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Dental Phobia and Money

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Kay4229

Junior member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
1
Location
Buffalo, NY
Hey Everyone!

I have been to this site multiple times but just joined you all here tonight.

My mouth has been hurting on and off for years. I have had fillings, braces, teeth removed etc. I have been terrified of the dentist as long as I can remember. I have also been dealing with high anxiety as long as I can remember.

My fears are many and varied; from embarrassment at the state of my teeth to the fear that one day I will get an infection that kills me. I’m also afraid of the visits themselves from the smells, the sounds etc.

Making everything worse is the fact that I am a single mom and most of the treatments I’d need, in an office that would cater to my fears, are well out of my price range. I’m not approved for loans/credit so I just feel stuck.

Thank you for listening.
 
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thisisme

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
256
Hi Kay4229,

When you say office that would cater to your fears, do you mean sedation? I always thought I would never be able to go the dentist without being sedated, which is costly, but there are a ton of offices and dentists out there that are kind, respectful, and will truly listen to your fears to a point where you might not need to go to a sedation office.

I too was afraid of the sights and smells. My last visit up until this year was 2003. I remember the tray being in plain sight and the awful smell. And that horrible bowl and huge pictures of teeth on the wall. I found an office that has none of that. In fact, there are virtually no sights at the dentist office now because my eyes are closed for all the scary stuff!

Do you know the treatment you need or are you anticipating? I was so embarrassed of my teeth, and it was a few cavities and wisdom teeth. Sometimes, the thought of what’s wrong can be worse in our heads, but even if it’s not, if you find a kind, caring dentist, I’m certain you can get through anything!
 
Sol

Sol

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
264
Location
USA
Hey Kay4229,
Sorry to hear that you have been struggling with the anxiety and having to worry about the financial side on top of it. Embarrassment is a very common fear and I think most of us here have had to deal with it in some way. No dentist should shame you for your teeth. If for some reason they do, that is a clear signal to leave. The focus isn't how your teeth got that way, rather how to help you get healthy. (Also the infection thing leading to serious complications is pretty rare.)

As far as the sights, sounds, smells, have to agree with thisisme. Most practices are aware of the stimuli and will try to do things to make the experience less overwhelming. The last couple of dentists offices I've been to don't have the odor and, in addition, they use those desktop aroma diffusers.

Not sure what kind of treatment you are looking at but I know it can be difficult to afford care. There is a page here with suggestions for ways to pay for care or where to look for assistance.

How to afford dental treatment in the US
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,770
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Kay4229,

Welcome to DFC! We are glad you are joining us here! I definately empathize with the cost factor of getting dental work. I think it really stops so many from getting done what is needed when we get the courage to go. This is a great link with ideas that Sol gave .

I'm also a single mom and have sought out resources and ways to help with dental costs. My lifesaver the last few years has been my works flex benefit plan though it only covers so much per year and I have tens of thousands in my quote. :(. but.. I found a dentist who is positive and he is working with me little by little .

I've looked up anxious patient clinics and a few have their own discount plans, there are also some discounts on Groupon, of course I'd want to get a feel of the clinic before purchasing one and thats hard but you can actually get some decent price discounts

https://www.freedentalcare.us/st/new_york

You may know of the above link but maybe this might be worth at lease looking into some of them? I know free and reduced care is out there. I also know typically the reduced care is for the generals, fillings, extractions, cleaning, xrays, limited partials and dentures. But my previous dental place had a nice discount program you'd get 20% off any work ,it was just like 50.00 for the year but I saved hundreds on a few crowns so was worth it.

either way, when you are a single mom its hard, alot of us put every need above our own dental needs , and it seems quite overwhelming. I'm thankful to have a dentist has is kind and working with me little by little and on payments.

