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Anxiety about upcoming appointment.



Junior member
Jun 20, 2023
Ashford UK
My main concern is that I gag a lot in the chair. Mainly through anxiety but also because of the situation. It isn't a natural thing to have various tools in your mouth scraping and poking around.
I'm also ashamed as I haven't been in so long. I have 2 autoimmune diseases, Ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, the arthritis being diagnosed in the last 2 years, and have been on steroids and am on a long term immune suppressant. I believe these have weakened my teeth.
I think my main worry is that the dentist will find me disgusting. I say that because I get a lot of plaque build up. I don't know how it has got this bad as I always brush morning and night but on the back teeth and the upper, it looks pretty bad and like I just haven't bothered to clean them. I'm also worried about needing to have a tooth pulled. I have always been terrified of that. I have had everything else done really, fillings, root canals and crowns but having a tooth pulled really worries me. I'm also scared the gap will be seen when I smile even though it's near the back.
Starting to feel really panicked about it and it isn't until 2 weeks time.
I'm 37 and feel ashamed of myself.
Any support would be welcomed x
It can be so hard to have an appointment booked that isn’t right away because we have so much time to obsess about it.

Do not feel ashamed and if the dentist at all makes you feel like you are disgusting find a new dentist.

Dental care is morally neutral. You are not a bad person for having trouble with your teeth.

I have a serious build up of calculus on one particular tooth and I have no idea why so much has accumulated right there. It kept me from going in for a long while because I was sure they’d get mad at me for it but they didn’t say a thing, just got on with the cleaning.

The best advice I can give is be very honest with the dentist about what you need. I am very blunt with mine now that I don’t do mirrors, lectures, comments. I don’t even let them call out their findings to the assistant because it’s triggering so they write it down. A good dentist will work with you so that you come back. YOU are their customer. They work for you.
I really am ashamed at the build up of plaque. He isn't a horrible dentist but can be a little critical and I just don't need the shame. People say he would have seen worse build up but I think I am more on the extreme end which is really embarrassing to admit. I am worried about what needs to be done and whether I can handle it. Just really anxious and no, the waiting around has really not helped.
@PinkRiceKrispies I have both my bottom first molars removed and you really cannot tell as the gap closes alot over time

You definitely don’t need shame! If your dentist makes you feel that way please do find a new one. A dentist that makes you feel ashamed in anyway is just going to make it less likely that you’ll go which is the opposite of what we need! You are the boss here.

I really doubt you are the only one with heavy buildup in fact I know it but even if you are who cares? It isn’t their job to judge you. It’s their job to fix it. Once a hygienist has cleaned you up you will know you aren’t the worst!
Just over a week to go and am starting to feel really nervous.
Tartar keeps breaking off and I am so embarrassed that the dentist will think I am unhygienic. I want him to see I have had joint issues, especially with my hands which makes brushing difficult (I have RA) but just not sure he will really understand.
Anxious that he will say he cannot removed the tartar either and will have to pull them out which I know is silly but I can't help it. These next few days are going to be really tough. 😔
It's tomorrow and I am in a complete state.
I think there will be several fillings and maybe even a crown replacement/extraction. I've had it only 4 years or so but it's starting to feel sore under the gum.
I am just really nervous and starting to feel hot and panicky. Goodness knows how bad I will be tomorrow. 😔
@PinkRiceKrispies as @Latwigg said, it's not their job to judge you, but to help you... some people get much more buildup than others, depending on the composition of their saliva... if it's getting you down and frustrated, maybe you could ask your dentist for tips on preventing the buildup, especially taking into account your joint issues?

You said that he can be a little critical - perhaps you could tell him right at the start of the appointment how bad you feel and how worried you are about being criticised.

In any event, you're definitely not the only one with heavy buildup, there's a thread here which might help (though if you can't handle graphic dental imagery, don't look):

Wishing you all the very best for tomorrow 🤗 - please let us know how it went.
you have my support I have cancelled more than 20 times and I am also terrified and suppose to get extraction Thursday. Please let us know how it goes tomorrow.
I understand. You’ll be surprised because I’ve lost two teeth towards the back (large molars) and you can’t see them. I’ll bet that will be true for you also! Next step is an implant for the lower molar. I’m hesitant about doing the upper as it will require a sinus lift surgery and that does scare me. Best of luck to you.
It was okay.
I didnt need anything done but I did feel he didn't really understand how my chronic illnesses can impact on my teeth. For example, he said 'Why?' when I mentioned RA has contributed to my teeth not being at their best.
He kept saying it was really bad and has booked me in for the hygienist on Saturday. So now I am dreading that. Worried I will be judged and it will be painful as I always find tooth cleaning painful and there is quite a lot of build up which I am very ashamed about. So mixed feelings. Glad it is not worse as in needing work done but worried about the cleaning.
Hi @PinkRiceKrispies that is great news that you don't need any work done. And well done for actually making it there, despite being so scared beforehand!!

I hope Saturday goes well for you... could you let the hygienist know you've had painful experiences with tooth cleaning in the past, and see what she can do to make it easier? There's always a possibility of using local or topical anaesthetic. From personal experience, some hygienists and dentists are much more gentle than others, so I'm hoping the one you're seeing on Saturday is a keeper 🤗

Again, it's not their job to judge you, but to help you... hopefully they won't be as ignorant about RA as the dentist you saw, and will be able to come up with some useful suggestions! Fingers crossed xx please let us know how you got on.
Thank you x
Am starting to obsess a bit. Reading up on people's horror stories.
I can only hope this person is more sympathetic than the dentist and also recognises that even if I had wanted to, I couldn't have got it sorted sooner due to covid and backlogs etc.
I hope they have seen worse but I worry that they will be shocked at me. 😔
Thank you for all the support, it really helps x
Not going to lie but I found it pretty horrific today. I was kept waiting for ages so had worked myself up before I even got in. I explained to the hygienist that I always found it uncomfortable having my teeth cleaned but she said it would be fine. However, I did find myself in quite a bit of discomfort. I know there was a lot of tartar build up so maybe it was just that but it was hard. I also gagged near the end which made me feel really embarrassed and stupid. My gums were bleeding quite a lot and teeth still feel sensitive now. I wish I had pushed for numbing now. Honestly, I would rather have fillings done then this again. The smell of the gloves pushed into my mouth, all the instruments, the scraping pain, discomfort, how long it takes. It was unpleasant to say the least.
I don't think she really listened or took me seriously when I said it always hurts.
@PinkRiceKrispies I’m so sorry you had that experience! Have you ever asked for numbing gel or freezing for cleanings? We use numbing gel for mine and it takes the edge off. My hygienist is totally willing to do freezing though if needed.

Sounds like a not great hygienist. Are there other options at the practice or is finding a new practice an option?
I refuse to have another cleaning done by this hygienist again. I know the plaque build up was bad but she should have seen this and and suggested numbing. Instead when I said I was worried about pain she said it wouldn't hurt. Honestly, it was horrific. 😔

I am so sorry you had that happen. That is unacceptable on her part. I just had a cleaning yesterday for major build up and with the numbing gel the most annoying part was just the noises and headphones with loud music helped with that. Unfortunately some hygienists and dentists still have trouble respecting their patients’ needs and boundaries.