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My adolescent dental care made me believe my oral health was doomed



Junior member
Jul 2, 2022
But it turns out that teeth are pretty tough and even 12 years of calculus buildup didn't cause them all to crumble away. I never wanted to go back to the dentist because of all the terrible things I had been told. My dentist literally told me I had the mouth of an elderly person, when I was a teen. I really internalized that and other comments, which created this narrative in my head so that as soon as I saw a problem with my teeth, I thought I was in for multiple root canals, extractions, and even dentures. My mom got dentures young and I was always told by dentists that I had bad genes and bad habits (sugar they said, but now I know carbs are a huge culprit too....they never told me that!) which would lead.me down the same road. I accepted that my mouth was doomed and nothing would change that. You can't change bad genes, can you?
Well I finally went to get x-rays last week and my first appointment with work was today. At my debridement, I did not use any numbing gel or anesthetic. The hygienist said to let her know if I felt any discomfort (which at first I was like hell no, I am not doing this without numbing....but decided to keep my hand ready to raise, but trust her until I felt anything bad) But of course she was right. Apart from the ultrasonic tool, everything was fine. Mentally I was scared as hell though. The scraping is awful and I hate the feeling, but I just kept focusing on the podcast in my ears and reminding myself that I was in good hands. An hour flew by and before I knew it I was sitting up and admiring these teeth I have not seen in over a decade. Wow, they are actually white, and not stained at all. All my life they used to be very overcrowded, I could not even fit a string between them to floss, but now there is a little gap between the middle two and the others all have just enough space to be comfy. It's funny because I always worried about a gap under all that gunk, but it's really not so bad, especially when I think of what was there before. It's growing on me. It's kooky but cute. And for the first time in forever this evening I went to a work event and did not feel self conscious without my mask on. I get to be one of the regular folks again! Taking care of my teeth and going about my life without the constant worry about what people are thinking when I speak to them. I still need 3 more cleanings to get my gums back to health, plus 2 cavities filled and 3 of my wisdom teeth removed. I expected to hear so much worse. The big thing I had hanging over my head was a fear of bone loss, which I forgot to ask my dentist about at the end, but my hygienist mentioned at one point that she didn't see any bone loss. That shocked me. Sigh. I wish I had realized how silly I was being all these years. One hour in the chair and I could have started on the way to having my life back long ago. But some of us learn the hard way I guess....
If you're reading this and are worried about taking that first step, please keep trying. It took me several attempts but I finally found a great team, close to home, who doesn't break the bank. I feel truly accomplished and all I had to do was sit there and get through it! Christmas came early for me this year and I've never been so eager to welcome a new year as I am now. I'm so thankful for this thread and the courage that I built through reading it. I never thought I could do it, but I felt like you were all there in the room cheering me on, while your stories echoed in my head. Thank you all for sharing your stories, I read sooo many and each one helped me begin to carve a path toward leaving behind the "before" version of myself. I'm now on the road to my "after".
Good luck!
Wonderful! Such courage.

I am glad you are feeling and doing better.

Please send some courage for me: I’m going to need it going into 2023 😉

In the meantime, enjoy your holidays, knowing you’ve taken some very big steps.
@Dg6300 thank you! It's incredible how one's mind can build something up into this insurmountable, crippling obstacle. I think I might need to see a therapist to deal with all the tough stuff that was wrapped up in my head about this. I had no idea how simple it would be to address these dental issues and now I feel almost aimless, like in some ways I don't really know who I am without that huge part of my identity (however negative it was for my mental and physical well-being). Like I always knew when I met new people, my teeth would dominate their first impression of me. Now, I feel like a teen again, all self conscious and wondering what folks see when they meet me. Considering how doomed I had felt for so long, this is a small issue for me and something I am working on. I'll take it over the threat of losing teeth any day!

Best of luck to you! Remember that a good dental team won't make you feel ashamed or embarrassed about getting treatment. My team was so warm (I was caught off guard!) And both hygienists who worked on me shared how excited they were to show me what progress could be made in the first few appts. That really put me at ease and helped me get through sitting in the chair.
I'm so proud of you for taking this step, and I'm excited that 2023 has big positive changes in store for you and your oral health. Stay at it! And keep us updated please :)
Writing to update that I had my first quadrant of scaling + root planing today. The worst part was being numb for several hours after, there was a bit of pressure at some points but nothing worse than a regular cleaning... I'm glad that I know just what to expect at my next visit in 2 weeks. I have to use interdental flossers now as my pockets are all 3-5s but fingers crossed I can stay consistent and get my gums back to good health. I have two more appointments between now and the first week of February and I'm so happy that they have openings so I don't need to wait for all this work. Finally getting my act together! Thank you all for the support!
This is wonderful. Very well done.

You’ve come a long way.

Keep us posted.