• 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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18 years old, mentally ill, and awful teeth



Junior member
Feb 12, 2019
hey all. i am 18 years old. i do not go to the dentist for very obvious reasons ... fear.

my teeth unfortunately are clearly already beyond repair. bad tartar build up, and mild gum recession (i brushed way too hard... tartar probably did not help either). i probably have bone loss under neath knowing my luck.

i know that tartar can be removed but what if it is all that is keeping my teeth in place... after all it is not a mild amount of tartar. what if i have bone loss ad they become loose once tartar is removed. oh dear god...

my mental illness has really made this situation hard for me. it is the reason my teeth are this way in the first place - i could not get out of bed some days leading to neglect. i was suicidal. i did go to therapy but i found it useless. and now i cannot go because i have awful anxiety issues surrounding embarrassment and losing my teeth. i am lost...
Hi there :welcome:

I am deeply saddened to read what you went through in the past and how things make you feel and I can see the feeling of hopelessness that you are dealing with currently. Rest assured that writing here on the forum is a good start in dealing with your dental anxiety, no matter where you stand right now and what the cause of was.

There are few things I wish you would know. To take care of ones teeth one needs firstly to have a background where such things got thought and where self-care played a role. You are too young to just be completely responsible for your health. Sadly, as children and teens we need people to support us and if that is not the case, things can get difficult. The fact that you are writing here shows that you are taking responsibility and seeking help which is great.

Another thing I wish you to know is that there is a very strong link between mental and dental health. This link is so well known, that some medical history forms for new dental patients include this aspect as it belongs the things make it harder for patients to keep healthy teeth. If you weren't able to even get out of bed on some days, then how would you be able to brush, floss, take care of your nutrition, see a dentist and all of the other million things that play a role when it comes to healthy teeth? I understand your pain and the sense of embarrassment, but you haven't done anything wrong.. and every dentist who treats nervous patients will know it.

Feeling suicidal a scary place to be and it only shows how much you have suffered. I can only hope this thought are over for now and also that you would get help if you ever would feel this way. You might already know the Samaritans and places where to get help, however just to be sure you can find an article about feeling depressed or suicidal here on the side.

I understand your worry about your teeth and if you take a look at some posts here on the forum, you will find many of people who are afraid of losing their teeth after a cleaning. If you need some reassurance about this, you might consider posting it in the Ask a Dentist section.
Anyway, a kind caring dentist will be able to firstly tell you if this is any likely to happen and second to make a plan of action when it comes to dealing with your dental health so the best next step would be to start looking around to find a practice you feel might be understanding about your situation. You will find many tips here on the page about this as well. By the way, if you take a look at the articles here, make sure to read the one about embarsassment. It is the most common reason why people are afraid to see a dentist and put off visits..

Take care and let us know your thoughts, I am not sure if you realized but you are already on your way towards beating your dental fear... :grouphug:
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It IS really hard to confront your dental work and especially after all you have been through. Fear is so real and there are so many fears in dental work from "what will they think of me?" to "what will they do" and "will I have any control" and "will it be painful". and so many more.

You being 18 and having enough drive and resourcefulness to find yourself her and wanting to get help and making it as far as you have, is just huge and you should give yourself alot of credit for this because you are very strong.. even if you don't feel it.

I have dealt with awful anxiety and embarassment of going to the dentist and my teeth and opening my mouth in a dental office to fear being made comments about or just making my own shame worse of what I didn't do. But I have found that my dentists recently have only helped me take away that shame and empower me and want to help.. If you come across one that is not like this.. and does shame or treat you unkindly it is time to run fast. because there are too many kind compassionate and competant dentists out there that would be happy to help . You deserve the best care and alot of compassion! Always know that!!

I was not taught or encouraged in self care as a child and teen and then shamed on top of it for that by both family and old dentists.. I agree with Enarate, this does make starting the dental journey more difficult but that you have great responsibility and strength to do this as much as you have been through!

It is hard to start.. know you are so worth it!!! and you just might be very surprised all they can do to help you when you do go. I wish you to find a great dentist who listens and connects with you and is very competant.!

We are here to support you !
To date I have never seen an 18 year with severe bone loss

Severe inflammation can make teeth loose and getting the tartar off will allow for resolution of inflammation and subsequent tightening when bone loose isn't bad.
A lot of on this forum have been through this, and I'm so happy you took the first step by joining us here.

I just wanted to post to let you know that you aren't alone in this. I'm 23 years old right now, but I've had significant issues with my teeth most of my life. When I turned 18 things got a lot worse. I have mental health issues. I've been suicidal, I've been nearly admitted the the psych ward. I've been in therapy. I've been on medication. I understand.

Your tartar isn't holding your teeth in. Your teeth are holding themselves in with the help of your gums. Removing the tartar will help your teeth do that more efficiently.

I know how hard it is to make that first appointment. I didn't make mine until a tooth got infected pretty bad. I was happy I did, though. I'm about to go to another appointment, for another infected tooth, and yes, I'm still terrified--but I'm going. My biggest fear was of judgment, but the dentist didn't even seem phased by my very decayed mouth. I learned that I judged myself much more harshly than anyone else did.

No one can make you go except you, and you're in full control of whether you go or not, but I'd strongly encourage you to at least trying to email some dentists in your area. You can explain to them your situation, and make it extremely clear what you're afraid of. You can even send them pictures of your teeth to test the waters. A lot of people on this forum like emailing their dentists; it can be a lot less scary than calling them.

Regardless of the state of your teeth, you're still a person and deserve to be treated with respect and care. I'm sure you can find a dentist that can treat you exactly like that. Dentists are used to all sorts of teeth, and everyone always thinks that their teeth will be the spookiest thing the dentist has ever seen, but they aren't.

I'm here if you need to talk. I'm not the best with words, but I really relate to your story, and I felt like I needed to reply.