New Here - My teeth make me feel unlovable

nekoneko

nekoneko

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Sep 11, 2019
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Toronto
Hi everyone,

I’m new here but ive been reading your stories of courage and support for a long time. I’m so grateful places like this exist so we feel less alone.

I’ll share a bit about me. I’m a young woman who pretty much has my life figured out except for my teeth. Ever since I was young, it’s been nothing but cavities and anxiety. My parents are both immigrants that came from places where dental care wasn’t a priority. Although they made sure I saw a dentist, I’m convinced that dentist overdid work and caused damage to my mouth and psyche. Fast forward to me finally having insurance. I’ve been working with a dentist for the last two years. So far I’ve had three root canals and five crowns and too man to fillings to name. I take great care of my teeth now. But I know that I still have two more teeth that need crows and a front tooth that is discoloured from a filling. I also just learned from my dentist that I’m at risk of givinitis. I’m frustrated that no other dentist caught this before, or I wasn’t offered sealing as a child. Anyway. My anxiety comes from feeling like because I habe so
many crowns and fillings I am undeservingly of love or good things. I have considered dentures (my dentist said that was silly and unnecessary —in a kind way). When I think about the number of crowns and root canals I have, I panic and feel like garbage. How did I let myself get this way? How come no one helped me? Will my partner abandon me if he knows?

How do you start unravelling the feeling of messing up and not being good enough all wrapped up in teeth?

Thanks friends. I’m happy to be here though!
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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nekoneko,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It takes great courage and we are glad you are here. I know many many of us can identify with these feelings. Feelings of being somehow "less than " or unworthy of love or care" because of our teeth or any other feature or part of our life. Reminds me of the defination of shame that Brene Brown has “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.

You are really starting to process all these thoughts and feelings and what led to this point and that is great , not easy , but great moving forward. There is alot to work through, you have people here that really understand. I know myself I have dealt with immense shame about my situation and teeth for years. Thankfully finding a dentist that you are comfortable with and doesn't put any more shame on you helps.. and ones that you can really talk to about your feelings about your teeth and anxieties helps so much!! It has been very very healing for me.

As far as your partner. well. I know I have a partial denture on bottom I have for years and was immensely shameful about this , I wouldn't tell any of the guys I dated.. until I wanted to break up with them.. then used it as like this weapon almost.. hey.. I have a bottom denture, as if they would go running.. I thought they may .. well... they didn't none of them were phased. like they didn't care.. I was amazed.. Still it really is hard.. when we have these feelings to get past it sometimes. It really sounds like you have some great positive things going for you and I"m sure people including any partners will see those things far deeper .

" I’ve been working with a dentist for the last two years. So far I’ve had three root canals and five crowns and too man to fillings to name. I take great care of my teeth now. "

This is all so positive , sounds like you like it and have enough trust to keep going there and working with them so that is good. What are some of the things that keeps you there that they do really well with you? I know my last 2 dentists never made me feel bad, they were always approachable and made me feel like help is possible and not to be ashamed. they will help me . that helps sooo much!!

So glad you are here and sharing your story!
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

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Nekoneko,
Try to forgive yourself. You cannot change the past, and you’re doing great now. There’s nothing you can do to change the past, and that is an ultimate fact. Nothing you do now, no matter how much you beat yourself up about it, will change that. Focus on how things are now, not what mistakes were made. We all make mistakes. We all have regrets. Spending time wishing those undone is useless. Please don’t think I’m being harsh, I’m not saying this to hurt you. This was a large step for me, and I had to hear someone tell me before I could do it. Best of luck.
 
A

alphabetstreet

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I just wanted to say that you are not alone. I am also a relatively young woman (37), and my dental health history causes me a lot of shame, but I am learning to just embrace it and be honest with people. I have lost many teeth. At one point, I thought that dentures were my only future, but I’m in the process now of getting some implants and hoping to turn things around.

I would say, regarding “unravelling” the feeling of messing up regarding your teeth, what helps me is just trying to stay present and be happy for what I do have. I try to remind myself that there are many people who, unfortunately, have it worse than I do, and I have a lot of things to be thankful for (like great physical health and the teeth that I have left). Also, I have had to remind myself a lot that there is absolutely no way to go back in time, no matter how much I wish I could tell my 19-year-old self to make different choices.

You are definitely worthy of love! I am positive that you will find someone who will love you for exactly who you are and will not think twice about your teeth. I have a partner now who has seen me lose 2 teeth, and he is still incredibly supportive and kind.
 
nekoneko

nekoneko

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Toronto
Thanks for the support.

I do feel like shame is the thing that feels the worst. I also really like Brene Brown, and I'm surprised that I didn't catch that earlier! I also have a great dentist. The first time I went in, I cried hysterically and he's been so accommodating and friendly with me. He has a great personality that's kind of off-kilter, but it puts me at ease. I really just jive with his personality and approach. I asked them once if I needed dentures and he just laughed and was like "wait, are you for real?"but not in an unkind way. It kind of made me realize I was getting off base. He's even done work for free for me. Having a good dentist really helped me a lot.
 
nekoneko

nekoneko

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Location
Toronto
I would say, regarding “unravelling” the feeling of messing up regarding your teeth, what helps me is just trying to stay present and be happy for what I do have. I try to remind myself that there are many people who, unfortunately, have it worse than I do, and I have a lot of things to be thankful for (like great physical health and the teeth that I have left).
Thank you. This is so important and it's a good reminder. I do have a lot to be thankful for. Sometimes it just gets hard to remember that just because my teeth are rough, it doesn't mean I'm a bad person.


Please don’t think I’m being harsh, I’m not saying this to hurt you. This was a large step for me, and I had to hear someone tell me before I could do it. Best of luck.
I don't think you're being harsh at all! You're giving me a much-needed pep talk. Wasting energy on things that you can't change doesn't make sense. Time to spend energy on going forward.|


You are on your way.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
Totally. I'm okay for now, but I know that the feelings will flare up again. At least this time, I have support I can reach out to. Thanks!
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Dear nekoneko,

sorry to read about how you feel about yourself and quite glad it is not like this all the time but more something that flares up now and then. I think we all have something that flares up now and then and makes us feel not worthy of love and those are mostly the same things over and over again until we find a way to change it. Some therapists even go so far to say that the root of all problems is not feeling worthy of love.
A discolored front tooth can be a tough thing to deal with so I get that it makes you unhappy. May I ask you whether your dentist suggested any solution to this? Being happy with how your teeth look like can make a difference.

There was an interesting statement in your post: "My anxiety comes from feeling like because I have so many crowns and fillings I am undeservingly of love or good things". This sounds very specific and pretty deep. I can only encourage you to question this thought heavily. Sometimes when we feel bad about ourselves, we grab the first thing or a memory that we think of and take it as an explanation for why we feel this way and then believe it, so it's good not to believe everything you think.
By the way, if you would feel this way, it would, at the same time mean, that you feel all other people who have much of restorative work are not worthy of love.. which I am sure you don't :) Again, just an idea about what to look at. By the way, I do not think dentures would make you feel better about yourself.

So may you be able to focus on the success (having a dentist, attending, taking amazing care of your teeth, managing other areas of your life) more than on the things you do not like about yourself that much.

All the best wishes and look forward to read about your progress
 
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