I hope you find a way. I do believe there are many dentists out there that really care and will help without needing to do sedation but listening and understanding what you need and helping on a deeper level to help the cost plus to help your anxiety on a deeper level. I agree with thisisme. So many offices really try to keep the sights and sounds and smells of old time dentistry and dentistry away so they are very unnoticeable.

Whats a great step is you are no longer stuck!! You took the step to reach out here and write and now you have support from those who understand! You are in good company and we are glad you are here.!
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
159
Location
Us
The smell was a big trigger for me as well. I can’t describe it, but I know what it is. When I finally made it back to a dentist, there was no smell, no pictures of teeth or plastic models of teeth, no big toothbrushes or anything. Honestly you wouldn’t even know it’s a dentist’s office from the reception area. Every chair at my dentist’s faces its own large window so even when they recline the chair, I can look at the sky and the trees. And it gives me something to do when I’m waiting while sitting in the chair.
 
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MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
2,054
Welcome to the forum! Many of us share those same fears and concerns.

Speaking from experience on the infection issue, it is pretty rare to get an infection that is life threatening, or so I have been told by my oral surgeon, dentist, and endodontist. I had a childhood injury that caused my front upper tooth to slowly die without me knowing. I had a dead tooth for over 20 years! It was caught last year when the tooth became painful to bite with. An x ray showed an abscess, which a 3D x ray showed was very large. The endodontist said the abscess had been there for at least two years, but the tooth had been infected for far longer. So I was walking around with an infected tooth and a large abscess (close to my sinus cavity) for who knows how many years? I just got it extracted and cleaned out last week.

I had a series of teeth issues starting last year that have ended with four extractions. The cost has been insane, especially for the front tooth which got a lot of bone grafting and an implant. I am lucky that my husband's company has an HSA option, as we have been putting as much as possible in there to cover my dental costs. It still isn't enough, so I have put off some things, and may not be able to get the crowns for my implants until midway through next year. We had to prioritize what had to be done now, and what could wait.

I hope you can find a way to get the treatment you need. My dentist doesn't offer sedation, so I try to get extractions done at the oral surgeon, where I can get nitrous, which is a cheaper sedation option. For dentist visits that I am highly anxious about, the dentist can prescribe an oral sedative, or I ask my doctor and she will. Maybe that could work for you?
 
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Kns

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
129
Welcome - you are not alone! I can relate. I have had multiple issues in the last few years and the dental anxiety and the financial anxiety is real. I, too, have worried about infection and worse. The cost concern is huge. It has been a major financial burden and stressor. The stress has also affected my parenting at times. But I’m working on keeping faith that eventually this will be behind me. If you can find a dentist you trust and feel comfortable with, perhaps they can help you prioritize what is critical (if anything) and what can wait. Having a real plan in place, even if it will take a long time to accomplish, might alleviate some anxiety. Or knowing from a dentist that waiting awhile might be ok, depending on the issue. My dentist is amazing at comfort during treatment and I had nearly conquered my fears, but I have had so many issues that I started to not trust him. He’s also very expensive. So I sought another opinion and got some minor less expensive work done that was considered a priority. The treatment with the newer, less expensive dentist was so different, not pleasant, and brought back all of my fears. Now I don’t know what to do. I have shed a lot of tears over the actual pain and the financial cost and fear over the past couple of years. However, I truly think if you find someone you can trust and can work with you on what is most important for your health, it might be easier, gentler, and more affordable step by step. Wishing you the best! You’re in good company on this site. We’re here to support you.
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,869
Location
The Hague , Holland
Hi,

Welcome to the forum. In addition to all that has been said, one more important notion: I am a great believer in conservative dentistry, which means trying to preserve the current situation with minimal invasive treatment (such as fillings, crowns, root canal treatments and so on).
Conservative treatment leads to less costs (at least in the short term) and less complications, as simple as that.
I suggest finding a dentist who holds to the philosophy of conservative dentistry.
You can also look on my video about how to find the right dentist, in case you haven’t found the right one yet.
All the best.
 
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