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Fear of dentist



Junior member
Nov 28, 2022
I’m 18 years old and am petrified of the dentist.
I have an appointment in a week and my anxiety over it has increased ten fold. I’ve just moved for uni and had to register with a new dentist and doing that was so stressful because I knew the easiest option would be to never go back, but then I knew that would just lead to what my worst fears are.

I have genetically weak teeth. The dentist told me that I have weak enamel and smaller teeth than normal - down to genetics. I was told that my teeth are prone to decay due to wear and tare and no matter how much I look after them, me having a few fillings in my life would be inevitable.

When I was 7 I had my entire left hand side of my mouth extracted - 8 teeth. 6 were baby teeth because the adult teeth were too weak to push the baby ones out, two were adult because the dentist said my jaw was small and there wasn’t room for my wisdom teeth when I was older. They said it wouldn’t be noticeable because my wisdom teeth would take their place.

For seven years, I could only eat on my right hand side which made it significantly weaker as I couldn’t alternate the sides of my mouth I ate on. This led to me needing root canal on one of my teeth on my right hand side, but the tooth was weak that it broke and needed to be extracted. The dentist said that in a way it was beneficial because there was currently no room for my wisdom tooth, so now it could just go in the place of my molar.
I also needed two fillings in my molars - which the dentist said they weren’t surprised about.

Covid happened and I couldn’t go to a dentist for 2 years - it was the worst. When I went back in early 2021, I needed two fillings. The Dentist said I shouldn’t worry because most of the people they’ve seen have needed something done due to the extensive period of time they went without seeing someone due to lockdown.

I now have 4 fillings in my mouth with three adult teeth gone - although you can’t really tell due to my wisdom teeth. I’m not entirely affected by the three teeth being gone because I know that it would have either been them or three wisdom teeth.

However, it’s the fillings that affect me. I’m petrified to go to the dentist. I convince myself that my teeth are full of decay and that one day I’ll need them all ripped out. I look after my teeth constantly and watch what I eat, but knowing the dentist said my teeth are naturally prone to decay no matter what I do is so scary. I’m someone that doesn’t do well with not having control, and knowing that for 6 months anything could be happening to my teeth until I next see the dentist is horrifying.

I last went to the dentist in March and they told me my teeth were fine - nothing was wrong. But I still convince myself otherwise. I suppose you could say that it’s not the dentist exactly, it’s the anxiety I have over my teeth.

I feel like all anyone can see is my fillings and I’m scared that if I need more, it will make me ugly - i struggle with image stuff in general and my teeth are only making it worse. All I can think is who would want to be with someone filled with fillings.

Two of my teeth grew in the wrong place due to not having other teeth for guidance, so I have a gap there too.

I’m a uni student, and don’t have much money, but willing to pay what I can to have a tooth coloured filling if need be.

The anxiety I have over my teeth is making me miserable. I have a compact mirror that I use to inspect my teeth while using the torch on my phone. That makes it worse because I think every single mark is decay and then get myself upset about it.

Whenever a dentist appointment is approaching, I eat the bare minimum because that my save my teeth.

I just feel miserable about it all.
My family try and comfort me, but they don’t really understand.
They tell me to remind myself that the last time I didn’t need anything done, but that was then, this is now.
They tell me that no one can see my fillings because no one fixates on your mouth. But because I know they’re there, it’s enhanced.

I’ve put my whole worth on my teeth and it’s eating me up. I feel like all anyone can see is my teeth.

Sorry for the long message but I just need advice from people who understand. It’s so debilitating.
I hear you. Anxiety can do very damaging things to our brains. It causes us to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I know, I’ve been there. I hate my teeth as well. Mine are yellowish.

The fear of the dentist has always been a thing in many minds. We all have it and all in all, it is generally overblown. Our teeth are never really as bad as we think they are.

First thing I recommend is going to health grades. It is a website where you can search up dentists or any other medical providers and see what reviews they are given. Find one that is in network for your insurance and then search them on health grades to see everything from bedside manners to patients patience (pun intended), and many other things!

Next, please search my recent post about how to overcome dental anxiety. Just search posts under my name, it’s the latest one I wrote. That should help a little.

As far as what other people think about you and your teeth, stop worrying. That’s easier said than done I’m sure but think about it. We are all trapped inside our own heads, and our beliefs and understandings about the world are limited by that perspective. People don’t care! Even your best friends (in the nicest way) don’t really care. Because they, too, are trapped inside their heads. They are the center of their own worlds, and stuff you say to them or your teeth is just stuff about you, that’s all that is. The novelist David Foster Wallace said quite brilliantly “You’ll worry a lot less about what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do”. But we are terrible at realizing what goes on inside other peoples heads because we are trapped inside our own. And one consequence of that, is that we are particularly bad at realizing how fundamentally similar we all are, such as all of us on this forum. We all have fear, we all have teeth issues, we all worry about what other people think about us. But seriously, try not to worry because I can 100% guarantee that it’s only you that cares about how you look.

Please feel free to reach out to me to chat!
First thing I recommend is going to health grades. It is a website where you can search up dentists or any other medical providers and see what reviews they are given.

I think health grades is for the U.S. (maybe also Canada, I'm not sure?). In the UK, there are various options, but these days, Google reviews will return the most results. There are lots of tips for finding a phobic-friendly dentist on this page:

@Asabbott, if you are in Edinburgh, Fraser Hendrie and John Booth at Craigentinny Dental Practice come highly recommended:

They're very much into the psychological aspects of dental care, so if you tell them about your worries, I'm sure they will be able to come up with a plan together with you which addresses your concerns :) .

One of our members, @A_95, suggested starting a whatsapp or similar group for dental worrying a few days ago, maybe this is something you would be interested in? The thread is here: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/threads/dental-anxiety-support-group.32757/
@Magicianscotty thank you for this. I know deep down that’s the truth, and that it’s only me hyper fixated on it, but it’s still hard to accept and believe.
Hi @Asabbott

I can so relate to many of your thoughts and fears. I have had similar experiences and dental work done as you and am terrified of what will have to be done to my teeth in the future. However, it is out of our control at this point, as it seems that you also take care of your teeth and there is not very much else you can do. I would be REALLY open with your new dentist, tell them about this anxiety. For example, when I was in uni, I was SO ashamed but I talked about the tooth anxiety with a friend, and then went to the dentist with them.

I can also relate to not believing what others say, yet still looking for reassurance from others (and generally think about what others are thinking). As @letsconnect mentioned, I am really interested in starting some sort of support group for us that have this issue where we could figure this anxiety out and support each other, so please follow the thread for the updates! I've also found meditation (I know, it's a cliche) to be useful with the teeth thoughts. After all, you are not your teeth, you are WAY more, and what could be helpful is separating your harmful thoughts from yourSELF. There are people who have similar tooth procedures done than you, but don't even think about them or worry about them. So the problem really is in the mind, you are being too harsh on yourself, and like you said, basing a lot of your value on your teeth. I know exactly what this feels like, and it can be so daunting. However, I know from experience that there are better times as well. I still struggle with this, but it comes in phases and I've learnt to notice the triggers.

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