• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Fearful 30 year old



Mar 24, 2018
Hello all. Just here looking for a little support.

So... I am a 30 year old female with severe dental issues. I’m not going to bore you with a long story so I will try and make this as short as possible. Pretty much I had dental problems all my life. When I was a kid I was traumatized when I had a tooth pulled and my gum was pulled along with it it. Ever since I never went back. I never had braces or anything else done.

I am 30 now with six cracked tooth’s (mostly my back tooth’s) and I have one tooth rotten to the gums where there is barely a tooth left. And two missing tooth due to cavities and tooth decay. I’m sure I have cavities in almost all my teeth. I recently have a slight chip on one of my tooth where it is visible when I smile or even speak. It is destroying me. I don’t smile or talk much due to the self conscious of my smile. My front teeth are not that bad but they are not straight and I always fear people are judging my not so perfect smile.

Any way, a year ago I had a severe infection on one of my right bottom molar (the one with missing tooth and cracked tooth) I was in severe pain and forced myself to go to a dentist to get it taken care of. I was literally crying but I got it taken care of after 4 visits. I didn’t have insurance so I literally went broke for this one infection. I chose the laser option as it was less painful. I am not afraid of needles. It’s just something about the dentist. After they took care of this one gum infection they called back and said I had the infection in other parts of my gums and should go back to get it taken care of. At this point I have no more money so I opted not to go. I finally got insurance and told myself I will get my smile restored and ready for my wedding this year. I never went back.

I have a fear now of the dentist judging me on how badly I mistreated my teeth. I literally spent hours crying because of the tooth I recently chipped. I have a lot of recommended dentists around my neighborhood. I’m not fearful of the pain because that infection I had prior was more painful than any dental procedure I’ve been thru. I was thankful to get that laser surgery because the throbbing pain of the infection was unbearable. I’m also fearing on what needs to be done, such as extractions and the need for dentures or implants. I do not want to go broke over dental procedures again.

I just wanna smile again and be able to eat my food normally. I don’t wanna cry about my dental issues. I don’t wanna be depressed over this.

I don’t know what I can do to get myself to the dentist again.....

Thanks for listening.
You’re only 30. Don’t go your whole life without teeth. You’re going to be forced to fix them sooner or later so why not get a pretty smile while you’re still young. If I could go back, I’d have done things differently. Now I’m 60 and with less income that I had at 30, stuck doing what I should have done a long time ago.

Yes, it’s crazy expensive but it’s your life. You’ll forever be discriminated against if your teeth look ignored and decayed. Take a loan. Pay it slowly. And know you’re not going to be the first and only person that Dentist has seen in your position. Maybe see if you can go just for a consultation to see if you get good vibes from the Dentist before you start. I know I shopped around before finding one that put me at ease. Good luck.
Pretty much the same position and age that I’m starting from. All I can say is it’s never too late. If you don’t get them taken care of at 30, you’ll be even more miserable and regretful by 40 and any procedures you’ll need then will only be more involved and costly. I’m sure you already know all this, but it helped me to hear it from others with their own stories.

I think you’ll feel a lot better if you make that call and get the ball rolling. You don’t have to go back to the same dentist who did your earlier work. Do some research and find someone who can trust if you’d rather not go back to the same one. That being said, it might be easier on you to go back to a more familiar place, and I’m sure any fear of judgement is being overblown. Easy for me to say, right?

Good luck on your journey.:)
Hi helpmex and welcome to the forum. Sharing your story with us is a great start and will help you move forward.

I'm terribly sorry to hear about your childhood experience with dentist and your fear and reluctance to see a dentist again is very understandable. At the same time a huge well done for your courage to get the infection treated, I can only imagine how hard it was and how much mental strength you needed to be able to get through that.

You mentioned a fear of judgment about how badly you treated your teeth and also that you are not afraid of pain or needles, but it being something about the dentist. Could clarify this last point?
Knowing what exactly it is you are scared of will be a huge help for you and any dentist who would like to help you.

