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I can’t stop worrying about dental hygiene



Jun 13, 2019
It’s literally taking over my life since I went in to have 3 small cavities filled, and I can’t tell anybody because it’s embarrassing. For weeks straight now, I’ve been terrified that my teeth are going to fall out, despite my dentist saying that my teeth look good and nothing else needs to be done, even the 5 back teeth with crowns (which are the ones I’m always paranoid about). I’m so sure that there’s infection and cavities brewing under my crowns even though my dentist assures me it isn’t true. I am so sure the teeth under the crowns are rotting away and that when they finally fall off, the tooth won’t be good enough. I brush 2x a day and floss and use mouthwash (which I didn’t start until my adulthood, before that was minimal oral care and no dentists) ...but I can’t make my brain stop thinking that they’re all going to fall out of my head and I’m going to be toothless in 5 years. Should I ask my dentist more about this? Should I insist he look deeper, or am I really being paranoid? I’m at a loss for what to do and how to handle these thoughts.
See, you got it all out here.

Well done! You are on your way.

Since you already got it all out here, why not tell your dentist the whole story too?

You can do it!
That’s the problem...I did ask him (in between sobs because I was so anxious) if he was absolutely sure there was no concern for worry on my already crowned teeth or the fillings since my jaw is hurting so bad and my teeth all feel sensitive...he told me they really are fine and he promises that they don’t need root canals and that they look healthy and the three fillings he gave me is all I need. He said that my current pain is surely tmj related since that started up after he filled my cavities and my jaw was open for a while. He prescribed my muscle relaxers and recommended a PT for tmj exercises. In the moment while there it made me feel better that he assured me my teeth look healthy, but my anxiety goes to “maybe he lied to just get me out of the office because I’m being so annoying about this” or that maybe he did miss something, even though he’s a dentist with good reviews. I trust him while there, but once I’m alone with my thoughts and all I can think about is my jaw pain, my brain jump back to “what if all these caps rot out”. I don’t know hardly anybody with crowns so I can never get a real person answer on crown care and if mine will be ok
Hmmm. In that case, here is how I might consider it:

I see two situations here: the dental and the anxiety. Both are important. If you can tease them apart, it might help you come up with a plan to tackle them one at a time.

In practice, if you have access or means to counseling (I’m thinking especially of EAP), then you can work on the anxiety aspect. Were I you I’d strongly consider calling 211 (or your local equivalent) and tell them what you told us.

My two cents. Good luck!
Thank you very much for your advice. I appreciate hearing from somebody so very much. I feel so alone and ashamed in all of this, my friends and their perfect teeth aren’t people I want to confide in about my dirty little secret since my smile looks ok, and they can’t see all the caps in the back.

Thank you so much for being a kind “voice” for me to hear.
One correction:

You are not alone anymore.


All you owe us is to give us an update soon about your progress. Progress, not perfection. We’ll be interested to hear.

You’re going to surprise us all, and none more than yourself.

Sleep well tonight because you are well on your way to a solution. You don’t realize it, but you’ve come a long way already.
I have a scheduled emergency appointment tomorrow with a new counselor since I can no longer afford my old therapist...hopefully that’ll help my insane anxiety and thereby hopefully help the tmj...I will certainly keep you posted. Thank you again for your support. It feels great to have somebody listen who doesn’t judge my teeth.
Hi klol,

glad to read you are seeing a counsellor. I second Dg6300. We all worry about teeth and that something might be wrong, I guess that's what dental anxiety brings with it. At the moment where you feel these thoughts are taking a big part of your life and when you find it difficult to accept the "everything is ok" from your dentist, a counsellor is the right way to go.

Please do not believe your friends and people around you have perfect teeth, it's not true. The majority of people has fillings, crowns, bridges and even dentures without you realizing. Chances are that even your dental nurse and your dentist have had some dental work done. My best friend, a dental nurse has crowns on her front teeth and I had no idea whatsoever until she told me. Even dentists have dental work done:)

All the best wishes and keep us posted