• Dental Phobia Support

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I need help, my fear comes partially from shame

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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
Hi all, I posted about a year ago. I had some kind comments of encouragement but it was not enough to propel me to take care of my myriad of dental problems. I did try to email a dentist office but they never responded, so I gave up.

I have an extreme shame of the condition of my teeth, and I feel a dentist would only add to it asking why I waited so long to address my problems. And expressing disapproval of this state of affairs.

I haven't been to the dentist since my teens and I'm now in my 40s. I have an extreme crowding of my lower teeth. I have one tooth that especially has been pushed quite a lot out of position and it is now starting to bother me with pain. That is only the beginning of the problems but it is foremost.

I'm in the USA if it matters. I know you friendly people cannot perform miracles or give certain kind of advice, but please, I need help :(
 
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Cookierobots

Junior member
Joined
Jul 2, 2022
Messages
13
Location
US
Hi @adendum4567 I could have written this myself! I also have bad crowding on the bottom which has been the case most of my life, but it's gotten bad since I have gone 12 years between appointments and there is extreme calculus buildup-- that's not close to being my only problem, but it's what people see when I talk and that's really hard on me. I feel daily shame and anger about how I've let things get this far, but this forum has really helped me cope with that. I also was here a year ago reading and psyching myself up, but did not act. Today was my first appt since I was a teen and I can't believe I was so scared, for how kind and reassuring everyone at the office was. The woman who took my x-rays said she was looking forward to getting in there and cleaning them up, and that most people don't realize what an improvement just a deep cleaning can do. Long road ahead for me but I'm on it and I'm far less scared without all that shame weighing me down. So my advice -- being myself as much a newbie as you are to all this, really-- is to take it slowly and just read lots of posts here to start. If you are like me, you will start to get really tired of being stuck in the "before" stage of your journey and will begin to yearn for the "after" part. It sucks and it's not fair and whatever you have going on with your teeth really isn't your fault. These are just things life throws at us, it's all part of the ride. I'm wishing you the absolute best and can't wait to read about your "after" story here one day. Hang in there!
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
Hi @Cookierobots, thank you for your kind words and congrats on your new beginning.

Part of what gives me pause is that I keep looking out for a dentist who advertises for extreme cases or that they specifically say that they'll treat people with phobia. I never find this, though I have heard of such places. Maybe it's folk lore.

Another reason is that I feel I'm the proverbial worst case. I've seen many say it's been 10, 15 years since they had a dentist visit but never 30. You can imagine the awful state of my teeth despite my own best efforts at home.

How does one choose a dentist? I could ask friends and family but they haven't begun from the same sad state that I am in, and I'm ashamed to even reveal to them how bad things have gotten.

I tend to be a deep thinker/over thinker, which is often what causes certain phobias for be. I recognize this is a problem but it's a lifelong problem, more of a character trait at this point. I'm sure this contributes to my whole problem-filled scenario.

I'm going to try looking up dentists today, but even that simple act, last time I attempted it, caused me a lot of grief. I was nearly in tears. This is why I gave up when the first dentist I tried didn't reply. I'm not usually a quitter, but this is particularly hard for me.
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
Fyi, I did email a dentist that I found in the suggestions section of the board.

I feel hopeful that they will respond positively to my concerns.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,759
@adendum4567 in case you haven’t seen this, we’ve got a page with lots of useful tips for finding a phobic friendly dentist here:

 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
Thank you so much @letsconnect.

I hadn't seen that particular page but I have been browsing the testimonials and the common fears (particularly shame)

But the approach I took in contacting the first dentist is nigh on identical to what is recommended in your link.

Again, thank you. I'm hoping that I can finally get this part of my life together. I've been in tears reading about the dental shame because essentially that's me.
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
Another update:

The dentist whose referral I found on this forum emailed me back. Their office closes a bit early on Friday so I'll have to wait till Monday to speak to someone on the phone.

Could this be the beginning of getting my problems fixed? I sure hope so ...
 
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Cookierobots

Junior member
Joined
Jul 2, 2022
Messages
13
Location
US
@adendum4567 good luck on Monday, I bet the call will go great and you will feel a mix of nerves and excitement over taking the first step. Who knows, the call could end up being the hardest part of your whole journey and it all might get easier after that. Just get that appointment made and don't worry too much about saying all the right things. We're here for you and you can do this!
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
Well I made a call at 8 sharp. The person on the phones was very understanding but she says they only have an appointment slot for an exam, not treatment. But I made the appointment anyway. She was very nice and listened to my story and my fears. I hope the dentist is as understanding. Please keep me in your thoughts today

I was nearly in tears on the phone.
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
Got bumped up from an afternoon to a morning appointment. My time of reckoning fast approaches.
 
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Cookierobots

Junior member
Joined
Jul 2, 2022
Messages
13
Location
US
@adendum4567 a job well done! My first appt was also just x-rays which I thought I would be sick about but I got there and everyone was so great it was no problem. Hopefully the exam helps you warm up and get comfy with the team before you need to actually have any work done. Morning appointments are ideal in my view, less time to worry all day. Super proud of you!
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
@Cookierobotsthank you so much for your support. I've barely begun but I took a successful first step this morning.

