• 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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New here/former lurker - dental appointment tomorrow!!! =o



Junior member
Dec 1, 2014
I am a newly registered member of this forum, though I've lurked here for some time. I'm really embarrassed to admit that up until a few months ago, I didn't have much of a dental hygiene routine. By "not having much of" one, what I really mean is I didn't do squat to take care of my teeth. I am 24 years old and am mortified at the thought of losing all of my teeth. Around 3 years ago, following my son's birth, I noticed what I thought was receding gums. What it really was were cavities at the gum line. Since that time, only the front 6 of my bottom teeth appear to be cavity free (who knows what's going on within, though.) I know the top teeth have numerous small cavities, but the bottom ones are monstrous.. I haven't had much pain associated with them until very recently. Around 3 weeks ago, my top left wisdom tooth that had previously broken began hurting. Badly. It hurt all through my ear and up to my temple. I thought I was going to die. It was absolutely horrible. I generally have a relatively high pain tolerance, but this was unbearable. I couldn't eat or sleep.

I finally worked up the courage to visit an after hours urgent care. There, the on call doctor looked at my teeth and proceeded to tell me that I needed to find a dentist because I had too many teeth at risk. He wasn't unfriendly, but he wasn't very warm or comforting either. I left with an antibiotic and started treatment immediately. Fast forward 10 days and the pain was still unbearable and the infection still persistent. Now, a few weeks later it seems to come and go, but when it comes back every few days, it lasts a few more days and is excruciating. I've been brushing twice a day and using cepacol every night for a few months now because the severity of my neglect finally registered with me.

Last Monday morning, I finally called a dentist that was in network for my insurance. I didn't explain my situation outside of saying that I had an abscess that persisted following a round of antibiotics. I see him tomorrow morning. I am not terribly afraid of the pain of the visit because anything has to feel better than what I have been feeling lately. What I am afraid of is the shame I face in that chair. I cried for hours after the urgent care doctor looked at my teeth. It was a traumatizing experience. I'm afraid that he'll tell me that my teeth can't be saved or that I'll be quoted a bill that is more than I can afford (I am a struggling college student, only working part-time.) I'm afraid he'll tell me that my laziness bought me a gross mouthful of rotten teeth. I'm afraid he'll think I'm disgusting and unclean. What if the hygienist is offended by my lack of oral care? What do I say to them before that peer into my mouth to warn them about my situation? I am so afraid... Will they slowly do procedures so that I can afford them along the way?

I am sorry for leaving such a long-winded post, however I am truly afraid of what is going to happen tomorrow. I am very self-conscious and putting myself on the line like this is terrifying. I have been reading many posts on this forum that are comforting, but many posters come back and say that their problems were actually much less than they anticipated. I know for a fact that I have at least 15 cavities that need to be treated. 8 of them being bottom teeth that are very large at the gum line. Who knows that kind of decay lies beneath. I am expecting news worse than what is already visible. I am just hoping I can fix many of them with fillings rather than having to fork out the bill for root canals and crowns. However, I know that I have made this bed for myself. Now I must lie in it. But it is so darn scary to face. :shame:
Hi Miraculous and Welcome....

First, I think you need a hug ((((((Miraculous))))))) and a tissue or three....and to take a few slow, deep breaths. Maybe a few more. You are among friends here. Many of whom have been in your shoes and know just how you feel, myself included. We all know how hard this is and because of that, before you do anything else, you need to take a minute and acknowledge the courage you just summoned to go see a doctor then make the dental appointment and the overall willingness to make a change and reach out for help. Getting this far is a really big deal. IT IS HUGE!!! And, in my opinion, making that call and heading in for the very, very first dental appointment after a long absence is the hardest part. In many ways it doesn't get any harder than where you are now....and the anxiety the night before is definitely awful. I am glad you reached out and got some of that pressure off your chest.

While tomorrow will probably suck just from sheer nerves and stress (sorry, I was where you are in July so it is still "fresh" and I am not going to lie to you) I do think you will be very PLEASANTLY SURPRISED that the days of nasty, chastising dentists and hygienists has passed and they are there to help you. Period. There isn't anything going on in your mouth they haven't seen before...and 10x worse. They don't even need a backstory, you don't need to make apologies or offer an explanation and they are only going to be interested in moving forward and how they can help you get out of pain and back to good health. That is it. Promise.

As for the guilt you feel, it is easy for me to say this, I know, but really, you have to try and let that go. What's done is done. There isn't one of us here that hasn't made mistakes and no one is in a place to judge. Forgive yourself and embrace the fact that you are doing something to stop it now. You've made the very brave decision to move forward in a positive direction taking charge of your health and that says SO much about your character!!

