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Have to get a tooth pulled due to abscess.. Terrified



Junior member
Jan 15, 2021
Cleveland, OH
So I haven't been to the dentist in over a decade, and I'm freaking out. I had a tooth chip a long time ago and I put it off. It was due to fear and financial reasons. I have a crippling fear of dentists, but I told myself I would get it done when i finished college and had a job with insurance (i had student insurance but it was terrible and the college town i was living in was terrible when it came to healthcare). I worked and went to school and pulled 70 hour weeks, so i just pushed it off to avoid massive student debt. I was also ashamed and embarrassed because i was so young and dealing with this. (I didnt learn until recently that its not that uncommon)

Then i got a dui a month before college graduation (please no judgement, i self medicated anxiety and depression for a long time, and how terrible my life was woke me up to a lot). I got stuck dealing with the mess for two years with no support. I couldnt even get help to the grocery store and had to take a job that worked me to death for nothing with my rent being 60% of my income. I finally got through that, but i had nothing at the end of it.

I came back home to my moms after things ended, and covid lockdowns started a week after i came back. Ive been unemployed (i do work for a friend under the table, but the money is not enough) because my entire family is high-risk and i can't find anything remote with insurance.

I was a smoker and i quit a month ago (could have paid for a lot there but addiction and avoidance), and one night about 3 weeks after i quit, my tooth felt kind of weird. Then my mom asked me why my face was a little swollen. I looked in the mirror and it was. I woke up the next morning and it was worse, so i knew exactly what it was. I found a dentist that accepts low income/no insurance people on a sliding scale and scheduled an appointment for the next morning. It had worked its way up my sinuses, and i got the antibiotic just before the pain got bad. I was miserable for a few hours, but luckily the antibiotic was already in my system and it didnt last long. Im shocked at how quickly it happened. I think i only went because i knew if i didnt, i would die.

Im surprised at how much better i feel and look already because i literally just took my 5th pill just now(theyre every 6 hours, allergic to penicillin so imn alternate). Its been about 24 hours since i started them.

I am mad at myself for not taking care of this sooner. I should have, but i have no choice but to get through this. The dentist did an xray and said he could extract it just may have to drill a bit if its stubborn(i was surprised cuz i dont have a whole lot of tooth left), but he also gave me a referral to an oral surgeon because he can only give me novicane and with my anxiety, the oral surgeon can put me under. He was so nice to me, and really understood how scared i was. Its bad, and i know ill need a lot of work after this, but its nice to know theyve seen much worse mouths than mine being a place that works with uninsured people that put everything off like me. Im really lucky its not my whole mouth(ive definitely got cavities but that's a whole other issue) theres just this one major problem area and the rest of the work i can get done in steps. It wont be so bad compared to the crap im gonna go through with this tooth, and since i quit smoking, that's gonna help my mouth when the infection is completely dealt with.

I have a telehealth appointment with a financial assistance lady on tuesday to set me up with a sliding scale payment plan, and i think she can help me apply for medicaid too, which i also should have done forever ago. After that, i have to make my decision and schedule my appointment for the extraction.

I am so scared. I cant afford the oral surgeon, so i need to suck it up. I know ill need one eventually, but with this being urgent, I'm going to have to do this.

I feel so dumb because i really want my mom to come in and wait with me. Im 27. I feel like such a baby. But she cant anyways because of covid. I hate having anxiety like this. :(
Hi Ss201518:welcome:,

I‘m sorry to read about your situation. You have been very brave so far dealing with this. Glad the antibiotics are helping.

You are not a baby at all, you are doing your best. I was impressed that you did the huge step of quitting smoking, now in the middle of the stressful time and all those struggles. You must have a lot of discipline!

If I got you right, you have either the possibility to get the tooth out at your dentist, in which case the cost would be doable, but you are worried about not being able to do it, due to your anxiety. Other option is oral surgeon, which would be very expensive and you are not able to deal with the cost right now. And if the appointment with a financial assistance lady works well, you may be able to get the sedation at your oral sugeon‘s, right?

I was wondering how does your anxiety show when you are at the dentist and whether there is any possiblity to try to get it done there? With lots of explanation, stop signal, maybe some medication to calm your nerves? It seems to me that spending so much money on sedation just for this one tooth would only solve a small part of the problem. Also your dentist sounds nice. But again, this depends on where your fears are and how exactly it shows when you‘re having an appointment.

Wanting your mom to come with you doesn‘t make you a baby at all. Many people find it helpful to have a trusted person with them. It brings in some familiarity and you‘re not alone. And it only makes sense that your mom is such a trusted person. Do you have anyone else who may be able to accomany you to the appointment?

All the best wishes