• Welcome to Dental Fear Central! This is a place for mutual support and any questions you may have that are related to dental phobia, fear or anxiety. It is run by volunteers with first-hand experience of dental phobia and anxiety together with dental practitioners who like to help. The "Verified dentist" badges will tell you whether an answer has been provided by a qualified dental practitioner. If you'd like to use all the features of this forum and share your own experiences, or if you are a dental professional who would like to contribute, register now.

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New here - Dental Anxiety and bad teeth

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DentalFearMom

Junior member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Southern, USA
Hello,
I'll jump right in to it and say that I haven't been to the dentist in 11 years and am only in my early 30s. Not blaming my parents for my fears but I never went to regular 6 month cleanings and ended up having cavities almost every visit. One time in my teens I also wasn't numbed enough and even though it was very painful he never gave me more numbing medicine.

Had a baby at 19 and about a year later a piece of my back molar came off. Went to the dentist to get it fixed and a cleaning the next day. Found out I had to get a TON of fillings over - 3 appointments in a week. Unfortunately, due to finances, I had to get them all as silver fillings and even that had to go on a maxed out credit card.

This was probably my biggest regret. I became incredibly embarrassed to open my mouth wide and even if I smiled too big you could see one of them.

I've basically been putting my teeth in hiding for over 11 years now.

Throughout these 11 years I now have 3 large exposed cavities (two down to the gum line) in my molars where 2 fillings have come out and now a smaller one in back of a front tooth. I can't eat anything hard or crunchy and am almost scared to eat most things with fear of breaking a tooth. I have no pain or abscesses but am in constant anxiety fearing my "time is almost up" and need to finally see someone.

I am most fearful about telling my husband. We have been together for 15 year and he knows I had the silver fillings done but he has no idea how bad they really are. He also has no idea I have had dental anxiety since before I met him.

If/when I get the courage to tell him I am terrified to learn when I need done. I have been researching dentists for the past several months just to have a few in mind for the "emergency" I am waiting for to finally push me to have no other choice.

Since I am relatively young, I am also terrified of having a front missing tooth at any point. For example, If my front tooth were to break off right now are there any immediate options that can be done in a day for a temporary solution? I work in a nice place so avoiding people or taking a ton of time off wouldn't work. My husband and I have very good jobs so I'm no longer scared of the cost (until I look at implants - yikes).

I would not say that I am fearful of needles but I do absolutely hate the smell of a dentist office. My fear is 100% embarrassment from the silver filling and now the state of my teeth.

I have been spending the last several weeks reading posts on this forum and have even cried with some of them. This is the first time any of these thoughts have come out in any form so I'd say it's a baby step...right?

I thank you for this forum even existing.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Well-known member
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Jul 26, 2017
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2,173
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Minneapolis, MN
Dentalfearmom,

First off welcome to DFC!! We are glad you joined us, you are in very supportive company here! People who understand and will not judge but support you! I would say it is a huge step to write here and get it out and connect with others who are going through similiar! It is also a huge step to be researching dentists that you might find good with anxious patients.

You mention embarrassment a few times. It is so hard to walk into a clinic with those feelings of embarrassment, I can tell you, I have done it many times. I would walk in covering my mouth to my first nice dentist in my early thirties.. since then i've found that dentists really can be very caring and empathetic if you find the right one.

Its a big step to talk to friends and family, especially partner/spouses in fears of how they will react. So its always good to practice here talking about it until you get up confidence.

I can't eat anything hard or crunchy and am almost scared to eat most things with fear of breaking a tooth

So get this too... and I believe going and getting the work will get you to a point someday soon maybe of eating those pointy foods again

Thankfully alot of dental offices don't smell like the old typical dental office, but try to make it pleasant for the patient.

Do you have some clinics you are leaning towards ? Below is a link to a page of one of the dentists here on DFC , he has some great videos about finding good anxious friendly dentists, fear of embarrassement etc.


Hope you find someone very kind to help you!
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
1,626
Welcome to the forum! There are a lot of us who feel embarrassed by our teeth.

