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Dentist tomorrow - scared and expecting bad news



Well-known member
Jul 8, 2021
I have a dentist appointment tomorrow morning, and I do not want to go. I hate this sense of dread I feel when I need to deal with dental work. I'm phobic of all of it and have been for years, but now things actually are bad in terms of lost teeth and I am scared of getting more bad news tomorrow. I have lost four molars and two more have been identified as in need of extraction. I've also lost 2 bicuspids on the left and I really need a lower partial now, and especially after the lower right molars come out. My upper left #13 and #14 are in bad shape and have symptoms that make me think I'm going to lose them, too. Then I won't have anything on my upper left, and will need an upper partial, too. I'm just feeling very panicky and while I know I need to go before I lose even more, I just have this horrible dread and weight about it. I'm scared, too, because I've been waiting seven weeks for this appointment with a new dentist. I met her once in December when she helped me through an emergency because I used to see her old partner who retired a year ago. Now, I will have to be ready to start making appointments for whatever work needs doing, and it's all overwhelming me. I'm filled with regret, too, that if I was going to have to face it eventually, I wish I had faced it before so much loss, but I know I wasn't in a place mentally (as far as the phobia and PTSD) to do more than I have done.
That anticipation and not wanting to go there is so hard, I know. I am sorry you have to deal with the real possibility of bad news at the same time as having to deal with phobia, that is a tough combination. Do you feel like it might at least be a relief to know the what is going on and at least have clear information? Sometimes I feel like that. Seven weeks is a long time to have had to wait and anticipate this, that is very rough, to have to wait so long, combined with it being a new dentist. You shouldn't feel regret about how things have gone, you did the best you could at the time, which is all anyone can do. You are very brave to go and see this new dentist now, I am proud of you! It is great that you are going to go and try and get some help making things better.
@NervousUSA Thank you so much for the encouragement! Yes, there will be a little relief to know, especially about some other teeth that I was told needed small fillings when I tried a new dentist in July. I'm hoping those are still not too bad. My old dentist retired at the end of 2021, and I tried a new one in July that just didn't work. She really did not understand the phobia, and when she saw my mouth, she said, "Well, you can live without teeth." It just wasn't a good match. I also know that #13 and #14 were in bad shape in July and that's more than six months of decay growing. Yes, having the information will be good. And I think I really did do the best I could at the time. Thank you for your kind words.
The attitude of the dentist you tried sounds really poor, so I am glad you are trying someone else, I really hope she works out to be a good dentist. Good luck today! Let us know how things go today, if you want to.
I hope the appointment went well.

Please do keep us posted.
Well, I made it! Then I was late for work and just got done for the day a little bit ago. The dentist was very kind and compassionate. She seemed so knowledgeable and confident, too. So, that's good. The two teeth that I was concerned about losing - 13 and 14 - may yet be salvageable. The dentist that I tried last July said that 13 needed a crown, but the dentist today said that she thinks it can be done with a filling! That would be great. 14 has a crown and I'm scared to dig into that, but she made me feel better about that, too. I do have 8-10 teeth that need fillings. I asked if those cavities were mild, moderate, or severe. She said they were small, but she didn't want them to get worse. I agree, but it does mean work in all four quadrants of my mouth. Since I can't stand numbing more than one quadrant, that means five appointments with her - the first one will be the more serious work on 13 and 14 - which will be March 9. Then the smaller fillings at four appointments later. My first job though is to get 30 and 31 extracted at the oral surgeon on February 16. And when things are healed enough, I'll get a lower partial denture somewhere in the process. It all sounds like too much to handle. I'm trying to take it a day at a time. Today's appointment was a success, though, as much as it could be. Now I feel drained.
@Anne2021 I’m so glad to hear the appointment went well. That is such awesome news. Especially to all of us who totally understand that helpless dread feeling!
@Anxiousasallheck_ Thank you so much for the kind words. It's so good to have other people out here who understand.
@Anne2021 Sounds like this appointment went quite well, that's great, I'm really happy to hear that! One day at a time is a good way to look at this. This dentist sounds like they may be better than the one you tried last July.
It's five days until I get my two lower right molars (30 and 31) extracted on 2/16. I'm getting more nervous every day as it approaches. I really don't want to do this. My dentist told me in July 2021 that they need to come out and that I could expect to be in serious pain any day. He retired at the end of 2021 so I have been trying new dentists to see who I can work with, and all three that I have tried confirm that they need to come out. It's hard to force myself to do it while they don't hurt, except for 30 when I have cold things. My dentist gave me the warning over a year and a half ago, and so far things have been fine. I know - they could turn bad any day and then I could have infection and difficulty numbing them. I have already lost both lower left molars and the neighboring premolar (so three in a row missing on the lower left). Once these two are gone, it will be hard to eat and I will be waiting for healing in order to get a lower partial denture. Some days I tell myself that - maybe they will never get infected and I can just keep using them for years to come. I know it's not realistic, but it's hard to let them go. The reality is no matter how many times I get work done, including extractions, I'm scared to go again. And it's two at the same time this time, both of them molars, both with crowns, both very decayed. How am I going to force myself to walk in there next week?
