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Haven't been to a dentist in 10 years. Have receding gums and tooth pain and terrified to go.



Junior member
Dec 15, 2022
BC Canada
Ahoy, just want to start by thanking this forum for existing, as well as the wonderful dentists here that take time out of their day to help people.

I'm 32 and haven't been to a dentist for around 10 years due to financial problems, trigeminal neuralgia and mental health issues. For over a year at one point I almost completely stopped brushing my teeth and flossing as well because of extreme depression and SI. I also got a chemical burn on my gums which only accelerated the damage further.
Fast forward to today and my face is in near constant agony. I can no longer tell if its nerve related or because of my teeth now. My cheeks feel like they are on fire, and my chin has recently started hurting too. What I do know is tooth related is I have some pain below my gumline on a few teeth, as well as all my front bottom teeth ache and hurt as well and I have occasional pain in many other teeth. My gums have receded almost everywhere to the point that im pretty sure my roots are exposed, and i have dark brown/black lines on many of my teeth at the gumline. I also have severe calculus buildup on the backs of my teeth that are crooked.

I'm both terrified of loosing my teeth, but also of the potential financial burden this has become as I have no current source of income, and probably never will other than disability which I am trying to get on but no luck so far. As well as I am terrified of what the dentists will say after I finally go and see them, even though after reading around here I'm starting to realize how illogical that fear is.

Lately I have finally got my mind on track enough to start brushing and flossing regularly and thankfully the bleeding in my gums has finally stopped. And last night I took the first steps to finally helping myself. I cut off my lip piercing because it wasn't doing me any favors, as well as applied for an appointment to see a local dentist, but haven't got a call back yet for a confirmation.

Any advice or knowledge would be greatly appreciated, thank you so much in advance. <3


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Honestly they don't look that bad in the photos, you've got some calculus under your gum lines in a few places, the dark lines visible around the lower left canine for instance, so things will get much better quickly when that gets removed, generally things look reasonably healthy, I don't think you're in any danger of losing all your teeth anytime soon.
i successfully put off going to the dentist for 18 (I’m 37 now)years. My gums were in rough shape. I figured I was going to be having some terrible news. I finally mustered up the courage to go. Ended up having my wisdom removed on the bottom and that was it. A few cavities and now I’m back to good oral health. You will be so happy once you go. Even if there are issues, when you walk out and all the of the unknowns are now known, it is a damn good feeling. Dentistry is top notch nowadays. I used to read all the posts here and still tell myself that mine teeth are still the worst.

You’ll be happy you went and everything will be ok. I promise. Good luck and keep posted on your journey!

Learn from my mistake. Make an appointment as soon as you can. I had a choice to make it the following week or later. I made it two months later and anxiety killed me for two months. Just get it done with
@Tragoul good job mustering up the courage to make that call, that was the hardest part for me. As Gordon said, try not to focus too much on how bad you think it is-- I will have to get my before photos from my dentist and post them here so you can see just how extreme my buildup was. I am about to turn 32 and have not been to a dentist in 12 years. I must have had 70% more calculus on all my bottom front teeth than you do in the photos (the backs were totally covered and one of the front sides only had a tiny speck of actual tooth showing!) and all the calculus above the gumline was able to be removed in my first cleaning which lasted 50 minutes ( it was actually called a gross debridement-- just to clear away everything covering the teeth so my dentist could do a proper exam).
I have a few more cleanings scheduled that will go below the gumline. It did not hurt at all, and the gums were just a bit sensitive for a day after.
Someone once asked after meeting me if I had a grille -- nope, I'm.not an aspiring rapper.... it's calculus! I had some darkness around the base of the calculus and was really afraid my teeth would be black under there but alas they are white, even whiter than my top teeth which are the 6 I've never worried about. I am no dentist but I really think you will be so relieved after you go get this looked at. My only real advice is that if you get to the dentist and you don't feel they are warm and understanding of your fears/anxiety, call some other places and feel them out. Once I felt in my heart that the team really cared, all the worries that I built up over time just melted away. All the shame I carried for a decade was gone after one visit, and I'm a regular dentist-visitng person now. This all just happened over the last month and it's strange but I have a renewed hope in life and I can truly look ahead to the future. It's strange not feeling like I need to hide my smile when meeting people. They have no idea what my teeth looked like just 5 days ago! I already love taking care of my teeth again and flossing is easy and rewarding-- the calculus made some space between my once overcrowded teeth so the floss can slide right in. I love it. You can totally do this, I'm excited for you to see that things will be okay and you can get rid of the pain, discomfort, and anxiety. I know financially it is a burden, but money comes and goes; most places have payment plans and some even without interest.
Getting started is the hardest part and you've already taken that step, way to go, we are all proud of you. Keep us updated!
Thank you all so much for the outpouring of kind words and support it means so much to me. I was very close to crying while reading through your messages because of how much relief they brought me and how much you all care. <3

I'm still quite nervous to tell the truth but I guess that is expected. On the whole though I now feel quite a lot better and am so appreciative of you all taking the time to help calm me down. If the dentist I end up going to shows even a fraction of your warmth and care it will hopefully be a wonderful experience all things considered.

Unfortunately the dentist didn't call me back today to confirm an appointment date but I will call them again tomorrow. If it doesn't work out I will look elsewhere and try to get everything over and done with as soon as possible. I will make sure to keep you all updated of how things go and the extent of what needs to be done.

Thank you all again, I wish you the best. :)