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Hello, I really need help. Very bad gums, is it too late?

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Patricia5

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Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
22
I'm not sure where to begin, it is 6 AM and I haven't slept at all. I'm sitting here shaking and I've finally decided to face what is happening. First of all I haven't been to the dentist in years and in my entire life only a few times. The last time I was there I was supposed to go back for a badly needed cleaning and to have a few more fillings but things happened and I ended up not getting around to going back. A few weeks ago things took a serious turn.

It is hard to describe but my gums are sort of throbbing and sore, especially my two lower front teeth. When I put my teeth together it feels strange, like sometimes they don't seem to line up right and some of them feel numb or even dead sometimes. Also I occasionally have sharp pains in my lower front gumline. It's always worse at night it seems. I am ashamed to admit but I've never been great at brushing regularly and even worse in the last few years I hardly have at all. The main reason is because it makes them sore sometimes and also because it makes me think about them and I'm afraid I've always tried to run from my problems and avoid them. I finally looked at them in the mirror for the first time in over a year, sort of. It was by the glow of the night light, I'm too scared to look at them in the light. My gums look terrible though, really sore looking and I think they've receded terribly, and my teeth looked odd. All sort of crooked and sometimes I feel like they might be loose. Speaking of which at my last cleaning years ago when he cleaned my front lower teeth there was a huge gap when he was done, normally they touch. I wanted to ask him about it but I never did. They eventually moved back together, but is that a really bad sign? Are they that loose?

I'm afraid I have very serious gum disease and I'm terrified that I'm going to lose some or all my teeth. I've had nightmares about it even, I don't know how I could go on if that happened. I'm so scared of finally going to the dentist and being told it is too late and they can't be saved. I know I have to try but I'm not sure what can be done now. He could clean them all but I read once that receded gums never grow back and if I have bad gum disease it is only a matter of time. I'm sorry for writing such a long post but I've bottled all this up for so long and now I can't stop. I'm sitting here literally crying and shaking right now. What am I going to do? :cry:
 
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ScaredyCat22

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Nov 14, 2014
Messages
1,344
No it is not a bad sign, it is normal. The gap you saw between your teeth when they were cleaned was a space that was always meant to be there but had been covered in tarter. when they were properly cleaned the space showed. as the tarter built up again the space closed because what you think are your teeth is a hard build up of tarter.
it does not mean your teeth are loose. if you can't wiggle them they aren't loose.
 
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Patricia5

Member
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Jan 5, 2015
Messages
22
Thanks, that is reassuring though there is still my gum problems. I've known I've had gingivitis for years but I'm afraid it has progressed to all out gum disease now. It has only been a few weeks since the discomfort started. They are really sore though and always throbbing, a feeling of pressure, and it feels like my teeth are shifting sometimes.

When I said they were badly in need of cleaning a few years ago I'm not exagerrating though, there is a thick really thick layer of buildup especially around my gumlines, like a stone wall built up. I'm such an idiot for not going back and getting them cleaned. He had filled a few and had a couple more to go then he was going to clean them. I kept saying I'll go back soon, but I never did. I turned 40 a few months ago, almost around the same time my gums started really bothering me. I was already kind of freaked out about hitting that number without being terrified I'm going to be toothless before I'm 41. It's all my fault too, I just never took care of them. Even after my very first series of appointments when I was 20 (yep, I had never been taken to a dentist as a child and was 20 before I finally went). It was a second chance though, he filled my cavities and cleaned them and gave me a prescription for Peridex? or something like that to treat my ginvitis. I took that second chance and threw it away. Here I am 20 years later paying for it, crying like a baby and shaking in fear. Sorry I'm babbling again.

At my last appointment a few years ago I got a new dentist, he was very nice and really knowledgeable. He didn't chastise me like my first one did and he tried to calm my fears and explain everything I needed to have done. I remember him also telling that I (at the time) had no bone loss at all that he could see and I remember feeling very relieved. All I had to do was keep going, get my cleaning done, and have regular appointments. Instead I stopped going and spent the next few years hardly taking care of my teeth at all. I've done some serious damage and I feel like such a fool. I don't know how I'll ever get the courage to make an appointment.
 
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FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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The most difficult part may be to make the appointment. I think that the worst part is not knowing what is going on because you can only imagine the worst. If you can find the courage to make an appointment, you're likely to relieved when you actually know what needs to be done. Even with gum disease, there is a lot they can do to help!

Please let us know what we can do to support you.
 
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ScaredyCat22

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Nov 14, 2014
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what you did or did not do in the past no longer matters. there is no sense beating yourself up over it. it is what you do from this day forward that matters and the only thing you have control over. you can not control or change the past.
there are people who get build ups of tarter even though they go every 6 months. there are people who have build ups within 2 months of a cleaning. It is not the end of the world.
If you start flossing daily and rinsing with salt water you will likely greatly reduce the inflammation of your gums though they will bleed at first.

