• 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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Never been to the dentist and not sure where to start?



Junior member
Oct 14, 2020
Phoenix, AZ
I am 23 and my teeth are in fairly bad shape. I need serious orthodontic work, but my priority right now is getting my mouth healthy. I have cavities and two teeth that have chipped away and broken off almost to the root over the years. How do I go about "warning" my dentist/dentists' office of my situation? I feel like I shouldn't just make a normal cleaning appointment. Should I tell the people over the phone that I have never been to a dentist and have a lot more work that needs to be done than just a regular cleaning?

I'm just feeling overwhelmed at where to start and how to go about all of this. Any support and suggestions are much appreciated!
Hi there and :welcome:

Well done for taking the first step! It sounds like you already know of a dentist you would like to see? You could either tell them over the phone or let them know via email or Facebook or whatever channels of communication they use. Whatever you feel most comfortable with! Some people prefer talking on the phone, others find it easier to express themselves in writing, and you can also use our Patient Forms if you like.

We've got a guide to overcoming a fear of the dentist here which gives tips on how to approach dentists:

Are any of these tips of use to you?
Hi - I've just returned from a dental appointment which was long overdue. I was so embarrassed and knew that I had lots of different issues happening inside my mouth. I gave them advanced warning about my fears and what to expect so that he was prepared. That relieved the fear of shocking him. Once I fronted up to the practice I again immediately reminded him of my fears (repeatedly :redface:), and although it was tough getting into the chair and opening my mouth, with much apprehension I plucked up the courage, just closed my eyes and did it. The dentist took it all in his stride and was very professional and now I feel so much better that I've crossed that bridge I was so fearful of. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders even though I know I have a long road of dental work ahead of me. I would definitely give them a heads up about the cavities so they can set aside time to get straight to it and do some work. All the best:)
Hi! These are great questions!

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way here. In my humble opinion, you’re doing great just by showing up. The dentists and staff are professionals and will take it from there. If you want to give them a heads up, for peace of mind, that’s fine. However you feel most comfortable doing so. Remind yourself that this will not be unfamiliar territory for your dentist. If they’ve been practicing for a while, then they have worked with lots of patients that have never been to the dentist before (or it’s been a long time). This is because it’s not uncommon to be fearful of the dentist or to not have the means to go. And if the dentist reacts in anyway that is not patient or kind, it’s time to find a new dentist. You can think of this as their test they need to pass to earn you as a patient. :)
Thank you all! I'm looking to book an appointment soon, however I know I need dental work, oral surgery, and orthodontics. Should I just go to the dentist and let them recommend me to the specialists, or should I try and find an office that does dental and oral surgery, or dental and orthodontics? I bring this up because I need two teeth removed surgically on one side of my mouth, and on the other side I have some bad cavities on one tooth, and I don't want a dentist to try and fix the one tooth with cavities if it's just going to need to be surgically removed later for braces (overcrowding). Not sure if all of that made sense, but I'm at a halt in my process because of this!
Hi jrgibson!

Well done on wanting to take the first step. If you've found a dentist you would like to try, maybe, if you feel comfortable with them, ask if they could refer you to anyone, or if they know any specialists they would recommend. But I would wait and see what a dentist says first, it might be less than you expected, or less complicated than you expected.

Good luck, keep us posted ??
I agree with frostgirl. That's what I think I would do.

Keep us updated on how your first appointment goes!