• 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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25 Years Old. So Desperate for Help & Support.

D

dandelion

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2015
Messages
24
I'm so humiliated and anxious to even be typing out these words, but I've reached a point where I can't avoid dealing with my fear any longer. I'm a 25 year old female, currently working full time, and even co-own a successful business. I was also recently accepted into a graduate program for this fall.

There are so many things I'm proud of myself for, and I generally love my life and the people in it.. However, a phobia of the dentist has been plaguing me since I was a child.

I'm embarrassed that I've only been to a dentist once that I can remember, to have a tooth pulled when I was around five years old. I don't remember it being a particularly negative experience, but the dentist wasn't exactly patient with me being terrified of her. Somehow, this irrational anxiety has lingered my entire life, causing me so much pain and guilt.

Due to my extreme anxiety, I have neglected my teeth. When I was fifteen years old, a big piece broke off one of my molars, and I never had it fixed. I flush it out with water and brush after every meal, and I try to keep it super clean, but obviously this is NOT the way to handle a problem like this. It was easier for me to deal with the pain than to confront my anxiety all of these years. :cry:

It has been TEN YEARS since this happened. I am horrified by that sentence, but I'm even more horrified of the diagnosis I might receive, and the need for extensive treatment. All of my other teeth are white, and I don't even have much plaque, but a portion of the broken tooth has turned black. : (

You can't really see it when I smile, and other than that, I really like my smile.

I know I'm smarter than this. I can't believe I've brought myself to this point. I'm so afraid to tell my parents about my problems. They have always respected me so much, and I worry they will never be able to look at me the same way again, for being so foolish about my health.

Has anyone else been through a similar situation? Waiting ten years to fix a badly broken tooth? Can anyone give me advice on what to expect from my first dental appointment, if I can bring myself to schedule one? Can anyone tell me what I could expect as a possible treatment, or diagnosis?

I'm trying to look at this realistically, but the fear of the unknown is driving me crazy.

Thank you so much for reading my ramblings. I'm so grateful for this place of support.
 
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I am also 25, and about ten months ago I was in a similar situation - except MUCH worse. That one broken tooth you have? Almost all of mine were broken (bad luck in the genetic lottery - runs in my family to lose teeth young). Honestly, it ruined my life for such a long time. I would never go outside.

When I finally went to the dentist, do you want to know that they said to me after leaving it for so long? Nothing. They didn't say anything. They just wanted to get it sorted, and that's what they did. Not a single dentist or assistant said anything judgemental in the entire process.

Here's what will happen at an initial appointment: they will look in your mouth with a mirror. Then they'll take x-rays (not a painful process at all, just a bit of a mouthful). With the x-rays they'll be able to see any hidden damage, but if your teeth look good and are not painful, the chances are there won't be much, if any at all! They'll also be able to tell if the broken tooth can be saved and crowned. Then they'll work out a treatment plan.

You're imagining how bad it *could* be, but thinking up the worst-case scenarios is silly. It won't be anywhere near as bad as it is in your head. It sounds like you've taken good care of your teeth.

Please don't be ashamed of your fear of the dentist. Most of us here have been in similar situations. The dentist is scary! But much of it is in our head. You should book an appointment (maybe search for a phobia friendly dentist), explain your situation, and they will understand. They see people all the time who are nervous or have left it a long time (decades, sometimes) between appointments.

Good luck :) x
 
Thanks for your kind words, and for sharing your experience. That does give me some relief to know I'm not alone. You are such a strong person! I hope I can work up the courage soon. :(
 
You have no reason to feel humiliated and embarrassed actually you should be happy that you have
smile that you like and honestly I envy you :giggle:

First I think its foolish of you to think that anyone(especially parents) would look at you differently because of freaking tooth.

Worst case scenario is that your tooth has to be extracted, yeah its bad but it is not end of the world much can
be done about it. But I doubt that is going to happen.

Try to be as rational as possible (thinking parents will look you differently because of tooth is totally irrational), so step on the ground with both feet and realize how foolish that way of thinking is. Don't jump do conclusions
take in information as you go. Just be pragmatic about it and you will see later that you suffered for nothing.
 
First I think its foolish of you to think that anyone(especially parents) would look at you differently because of freaking tooth.

Try to be as rational as possible (thinking parents will look you differently because of tooth is totally irrational), so step on the ground with both feet and realize how foolish that way of thinking is.

You're right.. You're so right. That is irrational, and I need to acknowledge it when I have that thought. Thank you so much for your message.
 
Glad to help, fears like this are usually product of our own imagination. Because we lack actual experience we replace it with our own imagination. Stopping to think about it and getting proper picture should give you enough courage to go and once you do its easy from there.

I really wish someone told me that years ago.
 
Been there, done this. When I did finally force myself to go, the dentist just shrugged and got on with the job of fixing me up - exactly what I wanted !
 
Going through a similar process- but I have gum disease, need 4 or 5 root canals, and a few fillings before I'm done at the age of 30.

