• Dental Phobia Support

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I did it. After 18 years, I did it. (An Update)



Junior member
May 23, 2020
Los Angeles, California
Hello all!

About 3.5 years ago in June of 2020, I posted a thread here in search of support:

You all were so incredibly gracious and understanding that it really steeled my resolve toward getting back to the dentist. However, the universe had other plans. Due to the then-ongoing Covid situation, I simply could not find a dentist who was taking new patients, took my government insurance and specialized in extremely dental-phobic patients like myself. Around the end of 2020, for whatever reason, my mouth pain fortunately ceased to be debilitating and I could once again continue with my day to day life. I wasn't happy with my oral health, but I could deal with it. Then something amazing happened.

In 2021, a TV pilot I wrote about my own life got some attention in the entertainment industry and as a result, I was hired as a Staff Writer on a TV show. This was my first ever staffing job and as such, after many months of work in which I wrote my first two ever episodes of TV that were actually produced and aired, I was invited to join the Writers Guild of America. This was one of my life's biggest dreams and consequently came with some of the best health insurance imaginable, including dental.

Still, I continuously put off visiting the dentist out of fear and the hectic schedule that comes with TV production. However, buoyed by the positive response I received here originally, I began to confide in a few of my closest friends about my dental woes. Shockingly, every single one of them informed me that they had never noticed a single thing amiss with my teeth or mouth. What I thought had been glaringly apparent to everyone I met was something that only I was aware of or noticed.

Sadly, though critically acclaimed and nominated for numerous awards, the show I wrote on was canceled after a single season due to Hollywood's often nonsensical accounting practices. As such, a ticking clock began to count down, as my lack of employment, combined with my insurance being based on annual earnings in the middle of the WGA strike of this year (in which we legally could not work) meant that I would only be insured until the end of this calendar year.

This lit a fire under me and I resolved to visit a dentist while my insurance was still available to me. I shopped around and eventually settled on a dentist my father recommended to me, as they took great care in handling my cantankerous 90 year old grandfather during a recent visit. I emailed them, informing them of my severe phobia and history of trauma and asked if I could simply come in for a consultation and ask some questions and they were extremely understanding and agreed.

When I arrived at the office yesterday, I was immediately struck by the lack of the classic "dentist office smell". There was no antiseptic or latex (the combo of which still makes me nauseated to this day and haunts my nightmares), instead the office smelled very pleasantly of flowers.

One of the two dentists, Dr. Jay, ushered me into the back area which I was again pleasantly surprised to find was not your usual claustrophobic office, but rather more of an open floor plan with sort of private cubicles. Dr. Jay then asked me to spill my guts to him and I did. I informed him that it had been 18 years since I'd been to a dentist due to malpractice and trauma, I had calculus at the gum line and on the backs of my bottom teeth, receded/inflamed gums in some spots and still had my wisdom teeth. I even told him that I feared that my teeth were not salvageable at all and that I was going to be the worst case he'd ever seen and he would simply ask me to leave because he could not help me.

This was very hard to do, but he was so understanding and non-judgmental and when I told him I was there because my teeth are essentially the only thing holding me back as a human being and not taking care of them is my life's greatest regret, he told me that he was glad that I'd come to him because he was sure he and his brother (his fellow dentist) could help me. I cannot adequately express to you how much of a relief this was to hear. He also informed me that I was in complete control. There would be no rushing or pressuring me and that I could come back in the future and begin the process of x-rays and photos whenever I was ready, or, if I wanted, I could do it now. Emboldened by this, I agreed to do them right then and there.

The x-rays and photos were not too bad and as soon as we were finished. Dr. Jay informed me that none of my greatest fears had come to pass. My roots and foundations were fine. My teeth were not falling out or moving or decayed. I had no signs of oral cancers and in fact, he felt that most of my issues were simply cosmetic. He told me that they see people far worse than me every day and they help them too, so helping me would be no problem. My biggest issues were that a couple of my ancient silver fillings needed to be replaced and there was the possibility of needing a partial crown on a molar depending on how the tooth was doing under the filling, but that these things were fairly easy to take care of whenever I was ready. However, the first step would be to do a cleaning, which again, I could do whenever I wanted, but he also told me that he felt his brother, Dr. Mike, could completely solve my cosmetic issues immediately if I wanted to proceed.

I asked him for a minute to consider this. The thought that the shame and suffering that I'd endured for over a decade could be ended within a day seemed preposterous, but I trusted him. I'd just met the guy and yet he had me considering stuff that I hadn't even been able think about for my entire adult life. It felt like an opportunity and so I took it.

20 minutes. That's all it took. 20 minutes of mild discomfort and Dr. Mike completely restored my teeth. Underneath all the calculus and plaque of 18 years were my teeth, intact and after a polishing, actually white. I was in tears. Just thinking about it now, it still overwhelms me. I saw myself in the mirror and gave a wide, toothy smile for the first time since the first Obama administration and white, normal looking teeth looked back. It felt like a miracle.

I still have to use a prescription mouthwash for two weeks to treat my gums. I'm going back next week to have my fillings replaced and the possible crown work started. I still need to have my wisdom teeth removed and I believe a deep scaling/cleaning is in order as well, but unbelievably, I'm not worried at all. The hardest part is over. I have found two dentists who care, who I trust and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I can't stop looking at my teeth. This feels like a dream and if I can do it, you can too. Do your research ask around and find a dentist who cares. They do exist. You deserve to feel good again.

Needless to say, Dr. Jay and Dr. Mike are going to get a hell of a Christmas gift basket from me. No hard candy, though.

If you ever find yourself in Los Angeles and in need of a dentist, I cannot recommend Mint Dental enough. In a single day, they changed my life.

Wow, that’s wonderful! So glad you can put that worry behind you.