does anyone else struggle with irrational fear of losing teeth?

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lizd

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I finally started treatment for gum disease two weeks ago, after avoiding dentists for the past five years. Things are definitely better now that my mouth is healing, but the fear that led me to avoid the dentist is still there, albeit not as strong just now. Has anyone else dealt with an irrational fear of losing teeth? I say irrational, because every dentist, orthodontist, and periodontist I've seen has told me that my teeth are strong and stable, despite the gum disease. And yet, there's still this thing in my head telling me that brushing/flossing/chewing isn't safe, and that I could lose a tooth at any time. Like I said, now that I'm taking action, these fears are a lot more manageable, but there still there. Is anyone else dealing with similar fear, and if so, how do you cope and stop believing the fear?
 
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KatyJ

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I have dealt with this feAr years ago. I'm generally very anxious and get obsessive when anxious so I know my teeth were a symptom more than a cause. I've had periodontitis too and fear losing my teeth but now I just think while i hope it doesn't happen, if it does, I will cope. But when I was obsessed I couldn't stand anyone touching my face, felt like my teeth were moving all the time, looked at them constantly, brushed them constantly, in short was a mess.
 
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lizd

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Thank you for answering! It's so nice not to feel like the only person out there who worries about this. Which makes me feel terrible, because really, I shouldn't be wishing this mess on anyone.
A lot of what you described sounds like me, only I tend to go in the opposite direction as far as hygiene: I get worried that I'll lose teeth while brushing or flossing. Like I said, seeing a dentist is helping, in that I can tell myself that this is all in my head rather than based in reality. I'm just worried that once my treatments are completed and I'm not seeing my dentist every one or two weeks, that I'll slide back into mynold habits and thoughts.
 
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anonfemale

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Hi liz. I just wanted to ask if you had a receding bottom gum, and were your gums red and swollen, and were any of your teeth loose?. Did you have gingivitis or periodontitis?. I'm worried at the moment because my bottom gum is very low, but none of my teeth are loose, and my gums are red and swollen and they bleed a lot when I brush them. My teeth are yellow too. My bottom teeth look really long. I feel angry with myself because this has happened. I hope my teeth will be ok if I get it treated now, but I am worried.
 
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lizd

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I think I just sent you a LONG response to a thread you posted recently. Short answer: a lot of my trouble was blown way out of proportion in my head. Yes, I have gum disease, but I don't have any looose teeth, don't need any extractions, and was actually told by the dentist that my teeth are strong and stable. Before I started treatment, my gums looked so swollen and so low that I thought my teeth had shifted because they looked so different. As the swelling has gone down, I'm starting to feel okay about looking at my teeth, and they look much more normal now. Hope that answers your question. Sending good thoughts your way; I know what a dark place all this fear can take you to, but it really does get better!
 
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Mugz

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Hi Lizd,
I think what you are feeling is very normal... on this site anyway and probably more through the general population than people realize.

I fear losing teeth all the time but not consciously in the sense that they are just going to fall out, more that I'll have an accident and knock them out OR due to cracks/leaky fillings/failed root canals/infections I'll need extractions here and there....all of which creates the need to see a dentist, repeatedly, which I think is the "root" (pun kind of intended) of my fear...having to go to the dentist.

I sheared half my front tooth right off when I had a bike accident at 10 yrs old and immediately began having nightmares about losing teeth honestly until I was 19 or 20. I called them "toothmares" They would spill out of my mouth like the scene in Aliens where the android Bishop gets cut in half and spits out white stuff... Sorry, that was a hideously terrible analogy!!! Not trying to make you sick or worry more...it was kind of a funny scene to me...but maybe not to all. I have no filter tonight apparently! The movie didn't come out until I was about 18 so the picture in my head came first...the movie reminded me of my "toothmares"! Around the same time we took in two foster children from Guatemala needing surgery for cleft lips and palates and for someone who has always hated teeth and anything to do with the mouth I had HUGE sympathy pains.

I've had toothmares off and on throughout my adult life too. When my daughter was teething, losing teeth, having extractions, getting braces, and then before during and after the three times I'd seen a dentist from 20yrs old till I was 44 and when my dad had the majority of his teeth pulled for dentures (he is 89 1/2)....and now after my return to the dentist in June thru the present, I have them all the time.

I know it isn't exactly the same as what your particular fears are but wanted to let you know you aren't alone and may even be surprised how many people understand!
 
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lizd

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Thanks for the reassurance, Mugz. I've had "toothmares" (great name for them!) for the past 15 years: usually they either crumble in my mouth or just fall out. This makes it all the worse when I think it's happening in real life; it feels like a nightmare coming true. Helps to hear that I'm not the only one who has this problem.
 
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carriss

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All my life I've had recurrent nightmares that my teeth fall out. I'm standing at the sink in the bathroom and they make a specific noise as they hit the porcelain as they fall out my mouth.
It's a common dream, and not actually meant to be about fear of losing teeth. But I'm not so sure.
 
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Mugz

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I think I remember reading that before too, and maybe for "others" it is unrelated, but totally think it can really be just about teeth when you have a phobia. :)
 
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lizd

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Interesting lin-thanks for sharing! It's interesting to see the dreams themselves being interpreted as a sign of stress. I do notice more anxiety at times of high stress; it feels like, when I'm struggling in another area of my life, all that stress somehow gets transferred to my teeth. Wish it wouldn't; I feel less able to handle tooth-related stress than any other kind, so how is this a good coping mechanism? No wonder all of this is so hard to break out of: stress makes the anxiety worse, the anxiety makes me handle stress worse...Good times.
 
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