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my first appointment in YEARS is in 7 hours - and i'm scared they'll say i have cancer



May 4, 2023
united states
i have posted on here a few times but left. i think i can safely say this has happened many times to many members.

we get the courage to post and talk about what it is we're going through and tell everyone our fears, but then we start scrolling and see other posts and think: "that is NOTHING like what i am going through - i WISH i had their issues and not my own!"

i started to feel defeated by some of the posts here. i would see pictures and automatically think to myself that they have seemingly perfect teeth but are just afraid of a cleaning. meanwhile i sit here only having a total of 15 teeth (after losing so many of them over the past several years) and some of those remaining teeth are broken or loose. i have teeth that are broken down to the gum and have been that way for at least 13 years now. i have missing teeth in the lower front. my gums are puffy and loose around some of my remaining teeth. it just feels like i don't see that sort of thing on this forum. and when i tell you i have read this forum up and down? i mean it.

i know some are going to read this and think i am horrible for saying what i have. but i have a feeling someone will eventually see this post, whether now or down the road, and think to themselves: finally - someone said it. i am aware that it's not okay to compare my situation to others, so please don't think i am saying my situation is worse than anyone else's. i'm not. i understand we all go through our own things and fear our own stuff. some of us have perfect teeth, haven't seen a dentist in a few years and are terrified - while others barely have any teeth and haven't been to a dentist in decades and are terrified. then there are those choice few that haven't been to a dentist in 30+ years and are terrified, only to have one or two cavities if that. haha! i'm struggling to find someone to relate to on here. i have yet to find a post that describes me 100%. i guess that's what makes us all different. but i am struggling with that somehow. because somehow that makes me feel like i am alone. like my case is going to be much different to the point where the dentist tells me something horrible. life changing. life altering.


my first dentist appointment in well over a decade is in less than seven hours. i have called numerous places with good ratings that are in close proximity to me, made appointments, and have cancelled last minute or a few days before. this is the first one i have kept until the exact day of the appointment. i am beyond terrified that they are going to tell me that i need dentures - i need all my teeth pulled - i have oral cancer - something. i found a hard lump on my lower jaw several months ago when i was washing my face. it doesn't move and feels like it's attached to the jaw bone. because of this, i am terrified i have some sort of cancer. below that on my neck i have a lump that has been there for years - at least a decade....like a lymphnode that has been swollen forever.

i haven't been to a dentist in 14+ years. i haven't been to a doctor in 14+ years. i haven't taken any sort of medication in that time, either, not even tylenol. i have a huge fear of medication. i have a huge fear of allergic reactions because i have had so many of them in the past (reason why i stay away from all things medical) so i am just terrified. i am terrified and i need help.
I agree with you in the sense that it bugs me when people have seemingly good teeth with full pictures of their mouth stressing over minor decay in one tooth and will be afraid to go. But that’s just my perspecrive of the situation, I guess we all had a time when we had better teeth and didn’t go for more minor issues.

I hadn’t been to the dentist in 13 years. When I say it it seems such a huge period of time, but it doesn’t feel that long on a day to day basis. When I worked it out I couldn’t believe it. I eventually went because a huge molar filling fell out and it is particularly bothering me on this occasion knowing it was there. I watched endless videos of dentures thinking I would need them, or that I had something even worse. Or that I had terrible gum disease. I’d compare my teeth to others and think “their teeth aren’t much worse than mine, if at all, and they need them all out?” Or “that tooth looks way better than mine does and they’re needing it out?”

If you read my thread on this section which is recent and near the top, you will see how bad I was. I actually cried a bit (and I never cry, it’s just not me) and I genuinely considered ways of ending myself. It’s like all my tooth issues just smacked me at once. Eventually I went. I spent £75 for just an initial checkup and X-rays so I couldn’t waste it.