After I made the appointment I knew there was no turning back, and to be honest I really didn't want to, even though I was still feeling apprehensive.

I walked into the dentist's office with my wife, sat down, filled out the customary forms, and before I knew it I was called in by the assistant.

I told her that I hoped she didn't mind me telling my story, and then I did. Somehow I was able to hold back tears, thankfully. After I was done, she went straight to taking X-rays before even looking in. To my surprise, she told me that she thought my situation isn't as bad as I thought it was.

Then the dentist came in, after being briefed by the assistant, asked me how I was and how was my weekend, and proceeded to lay out a plan of action.

I'm not in the predicament I thought I was, but I do need a decent amount of work including my fist ever extraction of teeth. And he's saying most likely braces. At my age! But it's fine, it's better than losing my teeth.

I feel hopeful that this is the beginning of something very positive in my life. Until now my dental health has always been a hovering black cloud. What a day.

Oh and I might add: my worst fear, the shaming... Nothing of the sort. They were professional and courteous the whole time.
 
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Cookierobots

Junior member
Joined
Jul 2, 2022
Messages
13
Location
US
@adendum4567 that's fantastic, and your wife must be so proud of you! My partner was a huge factor in my motivation to finally make my dental moves, is your wife one for you too?
So glad you found a team that you feel comfortable with! I realized after my appointment that the anxiety over finding a dental team I trust and who I don't need to feel ashamed opening up to was my biggest issue. I'm not really feeling afraid of the pain or recovery from whatever I need done (will find out my plan 12/15) I am most afraid of trusting someone to work in my mouth and do what's best for me. Find a good team and hopefully everything can be easier. It sounds like you've done that and now all that's left is to show up and follow their lead. It's a new beginning, congrats on taking the first step!
Have you had extractions before? They are not too bad and there's lots of useful info around here about what you can expect. Keep us updated!
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
@Cookierobots you've been quite a help through all this, so thank you again.

My wife is happy for me, but I have kept my dental shame even from her for a very long time, so I'm not sure she fully realizes what a huge step this was. She has had a lot of dental work done in her life, but she keeps up with it. As a result her teeth are quite good.

My driver for getting my teeth fixed is a mixed bag. The most urgent matter was a bout with an undercooked carrot that caused pain, but also I just want to get my life together. I finally graduated from University at an advanced age, got my supposed dream job, and am making alright money doing it. It only makes sense to me that I should take care of other things now that I have taken care of many other aspects of life.

As for extractions, this will be another first. Unfortunately I have to go see a different doctor (oral surgeon) and they're quite booked so I have a month to think about how nervous I am. From what the person on the phone there said, I could be put under anesthesia, and I said I prefer it. My appointment there is January 25.

I also have a booking for tomorrow (!) for my first deep cleaning with a laser. The assistant told me the doctor who is doing the laser cleaning is also very nice and I'm even encouraged to bring earbuds should I want to listen to music and just try to relax.
 
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Emily85

Junior member
Joined
Aug 14, 2022
Messages
15
Location
New Zealand
@Cookierobots you've been quite a help through all this, so thank you again.

My wife is happy for me, but I have kept my dental shame even from her for a very long time, so I'm not sure she fully realizes what a huge step this was. She has had a lot of dental work done in her life, but she keeps up with it. As a result her teeth are quite good.

My driver for getting my teeth fixed is a mixed bag. The most urgent matter was a bout with an undercooked carrot that caused pain, but also I just want to get my life together. I finally graduated from University at an advanced age, got my supposed dream job, and am making alright money doing it. It only makes sense to me that I should take care of other things now that I have taken care of many other aspects of life.

As for extractions, this will be another first. Unfortunately I have to go see a different doctor (oral surgeon) and they're quite booked so I have a month to think about how nervous I am. From what the person on the phone there said, I could be put under anesthesia, and I said I prefer it. My appointment there is January 25.

I also have a booking for tomorrow (!) for my first deep cleaning with a laser. The assistant told me the doctor who is doing the laser cleaning is also very nice and I'm even encouraged to bring earbuds should I want to listen to music and just try to relax.

Have you had your appointment yet? I've been following your thread and I'm interested to see how you got on. I too have suffered from bad teeth and dental anxiety for years. This forum has been a huge help to me.
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
@Emily85 Hi Emily,

I've had two appointments so far. I've had consulting and x-rays and another for my first deep cleaning.

The deep cleaning was scary and only slightly painful afterwards but I was good and numb for the procedure.

I have another deep cleaning in two days that I am dreading but I know now what to expect and I know I'll make it through ok.

I no longer fear shame from the people at my dental practice, but I am still fearful of the procedures. I have a 'big one' coming up in January with two wisdom teeth due to be extracted.
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
672
Location
US
I hope the procedure went well yesterday!
 
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adendum4567

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
37
Location
usa
@Dg6300 thank you. It wasn't pleasant and I'm still sore, but it did go well.
 
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