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Finally went after about a decade, and thank you

  • Thread starter undereye_circles
  • Start date


Junior member
Apr 19, 2024
First of all, thank you to everyone posting in these forums. I've been lurking for several weeks and reading others' stories has helped me to overcome my fear and finally make - and go to! - a dental appointment.

Like many people, I've had negative, painful experiences in the past which led to avoiding the dentist. The last one I went to was one of the infamous major chains because I didn't know any better at the time. Mix in some mental illness and life happening, and suddenly it's been a decade since anyone has looked at my teeth - and mental illness meant I stopped flossing years ago and was sometimes only brushing once a day.

A couple of months ago I was trying out a new SSRI that caused some painful grinding and horribly increased anxiety, so I became convinced that my teeth must be in horrible shape with cracks and hidden decay even though inspecting them with a flashlight and mirror just revealed a bunch of craze lines and stained spots that "could" be cavities.

I had to make the appointment for an exam and cleaning a month in advance, and the days leading up to that appointment felt like I was going to my execution. I started googling images of everything that could possibly be wrong with my mouth. Luckily some of the internet rabbit holes I explored led me here, where I was able to read about the experiences of other anxious people, and that helped so much.

I finally went in 2 weeks ago, and while I had a disgusting amount of calculus that led to a "full-mouth debridement", the experience was not NEARLY as terrifying as that phrase sounds - it just felt like a very involved cleaning and most of the pain was felt in my bank account. The hygienist was patient and kind, looked at every tiny spot I was worried about, and answered all of my Anxiety Brain questions, which was a very different experience from the "tough love" I'd experienced at other practices and even from my orthodontist as a child.

I have 3 cavities - 2 are recurrent decay on the borders of 12-year-old composite fillings so not entirely unexpected; and one new small cavity. And then some minor gum recession and one tooth with a small abfraction, which honestly my diet soda habit, brushing too hard when I was younger, and a lip-chewing habit likely contributed to in addition to the bruxism. The abfraction freaked me out a bit because it's on a front tooth, and prior to the cleaning some calculus and coffee stains had settled in making it look deeper than it was, but the dentist took a photo and reassured me they would track its progression and it would be simple enough to bond if it gets larger.

They're holding off on doing gum measurements until I've healed for a few more weeks from the cleaning and I'm a little nervous about that, but nothing bleeds when I brush or floss so I'm hopeful there won't be any major issues.

Now I'm brushing twice a day and flossing every day. I will start getting the fillings done next week and I'm not nearly as nervous as I was before. (Other than a bit of nerves re: one of the filling replacements/revisions - the numbness wore off part way through drilling for the original filling and it hurt so much, so suddenly, I nearly rolled out of the chair with the drill still in my mouth. I let the new dentist know that this happened and she was very reassuring that she'll use an appropriate amount of medication for my redhead genes.)

I was lucky - and now I'm hoping to stay on track even if I have to start giving myself stickers for each day I floss like I'm a little kid again and not 42 lol.