I am so sorry. I wish there was something to say to ease your mind. I will probably be in your same shoes sooner rather than later, so I do understand to a point. But if they are are telling you the same thing, it is probably for the best (health wise).
I wish you all the best for an easy and quick recovery!
I'm sorry you have to go through this. All I can say is with four dentists saying the exact same thing that is probably as good as you can get for being clear it is the best option. It's hard that it's not intuitive though, with them not hurting you in the moment. I would say, just think about those four opinions, and how solid that is to have four the same, and that it could be dangerous to leave them. I don't know if you have ever had teeth become infected, but I have, and its horrible, an illness that goes beyond your teeth (my jaw joint got infected or inflamed too and locked, I was exhausted as my system tried to fight the infection, and had to see a medical doctor). I believe in accepting that is perfectly ok and natural to feel scared about getting work done, it is OK to feel like that. It might help to say to yourself too "I have done this before and can do it again" or "I have done this before even while I was feeling like this and I can do it again". Best of luck, I hope all goes as well as possible for you.
@Anxiousasallheck_ Thank you for the encouragement. You're right. It is probably for the best. I hope you won't be in my shoes! I have lost six teeth already and with these two, I'm up to eight. I'm 52 years old, and I so wish I had done something sooner, but I couldn't face the fear. Once these teeth are out, then I've got two that are in danger to try to save, as well as multiple small fillings. One step at a time, I guess. Thank you again, and I hope things go well for you.
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@NervousUSA Thank you for the encouragement and sharing your experience. I did have one tooth develop an abscess with a small infectious lump on the gumline almost four years ago. I took antibiotics and had it pulled within a few days so it didn't get too bad. That was an upper bicuspid. With this being two lower ones that are so far gone for so long, I can only imagine how bad it could get if they get infected. I also have a chronic rare mitochondrial deficiency, which already leaves me with low energy and fighting an infection would not be in my best interests, for sure. I had a lower left molar that I knew had decay under a crown that still looked like it might be saved last July. I hadn't settled on a new dentist yet when it suddenly got intensely painful in December. I had it out three days later so I'm keenly aware now how easy it is to go from little to no symptoms to full-blown urgency. I only work 25 hours a week from home due to my low energy and in the two weeks following the extraction I lost 18 hours of work because of how exhausted I was just having to heal. I do heal well - it just takes so much of my energy. I know I don't need to add infection to it. Thank you for the affirming self-talk ideas. Last time, because of the pain, I told myself - "I have no choice" - over and over. I recently heard a quote I liked that went something like - "Sometimes the fear doesn't go away and you have to do it afraid." That really helped me because for years I have felt like I needed to get rid of the fear to do things safely and I'm realizing that it's okay to just bring the fear along with me. I'll probably post again before I go since it helps to know that people know I'm going.
@NervousUSA And to clarify, the one in December had the decay hit the nerve so it was painful but it wasn't infected or abscessed yet, so I wasn't fighting infection on top of it for that one.
@Anne2021 Wow, yes, it sounds like with the mitochondrial deficiency it would most definitely not be in your best interests to risk infection, so good for you, taking care of this before that can happen. I love "sometimes the fear doesn't go away and you have to do it afraid", very true! I will remember that one.
I was supposed to have two teeth extracted today. Instead, we got a snowstorm with 11 inches of snow and I can't make the appointment now. The office called because they were expecting a lot of cancellations, which they got, and I did not think I could risk venturing out. It has been a day of waffling back and forth whether to push it or not. The increased stress of the decision-making when I'm already nervous, acid reflux has been on the rise, and uvulitis that seems to go with it was worse the last few days was more than I could take. The news did say that a lot of people were getting stuck and I can't add that to the mental pressure of this. I wish the office had just canceled on me instead of calling me and asking me. I understand why they did it, and I don't blame them. It's just how my mind works having to be the one to make the final decision. Now the re-scheduled appointment is 3/8 and I was supposed to start my fillings on 3/9, after the extractions had three weeks to heal. I am hoping to get in on a cancellation. I think I need short notice at this point. The anticipatory anxiety was awful - and then to have it come to nothing! I was just on here less than a week ago conflicted about removing them before they hurt. Now I'm scared they won't make it three more weeks and I'll end up in an emergency. This is mental torture.
@Anne2021 That is really very unlucky about the timing of the snowstorm, I'm really sorry that ended up causing you this delay. Hopefully a cancellation comes up, and you can get it done. Fingers crossed and hang in there, you can do this!
Well, today's the day. After a three-week delay due to a snowstorm, both of my lower right molars come out this afternoon. I did not get in on a cancellation and so had to cancel the appointment for tomorrow to begin work on the needed fillings. I don't know if dentists recommend work that soon after extractions, but I certainly know I couldn't do it. The good news is that during the wait, these severely decayed teeth did not abscess or become an emergency. (And I was told a year and 8 months ago that they needed to come out). As usual, I don't want to go.