• Dental Phobia Support

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20 year old male - Always been super insecure about my smile every since I was little.



Junior member
Jun 11, 2019
United States
Okay where do I begin, I have never been able to get into the habit of brushing and flossing regularly, and as you guessed that would end me out having yellow gross teeth, but my teeth has always been spaced well and growing in fine I've never needed braces I just never was able to brush my teeth consistently, even regardless of my dentist telling me I was going to lose my teeth if I didn't brush and floss, what would happen id be excited start brushing for a few weeks consistently, then id procrastinate and say that ill do it tomorrow, then I end up not doing it, to add into that I would rarely brush my teeth before school. Sorry for not having perfect grammar, but I'm just going to pour my heart out into this post because frankly I don't know what to do. I would rarely brush my teeth before school and by the time it was time for bed, i'd just go to bed without brushing it was never a problem for me I got used to the horrible taste, bad breath etc. I would go weeks without brushing my teeth and I obviously wasn't going to tell me my mom because she kept trying to help me out trying to help pay for my dentist appointments and what not, and every time i'd promise I would start and I do, but i never end up making it a full habit. Fast forward to now, i'm 20 I'm a virgin, never kissed a girl, never really been in a serious relationship, i'm scared for my future because maybe I never get married and have kids just because i'm too scared to get out because i'm afraid of what people think of my teeth.

I never smile because i'm very ashamed of my teeth and frankly at this point I still don't really brush for the simple fact of, I feel like its inevitable that i'm going to lose my teeth, or they're going to get worse, and I really feel like it won't ever get better for me in that regard. I've always been a good kid and me and my family have a very good relationship, the one issue my mom has always had with me is brushing my teeth, like I said I could never make it a habit and it really bit me in the ass. So to explain my life a lot, I play a lot of video games, and I am a shy kid and I don't really like meeting new people, I try to always avoid showing my teeth because they're gross and it makes me depressed. I have a part time job at dominos and I go to community college. I'm always scared of doing group presentations and stuff for the simple fact as I might have to talk to new people and have to open my mouth and show them my gross teeth, I am very secure of my teeth, and also I have a stutter which adds into the fact that I'm very shy to meet new people because I feel like they're going to judge me. I'm scared of the reality of going to the dentist that I'm going to need a root canal or something and it's going to cost thousands of dollars, I wish I could just go back in time and build the habit, because I travel quite a bit and looking at how perfect everyone's teeth is, is just depressing, I really start to realize i'm the minority and I really have never seen anyone with worse teeth then mine. Just recent I went to DreamHack Dallas for Rocket League, and I saw how perfect my online friends teeth were and it just makes me depressed because I want to smile I want to laugh and share conversation with them, and be the weird funny likeable guy I know I can be but I just end up sitting quietly in the corner till someone says something to me, and then I try to answer without opening my mouth to the best of my ability. When I got back from that I realized I wanted to take initiative and do something to fix my teeth. Although that raised another problem my mother has always been with me through thick and thin and everything and she would be very depressed to find out I haven't been brushing my teeth as much as I should so if I would probably not even tell her and deal with the dental stuff on my own even as I am 20 and considered an adult but I don't feel like one because I've always been pretty sheltered my whole life. She loves me and she got me a whitening kit a while back, But i feel like with all the holes and cavities in my teeth it would be bad to whiten so I have to look at other solutions because I start with whitening I have to fix the form of my teeth, so I probably will end up setting up a doctors appointment by myself, but that raises another problem I have no health insurance that would cover it, so i'd probably have to end up paying full price for my dental issues. Please give whatever feedback you think is necessary, and don't hesitate to hold back I understand it's hella selfish to let my mother fix my teeth and fill in my cavities when i was younger then 18 basically out of pocket, and I should of built the habit out of the goodness of my heart for her, and even for me but I don't know anymore I can't change the past but I read on a couple posts on here that your teeth and smile is always fixable so hopefully mine can be too.

TLDR: If you got to the end of reading this, I really appreciate it, sorry about the grammar i'm just pouring out my heart onto a forum because like I said in the post I really don't know what to do. Just a 20 year old male with horrible teeth.
Ah, a man after my own heart. You can turn this around, and now is the time.

You actually have a lot going for you, if you take the abundant opportunities right in front of you.

At your community college there are three resources:

1. Today (as in today) stop by and make an appointment with the counselor to discuss anxiety. I recommend asking about "CBT and exposure hierarchies" for brushing and flossing. You need not worry about what means right now, but keep searching for a counselor until someone gets you taking prompt action.

2. If your CC has a dental clinic, schedule a session.

3. If your CC has a gym, go talk about fitness. Video games are good, in moderation.

Basically, as a CC student you have outstanding support. Use it.

It is good that you have a job. I learned extremely valuable job skills in fast food and retail.

The truth is that when you go look for your next job, or kiss that young woman (it will happen at the right time, and will be really amazing), dental hygiene will be one of the first things they'll look for.

This isn't fair or right, but it is true.

Lastly, like you, I stutter. It is its own deal, but like dental hygiene it is something you can overcome with the proper support. You gotta persist.

A little less video games, and a little more good dental habits. I'll bet you even meet a very attractive fellow student at the dental clinic.

Good luck.
Hi austinf0847 :welcome:,

you already got some great advice from Dg6300, I just want to let you know that posting here and venting and pouring in all the thoughts is already a huge progress so even if it doesn't feel like that, you are moving forward right now :) You know, we do not care about grammar or how many words you wrote or whether you brush or not, we are here to provide support and let you know that you are not alone.

