• Dental Phobia Support

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Neglected teeth need advice



Junior member
Dec 11, 2018
Hello, first time here this should have been posted long ago. I need help or advice.

I and my parents neglected my teeth my entire life. I am now a 25 year old male living in Massachusetts with horrible teeth. My bottom teeth are all over the place, and my tops are all uneven, beginning to break up. I also have one of my canine teeth sits upward about an inch of the rest of the top row. Sorry if my terminology is incorrect, clearly I’m not a dental expert. I go thru every day thinking every person I meet judges me in seconds by my teeth.

I am now coming to the realization that I need to address this, and at the same time that it might be too late. The first step for me is anonymous forums on the internet to get honest advice from those who know what they are talking about. So here I am, wonderring where to start this journey. A couple things to note:

1) I currently have no dental insurance but as I am about to lose my fathers health insurance in 3 months at age 26, I may as well get some dental as well.

2) I am very self conscious about this. I 100% would be devastated if I sat in a dentist chair for the first time in 10 years, to be greeted by someone I know, or judged by it. Would someone with such neglected teeth anger a dentist in some way? I only ask because I am a master mechanic and when I see a car come in beat up I get mad, lol

3) I want to do this as discreet as possible. I could use a weeks vacation at work for something like a major surgery but idk how to plan this all out.

As you can see, this is just a lot for me to take in. Can anybody out there point a brother in the right direction? Where do I even start to tackle this mess so that I can live my life as a normal 20 something guy? Thanks a lot guys. Its a relief to even have stepped this far already.
Hey Massachusetts,

Firstly, welcome to the forum! Late last year I sought out support from this forum and I was in a similar situation as you. This forum was a great source of advice, support and inspiration for me. I'm sure you'll find the same.

Assuming you have not already done this, I'd start with googling dentists in your area. If you add the words "nervous"/"anxious"/"non-judgemental" in your search words you'll likely get a few dentists come up. Check out the dentist's website (if they have one) and get a feel for the clinic and the dentist/s. Have a look at their reviews on google/yelp/facebook and make note of mentions that the dentist is friendly, caring, gentle etc. The dentist I ended up seeing had fantastic online reviews and were very warm with their interactions on their facebook page.

From there, you can do two things. You can send them an email briefly outlining what your problem is, what your worries are (ie fear of judgement),and whether or not they can help you with your issue. In all likelihood, they'll put your mind at ease about your concerns and they'll invite you to arrange an appointment. Otherwise, you can call them up and do this. It takes a bit more courage but I found talking to the dental receptionist on the phone provided even more reassurance that I was making the right decision and addressed some of the doubts I had. You can let the receptionist know that you haven't been for a long time, that you are nervous, and could your dentist factor this in when you attend your first appointment. Talking with the receptionist will give you extra information about what the clinic's culture is like. A friendly, caring receptionist will likely be at a clinic that values such attributes.

From what I've seen, it is highly unlikely the dentist will be mad at you. The vast majority of them are fairly understanding and just want to help you. It seems to be a bit of a stereotype that dentists shame their patients for their dental problems. Perhaps based on outdated ideas and methods of getting patients to take better care of their teeth. I brought it up with my dentist that I feared that I would be scolded and made my dentist aware that that would be unhelpful for me. I was reassured that they would never do that and would be extra sensitive when talking about my dental issues.

Being upfront about your fears and concerns is key, in my opinion.

Hope you find the right dentist! Believe me, you'll be relieved when you make the first step and it will be easier each time. The biggest thing for me is regretting not doing it sooner, because my fears were far worse than the reality.
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Oh and keep us updated on your journey!

First off, Thank you so much for sharing and you are being brave stepping out and thinking of taking this huge step despite your fears and shame of them judging and being angry.

I too did not have good dental experiences, not until I was 30 and my teeth were in very dire shape and needed to do something desperately and I can tell you it was worth it and there are very compassionate and caring dentists in the world out there and you are worth the care!

I think Solitude is so right, back a while ago ,it was more prevalent the shaming and scolding and a little more harshness, I knew it was rampant when I was up to my 20's.. (almost 50 now). My dentist has really put me to ease with this and even though I look at myself and my inner critic really could have a field day in the tooth department , my dentist tells me"You are your own worst judge, I'm not here to judge you but help you". I think quite alot of them have this philosophy. :)

It seems alot of dentists are very sensitive to anxiety and really try to help with this and make the patient feel welcome so they will want to come back and get help. If you do run into the other type.. I'd pull the bathroom trick and escape the backdoor route if they are mean or rude, and just try again. Might be the wrong one or .. the wrong day.. but finding the right one is worth it.

Also really communicate with them like Solitude said. Really saying what you fear and talking about it is so relieving and builds your trust in a way I cannot explain , when someone listens to you, and cares its just a great way to build positive momentum in your dental care.

Wishing you the best in finding a good caring dentist that will help you along your dental journey. Keep us up to date if you will :) would love to hear how its going!
Call 211 and explain your situation.

I am no expert on the social safety net, but MA sounds like a good place to be for that.

Good luck.