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HELP: My teeth are ruined at 22 years old

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charlie002009

Junior member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Portland OR
This is gonna be a long post. TW: suicide mention
I know for a fact I have lots of rot in my teeth and a terrible abscess in my gums. I neglected care of my teeth for the last 4 years due to a deeply dangerous depression (I am on meds now and doing better) that allowed me to lose care entirely- I pretty much didn't brush my teeth nearly everyday for 4 years. The last time I visited the dentist (4 years ago) I was told I have multiple cavities and possible root canals. The anxiety overwhelmed me (both the shame, fear, and most of all the worry of cost) so I didn't seek treatment. I can see in my mouth that my molars have cracked to the point they are barely there. And one of them is filled with black rot. It is primarily my molars that have rotted but I have one in the front (bottom row) that also appears to be on it's way to rotting away. I had a crown from a root canal that fell out about two years ago and I did nothing about it, and I felt it getting worse and worse. I used to have terrible pain from it, but slowly it began to become unoticable. Recently I could tell that one of those molars chipped away further is now almost gone.

I am only 22 years old and I am TERRIFIED I will need dentures. I do have a decent amount of teeth that seem to be in okay shape, but there are a few that have small holes.
I have done obsessive googling about how teeth rot and abscess can pose life-threatening danger if it spreads.
The thoughts and worries about this have made me feel suicidal at times. The thoughts of the cost, the pain, the amount of time I will spend in a dentist chair and most of all the fear that I could need dentures overwhelms me. My obsessive worry consumes me and makes it hard to even live. I am embarrassed to smile, and my anxiety over it all even makes me not want to date because I am afraid they will notice and be grossed out.
I am so deeply terrified and mortified about going to the dentist with my teeth in this condition. When I think about it too much it makes me want to no longer be alive. I am so ashamed and I hate myself for it.
I don't know what to do. I can't handle this anymore, the fear is eating me alive.
I need help and I need support that this isn't gonna be the end of all my teeth.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,544
Hi charlie002009 :welcome:,

so sorry to read about your situation, particularly that you are feeling suicidal. This only shows how much you are suffering and I am really glad you reached out for help. I appreciate things look pretty hopeless from the place you are at right now, with all the painful emotions and fears you are dealing with, but - to jump straight to the last sentence of your post: This isn't gonna be the end of all your teeth. I see the sparks of hope in your post and I am glad they are there.

You decribed perfectly what you are dealing with right now: shame, embarrassment, anxiety, fear of cost, fear of pain, of possible dentures and those are few of the fears so many people are going through. Having few teeth that look ok is great news and so is the fact that you are looking for support.

Depression and dental health are not good friends and every dentists who cares knows it. You will find depression on a list of conditions on the medical history form of any dental practice exactly because of that. You haven't done anything wrong and there is nothing to be ashamed of, on the contrary: you seem to have done a great job by surviving and getting meds and being better now. This alone shows your strength and makes me confident that you can manage to tackle your teeth too.
By the way, do you know, what is another enemy of dental health? Embarrassment. We even have an article here on the page and it will hopefully give you a lot of reassurance. Again, a good dentist won't judge you, but helps you to find ways to tackle this at a pace you can cope with and with options you have. Another link I would like to provide you with is the topic about how dangerous an abscess is. Is is such a common worry we put it into a FAQ.

Finally, feeling suicidal is a lonely and scary place to be and you do not have to deal with it alone. I am pretty sure you are familiar with the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and know that they are there for you to help you with this. And of course 911... but mentioning it just in case (and you can find some more input and places to seek help at here.)

This got pretty long, sorry for that.. hope it was at least a bit of ressurance. Surely there will be other replies coming, you are in the best company here.
:grouphug:
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,869
Location
The Hague , Holland
Hi Charlie,

May heart goes out to you. Hope I can help a bit.
The dentist you saw did not mention dentures right? That is good news.
I think that the reason you are worried about dentures is because of what I call the “uncertain factor”.

Here is another video about feeling embarrassed in a dental set-up:

I truly believe that the only solution for your worried mind is to have a dental check up and have a clear treatment plan. It is easier said than done but then you will have concrete plan rather than letting your anxiety come up with worst scenarios.
magazine, due to your age and what the dentist told you, I don’t believe you will need dentures.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,789
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Charlie002009

I want to say welcome again! We are glad you are here in our community for support ! It is a great place to be for people who understand and who have dealt with that overwhelming anxiety, embarassment, uncertainty, shame, and so many more emotions.. I think it really helps to connect with people who are there , listen and understand, whether that us here, on a crisis line, your friends and family, or a health care provider..

I do really hope you find a kind compassionate dentist who will listen and help you overcome your dental fears and anxieties and shame.. I know that is what it took for me and it was lifechanging , not just for my dental ..
:grouphug:
 