If you go to the dentist the worst you are likely to need is a root scaling and planning which will further reduce the pain and inflammation in your gums.
I never had dental care as a child and had my first cleaning when I could pay for it myself at 20 years old. I had my next cleaning at 35 years old, obviously I had build up by then. Whatever state your teeth are in the dentist will have seen worse.
 
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Patricia5

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Jan 5, 2015
Messages
22
It is definitely the scariest thing I've ever faced, I'm just so afraid of he will tell me. You're right about imagining the worst because I do it every night, lie there thinking about how I'm going to end up having the most painful surgical treatments imaginable and still end up living with dentures and so I run away and hide instead. As long as they don't hurt I just don't think about it and completely ignore the issue.

It's hard to work up the nerve to make an appointment because I know then that I can't hide anymore. I keep trying to tell myself that maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe after he cleans them my gums will start healing and I'll be ok. Instead I keep imagining root canals, planing, and the worst word imaginable, extractions. I know I should make the appointment today, as soon as possible. I just don't know if I can do it yet.

As scared as I am I do feel a little better at the moment, finally facing this and releasing all these pent up fears even if it's on a web forum. I'm also pretty much cried out, now I'm just exhausted. Hopefully I'll be able to get some sleep soon. Thanks very much for your replies, it helps to know someone is listening.
 
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Patricia5

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
22
what you did or did not do in the past no longer matters. there is no sense beating yourself up over it. it is what you do from this day forward that matters and the only thing you have control over. you can not control or change the past.
there are people who get build ups of tarter even though they go every 6 months. there are people who have build ups within 2 months of a cleaning. It is not the end of the world.
If you start flossing daily and rinsing with salt water you will likely greatly reduce the inflammation of your gums though they will bleed at first.

If you go to the dentist the worst you are likely to need is a root scaling and planning which will further reduce the pain and inflammation in your gums.
I never had dental care as a child and had my first cleaning when I could pay for it myself at 20 years old. I had my next cleaning at 35 years old, obviously I had build up by then. Whatever state your teeth are in the dentist will have seen worse.
I'll try the salt water, maybe that will help I hope. I'm ashamed to say I have never flossed in my life. My teeth were always so close together I never could get between them, but mostly I just never took good care of them. Even brushing was something I rarely did. I'm going to try to do better from now on though, I hope.

Root scaling sounds absolutely terrifying, I'm such a chicken. It's usually all I can do just to sit in the chair. I wish they could just put me to sleep so I wouldn't have to experience any of it. Thank you for your post, I hope you are right and it isn't too late to fix everything. I've spent most of my life worrying about how bad my teeth are. I needed braces as well so I was always ashamed to smile and I remember one day when I was maybe 12 having a toothache and actually asking my dad to take me to the dentist. It has to be bad when a kid asks to go, but he couldn't afford it and just told me to brush them and it would be ok. He's really a good person but it was a mistake that he never took me for dental care or made sure that I brushed regularly. You are right though, the past is over and done with. Thanks again for your reply. I'm going to go try and get some rest before I end up writing a novel here.
 
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ScaredyCat22

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
1,344
Root scaling and planing is just the correct term for what most people refer to as "deep cleaning" when there are pockets of loose gum tissue due to years of skipping cleanings tarter can build up on the roots. It is expensive but painless considering you get Novocain first. It is actually less unpleasant than a normal cleaning. I have had it done after skipping decades of regular cleanings.
You can also request to be prescribed a valium or other form of oral sedation if you have a lot of anxiety about sitting through your appointment. It will help you be less terrified.
 
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Thisishard

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
42
Hello,

I am going through a situation very similar to yours. I have a hard time figuring out which is worse, the self loathing for mistakes of the past, or the fear of the future. So my my brain spends about equal time bouncing between the two, in a spirited attempt to make me as miserable as possible. For years I just stuck my head in the sand. From personal experience, I can assure you, sticking your head in the sand does nothing to help. So, to answer your question, it is not to late. This is what I am doing to finally take care of myself.

1: Find a dentist in your area that specializes in fear free dentistry. If you are in the Pacific Northwest USA, I would be happy to assist in your search.

2: Make an appointment for a "Meet and Greet". Where you can talk to the staff and explain your problems. They are there to help. Then visit the office several times in the interim, actually walk in, just to get used to the feeling.

3: Get a perscription for oral sedation, which you will probably start the night before your first exam.

4: Get a friend to drive you to the appointment, go in, get x rays, a cleaning and a plan.

5: Move forward with the plan.

Easy for me to say, as I'm only just past step 2. But hey, you have start somewhere, so why not start from where you are? Is it hard? Yes. Well you be scared at first? Yes. I know I am. Is it worth it? Probably, but I'm betting the answer is a big Yes.

Best of luck.
 
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