As stressful as it will be to find out all that is going on and what needs to be done tomorrow, it is still infinitely better than ignoring it all and allowing things to get worse. It is. Most likely it won't be as bad as you fear. It is amazing the things they can do to save and repair and replace teeth these days. It really is. My hope is that you have a compassionate, patient, empathetic dentist who can develop a treatment plan for you that will work with all you have going on in your life and accomplish the goal of getting you back to good health.

Just remember, you can handle the emergent teeth first, the ones that have active infection and cause you pain BUT it (the whole treatment plan) doesn't ALL have to happen in one appointment, overnight. Most of these things can be spread out a little and done at a pace you feel comfortable with. Try and keep that in mind so you aren't overwhelmed.... and remember, we are all here for you. Lots of great cyber hand holding going on here!!!
Mugz, you are the best! Thank you for all of your encouraging words. Really, from the outside, my teeth don't look terrible. There is a thick layer of discolored tartar on the top teeth that I am ashamed of and it isn't until I open my mouth wide that you can see that the bottom teeth are beginning to decay heavily. It is so nice to hear from others that I am not the only one.. My parents didn't really stress dental care when I was a child and I think I was probably 6 years old the last time I saw a dentist. I hope the one I see is caring and compassionate as you mentioned and I really hope the ones that I have can be saved. I know I most likely need the wisdom teeth extracted, which isn't a big deal to me. Aesthetically though, I want nice clean, cavity-free, tartar-free teeth. I don't want to be embarrassed to smile anymore or be afraid of others questioning my cleanliness. Unfortunately, the bottom cavities are very large and I've been questioning how big is too big to fill.

Again, thank you for your kind words! It helps more than you could ever know. I will post back tomorrow following my appointment at 8am with a full report! I am hoping all goes well, but fully anticipate being told I have at least 15 cavities. But I am ready to tackle this head on and set a good example for my son. I always told myself that I would face my dental problems after I graduated because I could afford it then. I am fearful, but having the appointment is almost liberating because at least I'm being proactive now, rather than constantly being afraid they will fall out and nobody will ever find my attractive again.

Thanks again, and I'll be sure to post back tomorrow and let everyone know how it went! Fingers crossed and hopefully some sleep tonight:noway:... or not lol!
Looking at it as "liberating" is EXACTLY the right attitude to have!! In fact, someone recently wrote a few posts after going back following a long absence and did a really good job explaining her feelings about the relief that followed, even though she had work to have done. I think maybe lizd? If you hunt around the site, I'm sure you'll see it. I'll look too.

There are a few others who have gone back to set a good example for their young children which is always a great motivator too...but not so much as the intrinsic reasons you have, just wanting to be able to smile confidently and know your mouth is healthy. You know, you can look at your past experience as one of those things that had to happen too to be able to instill the values of taking care of your teeth onto your son. If your parents didn't place an importance on it how were you to see the value of it?? Now you do, in time for it to benefit you AND your baby which is awesome. So, not a loss. A gain for you both.

