• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is very afraid of dentistry or who suffers with dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a general dental forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

I am terrified of the dentist and I don't know what to so



Junior member
Aug 14, 2017
I am a 21 year old college student and I have horrible teeth. It has been 14 years since I have been to the dentist. As I type this I am on the verge of tears because I just can't imagine going to the dentist and facing the embarrassment, humiliation and "the talk".

The last time I went to the dentist regularly was when I was 7 years old. The Dentist I went to was for lower income families (my mom was a single mom) and he was not a very pleasent man. All of the dental staff were very rude and aggressive and the dentist was even worse. My last time was for a routine procedure where I was to be given some sort of gas or anesthetic, halfway through the procedure I woke up in horrible pain and began to cry and scream for my mother, the dentist grabbed me and held me down while screaming at me to shut up. This was not the only time he put his hands on me in an aggressive manner. From that day forward I refused to go to the dentist. My mom tried to drag me there but I had panic attacks every single time we arrived, since then I have heard this man is in jail for several other offenses similar to mine. My teeth are not in great condition. They probably aren't the worst but they definitely aren't the best. Maybe of the back ones are chipped or broken and several have holes. Some have yellow or brown spots and they are crooked. A few years ago I was told by a family friend that having teeth in this condition could kill me because the bacteria could spread in my body.

Since then I have lived in literally fear everyday that my teeth are going to kill me. I honestly am at a loss on what to do. I am so anxious and scared to go to the dentist. What if they are mean or violent toward me again? What if they laugh or shame me for my teeth? I don't want to continue having to hide my fave when I smile. My boyfriend, whom I've been dating for several years, has never once complained about my teeth but knows how insecure I am about them. He offered to go with me to his dentist that he has been going to since he was a young child. I just don't know if I can. I'm so scared.

About a year ago I had to have an emergency root canal done. The place I went to had a very nice Dental surgeon and it was good experience but I had to be given gas in order to just get through the procedure, then I cried for three days because one of the assistants mentioned that I needed to take better care of my teeth. I have done everything I can on my own.

I don't want to be the girl who can't smile anymore. I want to be able to smile and show my teeth without people saying or noticing the jokes or gaps. But I just don't know how to face the Dentist. How will they treat me? How do I explain my situation? What if they laugh at me?

Any advice would be appreciated, thank you!


Super Moderator
Jun 24, 2012
Hey, welcome to the forum. You're not alone here. :)

First of all, your teeth are not going to kill you. You're not going to drop dead. Dental infections very rarely spread to your bloodstream, and when they do, you get really, really ill before you die. Ill enough that you would be in hospital. Even when this does happen, the vast majority of the time people get to hospital and are treated. There are horror stories, sure, but it's not at all likely.

Secondly, traumatic experiences in childhood are one of the most common causes of dental phobia. It's not surprising that you're afraid. You had a horrible experience during your formative years.

The best way to try ensure that a dentist will be kind to you is to explain your situation. You can say, "hey, I know my teeth are not in good shape, but I'm here now and I just want to get them treated. I had a really bad experience in childhood with an abusive dentist." Any dentist worth your time will be patient and understanding, and not shame you. Most dentists nowadays are trained to deal with anxious and phobic patients. You can arrange a signal, like raising your hand, if you feel overwhelmed and need a break during the appointment.

And what to do if a dentist shames you? You can leave. You're an adult now, it's entirely up to you and no one else to allow a dentist to treat you. They're healthcare providers, they are there to provide a service. They ought to be impressing you with the quality of their care, you're not the one who needs to be impressing them. Remember your own self-worth. Needing dental work done doesn't make you a bad or lesser person. Having a phobia is not your fault. You're here because you want to tackle the problem, which is brave.

Going to your boyfriend's dentist might be good. You can take your boyfriend with you for moral support, which is always helpful. The first appointment will be an examination only, and you can use that to get a feel for the dental team working there. If they're not patient and kind, you don't need to see them again.

I know it feels like an impossible journey right now, but I promise you can do this. Hang in there :hug4: