• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone with an extreme fear of the dentist or dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a general dental forum! You can find a list of them here.

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New member at dental crossroad

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popjaw

Junior member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
4
Location
Vegas
Greetings, all. I'm a middle age guy in the States who has struggled with fear of dentists all my life. I don't want my first forum post to be too long a story, so I'll be as brief as I can.

So, I visited a dentist today for the first time in 9 years, for a basic consultation. She was great to me, very kind, patient, understanding and reassuring. However, at the end of the appointment, her assistant had formulated a 5 page treatment plan that included deep cleaning (no problem), refilling ALL prior fillings (they're old of course), fixing a cracked crown, adding an additional new crown on a different tooth, several new fillings, and I think she said at least 2 or 3 root canals (NOOO!!). It'll require a total of 9 visits, and will cost me nearly $6k out of pocket. While I expected the long list of procedures, I hardly expected her to say that all things considered (my age, extensive restoration work, and long history of neglect, etc..etc), my teeth could actually be saved. The thing is this: I REALLY DON'T WANT TO SAVE THEM. When she had me hold a small mirror to my mouth as she explored, I became more and more repulsed at the sight of my teeth. Crooked, horribly stained, and visibly decaying, with receding gums and all. Granted, I'm not in any constant, excrutiating pain or discomfort (yet), but I expect I will be in the near future. The thought of suffering through dozens of hours of torture, spending thousands of dollars I don't even have yet, just to end up keeping these ugly rotten teeth is unbearable to me! Then afterwards, if I go that route, how long would it be until more problems arise, and I'm back in that chair for more painful treatments? It's *possible* that I could get upper and lower full dentures for about half the cost of her estimate, and with many less visits. I definitely need to see at least one more general dentist for a second opinion.

My choice is to A) go through with her plan, B) try to find a dentist willing to yank and replace them all, or C) wait it out until the throbbing starts, and have the bad ones pulled one-by-one until they're all gone, then get replacements. Obviously, C is the worst choice, because I've been doing that for too long already (and is the main reason I'm here), and don't want to risk serious conditions like abscessed tooth, root pain or infections. I still am not sure which way to go, but it's a choice I'll be forced to make soon. I'm researching all the options, patiently and carefully, which is how I found this site. Please chime in with any thoughts you would like to share, I appreciate it much.

I'm looking forward to learning much from all of the other forums and threads here, and will be offering my support and encouragement to all of you as well. Thanks for reading!

Til next time,
Mark
 
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sunflower32

Member
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
78
Location
USA
Hi Mark,
Welcome! Good for you for facing your fear and going back to the dentist! As I read your post, I was thinking that it's possible that if you continue to go to the dentist for routine 6-month checkups, you very well may never have as many problems with your teeth as you fear you'll have. It seems like you're concerned that you're definitely going to lose your teeth, so should you bother spending the money trying to save them, that even though you do need some treatment, the main issue is that you just don't like your teeth (please correct me if I misunderstood what you're trying to say).

I do sort of relate to where you're coming from. I avoided the dentist for 18 years and finally went back last March. I was incredibly relieved I didn't need a ton of dental work done, which is what I had feared due to so many years of avoidance. My main problem is that I have a teeth grinding habit (which I had never known), and this has caused several problems, most importantly being that my bite was so bad from grinding that it was driving me nuts. I HAD to get it fixed because I couldn't stand to leave my bite the way it was. I was distraught when my dentist referred me to an orthodontist to get it fixed, as I had assumed I could get it fixed quickly and easily.

Part of the reason why I was so upset is because I've never ever liked my teeth. I think they are ugly and yellow and I've always been a bit self-conscious of them (I do realize that I'm pretty lucky my teeth have fared so well after 18 years of avoidance, but still that doesn't really make me like my teeth). I was so upset that I now needed to spend thousands of dollars on orthodontic treatment that would fix my bite, but surely wouldn't make my teeth any prettier.

The point I'm trying to make is that, now that I'm in Invisalign, I'm slowly learning to like my teeth more because going through orthodontic treatment has forced me to focus more on my teeth instead of flat-out ignoring them like I did for almost 20 years. If you don't like your teeth (even though they can be saved), there are ways to fix your teeth cosmetically without going the denture route, such as braces, whitening, and veneers. Do you think these options might help?

I'm sorry this post is so long, and I hope I've made my point clearly and haven't completely missed your point (I had a long day at work today, which tends to lead to slightly jumbled thought organization). It sounds like whatever decision you do end up making will be carefully thought out. I wish you the best of luck. Keep us posted. :)
 
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lauralou32

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
Messages
108
Location
USA
Hi popjaw and welcome! Great job facing that stupid fear that has kept us all in bondage for so long . First thought I have is you got good news!! You are able to keep your teeth!! However I think the price is to high! Do you have dental insurance? I would definatly get a second opinion! I wish my teeth could have been saved. I have a lower partial and upper denture! Yes my smile is pretty but eating is difficult and I have to go back for adjustments. I would ask a dentist how long they thought I would have my natural teeth, you may be surprised! Anyway that's my opinion, we all have different experiences and journeys! Good luck with what ever decision you make! Please keep us posted! We are all here for you!
 
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popjaw

Junior member
Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
4
Location
Vegas
Thanks, Sunflower and Lauralou! I appreciate your replies and encouragement very much. To sunflower, yes, you did get my point right and I am considering all options available. I also have a teeth grinding thing, and the dentist recommended I get a mouth guard for sleeping, which I'll do. I definitely appreciate your words and will give them much thought. If I do choose to do these restorations, I will definitely maintain regular preventative dental visits, and will improve my dental hygiene habits as much as possible. Thank you again!

To lauralou, yes, I have a PPO dental plan, which will cover only $2K of annual treatments. The TOTAL estimate was over $7K, so that's why my oop would be about $5800. That's also why it's a tough choice. Thanks again, lauralou for your reply and encouragement. I'll update this thread soon. Take care, both!
 
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