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36-year old with severe periodontitis - terrified



Junior member
Jan 3, 2023
I'm a 36-year old woman and I haven't been to the dentist in about eight years because of a lot of contributing factors aside my absolute stupidity, which I will explain. I just want to mention first that I am so ashamed and so terrified of what is going to happen to my teeth, I haven't eaten in four days and I cry all the time.

When I was twelve, I had braces for six years which had some hand in my gums around my middle front teeth disappearing quite a bit. Calculus forms there quite easily. Twelve years after they were removed, because my wisdom teeth came in which pushed my other teeth forwards again, my overbite was perhaps even worse than it had been before.

I had just moved to a new city, and where I live, finding a dentist to take you on if you are not already a regular with them, is almost impossible, so I was very happy when I did find one and went to see her (at this point I had still been going to the dentist fairly regularly) and her consults were excrutiating. Cleaning my teeth hurt a lot on those two front teeth, which I tried to communicate. Her response was: "you should have cleaned better then." She did a root canal and I had to ask her three times to give me more of the anaesthetic, because I could still feel everything. Every session she would berate me for poor dental hygiene. I always felt so humiliated, I always left in damn near tears.

After that, the idea of going back to face this woman, cripples me with fear. (Finding a new dentist that would take me in is near impossible.) In the last eight years that I have stayed away from the dentist, I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and though it wasn't always easy, I kept up my fairly strict dental routine. I hadn't felt any pain, so I - like the idiot I am - assumed everything was still kind of okay, mostly in the hopes I would never have to see this awful woman that made me feel like a complete piece of garbage again. (BPD makes those bad interactions into the worst thing tbat could possibly happen to me.)

Last week though, my salivary glands became inflamed and swollen. Looking at them, I got a good look at those two lower front teeth and I have been having panic attacks since. The gums on the outside/front on the teeth has worn away almost completely down to the inside of my bottom lip. On each tooth, there's a little rock of calculus at the bottom. There's still some gums in between them, though. What really worries me is the inside. There's no gums left between them or underneath them. It's all calculus.There 's also a wound there that my tongue moves over when I eat and it hurts and tastes weird sometimes, but it's not blood. The teeth kind of move when I try to move them with my fingers, but I cannot move them with my tongue. I might with my upper front teeth. I do take decent care of my teeth, though, aside from being such an idiot for not going to the dentist. I brush twice a day (upped to four now though, because I am scared to death even more calculus will form) for at least two minutes, I use mouth wash and floss regularly.

I hate myself so so much for not mustering up the courage to go to the dentist sooner. The earliest I could schedule an appointment is in three weeks - if I have to live with these panic attacks and not eat out of fear my tooth will fall out, there will be nothing left of me. I cry all the time, and am constantly scouring the internet for answers. I took a year off from my job this year so I could go back to uni. Exams are in two weeks and I haven't studied properly in the past five days. I will fail my exams like this.

I don't know what to do. I am deathly terrified of getting even more hour-long scolding sessions, but I am also horrifyingly convinced my teeth might fall out even if I breathe too hard and that they won't be able to fix it. And who knows what else they'll find iny mouth.

I just wish they could knock me out and do what needed to be done, so I wouldn't have to interact with anyone about this. I am so ashamed and terrified.

Will I lose my teeth over this??

If anyone could offer some advice or support, or a similar story to let me know I am not alone, I would be so incredibly grateful. Thank you so much.
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Hi! Welcome. I’m glad you posted.

I am sorry things are difficult. You are facing a difficult situation.

The good news is that you are already demonstrating considerable courage: you made an appointment and posted here. Both are big steps.

You know what your problems are, are actively seeking help, and are accepting responsibility for what happened. Mentally, you’re well on your way.

As far as the scolding sessions, first up: what a monster!

Second, here are things that have helped me have difficult conversations:

1. Scripting: practicing what you need to say. Practice this, perhaps with a friend. What are the two or three things you need to say to get through this appointment?

2. Gray rocking: other than your script, don’t answer any question they don’t ask, and for any shaming (which again, is nuts) just gray rock. There are some good resources online for gray rocking which are well worth your time to review, but here are some of my favorite things to say: “Could be”, “hmmmm”, “I see”.

One final thought: if you live in America I’d suggest calling 211 and telling them your predicament. Also, if you have a job, ask for the number of your employee assistance program. Something to consider!

I hope this helps!

Post here as much as you like.

Edit to add: I see you are in college, which is really good. Please contact your student affairs office ASAP, and the ombudsman office. They are excellent resources. A campus health service may help with the inflammation.

Edit to add 2: When you talk to the student affairs/ombudsman, ask if your university has a dental clinic that accepts emergency patients.

If they don’t, ask them if they have any colleagues/friends at other schools that do.

My guess, and this is just a guess, is that they have a friend at dental school within an hour’s drive. Again, no guarantees but I’d not be surprised if you can be fit in someplace this week. Don’t be afraid to ask.
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Thank you for your kind words. I will definitely look into gray rocking and will try to stick to a script. This is really good advice, thank you.

Sadly, I am not in the US and my university does not have any of these facilities. I will contact my student affairs office and hope they will be able to help me.

I have also scheduled an appointment with my doctor/GP tomorrow in hopes that he can get me in somewhere soon, because at this point, I have contacted about 15 dentists and they have all turned me away.

I woke up this morning with a pretty foul taste in my mouth - I've never had that before, so this is all just adding to my crippling anxiety.

On top of that, I just feel like such an idiot and I feel so ashamed that because of my negligence, people will now have to make room for me in their busy schedules. If I had just gone to the dentist sooner, I wouldn't be in this mess. I hate myself.

And the uncertainty is killing me. Will I lose my teeth? Are they beyond saving? What if I can't find spot at a dentist sooner, can my teeth and gums survive until the 23rd?
@biniche Hi. I have sent you a private message here.