I think I’ve got to a point that the potential of my teeth getting worse and ending up in massive pain and needing time off work etc was way worse than just going to the dentist. So I did. 12 fillings (ranging from a couple BIG ones, couple medium and the rest small), one extraction, and gums are fine and healthy. I’m £2500 worse off and could only do this through a credit plan. But after I got out the relief that I’m finally tackling an issue that plagues me every single day was immense. Genuinely I felt so good. The embarrassment I felt dissolved entirely after that first initial look at my teeth, all my dirty secrets I try my best to hide were out in the open, and I realized….they don’t care about the condition of my teeth in that way, they just wanna work out how to fix it. Once that clicked in my brain I was fine. By the time I was halfway through my anxiety was still there but I was chatting fine and actually kind of relaxed.

In other words I think you should just do your absolute best to go. I thought that whatever issues I have are still going to be there regardless, and they’re just going to get worse. Any chance of saving teeth would be slipping away from me every single day if I didn’t go. But if I did go then I might be able to save them, and if it’s bad news then well, it was going to happen anyway.

It’s that vicious circle of being scared to lose teeth but being too anxious to go to the one place that could prevent it. You just have to break that circle, and for me I did that by realizing what would happen if I didn’t go (pain, front teeth just cracking at work, losing my job because I wouldn’t go to work if I lost my teeth etc) scared me more than the dentist did.

Im the same with the doctors too, I’ve not been in a over a decade. I could have had anything and not known it, but luckily nothing has really bothered me enough to go. Im now 35 and I’ve never had like a full checkup or anything, I last went back in 2011 for recurring headaches. When the dentist asked for my doctor I just completely forgot and said I wasn’t registered anywhere (I am but it’s been so long on the spot I didn’t know)
@Whyohwhy12 appreciate you saying this. And I appreciate that you’ll likely understand where I’m coming from when I say - you only had one extraction that needed doing and some fillings - that’s nothing in comparison to what will likely happen to me. That’s my mindset right now and I can’t shake it. Like I said, I feel alone in my journey because I’m seeing all these people on the forum talk about how horrible their teeth are only to come back and say “I needed a few fillings, glad that’s done!” But in the meantime, the way they described their teeth was that they had none. Does that make sense without coming off as harsh? Because I promise that’s not my intent.

And yes, I read your post start to finish last night. I commend you for staying on one post. So many don’t (understandable) and it’s hard to track their progress if any at all.

One thing that has also been bothering me is the success stories sub on this forum. The before and after pictures post to be specific. The last one was in 2020. It makes me wonder.
No I completely understand where you’re coming from and I don’t take offense to it. It’s the same way as me being bugged by people who have just the one bad tooth and the rest are great. It sounds crazy but I think I got off lightly with my dozen fillings and one extraction. That’s how bad I anticipated things to be. I practically left with a slip in my step, but for others it would be shattering. For most people just 2 or 3 fillings is a lot. It’s all perspective isn’t it?

I wonder if the lack of posts in the success forum is just simply down to people moving on with life as soon as they’re happy. I’m gonna post regularly anyway and once I’m done with everything I’ll probably still be here. Just because I’m still so negative about things that I anticipate other fillings failing and having constant dental issues as an ongoing thing. Even as we speak right now I have a nasty feeling a filling on the other side that I’ve been eating on is going to fail. Just a bit tender like a 1/10 pain ache I think, and I’m maybe psyching myself out completely but I think a slight chip has come off another filling.

Honestly you’ll be fine. I was so embarrassed but I had a chance to say at the start how I got into this mess which felt better. And then once they do that initial check you have nothing to hide anymore. That’s how I felt anyway. They saw my dirty little secret that I’ve hid from everyone else and when they didn’t react badly it felt so good. It was just buisness as usual. End of the the day they’re not really bothered by the condition of teeth in a judgemental way, they just want to solve the issue.

