Kylen: Touch is so important for relationships but when you don’t know and someone doesn’t explain it then it’s hard to help.
Kristi: Maybe share this video with your dentist and hygienist. Absolutely use it for you to get more tips.
The other thing I did was wear headphones in the beginning, you get to have some music or something a little bit to distract, relax and even use one of my meditations.
It was funny today when we did the bite wings. Usually she tries to run out there so fast and run back in because it just feels like it is driving knives through my mouth but it wasn’t really feeling like that today. And she said, you aren’t even doing your breathing.
It’s something I didn’t even realize that I was doing but it makes a lot of sense. I would focus and say to myself, I know this is coming and take a deep breath.
So do some breathing. Learn how to take some deep breaths in and out. Often I close my eyes and I would think of being somewhere else, I love to think of being on an island. Being somewhere else and thinking that this isn’t happening to you, it is a little bit of disassociation but helpful. Doing a little bit of breathing and almost meditating will help you get through that.
The other thing I would definitely say is to plan ahead time wise. We broke it up, I would bring my husband and my son and we would break up the appointment.
Kylen: That’s a big thing that when you are calling to schedule an appointment you can say, I’m going to be a patient that might need a little bit more time is there any way that you can schedule me in 20 or 30 minute increments and have a patient in-between. Then it is so much easier, we could stop what we were doing and go clean your son’s/husband’s teeth and then come back to you when you had more of a break and time.
Kristi: And that’s been amazing. I know I did it with another dentist once before where it was just me and we would just take shorter breaks. For me sometimes I needed longer breaks, at that point I was so bad with my TMJ and the pain and everything it was almost like a recouping period.
I loved some of the ideas you first came up when I first showed up; I know we tried everything under the sun. One of the great things she did was when I got here a warm blanket was always waiting for me.
Once again I was freezing but it is also a comforting thing – you want to be more calm and relaxed because the more nervous you are the more things actually do hurt.
Kylen: I would put the blanket in the dryer when I knew she was coming and then put it around her and that would be something that would help. Something else we would do was keep the lead apron on her. Obviously the patient napkin would be over the lead apron. That pressure without being touched was enough to help keep her more calm.
Kristi: It was a nice little anti-anxiety thing, just made me more calm and helped. Today we didn’t use either.
Kylen: Yep, it was amazing. I was like what happened?
Kristi: I know you were like what is going on? It’s so awesome.
Kylen: It’s crazy.
Kristi: I have had TMJ for a long time and I’ve been to TMJ dentists, which reminds I should tell him in Illinois that you use this thing because it is a game changer for getting your teeth cleaned. Why don’t you explain to them what it is, I think you have one to show.
Kylen: Yes, I do. I have one it is actually dirty because we used it with Kristi today.
Kristi: Like I said, we really did a teeth cleaning today
Kylen: This is a bite block and all dentists know what that is. This is actually a child size bite block; because she has such extensive TMJ issues the adult one is too uncomfortable for her. We put this in there and she can take it out periodically whenever she needs a break but what that does is your jaw just rests on it so you aren’t having to force your mouth open that whole time, you get to just rest. I clean half of the mouth at a time and then take it out periodically and give her a chance to talk to me because most of this is social.