I do not think you are selfish at all, on the contrary, it souds like you are so mindful about how your mother feels and appreciate how she had looked after you so far and that is a beautiful thing. Parents take care of their kids, that's how the world works and just because you are 20 it doesn't mean you stopped being her kid, you know.. once you have a job and all issues solved, you will take care of your mom and once you have kids you will take care of them as well, this is how life works and it isn't limited to any age.

I was delighted to read that you do not plan to bleach your teeth with the kit now, as you mentioned, it wouldn't be good for your teeth. This again only shows how mindful you are and this decision is one towards your dental health. So again well done for that.

Now to the brushing. I think it makes no point in defeating yourself for that, I can see that you really try hard but there is something that doesn't work and obviously you can't beat it with your will. Getting a counsellor always is a good idea if you do not feel as self-confident as you would like to or if there is any issue that worries you and a counsellor will also be able to give you a direction of therapy.

To the dental part. As you pointed out, you will need a dentist and this will probably be the hardest part. Not because a dentist will judge you but because you will have to get your way through your own judgment towards yourself and that's not easy. As usually, the best way is to google a bit and see whether there is any dental practice in your area that you feel you could trust. Emailing them beforehand explaining your worry about judgment and how you currently feel about your smile might be a good approach. By the way, once you get your teeth cleaned, you might feel motivated to brush again and a hygienist can show you how to brush properly.

I got the trouble with cost, but a dentist taking a look goes first. Before considering expensive treatment, it might be good to find a possibility to get an exam so that you know what is going on. The exam shouldn't be too expensive and will give you an idea about what to prepare for. You can then plan from there on. By the way, if you haven't taken a look at our article about the fear of cost, you might want to take a look. We also have a thread about this in our FAQ section here.

Hope this helps (and sorry, I think I just wrote a book, not a post!), all the best wishes, let us know your thoughts and keep us posted, hope you feel better soon and find a way to get to see a dentist.
everyone has given such good advice. This forum is a wonderful place for support and for realizing you're not alone. One of your concerns is about affording dental treatment. Do you think your mom would help pay for dental visits? It sounds like your mother would be very supportive. I still feel like a 20 year old at heart, but I'm nearly twice that age now (time flies way too fast, lol) and I'm also a mom, and trust me, your mom will always love you no matter what you tell her. Please keep us updated!
Hi spider,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Allow me to invite you to watch a video I made about feeling embarrassment during a dental appointment. Hope it somehow helps.
You have gotten such great advice from everyone already but just wanted to say YOu totally have what it takes !!
It's been almost a year, and I tried to stay away from the problem, and ignore it, but I feel I can no longer ignore it, i'm losing faith and I don't want to live with bad teeth, I want a restart in life, because also my family is very poor, and my father died when i was 12 and he was the only person that brought in money in our household, so basically I feel like it's too late, and there's no way I would have the money to even try to fix them, even if, id be freaking out over something like a root canal. Sorry for the lack of doing anything, i'm a worthless human being that just puts everything off.
You are not a worthless human being! That makes me so sad.You seem like a very thoughtful and articulate person. You are young and trust me if you live self conscious of your smile for the next few years you will look back and say why didn’t I do this sooner? Most dentists have a program in the US if you don’t have insurance you can do a payment plan with a discount. I forget what it is called, but if you call ask them when you make the appointment. Don’t be embarrassed, dentists are just glad you came in and want to help.
Sorry to read about your situation, austinf0847. It's good to have you back here, thank you for sharing an update. I second what Shakinginmyboots said.

Of course you are not worthless. And this is the very last place anyone would judge you. I know that getting all those replies and suggestions and support here can sometimes feel overwhelming and like a little pressure to start doing something, but it really isn't meant that way. Some things need time and some things need to stay as they are for a while before they can get better. It's ok to do something and it's ok not to do something.

Struggling with finances can be such a dark and hopeless place to be and it is not only about not having the money, it is about what it does to your self-esteem and to your hope in the future. The sad thing is that lack of finances can throw a shadow on pretty much every part of your life and it is so easy to start to believe that you are not worthy of love. So can bad teeth by the way and of course the amount of dental treatment needed has nothing to do with your worth as a person (but I know it may feel like the opposite).

So whatever you do or do not, it's ok. Feelings change and so do life circumstances. By the way, it is never too late for teeth, you can change things for the better at any time. The most important part is to stay kind to yourself. Life is hard enough, no need to beat yourself up.

By the way, you can always come around and write out whatever bothers you. There is no pressure and no expectation, we are just here to listen.
Hi Austin0847,

I agree with everything the others have said and glad to see you back and letting us know how you are doing! We are glad to have you with you. And sorry you have had really hard strugggles in life. You are a strong and resilient person even when you don't feel like it. Just take one day at a time. and don't beat yourself you! You are a great and worthy person !

I have put off dental for years at a time due to finances and life circumstances that have come up. I can only take a day at a time and you never know Austin when you will meet a dentist who will change your life and direction of dental care and really help with what you need and be an encouragement and making it possible financially.

I've struggled financially and for years unable to afford the dental treatment I needed and would just dream, get stuck, get depressed, get frustrated, feel bad and ashamed. But I did recently get a dentist in my life end of 2018 and he is helping me get everything I need at a financial pace good for me. It is miracle. And I am believing in your miracle as well!!!!

Just take it day by day an know you are so important and strong!!