• Dental Phobia Support

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Major Health/Dental Anxiety sufferer looking to be talked off the ledge here.



Sep 26, 2021
Hey all, I've been lurking here for a long time and have decided to make a post because my upcoming dentist's appointment has me absolutely losing my mind.

A bit of backstory:

I'm 32, I've moved a lot and been very busy, had massive struggles with alcohol in my twenties and haven't been to the dentist in nearly 15 years. I had lots of plans to do so before I let alcohol ruin my life during almost all of my twenties.

When I was young, my dad was in the military and I had horrible experiences with military dentists. They treated my mother very poorly and would berate me borderline yell at me for being afraid. My last one before getting braces was with a dentist who walked out of the room because I was crying and didn't inform anyone, I was just locked in the examination room for a very long time.

I'm not over 3 years sober, and during quarantine I finally decided to quit smoking. After 16 years of a pack or more a day I've now been nicotine free for about 12 months and I've decided that going to the dentist is the next big step on my way to recover.

Alcohol absolutely decimated my physical health for such a long time and my isolation from it has caused me to now suffer from horrible generalized anxiety, but more specifically, health anxiety. I had some diagnoses of liver damage in my late twenties that have just absolutely scared me to the point any ache or pain has me fearing the worst.

Since deciding to go to the dentist I can't stop brushing and flossing and taking pictures of my mouth, I have been googling and watching videos and reading journals for the better part of two weeks and I am absolutely dreading what might be in store for me.

My lovely wife thinks I'll just get my wisdom teeth pulled and likely some fillings, but I'm not convinced I believe I may be in danger of losing important teeth. I know I have some cavities.

I just don't know what to do or how to cope. I have an appointment with a dentist in 9 days (we did research and review state this particular dentist is amazing with anxiety patients) but I am literally not able to function I am so worried.

I guess I'm looking for an honest opinion on what I should expect. I have no where else to turn.

I've got some sensitivity on the top left side and have had some gum irritation around my partially covered wisdom teeth but other than that all of my teeth feel incredibly solid and I have no issues with chewing or anything like that.

Am I completely screwed?

The final pic, I have another similar hole on the other side, but that one is smaller.


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Hey natural_!
I of course am not a dentist, but, I think I agree with your wife! None of your teeth look like they’ll need to be extracted IMO, and trust me I’ve been there. Even if they do, dentistry has advanced so much I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I hadnt been in a long time and have had at least eight Appointments the last couple months. Including wisdom teeth removal at 41! There‘s so much they can do now, hurts a bit financially but worth it:) congrats on your sobriety and quitting smoking, those are going To help your dental health so much! And congrats for even making the appointment, the relief you feel after no matter the outcome is so amazing! keep Us posted. Best of luck, you’ve got this
I appreciate the reply, I'm glad that you seem to have found some peace with your dental fate.

There‘s so much they can do now, hurts a bit financially but worth it

I have no means to replace an important tooth whatsoever. This is one of the things I fear most. I have insurance that will cover things like fillings and wisdom tooth removal but anything in the realm of crowns/implants/bridges is something I will have to pay for out of pocket and have absolutely no way of affording. I don't really stress out about the pain of an extraction, I can see clearly from photos that my wisdom teeth will have to go. I just worry about having to have massive scale mouth wide work done and having some of my front bottom or important molars removed.

Coming the these forums has been both helpful and hurtful in some respects, one the one hand, it's helped me feel reassured that I can take a more active role in making sure I find the right dentist and making sure my comfort is managed, but it's also made me more worried that I will lose teeth or end up spending the next few years of my life struggling financially and having my life revolve around the next time I am going to get my mouth drilled, poked, or operated on.

I am just hoping I am not at the point where I am looking at large scale chronic issues and/or facing tooth loss.
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Hi, I'm not a dentist either, but I can't see anything in those photos that suggests that you will lose important teeth?

Overtreatment can be a concern in the United States (especially with dental chains and dental discount plans), so here are some tips for finding the right dentist:

Appreciate the response, definitely reassuring.

Overtreatment is definitely something I'm watching out for, but I'm not in the US, I'm an expat living in Vienna. Great insurance/Healthcare, but the language barriers and proximity barriers make things tough.

It's funny, the idea of overtreatment was virtually unheard of here in Austria 4-5 years ago, but it's something you hear more of as time passes.
I'm still absolutely convinced I am going to have to have the teeth with the side holes extracted and possibly some of my front bottoms removed. Is this all unlikely?

I understand that no diagnoses can be given and that without x-rays it's nearly impossible to see the complete picture, but I am just wondering if anything I've shown is a big red flag or if I just have really dirty teeth with some caries and cavities.

I left this photo out the first time, my apologies.

At this point the anxiety is going to send me to the ER long before my teeth do.


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I just have really dirty teeth with some caries and cavities.
That. Except that they're not really dirty and you don't have many cavities.
Hello Natural, Wish I had lovely even teeth like yours - mine are wonky and have enough metal in them to build a ship. Well done in your quest and hope things go well for you.
Hello Natural, Wish I had lovely even teeth like yours - mine are wonky and have enough metal in them to build a ship. Well done in your quest and hope things go well for you.

Thanks for the kind words rufus, I appreciate it.

I think the more and more I think about the state of my teeth the more I realize how badly anxiety can affect my thoughts, not just about the state of my mouth, but about my outlook on everything.

For a very good part of the last few weeks I've been convinced that I am in for a nightmare when I go to the dentist, that I will have many teeth pulled, many root canals, and all sorts of unfavorable things.

What I'm trying to say is that the state of teeth means very little when there is anxiety in the room, the grass isn't greener on the other side until you tackle the anxiety dragon (if this doesn't apply to you, i'm sorry, this is more of a stream-of-consciousness things atm).

Once my dental visits are over and done I think I am going to take a more active role in fighting my anxiety. I can't live like this.
Hello again Natural_, I can assure you that anxiety, racing heart, shaking hands and knees are my constant companions. I'm due for a check up in just over a month's time, so picturing root canals and fillings which mercifully may never happen. Trouble is that I'm a glass half empty sort of person with a whopping inferiority complex to cap it all, so I can empathise with how you look at things. The walking wounded are we but we battle our dragons and get through another day. All the very best to you.