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Embarrassment over "neglect"

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Guest

Guest
Poll: Is shame, guilt or embarrassment over having "neglected" your teeth a big factor in your fear of dentists?

A common fear among people who suffer with dental phobia is embarrassment, shame and/or guilt over having neglected one's teeth.

The cause of decay is a bacterial infection. If certain bacteria were not present in your mouth, you wouldn't get decay. It's as simple as that.

Over the last years, there has been a major paradigm shift in thinking about the management of caries, a bacterial infection caused by specific bacteria. I came across a post on a dentists-only board, which I thought might be helpful for anyone who's experiencing feelings of shame, embarrassment, or guilt. There were many posts in that thread along similar lines. Here it goes:

"It is hard to believe that in our age of technology and information that dentists still fail to understand that the holes in teeth are merely symptoms of an infection. Without assessing for patients' risk levels, it is impossible to know how to appropriately treat them. We have been practicing CAMBRA in my practice now for 1.5 years. The impact to patients is tremendously beneficial. I find that by educating them as to the bacterial components of caries, it helps take away a great deal of the guilt and shame so commonly associated with caries."
 
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Guest

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Its all three shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Ive been making excuses of why i havent gone to the dentist for about 4 years since my mom stopped making me go. Im 23 now, and im sure my teeth are full of cavities. I cant even remember the last time i brushed.....its just like, i see the brush and the toothpaste, and i see the computer, or the TV, or my bed with my kitty laying in it, and its just to tempting and i just say, "oh i havent brushed in about 3 years, why do it now?" . I have no will power at all, and im embarrassed to tell ANYONE about this, so i decided to tell strangers online about it. So thanks for listening i guess, this is my first post.
 
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Now what? I have been considered an attractive person all of my life, but now that I have hit the big "50" my teeth are completely falling out of my head and I am too embarrassed to go to a dentist!

I admit it has been an unbelievably long time since I have been to one, not because I fear pain or any of the normal "dental phobias" most people have. I was a single Mother of two, barely able to put food in their mouths and a roof over their head, much less be so extravagant to splurge on dental work for myself.

Fortunately, I had healthy teeth, not pretty, but healthy - until now! It seems like within the last 2-3 years, they have suddenly started crumbling, turning dark and in general, falling apart. Just to let you know how bad my teeth are, I have already gone through the worst pain (excluding child birth) that I have ever experienced in my life, with my mouth, so I am beyond that stage.

My children are grown, but I am still single (maybe because now that I can have an interest in something besides raising children, I suddenly look like a snaggled toothed witch). I have just now started to see daylight, financially, after putting my youngest through the fire academy. I also have some dental insurance now, but what the maximum benefit pays annually wouldn't even get me in the front door of a dentist. I still can't afford to take on large dental bill and am ready and willing to accept dentures. I just don't think I can get above the embarrassed stage of how my teeth look and the condition they are in.

I have eliminated all social ties, with friends, co-workers, etc., because of my appearance. I am really getting desperate. Help if you can, please.
 
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Hello "embarrassed,"

I'm in the exact same boat as you - please see my other posts on the board for details. I have many missing/broken teeth and am teriffied of having a dentist look in my mouth. It's taken me months to work up the courage, but I'm now in the process of selecting an empathetic dentist.

Thank goodness for the internet - I used to think I was alone in my fear. I was too embarrassed to talk about it with anyone. Now I realize, as "lets connect" said, that it's not uncommon at all. I've also come to the conclusion that there are lots of understanding dentists - ones who won't "freak" at the sight of bad teeth. Message boards are full of such accounts. I especially like the "dentures, a new smile" board (see links section) for positive, inspiring stories.

Often it's impossible to make any important decision when you're in the midst of depression.

Hope this helped a little.

Hugs,
Sarah
 
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Guest

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I'm in the same boat. I've had several bad experiences with dentists, which has caused me to have an unrealistic fear of them. It's amazing to me..I'm a grown-woman, with a son, work a difficult job..yet am terrified to go tot he dentist!

I am sitting here now..typing with a swollen face after having a horrible tooth ache for months now..and still.I have yet to attempt to find a dentist. No insurance sure isn't helping my anxiety!

Only thing that has helped..is knowing others are out there like me. I really thought I was alone untill finding this board today.