I am now in my late 30's, and I had to get silver fillings in my early 20's due to finances. Thankfully just on molars. It is really hard to have to make decisions based on money.

One of my biggest fears was losing my teeth. I had a childhood injury to my front tooth that resulted in a large chip. The dentist put a composite filling on it at the time. 30 years later, I discovered the tooth had slowly and painlessly died, and abscessed. It was a large abscess by the time I felt any pain. I tried to save the tooth, because obviously who wants to lose the front and center tooth that is super visible. I ended up having to get it out last week, as the infection kept coming back. The dentist had an immediate flipper made for me before the tooth was extracted, so I walked out from the oral surgeon's office with a replacement the same day as the extraction. If the tooth just broke one day, I am sure they could do a temporary fix until you got a flipper. There have been amazing advancements in dental options the last 10 to 15 years.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,115
Dear DentalFearMom,

sorry to read about your painful past experience and all your struggles and at the same time glad to read you are ready to move forward. Also glad your situation changed and you can afford treatment now.

Silver fillings are not a bad thing and usually last much much longer than white ones, however I understand how uncomfortable it makes you feel if they are visible when you smile. I already look forward to your enthusiastic post once you are happy with your smile again :)

I can imagine how scary it might feel to tell your husband about your struggle with dentist, after all you probably have been together for a while and this might feel like a kind of secret, but please keep in mind that being afraid of dental treatment is incredibly common. Chances are that your husband doesn‘t like dental visits either or he at least knows someone who struggles with it. It sounds like you are processing things and moving forward at your own pace and I am sure the right moment to talk about this will come sooner or later.

Dentists who care about nervous patients know that smell is one of the biggest triggers for many people and most practices do their best to keep this controlled (there are even special air conditioning devices for this purpose). Hopefully by the time you step into a practice you will already have had an email or phone contact to build some trust and won‘t be worried about this. I can only encourage you to let your future practice know this worries you once you get in touch.

All the best wishes and keep us posted
 
D

DentalFearMom

Junior member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Southern, USA
Thank you all so much for your kind words. Just reading your responses has me emotional because this is something I just never talk about.

The dentists I have been researching are all really good with high anxiety patients. And all offer oral and IV sedation. All three I have chosen pretty much do everything in one office so once I pick one I will hopefully not have to be referred somewhere else and have to go through the anxiety all over again with someone new.

After my months of research I know that I am nowhere near "worst case scenario" but it's still so hard with the level of embarrassment I feel.

Hopefully I will have the courage soon so tell my husband.

Thank you!
 
A

Aurora10

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
298
Location
Canada
Thank you all so much for your kind words. Just reading your responses has me emotional because this is something I just never talk about.

The dentists I have been researching are all really good with high anxiety patients. And all offer oral and IV sedation. All three I have chosen pretty much do everything in one office so once I pick one I will hopefully not have to be referred somewhere else and have to go through the anxiety all over again with someone new.

After my months of research I know that I am nowhere near "worst case scenario" but it's still so hard with the level of embarrassment I feel.

Hopefully I will have the courage soon so tell my husband.

Thank you!
It sounds like you're really motivated to move forward, that great! Don't hesitate to 'interview' all 3 of your chosen dentists, finding the right one is crucial to your success. You deserve to feel comfortable and respected.
Don't feel ashamed of having to have silver fillings; today I had to have composite ones changed for silver ones as silver ones aren't as durable and that's the main reason why I needed mine replacing.
As has already been pointed out, dental offices have changed a lot in the last decade or so, I can't imagine any dentist on your list not listening to you empathetically when you explain your concerns. And with options such as sedation and instant replacement teeth, the smile you want is not as far away as you think 😉! All best wishes and let us know how you get on👍
 
A

Aurora10

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
298
Location
Canada
Thank you all so much for your kind words. Just reading your responses has me emotional because this is something I just never talk about.

The dentists I have been researching are all really good with high anxiety patients. And all offer oral and IV sedation. All three I have chosen pretty much do everything in one office so once I pick one I will hopefully not have to be referred somewhere else and have to go through the anxiety all over again with someone new.

