• Dental Phobia Support

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My dental phobia story + some questions...



Well-known member
Mar 16, 2021
A little backstory about me. I haven’t been to the dentist in about 11 years, and now I’m absolutely petrified to go. I’m sure my story is similar to many of you, but I feel so ashamed and so alone. I’ve kept this a secret from EVERYONE in my life. I’m so embarrassed that I’ve let so much time lapse, but I had an awful experience many years ago & just didn’t want to go through anything like that again. They have an extremely difficult time getting my mouth numb & I was practically on the ceiling from having my tooth drilled into & hitting the nerve. The thought of it now still makes me sick to my stomach. Along with that, my teeth are just sensitive & the whole process is just so tense and unnerving. I hate the feeling of being out of control & trapped in the dental chair. It makes me feel so claustrophobic. I’ve been lurking here for a couple years, but never registered or actively participated. Earlier this week I had an awful toothache in my farthest back, upper molar. Like awful, throbbing pain- nerve pain. Nothing else feels tender/swollen, just pain in the tooth like a nerve is exposed. I’ve been researching “comfort” dentists & hoping to find a good fit. I finally found a local dentist with glowing reviews & who takes my insurance. I emailed the office on Wednesday & explained my extreme dental phobia & they emailed me back almost immediately & were very kind/understanding. The tooth felt pretty okay Wed/Thurs but today (Fri) the pain is back. I’ve been taking a lot of ibuprofen, doing some gentle saltwater rinses, applying some numbing gel around the tooth & praying it doesn’t get worse over the weekend. I finally got the courage to call the office today and schedule to dressed appointment. My hands were shaking clammy & I felt sick to my stomach just making the call. After all of this....their office closes early on Fridays! I had to leave a message for someone to call me on Monday. So, while I’m proud that I finally gathered the courage to call, I’m now stuck waiting until after the weekend for a call back (with an angry tooth that I am PRAYING doesn’t get worse). I’m so scared to go in for an appointment but I really, really just want to be able to stop worrying about my teeth 24/7. I seriously think about my teeth every waking hour of every day. It’s depressing and exhausting. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I applaud you if you made it through! It feels good to get it all written down.

Also, if anyone has any good suggestions (besides OTC pain relief) to help with the pain, let me know. Has anyone tried applying Listerine to a cotton ball & holding on the painful tooth? Yay or nay? I don’t want to make it worse!

TK ?
Hi TKB1974,

Well done for calling the dental office. Don't stop, keep going in the direction of seeing a dentist and please keep us updated.
Unfortunately, I don't have an enlightening suggestion how to ease the pain. Please don't apply the listening for too long because the alcohol can irritate the gum.
It sounds to me that two of the videos I made might help you with making sure the next appointment will be pain free. Hope it helps:
Thank you so much for your reply! The Listerine initially helped but then it seemed like it caused almost worse rebound pain after about 30 minutes of relief, so I stopped. Just alternating Tylenol/Motrin & using ice packs until I can be seen next week. I read some of the various articles on this site about issues with numbing, and I will check out what you posted as well. I’m hoping this “forced” visit for pain will help me down the road to recovering from my dental phobia.
Honestly a “forced” visit as you put it due to pain was the start of my road to overcoming my fear. And the push I needed to go and start getting things sorted. I think it’s been about 7ish years now and I haven’t looked back and go for my check ups every six months (except due to covid).

Remember though No one is forced to go to the dentist. It is your choice ?
Honestly a “forced” visit as you put it due to pain was the start of my road to overcoming my fear. And the push I needed to go and start getting things sorted. I think it’s been about 7ish years now and I haven’t looked back and go for my check ups every six months (except due to covid).

Remember though No one is forced to go to the dentist. It is your choice ?

Definitely not forced- just forcing myself because I’m in quite a bit of pain. 100% my choice, but still scared sh*tless (even though I’m in so much pain). To look at me from the outside, you’d never know I’m such a hot mess. I have straight, white, normal looking teeth, but I’m worried that the years of me neglecting dental care has wreaked havoc on my once nice teeth. I’m a 45 year old educated woman. I work full time. I’m a wife and a mom (and yes, my kids have never missed a dental or an ortho appointment), but I just can’t get over this crippling fear I have. Praying that this is the push I need & praying even harder that I’ve chosen well with this new dental practice/dentist. I just want to be done with the constant worrying.
Hey, yes, sorry get that you were not being forced. I know the feeling of forcing myself definitely. I suppose I just like to reiterate to people on here that they don’t need to feel pressure by anyone to go to the dentist unless they want to.

I experienced severe pain that was the only push for me to finally go and I haven’t turned back. I still go. I was so terrified but I pushed myself through it to go and was so pleased I did. It was do hard at the time though so I appreciate the struggle, and I didn’t have as much to fix with my teeth as I was worried it did. I’m sure you have done your diligence and picked well with the dentist! Keep us updated and good luck for your appointment
I made it through the first appointment to check on my very painful molar, and as I thought, a RTC is needed (farthest back molar). I shed a few tears at the appointment (maybe from the stress of the whole experience leaving my body), but the dentist and her entire staff were so kind, gentle & understanding. I made an appointment for a full exam/cleaning for April 22nd & I will call the endodontist tomorrow to schedule the RTC. I’m still terrified, but being in pretty excruciating pain sorta gave me the push I needed. In the meantime, I have a 10 day course of antibiotics & some heavy duty pain pills for at night if I need them. Hoping to take care of the RTC in the next week (or less!) it was scary as hell, not gonna lie, but I am so glad that I took the first step & I think I hit the jackpot with this dentist and staff! Hopefully the endodontist is just as great.