I understand that you worry about the costs and the amount of needed treatment. The good thing is, that the journey back to dental health starts with just a good chat and an examination and no matter what the result will be, you always have options. What's most important is to find a dentist you feel comfortable with and trust and who is willing to go at your pace and respect your needs at any time. You want to make sure that you don't feel like a set of teeth but like a person and taken good care of. If you find a dentist who gives you this feeling and treats you kindly and in a non-judgmental manner, it will be much easier to deal with all other fears. With the right dentist you can take look at how to manage the costs in a best way - you can, for example spread the treatment a little bit and start with the most important things and then slowly move forward based on your budget. A nervous patient-friendly dentist who knows you are afraid of judgment and the amount of needed treatment will also know how to give you the news in a way you can cope with.

The important thing is that beating dental fear is not about getting the needed treatment and staying away from the dentist's office for several years again but to find a dentist you build a good partnership with and can see regularly even after your treatment is done.

You might have taken a look around on this page already, but here are some links that you might find helpful. The first one talks about the fear of needed treatment:

The second one is about the fear of costs (you mentioned you have insurance now but also mention fear of cost several times so I thought better to give you this link too):

Beating dental fear is a journey and a process. You have made the first step by posting here on the forum and by thinking about how to approach things and that means that you are already on your way. Do not put yourself under pressure but keep going step by step. Why not emailing some practices and telling them about your fears and see how they respond? You don't need to make an appointment yet, just playing with the thought which dentist in your area might feel trustworthy and kind so that you might be able to imagine visiting his/her practice once...

All the best for you, keep us posted and again well done for having made the first step towards solving your dental issues.
Hello there and welcome to the forum. I'm also 30 years old, it seems to be a common age around here I noticed. I just went for my first visit this week after putting it off for over 10 years, and before that I had only gone to the dentist once. Based on my recent experience, i can say that making that first appointment is a very difficult step. I couldn't tell you the number of times I cried at just the thought of picking up the phone. The teeth on one side of my mouth look terrible, discoloration on them, bleeding gums, etc and I was certain that there was no saving them. Well after my exam, it turns out that I mostly need a deep cleaning and I have some cavities, a lot less than I expected. Tartar seems to take many shapes and colors and things that look like cavities aren't necessarily cavities. Anyway, the only way to know what you need for sure is to see the dentist for an evaluation. For me, I researched dentists in my area that deal with anxious patients and had positive reviews online. Then I asked my husband to schedule an appointment for himself there so he could tell me how they were. When I went, the dentist and hygienist were understanding and didn't seem to be phased in the least by my mouth full of icky teeth. Now that I have gone to my first appointment, even though it was just X-rays and an exam, I am feeling a great sense of relief, even though I have to go back for several visits to have actual work done. This forum has definitely been helpful to myself and many others, and I hope it will be helpful for you too. Good luck on your journey!
Thank you all for the support. I have been researching dentists around my areas and browsing around this forum to try to ease my fears. To clarify, I am not afraid of the needles or the pain because I have high pain tolerance. I thought that was what I was scared of but it wasn't the case since I went through that laser surgery with ease. I think I'm more scared of the judgement and the procedures itself. Just reading up on dental implants scares me. I've read that a lot of dentists don't judge how bad your mouth is, but I can't shake that thought out of my head. I'm afraid to open my mouth to someone, and they're like "ew" because like I said, my teeth are really bad. However, while I was on that chair, mouth all opened and vulnerable, I knew that dentist was judging me, but she just wanted to help me get rid of the pain I was in. It's very confusing, I guess I'm just worried about the amount of work that needs to be done. I know I can take it one step at a time. My main concern and focus right now is to fixed this chipped and almost rotted tooth that is visible because I want to smile again. But what if they tell me other things needs to be fixed first before I can fix this one now?
Perhaps if you tell them the main source of pain / discomfort you’re feeling is coming from the teeth you want fixed first, it will move them to the top of the list. I have however heard of dentists doing the exact opposite and fixing stuff that can’t be seen first (in an effort to ensure you continue to keep appointments and get everything done). That doesn’t seem like something a dentist of good character would do though.

