• 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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First dentist visit today.

  • Thread starter manthisfreakinstinks
  • Start date


Junior member
Jan 19, 2024
Hi every one, I found this forum by chance and am so grateful.

I remember going to the dentist one time as a child and I have to assume they used laughing gas on me, because I don't remember getting a filling at all. Imagine my surprise when I got my first set of x-rays done today. The spot lit up and I was like "oh, is that a bad cavity?" The tech told me, "no, that appears to be a filling!" I was so embarrassed that despite this being my first dentist visit in at least 25 years, I didn't even know I had it. I had seen a black spot for years and just assumed it was a cavity that for sure was going to lead to that molar being a lost cause. My reason for calling in however was because a cracked tooth has turned into an abscess. There's no dentist in my area that does any kind of sedation with my insurance, so I just kind of pushed myself through the door and to get some kind of ball rolling.

I guess I'm a little unorganized in my thoughts after today, but I wanted to post here and get some opinions on what my dentist told me today. I called ahead after I made my appointment and let them know I have a lot of anxiety in general, especially dental anxiety. I asked if they have patience and understanding for such patients. The front desk assured me that they do. I showed up today, nervous as ever, and honestly, the people who spoke to me were very kind and gentle. The main dentist, however, told me "you waited too long", "you're too young for your teeth to be in this shape", "others put it off because they're waiting for insurance", as if saying that I have insurance so I had no reason to not come in all my life. Just little snips like this and it was in a "nice" tone, but I felt nothing but shame.

I chose this place based on reviews I combed through stating they were gentle and easy to work with for people with dental anxiety/phobia. I felt so let down in myself that I had trusted her to do my exam (she put a little camera in my mouth and showed me each tooth on the TV). On the way home I started to wonder if I was exaggerating, or was it out of line? What do you all think about this? I've been pondering if I should just go somewhere else to get my root canal and fillings done. I was so saddened by the interaction that I forgot all about the myriad of treatments she said I will be needing. I just want to cry. I pushed myself because I'm scared of the consequence of an untreated infection, it took at least half of my life to convince myself to even go in to get the x-rays done. At least 15-20 years of tooth aches, headaches, broken wisdom teeth cutting up my mouth, and more recently, only chewing with one side of my mouth. This one little interaction with her is making me feel so much more ashamed of myself and letting it get to me makes me feel even worse on top of all of that.
Hi, I don't think you're exaggerating, shame often plays a huge part when it comes to a fear of the dentist, and you do need a dentist who is aware of these feelings and doesn't trample all over them. The problem with online reviews is that often you don't know which of the dentists at the practice/office the individual reviews are referring to if there is more than one dentist (unless the dentist is explicitly named), and also you don't always know whether people are referring to routine check-ups or actual treatment. Besides, it's not always clear which reviews are genuine. Asking friends/colleagues/family can sometimes be a better way of finding a dentist who is sensitive to nervous patients' needs.

So I do think you should have another look/listen around and see what other dentists are around - we've collected some tips for finding a dentist here:

and here:

Once you've identified some dentists who may be suitable, maybe send them an email and explain your situation (you can find some help with this in the downloads section).

Finally, well done for working up the courage to take the first step and see a dentist 👍, we all know how much courage that must have taken. Fingers crossed that the next dentist you see will tick all the boxes!