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advice please: my husband is dental phobic and has an abscess and bad breath



Junior member
Sep 12, 2009
advice please: my husband is dental phobic and has an abscess and bad breath

Dear all,

For the last month or so my husband is suffering from bad breath and also from a large abscess at the front of his mouth under his bottom teeth. I know about the bad breath because I can smell it and I know about the abscess because I can see a large (1 inch by 1/2 inch) lump from outside.

My husband hasn't been to the dentist in at least 5 years (that's as long as we have been together) as far as I know. He has had dental work in the past - I can tell that he has implants and not natural teeth.

Many many times over the last 5 years I have asked if he is going for a check up or cleaning soon. And he refuses to even talk about it. When I mention the dentist he gets very upset, changes the subject and goes into a sulk. He will say something like: "Not now, I can't talk about that." If I continue to press him on the subject by saying something like: "it's ok to be afraid, my dentist is really nice and you can just go for a meet and greet session" my husband will hide his face behind his hands or put a pillow over his face and repeat "not now, I don't want to talk about this".

So I leave it and I don't talk about it - but now he has this abscess and bad breath. How can I help him overcome his fear?

I love him so much and I can put up with his bad breath but I want him to be comfortable and healthy.

I bought some medical antibacterial mouthwash that he agreed to use but didn't really help. I am considering giving him a course of antibiotics (I'll consult a doctor first). Could that help?

Thank you in advance for any replies :)

a worried wife
Re: advice please: my husband is dental phobic and has an abscess and bad breath

Hello frn2343:

Welcome to the forum. :welcome:

That is a difficult situation. I will base my suggestions on the adage, "If you want to keep getting what you are getting, keep doing what you are doing."

Let's look at the situation:

1. Your husband's anxiety and fear has not improved by avoiding the situation.
2. The dental problem is steadily going downhill.
3. This situation impacts your relationship by building a wall between you.
4. This is robbing him of quality of life and impacting his health.
5. The dental problem will not get better on its own and can cause other complications.

The foundation of relationships is trust. I would tell him that you love and are committed to him. However, this issue is one he needs help facing. It is not because he is weak or strange. Each one of us has something we need help with. The beauty of marriage is you do not have to face things alone, two are stronger than one.

If someone or something was trying to harm you, he would intervene for you and protect you. This is no different. This dental problem is seeking to harm him and you will not allow that. Part of the martial vows is "to love, honor and protect."

The time has come to face this situation and you will not abandon him and will not take "no" for an answer. You would never do anything to harm him and will not sit by and watch this happen.

An open and honest conversation is desperately needed. This is the highest form of care and concern when we will help someone that cannot help themselves without support.

If you want to chat PM me.

Blessings :)
Re: advice please: my husband is dental phobic and has an abscess and bad breath


well i dont know whether your husband would agree to come on here but if i were you id tell him about this website and ask him to come on and talk to some people, i know for a fact if i hadnt of come on this website i would never have stepped inside a dental surgery and got my phobia under control and my teeth in a healthy state! the people on here are so helpful and friendly and i could never have done it without them!

so yeah i just think you should suggest it to him!

hope things go well,

Re: advice please: my husband is dental phobic and has an abscess and bad breath

fear is a very powerful thing. Ive lived in fear for more years then i would like to remember. The problem with fear is, that if left unchecked it will rule your life and prevent you from achiving your goals.

Your husband, undoubtly is in pain or soon will be. He has a choice he has to make, and he alone! You can support and incurrage him to go all you want, but ultimatly its up to him to deside to face that fear, sit down in that chair and get the treatment he needs done, or live in pain.

I can honestly say, i was extremely fearful of going to the dentist. Thank god in heaven i had no pain! I went, got my checkups, went though my treatment (5 cavaties filled) and while i was racked with fear and depression to the point where part of me wanted to die to avoid the fear i was facing, i emerged myself at the end whole and better for it! I can honestly say i did not feel an ounce of pain. A few unconfortable moments but that was mostly due to the anxitity i was facing and not the actual work being done at all!

So, the fear your husband is going though, i can honestly say is worse then the actual experence! My fear now, is not getting treatment if need be! Thats what scares me!
Re: advice please: my husband is dental phobic and has an abscess and bad breath

Thank you for the advice.

I am not giving up on him and I am going to try communicating to him via a letter in which I will let him know about the forum and let him know that I am here for him at all stages if he needs me. But I'll also let him know that he has the right to choose and that he's in control of this situation.

Also I am going to give him the name, e-mail and phone number for a very friendly and caring dentist who he can talk to if he is able and also he'll have the forum details if he needs to read about or talk to other people like him first.

If the letter doesn't work - I'll try the open conversation. Although as I said before he tends to freeze up as soon as I mention anything to do with dentists and teeth. But I will keep trying different approaches. I'll let you know how it goes.
thank you again