Anxiety sufferer looking for a bit of support



Junior member
Jun 30, 2015
[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]Hi guys :) my name is Stacy and I just turned 27 on Saturday. Spent the weekend in Boston which was ruined by cold, windy rain and...tooth pain! My fear of the dentist began when I was about 8 or 9. I hear much of our dental phobias can stem from just one poor experience. My parents and sisters had been going to the same dentist for years. I had a routine filling but for some reason I was very scared (although I had fillings done before). I begged my mom to come into the room, but they just would not let her. She was always allowed in the dental hygienist's office where I got my cleanings and x-Rays, but the dentist's office. I barely remember practically screaming and crying hysterically as the dentist pulled me away from my mother. To this day my mom says it was one of the hardest moments for her, hearing me crying for her in the other room. I never know why it was so taboo for her to just sit in the room and hold my hand during the procedure. I remember I was so scared I "accidentally" bit the dentist's finger and he yelled "GOD DAMMIT" which scared me even more. Today the story seems pretty hilarious but I think that's where my phobia developed.

Fast forward- after graduating from my university, I was taken off my parents' dental insurance (I had to be at least part-time to stay on). By the time I decided to go back to school for my masters degree, I was 25- no more mommy and daddy insurance for me! After going to the dentist twice a year my whole life, I went nearly 3 years with no visits. In 2012 I did make the enormous mistake of going to Aspen Dental- the McDonalds of dentists. They were soooo impersonal, unfriendly, unaccommodating. I only went there because they offered a free exam including x-Rays. Big mistake. They told me I would need
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]Half a dozen fillings
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)] root canal
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]$400 custom mouth guard for bruxism
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]Eventually a veneer for one of my front teeth because I had braces which apparently shortened the roots of the tooth
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]Two crowns for two baby molars I still have because there are no adult teeth underneath
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]And my favorite- a tube of $60 fluoride toothpaste
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]I left there laughing at their $10,000+ bill. No. Way.
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Fast forward three years, I finally took advantage of my state health insurance. I work full time but make just enough to qualify. I went to a new dentist last week and they actually confirmed I would need all 4 wisdom teeth removed and a few fillings including a "possible" root canal. They were very unfriendly and I decided if I'm going to get all this work done, I want to be somewhere that caters to people like me. [/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]After researching for literally DAYS- most of which was on my birthday vacation in Boston (my poor boyfriend!) I finally found "the one." They accept my state insurance, they have amazing reviews online, they cater to anxious patients (hot towels, music, IV sedation, the whole nine yards).
[/COLOR][COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]
So why am I still afraid? I'm not so scared of pain as I am of something going wrong. I'm afraid of infections, I'm afraid of falling asleep under sedation and not waking up, I'm afraid of them getting a nerve and losing feeling in my jaw, I'm just so terrified. I have yet to go to this miracle dentist (waiting for appointment confirmation) but I can't help to constantly worry. It has ruined my birthday, my mini vacation, and now my week off of work. My tooth is hardly hurting anymore! I've spent so much money the last few days- crest sensitive strips (they actually did seem to help my toothaches), orajel extreme pain cream, extra soft tooth brush, sensitive toothpaste, antiseptic mouthwash, you name it- I bought it.
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How do you guys cope with your fear? I feel like this is consuming my life!!![/COLOR]
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Well-known member
Jul 22, 2012
Hi Stacy,

Welcome to the forum. Do you live in New England? I live in New Hampshire.
Everyone here is at a different point in their own personal struggle with dental phobia. Some people are just trying to get it together to call for a consult, and some people have been through rounds of treatment already. And some people, like me, kind of waver between the phobia and recovery.

People have different ways of coping with the phobia too. For example, some people find it helpful to bring loved ones (parents, spouse, bf or gf) with them to appointments for moral support whereas others feel self-conscious and prefer to go alone. I know some people like the dentist/hygienists to make small talk and jokes to distract them from their anxiety, but I hate that because it makes me feel like I'm not being taken seriously.

The most important thing is for you to try and figure out what helps YOU. Some common methods are bringing people for moral support (as already mentioned) or deep breathing or oral sedation meds- it doesn't have to be something you depend on forever, just enough to help you accomplish to first part of your journey.

And it also helps to find a dentist who understand how difficult it is for you, and will work with you. As long as you're not risking your health and you're not in pain, then you can take the time to find a dentist that fits your personal needs.

And of course, the people on this forum are always here to lend an ear or give you support or answer questions.:)