They should at least try to cater to your wishes if there’s no medical reason not to. In spending hours reading through these posts, it seems as though most dentists today will do as you wish. Good luck
Still searching for the right dentists. If I look for someone who is a "general dentist" does that mean they only do the basics of check ups, cleaning, and wisdom teeth? Or do I need to search for an oral surgeon? Sorry, this shows how long I haven't been to the dentists.............. I don't want to end up scheduling a visit for a general dentists only to be referred to another dentists to do the major work (knowing I will need major work done)

Thanks for the help.
Look for a general dentist. He/she can do the full range of dental treatment - extractions, root canal treatments, fillings, crowns, bridges and all of the complex stuff that we as patients might not even realize exists. My general dentist also does implants. If some of the needed treatment gets beyond a certain level of complexity - and that doesn't mean the amount of needed work, but some particular part of it that needs special equipment or special skills that your particular dentist might not have (and this will be individual for every dentist and practice), he/she would refer you to someone who can do it better. This would be just for that particular treatment so that your general dentist will always be the main person who treats you and who you see regularly, even after your treatment is done.

All the best wishes and keep keeping us posted:)
First off the dentist IS NOT going to judge you. Remember, they've seen this all before, this is how they make their living lol. You won't be the worst case he/she has seen and they'll see many more worse cases in the future. Here's the kicker, the longer you wait, the longer you continue to put this off the more trauma and money it will cost you in the long run. you're only 30 years old, you DO NOT want to live out the rest of your hopefully long life with no teeth, rotten broken teeth, or full dentures.

From what I gather the dentist you saw last time indicated you had periodontal disease(infection of the gums), and that he wanted you to go back and get that treated. You need to get that treated ASAP. If you don't the infection will attack the bones/legiments of your teeth that support your teeth and hold them in the bone. Without treatments your teeth will literally just start falling out of your head.

There's nothing to be afraid of just go. The most terrifying part is making and then waiting for the appointment. Once you go get an evaluation you'll feel so much better because even if the news sucks you'll be on the path to improving your teeth. If finances are the problem talk to the dentist about making a priority list from the most important to the least and knock them out step by step. GOOD LUCK:jump:
I’ve always kept up with dental work but never had any major work done until yesterday. The way I see it is, we are both young, I’m your age, and there’s no reason to put of ffiximg your problem because it’ll just be harder down the road. And it really isn’t painful I learned.
I think I have found a general dentist a few blocks from my home.. Excellent reviews and I did plenty of research on google. Nothing but nice things to say about her. Now I just need to put up the courage to make that phone call and schedule an appointment for consultation. Just the thought of it is making my heart beating real fast :cry:
You are moving forward, that's great to hear. Glad to hear that you have found a dentist you would like to see. I understand your anxiety about that call and I would say that calling an office can be as stressfull as the visit itself. Could you email them instead, if calling is too hard?
"I think I'm more scared of the judgement and the procedures itself. Just reading up on dental implants scares me. I've read that a lot of dentists don't judge how bad your mouth is, but I can't shake that thought out of my head. I'm afraid to open my mouth to someone, and they're like "ew" because like I said, my teeth are really bad. "

I really really get this and its so hard .... because its so real these feelings.. When I went to my new dentist I decided I would be vulnerable with him and told him of my shame and feelings of being disgusting and him not wanting to treat me because my mouth is so bad".. he told me "you are not as bad as you think, and that you are your own worst judge and he is not going to judge me".. it was very relieving to not only hear those words but to feel he really meant them.

I went through one appt where I felt just awful when he uncovered my two crowns and they looked like sticks of black decay and I was so embarraseed I just froze.. I kept saying it was awful".. its so surreal.. but he was just very kind and compassionate and didn't make me feel at all bad. There are dentists like this that will walk through this with you in a very compassionate and competant way and help you!! Don't settle for anything less.! It is healing to have someone help you in this way!

I hope the best for you!!
Well.. 3 months later and still no success. I really hate myself at the moment. Every time I look at myself I am disgusted with myself. Why did I let myself get to this point? Every time I look at my teeth I just want to break down. Every time I feel the holes and cracks with my tongue, I just want to bury myself and hide from the world. Talking to people I know they are staring at my teeth, and it makes me so embarrassed. I found a few dentists that I thought would be compatible with me. I even looked at a dentist that is not covered by my insurance. I just can't bring myself to make that phone call or even e-mail them. One of my front cracked tooth looks like it's gonna crumble really soon. My wedding is next month, and I know I can't even be smiling in my pictures, or even smile much during my wedding. And that totally breaks my heart. I really don't know what to do anymore.. I just really hate myself...

my heart is with you..