Whatever happens was going to happen if you go or not. And by going at least you’re giving yourself a chance to try and solve the problem. And at the end of the day if you don’t like it then you don’t have to do what is suggested, or you can dwell on it a bit before.
@Whyohwhy12 you’re my kind of people. Brutally honest and just saying how it is. I really appreciate your candid approach and ability to just let me vent for a second 🤣😭

My heart is racing on and off. I feel a slight headache coming on. Two more hours and I have to be at the appointment. My husband has an appointment at 3:30pm EST and I have one at 3pm EST. Same dentist. Of course he has perfect teeth and will likely be told he just needs a routine cleaning. There was a day when that was all I needed as well. Sigh.

I read your post like I said. I’m the same way. I don’t sleep the night before something big or something I’m worried about. Luckily I did get seven hours of sleep but that’s ONLY because I told myself (before laying down to sleep) that I still had the option to not go. Here I am in the day of. I also have the nervous poops. Ever get those? Where you’re so nervous you just empty yourself out? 😅 Well…that’s me right now. And I plan to use this post as my thread of how I do. I’m just scared that I’ll once again opt out completely and not go.

The before and after pictures do make me think people “just move on once they’re done” and I think that’s perfectly fine. But it does make me wonder why there haven’t been any posts in four years. Have there been no successes in that time? Or was it just that some fears weren’t really that great of fears in the first place? Again, not trying to compare my own fear in regard to others - but it does make me think. That’s my anxiety speaking.
I should also say that I read the dentists website top to bottom, side to side, from page to page — something I’ve noticed is that a lot of dentists claim to specialize in a LOT. It must be different than, say a doctor? I know if I broke my ankle and went to my family doctor (which I haven’t seen a doctor in years either) then they’d refer me to a specialist - an orthopedic doctor. How come with dentists they do it all? Or claim to?

I’ve also noticed that a lot of dentists where you’re from (UK I assume?) are easily okay with bridges, partials, that sort of thing.

It seems like dentists in the states where I am just want to give you dentures or (the big one) implants. It feels like that’s all I see on any site I go to.
Sat down to eat a slice of pizza before I get in the shower and my cell phone rang. It was the dentist office. My appointment is at 3pm EST and they wanted to know if I could come in earlier around 2:30pm EST. STUPID ME, I said yes.

Is it weird that I’m having major anxiety about getting an Xray done? I haven’t had an X-ray done in 10+ years. I’m so afraid it’ll give me a headache. And headaches are a huge trigger for me for some reason. I think the last time I got an xray done was in 2005 so almost 20 years now. Sigh.

Going to jump in the shower. I should have mentioned here that I have battled agoraphobia as well, so just getting in the car and going will be a task since it’s during heavy traffic in our area. But it’s the closest dentist I could find with good ratings. Only about two miles from me, but with traffic that’s a lot.

Asking for prayers. Good juju. Anything right now. Will update when I’m on the way if anyone’s reading.
Sat down to eat a slice of pizza before I get in the shower and my cell phone rang. It was the dentist office. My appointment is at 3pm EST and they wanted to know if I could come in earlier around 2:30pm EST. STUPID ME, I said yes.

Is it weird that I’m having major anxiety about getting an Xray done? I haven’t had an X-ray done in 10+ years. I’m so afraid it’ll give me a headache. And headaches are a huge trigger for me for some reason.
I suffered a lot from headaches for a period of time and was put on all sorts. Never worked out a trigger but I had the X-Rays and even one extra along with them prodding gently and I came out fine.

I think you’ll be okay. Just go for it. Trust me once that initial fear is over and they can see your teeth I think some of your anxiety will lower when you realize they genuinely just want to help and don’t really care about the condition of your teeth. At least not in the way you think they would. Even the earlier call is fate saying just get it out of the way.

