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Afraid to Even Just Schedule Consultation



Junior member
May 12, 2020
United States
Hi there, I've been browsing this place for a bit, and it's reassuring to know I'm not alone.

I've known I'd probably needed to get my wisdom teeth out at some point since I was in my late teens/early 20's (I'm now 26). However, I was told that so long as they weren't causing me pain or discomfort, there was no rush to get them removed. However now, I think that I'm approaching the point of needing to have them removed.

I have 3 partially erupted ones, and the 4th is still just chilling beneath the surface (like me deciding "I won't be late for work if I sleep just 5 more minutes", I'm sure). The lower left has been the most "problematic", frequently getting crumbs stuck under the gum, and while I'm good about keeping the space cleaned out, I'm also only human and sometimes I miss a crumb, which leaves me with a couple days of tenderness from the irritated gum.

I logically know that having them removed is what's best in the long run… But I can barely handle a normal biannual cleaning without having an anxiety attack during it. And that's why I haven't even scheduled a consultation (or even tried to) in the past 5+ years. Even just thinking about scheduling that consultation sends me into a fit of fearful tears (and general stress and anxiety from being an "essential worker" in these troubling times certainly does nothing for my handling of the topic), never mind thoughts of the procedure and recovery itself.

I just got a new dentist, and while I'm very impressed with her and trust her, I would be referred to an oral surgeon for this. So having someone who is even more of a stranger rooting around in my mouth makes it even more frightening. The most intensive medical procedure I've ever had was a root canal for a cracked tooth a few years back. I was prescribed Valium for it, and between that and being numbed… I was actually rather fascinated by the process as it was happening.

Medical stuff fascinates me… But I have one hell of a medical phobia.

I think it's the recovery that scares me most about wisdom teeth removal. The knowledge that things that were in my mouth aren't in there anymore, the fear of doing something wrong, complications, being the poor unlucky sap who has a recovery that's much harder than it should be…

I know it's in my best interest to have these pesky things removed. I know if they go then I won't have to deal with that little bit of irritated gum, or the worry of them rotting and taking my face with them, or any number of bad outcomes…. But in traditional logic/emotion disconnect, I just can't even take that first step because of soul crushing terror. (Hell, just before typing this I had a good 10 minute cry at work, and let me tell you that it's hard to install tool holders when you're sobbing, nauseous, and afraid.). I'm so afraid of this that I've had thoughts that death would be preferable. (Which is a route I'd never take, but you know how the brain doesn't like to be reasonable in the midst of fear.)

Is there any advice for a poor sap like me who is too afraid to take the step I know is what's best for me?
Hi Sillvally :welcome:,

it sounds like you are looking around, thinking about strategies and ways to tackle the wisdom teeth, which, after many years of denial is a great step forward. It's good to know what your fears and difficulties are and also to have clarity about which step would be too much (scheduling a consult with an oral surgeon) and which step is doable - it looks like you managed to address this in a chat with your regular dentist.

You mentioned being hardly able to cope even with a biannual cleaning, but it sounds like despite the high anxiety, you are doing a great job in going. It might be good to see the wisdom teeth in a similar way; you don't need to love it, it's more about making a plan and finding a way to approach it in a pace that is ok for you. I also see how dealing with someone who is not your regular dentist brings in another portion of anxiety - after all, this is all about trust and familiarity is what helps to built it.

My advice would be to keep on going at your own pace as you are doing right now. Give yourself some time to get used to the thoughts of having it done and allow those tears and anxieties and all the chaos to arise. There are plenty of success stories here on the forum that might serve you as an inspiration and help you with some of your worries. You could also have another chat with your regular dentist, asking about recommendation, maybe she knows a friendly kind surgeon that might be a good fit. You could also google to see whether you find any practice you find might be good. I am sure that the point of you feeling ready to get a consultation will come naturally sooner or later.

I was glad to read about your positive experience and your fascination about the root canal treatment (and wow, if you manage to be fascinated by dentistry, then you will manage to get this done!). Maybe using valium again or other kind of sedation might be a good idea? Root canal treatment is a long procedure and very different to extractions so I am confident if you managed to cope with rct, you will do great with wisdom teeth. A good question is what do you need to feel more able to get through this?

Complications with recovery are very rare and if anything occurs, it's more about getting in touch with your dentist asap to get it solved. I know I was eating pizza in a restaurant on the same day of my wisdom teeth removal (all 4 at once). Wasn't too much fun, but it was possible (we had no instructions back then). Most people have to get their wisdom teeth out at some point and while the thought might be freaking scary, the reality is usually much smoother.

All the best wishes