• Dental Phobia Support

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Its been 10 years and its time to face my fear



Junior member
Apr 6, 2017
I had an absolutely horrifying experience with the dentist over 10 years ago that's basically caused me to avoid the dentist ever since. That said, I know I can't go on like this. I did extensive research online and found a dentist that specializes in dental phobic patients and sedation dentistry. Today I pulled the trigger and made an appointment to go in for a consultation. I'm relieved and a bit terrified at the same time as to what I may need.

My teeth aren't loose, I don't have any real tooth or jaw pains, and none of them have cracked or anything but as its been 10 years theres a considerable amount of calculus buildup that will need to be cleaned and God knows what else I'll need. They're also fairly crooked/crowded but I think the first step is to get them healthy/clean and then work on straightening them out.

I'm basically posting to reach out to others who have been in similar positions, to see if you could share any insight on what to expect, any tips, things to discuss at the consultation etc. I know its just a consultation but I want to take it in baby steps and just the fact that I am even going to set foot in a dentist office is something I honestly didnt think would happen.

And seriously, thank you to everyone on this board. I've been lurking here for a while, trying to build up the courage to face my fear and I'm not sure I would have been able to do it if I hadnt read other's stories on here and taken comfort in knowing that there are others out there like me with the same problems that were able to overcome them.

Here goes nothing!
Hi and congratulations on making the appointment! I know how hard it was! I can't speak for everyone but after a 24 yr absence I felt a slight relief but was still very anxious about the visit. My worries were more about shame because my teeth were a mess. Once I arrived at the dentist I explained my fears and the dentist was very kind and assured me that he had seen it all! I felt immediate relief! We made a plan because my teeth were shot very loose and broken to gum line and even though I got bad news I felt relief because I new there was hope. I now have dentures but I'm happy I can go out in public and smile. You sound like you just need a good deep cleaning and I know your anxious but the relief you will feel once you face your fear is so wonderful. You can do this!! Our minds sometimes makes things worse then what things really are! You will be just fine. Dentistry has come so far and dentists are there to do their jobs and really want to help you! I just want to let you know that you have nothing to fear, hang in there you will get through this! Please keep me posted on your success!
Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement laralou. I know this road will be long and probably not easy, but its one I am (finally!) ready to take. I am very glad I found my new dentist as he specializes in phobic patients and sedation and my hope is to get a few visits under my belt to ease the anxiety and just take it one step at a time. My biggest fear is that every worst case scenario comes true and I need a ton of surgeries and extractions but I have a tendency to over analyze and worry too much, and even if that is the case, I am confident I can work with this dentist to find a treatment plan that accomodates any anxiety i might have.

Seriously, thanks again. I will be sure to return with updates.
Hi there! Well done for taking that first step and making an appointment - that in itself is huge! I avoided the dentist for over 20 years and finally started going almost 2 years ago now.

I think you are of the right mindset that it really is all about taking baby steps and focusing on one step at a time. For me, there was an overall end plan and big picture (that involves orthodontics and such), but in the beginning, my dentist was careful not to overwhelm me. I'm still not done with this saga of mine (seems endless at time haha), but even now, I'm staying focused on taking one step at a time. I think the biggest key in going down this road is finding the right dentist, and it sounds like you've found a good one so that's half the battle!

Try not to get carried away with thinking about worst case scenarios - you'll find that things are probably not as bad as you think they are. Just stay focused on getting there, and go from there. Once you find out what needs to be done, you'll feel a lot better.

As for the first visit, generally what they do is take x-rays, take a look in your mouth to see what's going on clinically, and possibly measure your gum pockets. Some offices do a cleaning at the first visit, but for me that was a second appointment. It's important to remember though that YOU are in control though and that you should only agree to what you think you can handle. Talk to them about this, and what your fears/concerns are, and any good dentist will work with you at a pace you can handle.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes! :)
Just to add to what others have said... it's easy to start thinking about all of the things that could possibly be wrong. However, given that you're not in any pain and there's no visible damage, it's unlikely that you need a ton of work done. You may need some fillings and a good cleaning, but hopefully nothing more. I went 6-8 years (I honestly don't remember) without going to the dentist and needed many fillings and my wisdom teeth extracted. Over the years since, I've needed other work done, but I still have all my teeth (which I'm sure would not be the case if I hadn't started going when I did).

Congrats on taking a huge first step!! When is your appointment?
I go in for my initial consultation /xrays next week. I was supposed to go in this week but was also moving at the time and had some complications with my insurance so that complicated things a bit. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed so I moved the appointment back to next week. I'm a bit disappointed in myself but I was super stressed out with everything going on, to the point of not being able to sleep. moving might be almost as stressful as this dentist stuff. Almost :).

In any case,my dentist actually called me personally yesterday to discuss my concerns. He was amazing. I ended up pouring my heart out about everything that scares me, which, as I discussed, is largely the fear of the unknown and the worst case scenario. He just listened, stressed that he works for me and we dont have to do anything I don't want. He then discussed how he approaches likely treatments re: fillings, root canals, deep cleanings and even gave me his personal cell number if I had any concerns leading up to our first appointment.

I am anxious, but I feel like once I know what my road is ahead (so long as I dont need all my teeth extracted :o), I will have lifted a tremendous weight of my shoulders and things will only get easier with each appointment/treatment.
It sounds like you've found a great dentist! And, I think you're right... once you know what the plan is, you will likely feel a lot better.