F

Foxsocks

Junior member
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
1
Location
Canada
Hi Charlie,
I usually just come to this forum to read other people’s life stories to make myself less anxious about my teeth but tonight I decided to register just so I can write back to you. I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way and I do hope you will find some help and support after writing your post above. I just wanted to let you know that a few years ago I was also in a very tough situation with my dental health and was too scared and nervous to go see a dentist after 5 years. I had panic attacks when I finally decided to go and anxiety for months after. But I can honestly say that if I had not gone I would be in a much worse place. Now I can look back and say I’m proud I got the courage to go and that I’m taking better care of my teeth than I ever had in my life. I’m 35. I see my dentist regularly and still have anxiety when it’s time for my visit but it’s not nearly as bad because i know that he knows I’m doing everything he has told me to to maintain my oral health. My life went on. The embarrassment can be dealt with because most dentists just want to help you. You have to find someone that you can explain your worries to maybe even in an email before your first appointment. That way they will be prepared to treat you in the most gentle and understanding way possible. They will not judge you, or shock you with bad news like “well you’re screwed! We gotta pull them all out and put on dentures!”. It will not be like that! Maybe it’s possible for you to bring a friend or family me ever for support or even ask to receive a prescription for a light sedative or relaxant before you go. These are all options. It is 100% not worth ending your so very young life over your teeth. I promise!!! Please think about it and let us know what you decide. And again, I do understand your fear, anxiety, embarrassment and shame. You’re not alone!
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
162
Location
Us
Charlie,

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Even though you feel like you’re alone and no one understands what it’s like, I can promise you everyone here can relate to the things you’ve said, whether it’s one part or several parts, we all have (or are currently) been where you are right now.
You mentioned that you’re being treated for depression and that’s good. The anxiety is also treatable and maybe you could reach out to your doctor and discuss options for this as well.
As for this being the end of your teeth - only a dentist can tell you that. But it sounds like you would not need dentures. If you have small holes they can be filled, and a front tooth can be fixed with an implant or crown. Dentures are really a last resort - in my case I knew this going in, and it’s not really that bad. For many people there is no other option. I can tell you I’m so much happier now with dentures than I was with a mouth full of painful rotten teeth. I fully understand why you don’t want them at your age.
Sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start. There is no map to help you along and no timeframe you have to stick to. But there are people who care - everyone here cares. You can do this.
 
C

charlie002009

Junior member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Portland OR
An update: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for your kind words. Posting on here was an important step for me, because even though I checked the website a lot to validate my feelings, I never posted anything before. The support I received was really helpful.

This weekend, the majority of my other molar fell out. I had a severe panic attack and was spiraling. But I think because of the support I got from you all instead of just waiting till the pain subsides, I got in contact with a therapist that works at my school.

I was able to talk to him about what I was going through. About the shame, the anxiety and everything. I have never talked about this to anyone other than here online. It felt really great to finally talk about it out loud. I was crying almost non-stop while I spoke with him because I have kept all this in for so long.

He is helping me get in touch with a dentist to set up an appointment. I am petrified but also somewhat relieved to finally be doing something about this. I will update you again on how things go. I am so incredibly anxious and terrified of what is going to happen. It is really hard to cope with the fact that I cannot undo all the damage I have done to my teeth, but I know I have to accept that there is nowhere to go but forward.

I really, really, really hope I am not going to need dentures. Over anything, that is the one thing I am pleading for the most. Another big concern beyond the things I have already discussed, is that there may be a serious infection due to the whole left when my crown fell out two years ago, that's a major source of the rot.

I have so many fears and worries, but I'm glad I am on the track to doing something.I cannot thank you all enough for the support. I know it is the reason I was able to seek help.
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

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Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
162
Location
Us
So glad to hear, Charlie! That first step is always the hardest and I’m so happy to hear that you’ve opened up to someone and getting help.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,789
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Charlie002009

I'm with @BoxerMom . That was such a huge step opening up to a therapist to discuss this. I believe it will really help you! Actually I had been in therapy and discussed my dental phobia a little before but alot as I was going through it with my therapist it really helped just realizing where I was at and the power I had to move from fear to being more in control . to move towards that control it took quite a bit of vulnerabilty.. it really was the best thing in learning how to talk to my therapist abouut this it also showed me and gave me greater courage and strength to talk to my dentist and put myself out there.. I believe that can happen for you.. and you have everything it takes for that to happen!! REally great job ! Take one step at a time and gather your support team! Awesome!
 
C

charlie002009

Junior member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Portland OR
So glad to hear, Charlie! That first step is always the hardest and I’m so happy to hear that you’ve opened up to someone and getting help.
Thank you so much for your kindness. It means so much to me. :)
 
C

charlie002009

Junior member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Portland OR
Charlie002009

I'm with @BoxerMom . That was such a huge step opening up to a therapist to discuss this. I believe it will really help you! Actually I had been in therapy and discussed my dental phobia a little before but alot as I was going through it with my therapist it really helped just realizing where I was at and the power I had to move from fear to being more in control . to move towards that control it took quite a bit of vulnerabilty.. it really was the best thing in learning how to talk to my therapist abouut this it also showed me and gave me greater courage and strength to talk to my dentist and put myself out there.. I believe that can happen for you.. and you have everything it takes for that to happen!! REally great job ! Take one step at a time and gather your support team! Awesome!
It feels like such a huge weight has been lifted. I still have my anxieties about everything but I do feel better. The therapist is going to help me get in touch with the doctor so I can talk to him/her over the phone so I can express my fears before I go to an appointment and I think that will make a big difference. I hope the dentist is understanding to my situation.
Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I couldn't have done this without this community. :)
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,544
What a fantastic news, Charlie! What a huge courageous step of you to find a therapist and start moving forward! :respect:

I know this is totally scary and you might be dealing with even more anxiety or different fears and concerns, but rest assured that this is just a part of the journey. You are doing the right thing and most importantly, you have a therapist on your side who will help you through this. You couln't have taken care of yourself in a better way.

Wishing you all the best, may you be able to detangle your fears and worries at a good pace and looking forward to read your updates! :grouphug:
 
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