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Finally went to dentist and the news was worse than I was expecting



Junior member
Aug 15, 2023
Looking for support and just trying to write my feelings down.

I'm 35 years old. Up until yesterday, I haven't been to the dentist in 8 years. I have no good excuses. It just got to the point where the thought of scheduling a dentist appointment gave me extreme dread and anxiety. I figured I brushed my teeth well and I wasn't experiencing and pain or symptoms so how bad could it really be? I just figured I'd eventually go to the dentist when I get a toothache. I've had other lapses in going to the dentist and got away with not even a cavity.

Well I finally said enough was enough and summoned the courage to schedule a dentist appointment. It was REALLY HARD going through with it walking through that door into the waiting room of the office. I couldn't eat or sleep on the days leading up to the appointment. The appointment itself wasn't that bad once it got started, just lots of cleaning by a very kind and sweet hygienist. However, when it came time to talk to the dentist I got some pretty shocking news. My treatment plan includes extracting a molar, getting 3 crowns, filling 4 cavities, and getting a SRP done due to mild periodontal disease.

This all happened yesterday and I'm still shook. I was expecting a few cavities and maybe the deep cleaning, but the extraction and crowns hit me really hard. I figured I wasn't in that bad shape due to no toothaches or obvious bad symptoms. I'm only 35 and I'm losing teeth, getting multiple crowns, and have (mild) gum disease with some bone loss.... all because my stupid and illogical fear of the dentist.
Or, you could have been seen at one of the chain dental clinics who will always pad your treatment plan to earn more money? Or even just one of the many unethical dentists out there who do the same? Or, maybe it all really does need to be done? I would definitely get a second opinion, and try to minimize the chance of being ripped off by making sure that you see someone next who has a good track record with family/friends/colleagues etc. When I had been the victim of an overly money-centered dentist years ago (after my previous dentist retired), I looked for recommendations from people who would sometimes go for checkups and come out after having nothing needed but a regular cleaning. Having their dentist find a cavity here or there wasn't of concern to me, but I've heard of some dentists who meet new patients and provide them with treatment plans that would costs 10's of thousands of dollars, even if they've already been seeing a dentist regularly and looking after their teeth really well.
I have a 2nd opinion consult scheduled. I have no reason not to trust the 1st dentist as the dental practice came highly recommended, but given the scope of work I’d like a 2nd opinion.

I’m just depressed. I can’t believe I let my dental health get this bad. It’s purely because of my own neglect.
That sounds rough. Side note, I am glad you're getting a second opinion (a well-regarded pediatric dentist told me, out of the blue, that my five year old needed eight fillings. It wasn't true at all, and he's a teenager now and his teeth are fine).

It seems like a lot of work all at once, but on the other hand, you haven't been for eight years! It sort of works out to, like, one "thing" that needs doing per year. A lot of people go to the dentist once a year and are told, "Oh, you need one filling" or "You need one crown" and it doesn't seem that shattering. You're just having yours all at once; maybe it could help to think of it like that.
My 2nd opinion consultation isn't for 2 weeks because I'm about to go out of town for a week. Maybe it'll be better news, but I'm preparing for the worst.

I'm 'just' 35 years old. I know that's not super young, but I'm distraught that I need so much dental work at this age. I thought I was taking care of my teeth. I justified my neglect of visiting the dentist thinking I'll go at the first sign of some kind of toothache and the damage want be THAT BAD. Instead I summoned the courage to walk into a dentist office with what I thought was a relatively healthy mouth given my lack of symptoms and realized I'm going to lose a tooth, need 3 crowns, and have early periodontal disease. I think I could cope if it was just ONE of those issues - but all three is overwhelming. The news is still fresh so I hope this mix of shame, regret, and dread starts to fade.... but I'm in bad shape right now.

With all that being said I'm glad I went to the dentist and it is definitely a wake up call to start taking better care of my teeth. I justified my dental anxiety by assuming if mouth looked ok and didn't hurt I probably would be ok. That was dumb and it looks like I will be paying the price. I'm committed to doing whatever work is required to give me the best outcome. I'm fortunate that I have insurance and am in a financial position to cover the costs. I just think I'm going to feel like absolute shit for a while.
Hope this worked out for you! I had a similar experience recently... just random periodontitis seemingly out of nowhere! Hopefully you were able to overcome and things are looking better now
So a little bit of an update. I went to two other dentist for a consultation and came away more confused.

First dentist - whole mouth SRP, Tooth extraction, 3 crowns, 4 fillings
Second dentist - 4 fillings (a tooth extraction might be required), No SRP recommended
Third dentist - whole mouth SRP, 3 fillings (a tooth extraction might be required)

The three dentist also displayed varying levels of concern about my perio. The first dentist seemed super concerned about the bone loss while the other two dentist said I'm a little worse off than the average person my age but the loss is minor. The worse bone loss is on my very back teeth and the third dentist said they might have more to do with having my wisdom teeth pulled than perio.

I'm just amazed at the difference in opinion on the amount of work that I need. I decided to go with the third dentist because he came highly recommended and I felt the most comfortable around him. Essentially I have a back, upper molar that is showing a lot of decay behind a previous filling on an x-ray. The first dentist wanted to pull the tooth, the other two dentist think they can save it but it is hard to say until they start drilling I guess. The tooth currently doesn't bother me, is not sensitive, and doesn't hurt.

The plan is to go with the third dentist and get the SRP done across a couple of visits and then work on the teeth that need fillings. If the one tooth winds up needing to be pulled I guess I'll be going down the road of an implant.

I went from avoiding the dentist for the better part of a decade to going to three different dentist in the span of a couple of weeks. It's been really hard and I'm already anxious about the upcoming scheduled work. However, I'm committed to getting through it and taking better care of my teeth going forward.
@yawaworhtlta hi there, please don’t feel bad. I’m 32 and haven’t been to the dentist in 7 years. I’m waiting on a dental school to call me back to schedule an appointment and I’m expecting bad news too. Mostly due to my gums. If I have any cavities I would be surprised too honestly but I guess after so many years I shouldn’t. Please don’t beat yourself up! You faced your fears and it’s never too late to get your teeth fixed/examined. I wish you the best!
You all seem like lovely people on this thread. Would you mind reading the thread I just posted and do you have any advice for me?. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I went through a similar thing yesterday. I am also very anxious. I hope your appointments go well. I also hope we can find ways of distracting ourselves from the anxiety. I also had panic attacks and I have autism.
Question: When you went for the second/third opinions, did that count as regular dental visits (including to your insurance), and did you have new x-rays, or did you just port over your previous x-rays and frame the whole visit as "I want a second/third opinion"?

How are things going?
The 2nd opinion was covered under insurance since I get two routine visits per year. I paid out of pocket for the third visit/opinion. I took my X-rays to each visit, but each dentist wanted to take a few of their own. I wasn’t charged for the additional X-rays.

Things are going ok I guess? I decided to go with the third dentist I visited. I am starting my treatment with SRP in a few weeks. I had some travel and then it was difficult to get an appointment so it has taken longer than I wanted to get this process started.