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Dental Phobia & Fear of Death



Junior member
Oct 24, 2020
London, UK

I hope you are all well.

I need help & need it fast. I'm currently sitting here with swollen gums and shaking as I type.

I have dental phobia and generally think I'm going to die if I'm operated on. But I desperately need to be operated on. :(

I'm going to try to tell you how my phobia came about, in a nutshell. Apologies if it ends up being a lengthy post - there are a lot of parts, but they all link up!

I was diagnosed with depression in my early teens (in the 90s). I was also constantly ill, sometimes with symptoms that resulted in having to call the paramedics. The Doctors couldn't explain it properly - I guess this is how I started being treated like I was a hypochondriac. So, when I thought I was pregnant (even though I was on the pill) my Dr insisted it was me being paranoid. I was stupidly trusting of her. Eventually I got a test and decided to go through with the pregnancy - a mother at 18 years old!

Before my daughter was born, the only thing I was proud of was my teeth. The only thing that didn't give me anxiety was going to the dentist! I had a perfect set of teeth - it was the only time I received compliments. When I was heavily pregnant (a time when your teeth are weakened, as I was told) my wisdom teeth decided to come through early. My dentist was delighted with their condition. When I asked when I was going to have them removed my dentist advised "You're not. As a dentist, it's absolute sacrilege to remove perfectly healthy teeth!".

This is where things rapidly go downhill (over the space of a few years). My teeth started moving, eventually crushing each other so that some fell out. I stopped going to that dentist but the next was no better. When I complained about a pain in one of my molars, the dentist said he couldn't see anything wrong - it must be a 'phantom pain' (?!?!?!) A few weeks later, a shard of tooth fell off. That was it - I couldn't trust dentists again!

During those 3 years, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for depression and post-natal depression. This was a horrific experience and obviously has compounded my lack of trust in all medics.

This leads me on to my mental condition. I was diagnosed with, what is now called, C-PTSD, around 5 years ago. I finally plucked up to the courage to go to therapy (private). I have severe childhood trauma - now that I am dealing with it, I realise how ill I am (I can no longer hide from it, like I used to). I am struggling with this process and really cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I have now learned that all the anxiety I've had as a child/ teenager and adult, is all linked to this. I develop fears & phobias very easily and genuinely think I am going to die. The other anxiety I have is fear of being humiliated, as I often was, when I was younger. I feel so ashamed that I let my teeth get to this stage that I avoid anyone looking at my mouth. So, when I have things like tonsilitis, I have to battle with the Doctors to give me medication.

I haven't even let my daughter look. She's the only person who knows how this has affected me - dental bad dreams on a weekly basis; not being able to eat properly for over 10 years etc.; constant crying & anxiety attacks. I hardly have any photos with her, as I couldn't bare to be in them. If I tried to smile I would grimace, as I was trying to hide my teeth. My daughter happens to have almost exactly the same set of teeth as I did, so I'm anxious about the same thing happening to her. Luckily, she has found a great surgery in Glasgow.

This was the year I was going to pluck up the courage to see a dentist. Sadly, I don't trust the NHS and could obviously never afford private (I still can't, really - it's an insane amount of money!). I've managed to contact some surgeries, but then I read one/ two bad reviews and I'm back to square one. One Harley street surgery asked me to send a photo of my teeth - I just can't bring myself to do it.

My daughter was going to be my support network (my panic attacks are so severe that I get vertigo or end up in hospital with what feels like a heart attack). Sadly, we have fallen out. So, I need to try and do this on my own. But I genuinely feel like I am going to die and am struggling with the idea of leaving my daughter motherless.

I know this all sounds crazy. This is how my brain has always worked and it's so exhausting.

I am so grateful having found this website. I cried when reading the definitions of dental phobia etc - I related to so many of the points.

I need your help please, in any which way you can! It will all be so appreciated.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this - again, apologies for the length!


Super Moderator
Staff member
Sep 18, 2017
Hi PhobicMare:welcome:,

I don't even know where to start.. maybe the best first thing would be to say thank you for sharing your story with us. It is an anonymous forum here and you can write freely, but for most people it's not easy and can stir up a bunch of heavy feelings.

Please give yourself a pat on the back for starting therapy and follow through with it for so many years. It certainly wasn't and isn't easy. I am imagining it like shining a bright light on all the ugly things that you actually do not want to see and being forced to look at them while all you want to do is to look away. And I know it is a hard and uncomfortable thing to do and at times it can be hard to remember why you even started (that's my own experience at least). On the other side, I am very sure that if you take a look at the last five years, you will see where you made progress and surely will be able to find things you wouldn't be able to acomplish if you haven't started.

You mentioned wanting and needing help and wanting it quickly. You also mentioned "desperately needing to be operating on".. so I was wondering where are you at when it comes to your dental fear? It sounds like you need treatment.. are you in pain currently? Also, is your therapist supportive when it comes to your dental fears?

It sounds like you are trying to find a dentist, which is a pretty reasonable first step. Dealing with dental fear is all about finding the right dentist and then taking things from there. If they ask you to send a picture and you don't feel able to do it, then moving on and finding another practice may be the best next thing to do. We also have a recommendation section here on the forum.

You mentioned being afraid of dying. Would you like to explain this a bit more? What exactly do you think could cause death during a treatment?

All the best wishes

P.S.: No post here is too long, so feel free to write as much as you like. Writing it all out can be a huge help in dealing with the anxiety too. Many people here consider writing a journal, just to have a place where to put all the thoughts and feelings


Sep 4, 2020
Well done for sharing your story. Its not easy, I personally find it harder seeing it all written in front of me. So give yourself a pat on the back because it takes huge courage.

I'm sorry you have had a falling out with your daughter, this probably makes you feel more alone with your dental anxiety as as you say, she was your support. Is there any chance of making up with her?

As Enatere says the key is finding a dentist you are comfortable and feel safe with. Have you any friends who can recommend a good dentist? Or perhaps emailing some surgeries might help.

You'll find lots of support here as lots of us are in the same boat in one way or another.