A suggestion- bring someone that you trust with you for the first dental visit. That was the worst appointment for me: going back after a long time and not knowing how bad my mouth was. I brought my husband with me and my dentist didn't mind having another person in the room - I think it was pretty clear he was there to support me. I'm really thankful hubby was there - it helped me to go through that with him. (Besides being a bit less stressful for me, I also didn't want to go home and show my husband everything that was wrong with me. I just couldn't deal with that- I think I would have hidden the folder and treatment plan from him.)

Like others have said, the first visit will be x-rays, a look around your mouth, and the dentist will talk to you about a treatment plan. Mine did a great job of explaining what was going on and why he chose certain treatments for me, but he could also tell when enough details were enough too :) Mine gave me a print-out of my treatment plant, what I should get done in what order, and the prices of everything. If financial stuff is an issue, look into Care Credit for credit card that will give you 18-24 months to pay it off interest free.

I did cry a bit at the first visit- my dentist was totally respectful and gave me time alone with hubby to calm down. The dentist walked me up to the reception's desk to set up appointments and then shook my hand saying "We only want to help you". I know and knew that - it's just so scary to think about how much work I needed and how I would pay for everything.

Now almost 3 months into my journey, it's really not that bad. I have oral surgery coming up and I'm freaked out but I know once they get started I will be fine - I trust the doctors at my place and all of them have been very kind and gentle with me.

If for some reason your dentist is a jerk, please know that you do NOT have to go back to them. Be picky! :) Get a second opinion if you don't agree with their plan for you. If you want a certain numbing/gas treatment to help you, then ask for it. :)

Good luck to you - so many of us are dealing with our dental phobia too and we're making it through. I know you can too! :XXLhug:
 
Going through a similar process- but I have gum disease, need 4 or 5 root canals, and a few fillings before I'm done at the age of 30.

A suggestion- bring someone that you trust with you for the first dental visit. That was the worst appointment for me: going back after a long time and not knowing how bad my mouth was. I brought my husband with me and my dentist didn't mind having another person in the room - I think it was pretty clear he was there to support me. I'm really thankful hubby was there - it helped me to go through that with him. (Besides being a bit less stressful for me, I also didn't want to go home and show my husband everything that was wrong with me. I just couldn't deal with that- I think I would have hidden the folder and treatment plan from him.)

Like others have said, the first visit will be x-rays, a look around your mouth, and the dentist will talk to you about a treatment plan. Mine did a great job of explaining what was going on and why he chose certain treatments for me, but he could also tell when enough details were enough too :) Mine gave me a print-out of my treatment plant, what I should get done in what order, and the prices of everything. If financial stuff is an issue, look into Care Credit for credit card that will give you 18-24 months to pay it off interest free.

I did cry a bit at the first visit- my dentist was totally respectful and gave me time alone with hubby to calm down. The dentist walked me up to the reception's desk to set up appointments and then shook my hand saying "We only want to help you". I know and knew that - it's just so scary to think about how much work I needed and how I would pay for everything.

Now almost 3 months into my journey, it's really not that bad. I have oral surgery coming up and I'm freaked out but I know once they get started I will be fine - I trust the doctors at my place and all of them have been very kind and gentle with me.

If for some reason your dentist is a jerk, please know that you do NOT have to go back to them. Be picky! :) Get a second opinion if you don't agree with their plan for you. If you want a certain numbing/gas treatment to help you, then ask for it. :)

Good luck to you - so many of us are dealing with our dental phobia too and we're making it through. I know you can too! :XXLhug:

Thank you so, so much for this. I'm tearing up. :')

Those are really great suggestions. That's great to hear that your dentist was respectful and didn't mind letting your husband stay in the room with you. I've contemplated asking my boyfriend to come with me, but I also know I'm going to be a wreck and I don't want him to see me like that. :(

Thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone in this. :XXLhug:
 
I've contemplated asking my boyfriend to come with me, but I also know I'm going to be a wreck and I don't want him to see me like that. :(

Does your boyfriend know about your dental fears? If not, it might be time to have a discussion, especially if you are seeking him to possibly give you support at your appointment.

My hubby didn't know about my fears until we had been together for almost 10 years - friends for 1, dating 5, and married for almost 4 years. Wasn't really something I wanted to talk to him about :( He knew I didn't go to the dentist (neither does he), but he just it was just because it was going to be a pain in the butt - not that it totally freaked me out. He was a really good sport though and continues to be. I hope your boyfriend is just as supportive and understanding.

:XXLhug:
 
Does your boyfriend know about your dental fears? If not, it might be time to have a discussion, especially if you are seeking him to possibly give you support at your appointment.

My hubby didn't know about my fears until we had been together for almost 10 years - friends for 1, dating 5, and married for almost 4 years. Wasn't really something I wanted to talk to him about :( He knew I didn't go to the dentist (neither does he), but he just it was just because it was going to be a pain in the butt - not that it totally freaked me out. He was a really good sport though and continues to be. I hope your boyfriend is just as supportive and understanding.

:XXLhug:

Funny you should mention that - I actually just had a conversation with him about it for the first time yesterday. He was totally understanding and supportive about it, but I ended up getting pretty upset during the conversation (now that I'm actively trying to face this fear, I've been realizing just how many complex emotions are wrapped up in it).