You can hate yourself as much as you like and this is a part of processing it all and something we all went through, it just won't help. Instead of that, you might try just for now to accept your situation and, maybe even give yourself some credit for moving forward. I just reread your story and this is what I can see:

You didn't choose your fear, you have it because of something that happened to you in the past and nothing of that was your fault.

You managed to see a dentist 4 years ago despite anxiety, tears and the financial burden. That's huge and what you did once you can manage again (hopefully with just a little bit less stress now as you do not have pain currently)

You managed to post here which means further processing and moving forward and

You started to google dentists

Here are my suggestions in the hope of giving you some ideas of how to move forward. Your next step would be to get in touch with the practices you have found to check if they might be worthy of you putting your trust into them. This is what you can do:

If calling is too hard, try to email them. That is hard too, but if you only manage to force yourself into pressing the send button, you had done the first step. I remember needing about one week to email a practice and I would have about thirty drafts of that email. I would need days to send it and would almost get a panick attack after sending it. Oh and also hitting the send button with closed eyes, all muscles tensed and after that just jumping out and starting to run around in my appartment. Then being afraid to look at the screen of my computer. Oh and not to forget the part afterwards when I was regretting that I even tried.. just until a kind compassionate reply came back and that's where it would start again. Now, almost a year and 14 dental visits later I am only slightly hesitant to email my dentist. I still close my eyes and tense before sending but that's it.
The anxiety WILL get better over time if you do the first steps, I promise.

If emailing is too much, let your spouse or someone trusted call them, just to ask some questons about how they help nervous patients.

Last thing I did very often on my journey was to listen to the answering machine. You can call the practice at night or anywhere outside their opening hours just to listen to the voice on their answering machine. It will raise your blood pressure enough to train you dealing with the anxiety but you will be at home and safe and can hang on anytime. This will be stressful too, but a good exercise.

Managing anxiety is a long process and it has it's ups and downs, just look at anyone here who are further on their journey. The anxiety is a part of dental visits if you are phobic, not a reason to give up. So if you can, try to find the next small step that you feel up to do and then go.

All the best wishes and keep us posted, you will always find support here. :grouphug:
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Well.. 3 months later and still no success. I really hate myself at the moment. Every time I look at myself I am disgusted with myself. Why did I let myself get to this point?

Hi helpmex, are you any further on in your journey? I read your thread and felt like I was reading about myself. I understand everything your feeling and going through, the shame, the disgust. I’m 33 so almost the same age, you feel pathetic for being an adult, yet still not able to get over this fear. Trust me I know how you feel.
I haven’t got any advice for you, as I’m just starting my journey, feeling the EXACT way you do, but I just wanted to let you know, your not alone in feeling this way.
I hope you get to read this and perhaps let us know how your getting on. Much love.
Hi all,

I disappeared for awhile. Trying to avoid everything. I had no success in making any appointments. But literally just a few minutes ago, my chipped tooth have completely chipped off. Now I definitely cannot smile. I don't know what to do. I really want to go to a dentist and get at least this one tooth fixed. I'm extremely terrified...
Hi helpmex, Are you doing alright physically? (I realise this must be traumatic mentally for you, between the fear and urgency) are you in pain from the tooth? If so is there somewhere you can get emergency treatment from for just this one tooth using your insurance? They likely wouldn't do anything other than the emergency treatment so that might allay your fears of extensive work and the costs. If you need to talk your way through this on here I'll be about for a while longer tonight. Good luck
Hi helpmex, Are you doing alright physically? (I realise this must be traumatic mentally for you, between the fear and urgency) are you in pain from the tooth? If so is there somewhere you can get emergency treatment from for just this one tooth using your insurance? They likely wouldn't do anything other than the emergency treatment so that might allay your fears of extensive work and the costs. If you need to talk your way through this on here I'll be about for a while longer tonight. Good luck

Hi RJayne,

I'm in no pain at the moment. I already found a dentist that's near me that will take my insurance. And gonna take all my willpower to give them a call tomorrow morning when they open.

I'm just a mess mentally right now. I've just been crying to myself nonstop.. Had I got this tooth fixed when it first chipped, I wouldn't be in this position right now. I'm just practicing on how to talk so that it won't be visible to colleagues and customers. I really hope the dentist will be able to at least fix this tooth for now (whether it be crowns or implants) and then I will worry about everything else later. I think I've reached a point where I have no choice but to do it. I'm just hoping I won't back off on this one.