• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

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17 and time is running out for free dental care



Junior member
Feb 20, 2018
Hello, I'm new here and I'm trying to overcome my anxiety to going to the dentist. I'm 17 years old and soon dental care will not be free for me, however I know my teeth are in an absolute awful state and I need to get them fixed. My phobia of the dentist started when I was 14 and had to get a filling in one of my teeth, I hated the feeling and just the whole experience in general and haven't been back since. I have constant mild tooth ache on the top left side of my mouth and my front bottom teeth are incredibly sensitive. As well as this I can see rot in my back molars. I know I need to go and get it sorted but the thought of going fills me up with absolute dread. If anyone has any tips of advice it would be greatly appreciated :(
Hello there, and welcome! It seems to me you have already taken some steps to identify that you need work done and are running out of time. As for how to put one foot in front of the other to get there, it does help to have a dentist you can trust and who specializes in treating anxious patients. Such dentists tend to go at the pace you’re comfortable with as far as having the work done, as they understand you’re already overwhelmed.

I’m sorry to learn you’re in constant pain, I have been there! I didn’t go to the dentist for years out of both fear and the inability to pay for the work done if I could muster the courage. At 41 I had to have all of my teeth extracted because they could not be saved. I would do anything to rewind the clock and get myself into the dentist and save my teeth before any of this happened....especially if it were at no cost! Dental work is obscenely expensive, even with dental insurance. Since you’re young it will be some time before you can afford major work on your own, so I would definitely keep that in mind and let it be the factor that gets you moving toward making an appointment. Please don’t wait. Chances are it won’t be as bad as you imagine, but the more time that goes by the worse it can get. Please don’t wait until you’re not in a position to help yourself and take advantage of the opportunity you have to do something about it now.
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I'm the same as anxious I had to have full extractions+would do anything to go back and change things,if I had'nt have been put off going at the age of 17. Not saying it will be easy but wouldn't want you to go through what I have
Hi Rose,

thank you for posting your story here, this forum is a good beginning to tackle your fear. Considering getting your teeth fixed now is very responsible from you, not only in terms of saving money but also for the anxiety - the more you wait with visiting a dentist the worse the anxiety would get, so a huge well done for having made this decision.

As Anxious76 said, it would be good to find a dentist you feel you would feel comfortable with. You could start to look for dentists in your area and if you feel up to, email (or even call) some practices to explain your situation and ask them, how they could help you with your fear. That just for the start, do not worry about further steps yet til you have found a practice you feel you would like to be treated at.

My phobia of the dentist started when I was 14 and had to get a filling in one of my teeth, I hated the feeling and just the whole experience in general and haven't been back since.

Your new dentist might want to know what exactly scares you about dentistry. It will help him/her to find ways to put you at ease and make sure that your experience will be positive. What was it that you found so stressfull about that particular visit? And what worries you when you think of seeing a dentist again?
My teeth weren't in the best of shape at your age. Now I'm loosing 6 of them. Some of them important. You're still at the age where likely some of them can be saved and you could well get 20+ years more out of them and live pain free again. I've been in pain since i was 18-19 and I'm 30 now. You really don't want to make my mistake. I really hope you can find a decent dentist and can get some of this sorted.

Do you currently have a dentist or do you need to find one?
Hi everyone, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me and offer advice!

The main thing that worries me about going back to the dentist is the judgement. The appointment I went to before my filling the last time I remember feeling very negative about the whole situation. My dentist came across quite rude and disapproving to me, especially at the state of my teeth at such a young age. I feel like he wouldn't be happy I haven't been for nearly 4 years and have let my teeth get into the condition they're in. I'm also afraid of what my Mum would say as last time I got my filling she was very dissapointed. I'm very close to her and I don't want her to get angry at me.

Another reason why I'm anxious is the actual feeling and thought of it. When I had my last filling the sound and feeling of him scraping and drilling into my tooth made me tense up and it was awful, like nails on a chalkboard. I know I'm going to need more than one filling if I go back and the idea of even one let alone more puts me off dreadfully. I'm worried if ill need something more serious like a root canal on my tooth ache or even extractions.

However, I have made some steps to getting this done. I've asked my Mum to book an appointment as hes our family dentist, however I've asked if I can go alone. As I don't want her sitting in on the appointment. Hopefully I should have an appointment in the next few weeks:(
Nobody has the right to make you feel bad or judge you, especially not a health care professional. His behavior in the last appointment was the reason for you not feeling up to come back. You are trying to sort your dental problems and deal with your fear, which is a very courageous thing and you deserve support on all fronts during this journey.

While I understand that it is easier to make an appointment with your old dentist since he is your family dentist, my suggestion would still be to find an another one - someone you like and feel comfortable with. Your dentist should know what scares you in order to find a way to make you feel comfortable during a treatment. It's not just about the treatment you need right now but about your dental anxiety and your ability to come back. If you do not feel comfortable during a treatment, chances are that you will stay away from a dentists office for next few years, until an emergency occurs.

Well done again for your courage to make an appointment and all the best wishes. May you get it sorted very soon and may you get treated very kindly.
Hi! I just wanted to ask - are you in the UK? If you are, you may be eligible for this thing called an HC2 certificate which lets you have free healthcare/dental care/ prescriptions! You fill out this huge ass form about how much your parents earn, who you live with, if you have a job etc. then they assess to see if you're eligible. It's a big help. Look it up!

:bear: teddy hugs!