I think he was a little bit stressed out by the conversation.. Not by the content of it, but just by how anxious I was acting. But it did feel like a big step forward for me.

That's great that your husband is so supportive and understanding! :)

I'm still feeling like it's mentally impossible for me to make an appointment. I'm trying every single day to work up the courage.

Thank you for following up with me. It means so much. :XXLhug:
 
oh my I give this advice a lotm

If you are ready to sit in chair, why not ask some one
to make a call for you?

You can also go there and make it in person, taking small steps is good. It helped me a lot to have some think of those things because i didn't need to stress even more about. I could do it my own but this made it so much more bearable.:naughty:
 
oh my I give this advice a lotm

If you are ready to sit in chair, why not ask some one
to make a call for you?

You can also go there and make it in person, taking small steps is good. It helped me a lot to have some think of those things because i didn't need to stress even more about. I could do it my own but this made it so much more bearable.:naughty:

Yes, that's definitely what I'm going to have to do. I don't feel like I'm ready to sit in the chair... But I guess I'll never be "ready". :shame:
 
I'm still feeling like it's mentally impossible for me to make an appointment. I'm trying every single day to work up the courage.

Thank you for following up with me. It means so much. :XXLhug:

Glad it helped! I hope you will keep posting here to share your journey with us :)

I could not work up the courage to call the dentist :redface: I found one that took my insurance and is literally a few blocks down the street, but what honestly really sold me (besides good reviews) was the fact that I could email then 24/7. So that's what I did - I explained my situation in an email and they called me within a few hours (before they were even open - this was on a weekend/they are normally closed) to set up an appointment :o

It helped that I did not have to explain the situation - I just had to tell them when I could come in for my first visit. And when I've been upset - they had to reschedule my flap surgery way earlier than I could do it so I freaked - I emailed again instead of trying to sensible tell them over the phone. It helps at least to get me to share with them what I needed to say.

Perhaps your dentist has an email that you could contact them through ?? Might be a good way to get the ball rolling since you can take your time with thinking about what you want to say. (It is less stressful for me at least - I hate being on the phone)
 
Glad it helped! I hope you will keep posting here to share your journey with us :)

I could not work up the courage to call the dentist :redface: I found one that took my insurance and is literally a few blocks down the street, but what honestly really sold me (besides good reviews) was the fact that I could email then 24/7. So that's what I did - I explained my situation in an email and they called me within a few hours (before they were even open - this was on a weekend/they are normally closed) to set up an appointment :o

It helped that I did not have to explain the situation - I just had to tell them when I could come in for my first visit. And when I've been upset - they had to reschedule my flap surgery way earlier than I could do it so I freaked - I emailed again instead of trying to sensible tell them over the phone. It helps at least to get me to share with them what I needed to say.

Perhaps your dentist has an email that you could contact them through ?? Might be a good way to get the ball rolling since you can take your time with thinking about what you want to say. (It is less stressful for me at least - I hate being on the phone)

That is comforting that you can email them 24/7. Does the actual dentist email you? Or is it just someone from the practice like a receptionist? I can't imagine being able to actually talk to a dentist in person right now.. I've sent some questions through the "contact us" sections on a few websites, but I've only heard back from one so far.

I really need to get past my fear of judgement.. I guess the email is a good way to start. Depending on how they respond, I could get a feel for how they would handle me in person. Thank you for the advice. :XXLhug:
 
I have seen and treated many patients with a similar history and almost everyone has been able to get beyond their fear and return for care. You just need the right person
 
I have seen and treated many patients with a similar history and almost everyone has been able to get beyond their fear and return for care. You just need the right person

Thank you for the words of encouragement. I've had someone else call a few places for me, and I wrote a letter to share with the dentist about my concerns. Would a dentist provide anti-anxiety medication on/before the first visit? Even if it was just a consult? I don't know how I can get myself into the door. I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it. :(
 
25 Years Old. So Desperate for Help & Support.

In many states in the U.S. (Not sure where you are located) a provider cannot prescribe a benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety medication) without having seen the patient. They are controlled substances as they have high rate of abuse. If you have a relationship with a primary care provide or GP, they may be able to prescribe for you. You want to make sure, though, that you're not so out of it that you cannot communicate well with the dentist.
 
Re: 25 Years Old. So Desperate for Help & Support.

In many states in the U.S. (Not sure where you are located) a provider cannot prescribe a benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety medication) without having seen the patient. They are controlled substances as they have high rate of abuse. If you have a relationship with a primary care provide or GP, they may be able to prescribe for you. You want to make sure, though, that you're not so out of it that you cannot communicate well with the dentist.

Yeah, I knew that would be the case. I'm located in Kentucky. Unfortunately I don't really have a primary care provider either. I feel like I'm in a Catch-22 situation. :(
 
25 Years Old. So Desperate for Help & Support.

Then I think you just need to summon all the courage you have to get yourself to a first appointment knowing that you don't even have to let the dentist look at your teeth if you can't bring yourself to allow that. You can do this! The first appt is almost always the most difficult to get to.
 
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