Whatever news you’ll get was going to be an issue for you regardless if you didn’t go. And now you’re going you have a chance to get help. I know it’s tough but you’ll be okay. Keep us updated
@Whyohwhy12 thanks. Easier said than done as you know. Leaving in a few minutes. Freaking out.
I know exactly what you mean. Hope all is going well for you! Let me know what happens.
@Whyohwhy12 that was hands down the worst experience of my life.

i was anxious leading up to it, but once i was in the car with my husband i had calmed down. i walked in and had a mask on and the front women were extremely nice. i was a little shocked to see where this place was located - it felt like a clinic more than a dental office but i pushed through.

i was talking to the front desk ladies and i started to cry a bit once i let them know i had dental fears, and a woman came from the back and called my name. she brought me into a room that was easily 4ft by 4ft. i am only 5 feet even and if i had laid down i would have been in a fetal position. the equipment in there was dingy and yellow. the woman told me they were going to do an exam and an xray and i let her know i had set up an appointment for the exam without xray and she said that was fine. she then told me the dentist would be in to see me once she was done with the patient she was in an exam with and in the meantime, the woman in the room with me would look at my teeth and count them.

she had me open my mouth and she took gloves that were sitting on a chair and put them on and put her gloved hands in my mouth. i was grossed out and tears started to fall from my eyes. she stopped and asked if i was okay and i told her that i was a little taken back that she was using used gloves on me and so she got a new pair. the new pair were chalk full of this.....chalk substance. hard to tell, but then she told me that she wanted ME to count my teeth. she was drawing a picture of my mouth on the back of my patient information paperwork and it all just seemed so unprofessional. my husband was in there the entire time and looked concerned, so i started crying because the whole thing felt weird. i was sitting (not laying) on the patient chair and she told me that i would probably be more comfortable in the "saddle chair" which was the chair the dentist normally uses. i told her i was fine where i was and i was actually shocked they didn't have me recline back in the patient chair but she insisted i got in the saddle chair the dentist normally uses....so i did. and i was uncomfortable. she told me she wanted me to count my teeth again and also wanted me to wiggle my teeth for her. my husband stepped in and asked if that was something she should be doing and not me - and the woman got flustered. i finally started to get antsy and began crying silently and looked out the door to see the dentist just staring at me then walking away.

i sat there and my husband finally said that enough was enough and we needed to leave. obviously he said it far more nice than that, but he let the woman know that we both were very uncomfortable with how this whole thing was going and we wanted to go. the woman got flustered and told me that i had an appointment with someone else and the dentist, but they were too busy so they "put me with her" - she wasn't even a hygienist. come to find out, she was just someone that worked at the front desk answering phones and doing insurance stuff (i saw this on their website once they left as well)

we asked her why i wasn't going to see the dentist although that is what the appointment was for and she just shrugged and said they were busy. so i stood up and thanked her and walked out while my husband handled payment, etc.

i went to the car and sat there for about 5-10 minutes while my husband was finishing up with the front desk women. apparently the woman who was in the room with me doing my "exam" followed him out to the front desk and started asking him questions about why we were leaving, what was going on, asking if she could just give me a valium....if i wouldn't take a valium could i take something called an add-a-van(?) and my husband got upset and told her to please leave him be. she was following him all the way out the door. she was like someone who was hopped up on some sort of narcotic. i know this because i am 15 years sober from narcotics myself and have seen these people before in my time.

needless to say the front women refused to let my husband pay. they kept apologizing because they said they sat there and watched it all happen but couldn't say anything. they were very kind but that was the worst experience i had ever had. the woman in the room with me didn't ask me any questions, no patient information, nothing. she didn't even know my name although 2 minutes prior she had called my name to get me to come to the back. it was horrible.

and people wonder why we say we don't want to go to dentists.
Wow, that sounds like a ride. I can't get over someone usually on front desk doing the examination, is that right? That's not normal at all. I also think they were talking about Ativan which is Lorazepam.

You know what though? You did it. You actually attended the appointment and turned up. It isn't your fault it turned out like this. I think you'd have gone through with it had it been a good dentists. There's a silver lining here I think, even if it feels like a huge setback and entrenches your views about dentists further.