AND, if it is any consolation, I'm 45 and until my abscess in June hadn't been to a dentist in 10 years, and only 2x in the last 20. I have about 10 teeth needing work - trying to get them sorted out now....but it is slow goin'. I had parents that valued dentistry when I was a kid and dragged me kicking and screaming yearly to this money grubbing sadist fond of drilling healthy teeth without cavities without anesthetic...I don't know which is worse. Never taking your child or taking them to a monster. Sorry, off on a tangent, all this just to say if you have a mouthful of cavities you are in good company here. Mine look just fine, unless you have xray vision so I've stayed away from Superman and radiologists and I've been good until they started hurting and abscessing...which is miserable. Also wanted to mention, if you want to pop over to the Lions and Tigers and Dentists thread (I know it is super long to read...you don't need to, but the beginning might help you) the very last page we keep up with who has appointments that week and check in with each other. You are more than welcome to join us. I've "met" some really wonderful, supportive people who have made my transition back to the dental world a little more bearable. I hope you find the same thing. Good luck tomorrow. Please post when you can. It will be okay. It will.....
Just wanted to wish you luck at your appointment, Miraculous! You should be so proud for taking steps to improve your oral health and your life overall (believe me, having healthier teeth will make so much of your life better, in ways you can't even anticipate). I hope you have people at home cheering you on; know that you have a cheering section online as well. For me, the build up to my first appointment was the hardest part; within ten minutes of actually sitting down in The Chair, I was already feeling better, either because something was being done about my teeth, or because my overactive imagination finally took a break after obsessing over what it would be like. Like MugZ, I've been surprised at how different going to the dentist feels now, compared with when I went as a kid. I've experienced none of the judgement or disapproval I expected, going in with abysmal oral care. Instead, the attitude I've met with in everyone at the office has been encouraging, kind, and sensitive. I get the impression that there are a lot more of us dental phobics out there than we think; my dentist actually had a special questionaire specific to anxious patients that we completed together; basically, this let her know exactly what I'm afraid of, so that we could develop a treatment plan to minimize my anxiety.
Honestly, I don't think going to the dentist will ever be an easy thing for me; I will probably always feel anxious about it. I will admit to crying in my car pre-appointment, and to holding my mom's hand through my first exam last month. But, on the flip side, nothing horrible has EVER happened to me at the dentist. A few of the procedures I've had to treat my periodontal disease have hurt and/or been uncomfortable, but nothing compared to the pain and discomfort I was living with daily before treatment. I couldn't say this to anyone outside of this forum, but I'm actually pretty proud of what I've accomplished in dealing with this fear, which is an amazing change, as before, I felt like such a failure for letting things get so bad. All this is just to say, I truly believe that seeking treatment will be a positive experience for you, one that will change your life for the better. Yes, not every single moment of that experience will be easy or pleasant, but I don't think you'll regret it for a minute. Best wishes!
Maybe the fillings aren't as bad as you think. I have some very big fillings. It will be ok. If they shame you, leave. You are in control. It took me until the age of 46 to realise that I didn't 'deserve' all the shaming from the dentist and I didn't have to put up with it. Are you sure it's fillings and not tartar build up?
I think Mugz covered everything so I just want to say hello, and good luck at your appointment tomorrow. Lots of times what we imagine will happen is far worse than what really happens.
Best of luck with your appointment! Some really great advice from the others, so there's not really much more for me to say. Please let us know how it goes.
Best of luck with your appointment tomorrow. Focus on the relief that you'll feel afterwards for taking this step. I think we would all say that it's never as bad as you think it's going to be.
Hello, welcome and the best of luck for tomorrow; you will feel so much better after you have been, you will then have a plan as to how to get to where you need to.

Well Done for taking that huge and important step.

Kind Regards
I did it!!! I would have updated sooner but I had to book it to class after my appointment. I did a couple of victory screams in the car afterward. The ladies at the office were absolutely amazing. The hygienist wasn't afraid to be honest and say that I had a good amount of decay to take care of, but she was very sensitive and commended me for taking steps to improve them! I was able to get a cleaning today after all the x-rays were done and that made me feel great! They went ahead and prescribed antibiotics and pain medication for the abscess. Now to the good stuff. Being totally honest, I went into this appointment thinking that I had about 25,000 dollars worth of dental work that needed to be done to fix my neglect. After confirming that I had a mess of cavities, the dentist said that though they are at the gum line, they are relatively small and can all just be FILLED!!! No root canals or crowns for me!!!! I do have to remove my wisdom teeth, but it turns out I only have three of them. The fourth one is just not there. As I was leaving (no co-pay, hooray) the receptionist printed up a treatment plan for me, outlining my anticipated costs and what the insurance would cover. In total, I'm looking at about $1,600 in work to be done, but insurance is projected to cover about $750 of that, leaving me with $850 to pay for myself. Since we are breaking the work up, this is totally doable for me.

They even told me that my gums look pretty good!! The dentist was as nice as could be and super sensitive to my anxiety. I go back in two weeks to start my fillings and schedule my wisdom teeth extractions!!! Thank you so much for all your support! Especially since I am a new member. It has been so valuable in helping me to muster the courage to face this situation head on. I am incredibly grateful. I thought surely I was looking at extractions, crowns, bridges, the whole 9 yards. Turns out, I can say it went much better than I anticipated too!! Thanks again for all your support! I'll be visiting the thread that Mugz mentioned to seek and provide support for other dental-phobes like myself! You guys are wonderful!!:respect:
Yay!!! What a relief, huh? I think that it's often so much worse in our minds than in reality. I know that you have a fair amount of work to be done, but it also sounds like it's way more manageable than you expected. Please continue to reach out for support!

A huge congrats!!!
Wow, well done you should be proud! Sounds like you've got yourself a really nice dentist too so hopefully that will ease any worries! And that's such great news on the cost!
I love the Victory screams :jump::jump: Well deserved!
So glad to hear things are better than you imagined and you are filled with relief tonight. Good for you for going through with your appointment and moving forward!!
Congratulations! You really earned those victory screams. I'm so glad you updated us on how the appointment went. The only reason I took steps to make and attend my first appointment was that I'd spent hours reading through success stories like yours on this website. Who knows who your story might help?
Thank goodness for kind dentists, sensitive hygienists, and good news. Hope you have a plan to celebrate tonight! You did it!