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Finally Made Dental Appointment

M

MyCrappyTeeth

Junior member
Joined
Mar 23, 2024
Messages
2
Location
USA
Hi! I stumbled across this and think this is exactly what I need and have needed for a while. Not sure why I didn't stumble across it sooner.

For context I haven't been to the dentist in probably 18 years, and not regularly in about 20 since I was a kid (and my parents made me haha). Bad experience as a kid, the family dentist and his practice was just ex military and very direct and gruff. I had a cavity filled on one of my front teeth 18 years ago and the dentist was just not for me. Rather than find a new dentist I just never went.

I always brushed my teeth daily, flossed probably 5x a week - the problem was I was a very heavy soda drinker and hereditarily don't come from a family with a history of very good teeth. I also grind my teeth in my sleep. Within a month of getting a filling on my front tooth, another started to appear right next to it and just never got it looked at. It never hurt, I could eat hot/cold and suck cold air through it so have always just figured it was fine. It eventually spread to the tooth next to it a few years later and same story, never hurt so I never went in. It in the last year or so has spread to my front tooth.

I told myself it was time to take it serious. I underwent weight loss (I was never fat just wasn't comfortable in my skin) last year and adopted the mentality if I never started, I wouldn't be where I am today and wanted to apply that to my oral health. I wanted set an example for my son, and candidly wanted to do it for me. I told myself in 2024 I was going to finally go to the dentist and overcome my phobia.

In January I took a bite out of a multi vitamin gummy and felt my back molar break. I pulled out the gummy and couldn't find any tooth, and was by in large oblivious to check my mouth so figured it was just a small piece or whatever. In the coming week my mouth felt like it had something stuck between my teeth and no matter how much I flossed nothing came out. If I squeezed there was blood that came from the backside of my mouth and it felt just constantly irritated. I got a waterpik and out came a chunk of tooth and along with it immediate relief. I'm of the belief that maybe it somehow got lodged in my gumline or gums. In the mirror I could see it was about a quarter of my back molar. About two weeks later when I was flossing it snared on my tooth and popped another bit off. The molar is about 55? percent in tact and as far as I can tell is all above the gumline. There is no pain, only cold/sweets sensitivity which is easily remedied by a glass of warm water.

All that to say I decided the broken molar was probably the straw the broke the camels back. I got a recommendation of an office to visit. The office is out of network but the difference is only 10% for OON so am willing to pay that for peace of mind they're cool. I psyched myself up and called the office earlier this month and told them I needed a consultation, they were so nice on the phone and heard me probably overshare. They said since I'm not in any pain they'd get me in when they could (late April) but if it got worse to call them.

There have been a few times I've come close to freaking out and canceling but I haven't. I'm not worried about what they might have to do, rather I'm worried about feeling judged. I'm mad at myself because I did this to myself. I've finally shown a couple people close to me my cavitied teeth, they say it isn't as bad as I made it out to be but I think they're just being nice. My ex used to work in a dental clinic as a receptionist and have asked her a couple times what she thinks (she thinks the cavities can be filled, the molar is 50/50). I've been frantically googling how far teeth can go before they're at a point of no return. I'm optimistic we can fill bigger cavities. The molar, who knows - if its crownable that'd be great but if its not and needs to be extracted thats fine too, and extraction is the price I'm paying for waiting so long.

Felt good to get out. I'll try and post updates as I can. Thanks for reading. :)
 
Hi, I can relate, I didn't see a dentist due to bad experiences as a kid/teen too, for 19 years. Good for you for making a plan to get back in! I think it is unlikely you will be judged for not being in for a long time, I wasn't, and I think dentists generally will look to the future and want to fix your teeth, not judge you on the past. I have overheard other patients appointments too, including some where people hadn't been in for a long time, and haven't heard anyone getting judged. I think that is an old fashioned thing that dentists don't do so much anymore.
 
My appointment was today. I made sure on my pre-work I was sent to specify I hadn't been to the dentist in my entire adult life and have a pretty bad dental phobia. Leading up to the appointment, my pain had gotten pretty bad - I'd had success staying ahead of it with Advil but was pretty sure my tooth had become infected and nothing could help. It was affirmation that I needed to see a dentist to alleviate the pain. On the way there, I told myself I had f***ed around and now to too many years, and was now about to find out. I went in assuming the worst, that the molar would likely need to be pulled - I was prepared. My worry was that all my other teeth were crap.

When I got there, they were super nice. They gave me the little kids tour, showing me where they did xrays, where they sterilized their equipment, etc. I explain when I sat down was looking to get the molar taken care of, but also had pretty bad teeth with lots of visible cavities and was looking to game plan for everything. We did xrays and pictures, then the dentist came in I and apologized and said "I'm so sorry, I haven't taken care of my teeth. I'm trying to do better but in doing so I'm making this your problem now too." ;D They were so nice and understanding at at no point made me feel any type of shame. When they did they exam when they started to look at the cavities I've spent my whole life hiding I instinctively started to tense up, but had to remind myself they were here to help me.

They went through tooth by tooth and that was kind of nerve-racking, using dental jargon to say what needed to be done. Quite a few of them need work, but most of them are just superficial cavities, and a root canal. The molar, much to my surprise, can be saved! Still lots of good tooth left, and have an appointment in a couple weeks to get that done. We've got another few sessions we're going to schedule and take care of the cavities in batches. I'm on an antibiotic in the meantime which has provided near immediate relief to my mouth.

When I left, I felt a mix of genuine happiness and also felt really stupid. I felt genuinely proud I'd done it and happiness that there was a plan in place to fix my teeth. I don't care about pain or procedures, I know a few months from now this will all be a distant memory. I should have done this sooner, it was much ado about nothing.
 
If you’ve read my post that is just below yours you’ll see I was in the same boat. I was a wreck. I considered harming myself too it was that bad and I was that worried. A molar and premolar that looked split like chopping wood. Little cavities everywhere. Front tooth chipped slightly and just above the chip its like 1mm discoloured. Never smiled, always tried to hide my mouth when I spoke.

Never went to dentist as an adult since 2009. Prior to that as a kid my mother only took me when it was an emergency, and that was just twice.

I sat and explained everything bothering me prior to the checkup and that was good. The relief I felt once they’d investigated my teeth was huge. Having someone check every inch of something you’ve spent years hiding was so scary, but once they’d done it they just acted like it was nothing special and that was so nice. They just continued to speak with me like normal, I wasn’t some horrible person. It felt like “okay, the game is up now and they know everything, I can’t hide it from them so I may as well let them help me”

I feel the same about the procedures. That isn’t what bothered me, what bothered me was the unknown (I spent a long time watching videos of dentures thinking I’d have to get them) and also the embarrassment. But I’ve just got one extraction they said they could try save but it might not work and would cost a lot, so I said just take it out, and a lot of fillings to do.

Also like you I had bad molars I figured they can’t fix, but they’re just giving me large white fillings. Feel the same too about not doing this sooner, the relief I felt after the appointment was huge. For people in the same boat I can only say just go, don’t put it off.
 

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