It sounds like it was just a bad dentists -- the way you describe the setup and equipment seems that way, and not knowing your name and how it seemed so unorganized and unprofessional. I think I would be uncomfortable too with all that, and the size of the room and also the old equipment, that would take me right back to when I was 13 and my phobia started (the dentist was shocked at one tooth and said ''look how it just falls away" in a tone I'll never forget and I felt so guilty, when really it was my mothers fault for never bothering about my dental hygiene and brushing, never taking me regularly to the dentist only when it was an emergency twice, and always having cheap Coke and stuff). I don't think I would be cool with all that either.

It was just a bad dentist. But you took the first step, that's huge. I would look around for reviews and stuff and really dig into them to find somewhere good. It makes SO much difference. When I went it all seemed new, almost like a show home with all the decor, and it even had a huge screen on the ceiling you could watch with some pleasant scenery and stuff. I thought it was a gimmick but actually I did find myself just watching it and zoning out, but it may have been everything I was on (unlike you I had no problem with taking 40mg diazepam and 600mg Pregablin on the day just to get in there). The dentist came out to greet me, and before she checked me we had a chat about everything, what I felt led to this situation etc and I felt better telling my story briefly beforehand, and she knew I was anxious as I put that on my paperwork I had to fill out as a new patient. They even suggested just one small filling first when we start to get me warmed up. But a good experience makes so much difference, so I said oh no, I want to get this all done as soon as I can, and with multiple fillings each time.

Don't let this experience knock you. Be proud you even went. That's half the battle. If you had an experience like me I have no doubt you'd have gone through with it.
@Whyohwhy12 thanks. You’re right. I did go, I did take the first few steps, and I have to give myself some grace. Now to find a dentist within several miles of me that’s not booked out months and months and has a decent reputation.
@fearfulteefies thank you for saying exactly what I have felt for years on this site. I'm not discrediting anyone's anxieties by any means, but all I ever thought was "I wish I had their worries"
My teeth are in horrible shape. If its not a crown or bridge it is decaying/broken or has severe cavities. Even where I do have work done the gum has receded so much that it has dark spots at the top of my crowns.
My front teeth now have a huge gap as all my teeth have shifted. Im just a mess, honestly.
I wake up and go to sleep worrying about my teeth. Wondering how long I have until the next issue pops up. I'm embarrassed to be around anyone new or that I haven't seen in a long time. In fact during covid I quit my job of 15 years. I had planned on finding something new, but then the anxiety got me. "How could I interview and meet all these new people looking the way I do. So here I sit ...no job which equals no insurance. I just feel hopeless. Even if I wanted to go to the dentist there's no way I could afford it.

I know that when I do go I'll hear the word dentures. Theres no getting around it. I'm just so embarrassed thinking about it. As much as people know I have bad teeth I always dread people knowing i have dentures. Strange that i would care more about that than people seeing my trainwreck, but I do.

Anyways thanks so much for being real. Its good to find someone relatable
@Gfan I was surprised to see my inbox with people who haven’t even posted here on this site yet saying that they, too, feel the same way about most of the posts on this forum. None of which were discrediting anyone’s fears either, just pointing out that maybe (this is just me speaking here as I can’t speak for anyone else) this forum is more based toward general fears about cavities, cleanings, wisdom teeth. Of course there have been 1-2 cases that were more on the side of severe but those are few and far between as you probably know.

Maybe that’s more me speaking out of frustration due to my experience yesterday and knowing I need to get my teeth fixed but am petrified to do so. Because like you, I shrivel up at the word dentures. Not because anyone with them is less than (on the contrary!) but because for me I feel it would bring mental health issues in the way I look when the dentures are out. Does that make sense?
@fearfulteefies makes absolute sense. I think about how I would look with my teeth out ALL THE TIME. I already have poor self esteem and have had some pretty severe depression in the past, so it scares me. A LOT.
@Gfan I understand completely.
Next appointment is Thursday of this week. Im praying it’s a better experience than the last one.
Wound up not going. Got scared.