• 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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Making 1st appointment in almost 5 years and TERRIFIED



Junior member
Oct 21, 2011
Hello all, I'm brand new to this forum - I found it when I Googled "dealing with dental fear." That page about embarrassment? That's me to a T. As my topic suggests, I'm calling to make my first dental appointment in almost five years, and even that idea scares me.

Note: The background story is long-winded. You've been warned.

A little background on my "issues": I wasn't born with dental fear, it's snowballed gradually. I was a preemie, born six weeks early. Even as a kid, I remember dentists telling my mom that I had underdeveloped, soft, weak teeth (as does my father.) I didn't lose my first baby tooth until I was 8, and all of my bottom teeth had to be pulled out (my pediatric dentist used the term "wiggled".) When I was 14, right before I got braces, I had all four of my baby canines and one molar pulled out at once. Then, no notable teeth issues until early 2007 - I joined the Air Force, and needed a root canal while in basic training. They scooped out (what I later discovered was most, but not all) of the root, and put a temporary cap on the tooth, and said they would see me in a few days. Well, the USAF decided to send me home (I broke my foot) without finishing the root canal. After being booted out of the Air Force, I had no money and no health insurance, so I couldn't get the procedure finished, so the temp. cap came off and the tooth broke off and fractured below the gumline. A few months later, my parents helped me pay for individual healthcare, as I was still unemployed. I went in to the local dentist and was told that oral surgery would fix me, but it'd cost $2500 and I'd have to pay out-of-pocket and get reimbursed. I couldn't afford that (or to keep my health insurance) so I "ignored" it. I work in retail, so as you may know healthcare is often either poor or nonexistent, especially if you have no experience, like I did in 2007. Fast-forward to today: I have my first full-time position with benefits, and can consider (but probably still not afford) a trip to the dentist. Problem is, due to almost 5 years of "ignoring" the problem, I have 3 MORE broken teeth, on the other side of my mouth. So now I'm in pain, ashamed of my oral health, terrified at how much this is going to cost, and worried about how I will pay for it. I'm also a clencher, which is how my most recent tooth broke. So the stress isn't just hurting me emotionally, but physically as well.

I'm also afraid of teeth. I get nauseous and sometimes cry when I see pictures (xrays are ok though.) That new play-doh toy where kids can pretend they're a dentist? It's enough to make me burst into tears when it comes on. I'm irrationally afraid of getting my teeth knocked out, and I'm
also terrified of my teeth being in such bad shape that I require dentures.

So I'm awake, it's almost 2 a.m., and I'm afraid to go to sleep because I'm terrified that my night-time clenching will break off the rest of my newest broken tooth, I have to call the dentist tomorrow, and I don't know how to explain my anxieties without sounding totally nuts (as I'm sure I did here.)

Any support, thoughts, words of encouragement, or anything would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening, Internet-Land.

Hi Laura!
Firstly, you have made a huge step by posting on this forum! Congratulations.
I can tell you my phobia started when I was a kid. I became afraid of blood in my mouth. Not blood in general just in my mouth. One of my baby teeth fell out when I was a kid thanks to a chain on a swing and I cried so bad they had to call my mom. So you're not alone!
I'm also a clencher. I do it at night mostly so I can relate to you! You just have to remember to breath. Take some deep breaths or hang upside down with your feet resting against the wall (I'm not kidding it really does calm you down!)
Also, you do not sound nuts! Don't put down your fears. Your dentist should be willing to listen to you even if you think you sound insane (If you look at my journal I burst into tears at my first appointment like major waterworks).
I'm sending you positive vibes!
P.S Reading the articles on here really helps a lot so don't forget to do that!
I have a lot of the same issues. By the time my teeth had gotten really bad, I would cry when toothpaste commercials came on, I HATE them! I hate watching TV and seeing all the people with their pretty teeth :mad:

I recently had my first appointment in a very long time. I went into it thinking most of my teeth were probably a lost cause, terrified of the visit, and also that I would not be able to afford whatever was needed. For me, all the anxiety I had for weeks and months before my appointment were about a million times worse than the appointment. And even though nothing has really changed, I feel so empowered by having made it through my first appointment. The good news was that despite the pain and the teeth that are broken, none of them are a lost cause.

I know you're scared, but you can do it. You'll be okay. And you are definitely not alone.
Congratulations for posting on here :jump:. The most important thing now is to find a kind competent dentist you can build a trusting relationship with, so as to minimise the chances of your being knocked back again. https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/help/find-a-dentist/

Apparently hypnosis can help with stress clenching for some people but when you do get to your new dentist, they may want to make you a custom fit mouthguard at some point to stabilise the situation.

Take babysteps and let us know how it goes.:)

It is possible to go the dentist and not see any teeth yourself ;). Just tell them you don't want to see the intra-oral camera on a screen in front of you if they have one of those.

It's unlikely you'd need dentures, it's amazing what broken down teeth can be restored with modern techniques. The sooner you feel able to get a dentist's opinion, the sooner you will have an idea. If you don't like the plan however, don't be afraid to get a second opinion to be on the safe side.
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I am terrified of the dentist and suffer from the same shame you do. It helped me to learn I am not the only one suffering with this, and I hope you will be encouraged knowing you are not alone either. To me, there is just something very intimate about the mouth. Teeth are sacred to me. Like you, I am afraid of losing my teeth and having to get dentures or just go toothless. When I was told I would have to have two teeth pulled last year, I cried and cried for days. I felt I was going to lose a part of myself and my identity. It's so hard to explain, but it is upsetting none the less. Well, I had the two teeth removed anyway, and I am happy to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. As weird as it may sound, I was so relieved when I saw that I still looked the same and talked the same. I was so afraid the teeth removal would change me as a person. I'm in the same spot now, having to face getting a wisdom tooth pulled. I'm scared again, but I've received some good advice on here. I think the most encouraging advice is that there are good dentists out there who will understand if we shop around to find one. My husband reminds me that the dentist works for us. We are paying for their service. Thus, we have the right to express what we want. I always felt like a little child who had to sit and behave. I realize now I have choices and can voice my concerns. It helps me to think on that. I hope it does you too. I wish you all the best.