So Thanks ;)
 
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This thread has been transferred from our old forum to here, and I can't adjust the votes that have been cast... so FYI, the voting so far was:

Yes 7 votes (87.5%)
No 1 vote (12.5%)
 
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OhSusannah

Guest
hi, embarrasssed--

welcome to the club. i'm 52 and my teeth have been breaking off and getting worse for a few years. i know exactly how you feel. about 2 years ago, i knew i needed to deal with it, but it took my that long to work up the courage, and about a month of research to find the right dentist.

i'm so glad i did!!!!! what a load off my shoulders. i can't wait to start smiling again. like you, i've always been attractive, and still am, except for the teeth.

i've chosen to go the dentures route, b/c to me it seems most expedient -- get it all done and finished (basically). it's not cheap; the oral surgery is the most costly part. i'm in the US, and i was able to find a dentist that accepts a plan we have here called "CareCredit." they approved my financing with a family member as a cosigner, so i am paying an affordable rate with NO INTEREST! for 18 months. i think they may be available in Canada, too. initially, i was going to take out a loan fropm a family member, but this worked out even better.

the biggest thing for me was to find the right dentist. i made about 20 calls, with a list of questions, and gosh, all that work paid off, i found a terrifc practice. i wanted a doctor that would do all the work, start to finish -- not so easy to find, a lot of them farm the surgery out to oral surgeons/

please, please, know that you're not alone. i hope that this site will help you to find the courage to start on the journey you know in your heart you need to take.

p.s. it helped me to recall my fears of childbirth -- 3 times -- but i got through that okay.:)

suz
 
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flutterby

Junior member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
5
I do feel embarrassed by teeth because I neglected them when I was a kid (I'm 18 now). When I was a child, my mom took me to the dentist only once, when I was 3 years old. Then one day in November 2005 (and two months before my 18th birthday) my mom decided to drag me to a dentist, for the first time in about 15 years. Turned I had 9 cavities (one of which needed a root canal and the other just needed a regular silver filling). Then I have one big cavity on the top right side of my mouth (which I fear might to be pulled :cry:) I'm definately embarassed by all that, and wished I had taken better care of my teeth when I was a kid or that my mom took me to the dentist. I don't smile often because of all my cavities and decay. I'm a little embarrassed around the dentist, because of course, they all have perfect teeth. That's probably a bit stupid, but it's how I feel.
 
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CodeWarrior

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
Messages
29
Hum my mother was and still is petrified of dentists. Around the age of 14 she just stopped taking me to avoid her own appointments. Up till then I'd never had a problem but then my dentist had always commented on how strong my teeth were. So for about 10 years I hadn't had a check up. Of course for 6 of those it was really my responsibility but with me living at home (even to this day) and having been taken off the books at my old dentist I just never thought to arrange a check up. I started attending collage which meant early mornings I just wasn't used to (I was home schooled). Before then I had brushed my teeth morning and night religiously but being more or less dragged out of bed by my father to be given a begrudged lift on his way to work gradually caused me to become lax in my morning routine finding it difficult to insist on taking the time to clean them. Eventually it became more a matter of the odd days did I brush in the morning than the odd days I didn't. With my entry to university came even earlier mornings as I'd have to commute to and from uni in the adjacent town. Even so I still brushed regularly every night. Of course as I now know that wasn't enough. It is a source of great bitterness to me that if I had insisted my mother keep taking me to check ups, that if I'd insisted on my father being late or had let him go with out me I'd probably not have or need any fillings now.

Perhaps I am in conflict over the matter. Part of me tends to blame every thing and every one else for my state. I certainly feel it's more something that's been done to me than I've done even if I point the finger at fate. But then I could have stopped it. But I was a child, even after 18 in many ways I was still a child, how was I supposed to know, to strive, to do things that scare most adults.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,963
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In My Dental Happy Place
It doesn't really matter whose fault it was or why it happened - you can't put the clock back. The important thing is what you choose to do about it now.
I have always attended the dentist regularly except perhaps for a 2 year gap between age 8 and 10 (now 44) - nothing to do with me but I was hardly going to ask to go since most often I'd be gassed (primitive GA) and have teeth extracted.

I ate too many sweets, there was no fluoride toothpaste, no disclosing tablets, I probably didn't always clean them properly- no one had heard of dental loss back then. I needed loads of fillings in my early teens but since then it's been minimal - 50% of my adult teeth have some filling in - 95% of which are from the early 1970s.

The only contemporaries I had in the 1970s who were filling-free were dentist's children but even they needed braces! There was no one else honestly. From what I could make out, they weren't ever allowed to eat sweets.
 
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CodeWarrior

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
Messages
29
Indeed. It doesn't help to point the finger. I'm just sore over it as I was told (as a child) that my teeth were unusually strong and probably would never need extensive work if I looked after them. Perhaps I was cocky because of that. I know mum defiantly used that perceived strength as her justification for not taking me. It's the whole can't put the clock back aspect that annoys me most. It's like falling off a hidden ledge in a computer game. At least in the computer game you can go back with foreknowledge of the hidden pitfalls ahead. Lol when they perfect the technology to create and implant tooth buds in peoples jaws I shall be in the no doubt vast cue for it.
 
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