After my months of research I know that I am nowhere near "worst case scenario" but it's still so hard with the level of embarrassment I feel.

Hopefully I will have the courage soon so tell my husband.

Thank you!
PS meant to say composite fillings aren't as durable as silver! Can you tell I had sedation today?!
 
D

DentalFearMom

Junior member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Southern, USA
Made a small baby step today. I emailed an office asking questions. Couldn't pick up the phone to ask as I would have been crying the whole time.

I asked questions that I couldn't find on their website such as how they deal with high anxiety patients, what sedation options their office has, and if a consultation is offered (as their website only showed cleaning appointments).

I have a short list of others I may email also. Depends on how they respond. This one was just closer to my house and was in-network with my insurance. I am still no ready to make an appointment anywhere but I am trying to have everything ready for when the time comes.
 
A

Aurora10

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
298
Location
Canada
Made a small baby step today. I emailed an office asking questions. Couldn't pick up the phone to ask as I would have been crying the whole time.

I asked questions that I couldn't find on their website such as how they deal with high anxiety patients, what sedation options their office has, and if a consultation is offered (as their website only showed cleaning appointments).

I have a short list of others I may email also. Depends on how they respond. This one was just closer to my house and was in-network with my insurance. I am still no ready to make an appointment anywhere but I am trying to have everything ready for when the time comes.
That's a really big and positive step! You will get there, just keep going forward, the more you do, the stronger and more confident you will become!
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
97
Location
Us
Great job!! This is a positive thing, and baby steps are still steps. Email as many dentist’s as you want and see what you get back. You’ll get a feel for the ones that are better at dealing with phobic patients. A good indicator of that is the ‘no pressure’ approach, and that they’re willing to answer all of your questions no matter how silly you might think they are. As for the smell, I know exactly what you mean, but a lot has changed over the years. It’s not like it used to be.
 
D

DentalFearMom

Junior member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Southern, USA
Great job!! This is a positive thing, and baby steps are still steps. Email as many dentist’s as you want and see what you get back. You’ll get a feel for the ones that are better at dealing with phobic patients. A good indicator of that is the ‘no pressure’ approach, and that they’re willing to answer all of your questions no matter how silly you might think they are. As for the smell, I know exactly what you mean, but a lot has changed over the years. It’s not like it used to be.
Thank you. I actually decided to email 2 other offices. The one I really wanted to be my #1 choice is not in-network with my insurance but I emailed them anyway. They may be the best choice even though I'd have to pay more.

No responses yet but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for compassionate replies.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Made a small baby step today. I emailed an office asking questions. Couldn't pick up the phone to ask as I would have been crying the whole time.
Heyyyy! This is a HUUUUUUGE step!! Give yourself a pat on the back! :you-rock:

Amazing. I remember back then when I emailed a dentist for the first time. Pressing the send button took one week and I had a panick attack after I did it and wasn't able to even look at my computer for about an hour! It sounds almost ridiculous and so unreal thinking about it now but it was so huge back then.
Anyway, back to you: give yourself a pat on the back, you are doing great and I love to read that you even emailed further ones (really getting into flow here, don't you?:naughty:

Seriously. This really made my day, keep on going and keep us posted! :grouphug:
 
D

dentalantixtey81

Junior member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
6
Location
TN
I just made a account, used to be a member, talking about your fear is a big step, alot of others on here haven't been close or even long then you so dont fell bad, our age is close, let me say this I didnt want to go but GOOD DENTIST will not judge you they will help you, Tell them you want to improve your oral health again. the longer you wait the deeper and more expensive it will be and you might be surprised you need a few fillings or crowns which is cheaper then a root canal . Tell the dentist you want to work on the worst stuff first which will be ideal and help you in the long run. Im glad i went when i did.
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

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Oct 27, 2017
Messages
585
Location
US
Bravo! You have demonstrated increasing courage. You are well on your way: you’re further than you realize.
 
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