• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Losing hope



Junior member
Mar 21, 2023
Hi, new member here.

I've been lurking on here for months, but have decided to finally got the courage to join.

My phobia of dentists began very young at the age of about 4. There was a girl in my school who had a playground accident that resulted in her needing dental work, it involved her being put under sedation, which sadly resulted in her death due to incompetence from the dentist, this was the same dental practice I went to as a child.
That terrified me as a child, and despite moving dental practices soon after that, I refused to go to another a denitst not long after that.
I didn't go to another dentist until age of about 23 and that was out of necessity because a back molar broke in half one day.

I never took great care of my teeth as a kid, wasn't really encouraged to look after them, not having a dentist for the vast majority of my childhood.
As a young adult up until now I've suffered from long periods of depression that meant I've not taken care of my oral health, also this has involved being on medications that have dried my mouth out over the years which has hastened the damage.

As I said, I went to the dentist for the first time for about 15 years when I was 23 because of a broken molar. It was filled, and it was discovered I needed two other fillings in two molars on the other side. That should have been my wake up call then, 3 fillings wasn't too bad considering 15 years of no dentist visits and bad oral care but sadly it wasn't. I refused to go back when my check up was due as I couldn't face going back, and just wanted to forget about dentists again.

Fast foward until I was 31 and things with my mouth were relatively okay. Had the odd toothache once or twice in those years that I just hoped would go away on their own, which they always did. But then in pretty much identical fashion a molar on the other side of my mouth broke away suddenly one day.

Went into the same panic and found the nearest dentist to me and forced myself to go hoping they could just fill it, and I could forget about dentists again. They could fill it, but said 2 of my fillings I got done 8 years ago needed to be replaced, and I had cavities in 4 other teeth that also needed fillling. I was in shock as even in the broken tooth I wasn't having any pain in any of my teeth. I reluctantly agreed to the treatment plan. She actually offered to do all 7 fillings in one 40 minute session which should have been my first red flag, but I asked if it could be split into 2-3 appointments as I couldn't face having all those done in one session.

Over the course of the next 2 months or so I got the work done. I really struggled having the work done, and also with the guilt of all the damage I had caused to my teeth. The filling procedures themselve weren't nice to go through, but were pain free, but it all felt very rushed. I had issues with fillings spilling over and filling in the gaps between teeth which made it almost impossible to floss between, but the dentist didn't seemed to care when I brought this up.

I got the work done anyway, and initially seemed to be okay for the first few months. I made a conscious effort to improve my oral hygiene which I've kept up since.

A couple months later the tooth that I initally broke when I was 23, then was refilled when I was 31, part of it broke away, forcing me to go back to the same dentist. I was angry that it broke so soon after it being refilled, I should have gone to another dentist at this point but was too scared to look elsewhere.
Had it refilled once again minus more of the natural tooth.

This took me to about September 2022, thats when the pain started and hasn't let up since, as I'm typing this now I am in pain.
I started having pain in the tooth that was refilled last, then pain in a filled tooth behind it, then a few weeks later in a filled tooth on the other side of the mouth. I tried to ignore it for over a month but the pain wasn't going away.
I needed to see a dentist but I didn't trust the dentist who just done all this work.

I have aspergers and just picking up the phone to speak to someone I don't know is incredibly hard for me, I decided I needed to see another dentist at another practice but ringing to just inquire was proving hard for me. I looked around and found a well reviewed practice, and which allowed for online booking for an appointment for new patients, no speaking on the phone to book required! Success!

Got an emergency appointment at the new dentist quite quickly. They only had time to look at one quadrant of my mouth during the emergency, the quadrant with the refilled tooth that was causing pain. The x-ray didn't pick anything up, only remarked that it was a large filling. The premolar next to it which the dentist had filled had a overhang which he suggested should be refilled as it could be a difficult to keep clean.

I had a full checkup a few weeks later, and had a full x-ray. 3 of the fillings the previous dentist had done had decay left under them so would need re-doing. The premolar with the filling overhang would need re-doing. A wisdom tooth on my right actually had a pretty big infection in it that he said looked to be a longstanding infection, previous dentist never mentioned a thing about it despite a pretty big visible cavity on it, so I would need that extracted.

So the last 6 months have just been having fillings replaced, a wisdom tooth removed and just pain. I've had most the work done but I'm still in pretty much daily pain.
One of the fillings I had replaced early December was a large filling, and about a month later I had terrible pain in it that lasted a good week, happened over Christmas and New Years which abosultley ruined Christmas for me. Pain eventually went, x-ray didn't show anything up and has been pain free for a few months now but I still worry about it.
Had another pretty large filling replaced just over 2 weeks ago and i'm still getting minor pain from it, hoping it will settle like the other tooth did eventually.

Then there's pain from fillings that the first dentist did but haven't been replaced, but clearly something is wrong with them as they're painful pretty much everyday. Then just random pain in teeth that seem healthy, no cavities, no issues on an x-ray but I still randomly get pain in. My dentist thinks I grind my teeth as well which can be causing some of the pain. I've never really noticed myself grinding, but several of my teeth are quite worn down so he's probably right. My wisdom tooth started hurting not long after he mentioned I had an infection in it. Had to wait months to have it out, finally had it out 2 weeks ago and has been a difficult recovery (still some quite minor pain)

My current dentist is nice, but I still hate every second I'm there. The anxiety mixed with my autism make it hard to explain properly to him how I feel or how much pain I'm still in.

These last 6 months have been horrible honestly. It's put me rock bottom mentally and left me in some very dark places. I've spent a small fortune at the first dentist, and then even more getting pretty much all the previous dentist's work replaced plus more work on top of it. I don't see any end in sight. The only thing I look foward to in the day is going back to sleep to escape the pain and worry.
I firstly want to welcome you @Neos and thank you for sharing your story. You will find you are not alone in this community as many adults have dental anxiety that roots back to childhood. I can completely understand why your worries started and can see how different situations have compounded this. To reassure you though that the best thing is that you are now looking after your oral health and doing right by yourself in trying to address these issues. That is a massive step to take in keeping yourself healthy.

When we have to get fillings replaced all at once it can seem unending. Things will settle though when the issues have all been addressed successfully. I would definitely talk with your dentist more about possible grinding as this can cause generalised aches and taking steps to address this will show more clearly any outstanding issues, of which hopefully there are none. Now that you are more aware of your oral health you can avoid what we call secondary decay, which is decay around fillings, making them last longer which is great. You can also prevent new decay occurring and keep your visits to just the regular check ups.

So keep persevering, you're doing great. You will get through this and things will settle. Just give it time as these issues have taken a while to accumulate and your dentist will help you to address them and get your mouth healthy and comfortable again.

Take care, Jodie
wow, im sleeping more too because im scared of all my fillings being messed up. i feel like im going to go crazy.
Had to go to the dentist last week, as was having terrible pain in upper left tooth. Still having the pain in it now.

Dentist couldn't find anything wrong with it though, even x-rayed it, it already has a filling, but it's quite a small one though so not near the nerve.

I swear when one pain dissapears for a while from one tooth, another tooth then starts hurting. X-rays never pick anything up either when i get them checked.

Maybe I am grinding, but I've been wearing an over the counter mouthguard for a few months and doesn't seem to be helping with the pain.
Dentist has offered to make me one, but I have to wait until I'm done with the work that needs doing first.
@Neos I would definitely recommend one being made by the dentist. Over the counter won't be as specific and could cause more issues if it's too bulky or lopsided at all putting uneven pressure on your bite. Agree that it's worth waiting for work to be completed and get the guard made then though. Keep going and getting it all sorted. You're doing great.