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No Turning Back: My Journey to a Radiant Smile



Well-known member
Mar 2, 2022
Hello everyone!

I was debating about starting a journal here, but you know, I think it makes sense to document everything. Especially in a place where there are so many like me! Absolutely terrified, suffering from PTSD/extreme phobia of dentists, and needing support. So here we are. My first journal!

Wait, no—record scratch.

My second journal.

Turns out I made a journal on here for an old account that I do not remember back in 2012! Yup. That was the last time I’d been to a dentist before this year. A decade ago (I really didn’t think it’d been that long. Maybe six years, but not ten.) Back then, I’d been told my teeth were in far better shape than the dentist thought and I really only needed fillings. Ah, how I wish I had just gone through with the fillings (to be fair to me, the dentist left, and I developed more trauma from an incident with a hygienist, and they also never gave me a treatment plan, nor would give me IV sedation for procedures so—) There is a huge part of me that hates myself a little for not doing the things then anyway. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t be here now.

But hating myself doesn’t make anything better. It doesn’t change what’s happened or going to happen. And dental issues run in my family anyway. So who knows what would have happened to me? My uncle has had full dentures since he was 20. My aunt (who passed away in 2018, not from any mouth issues) had dentures when she was 17. Most of my grandparents had them. My mom needs them. My brother had to have teeth removed too.

You see where this is going right? Right.

So let’s talk about me. I’d sort of had a plan for the future. I figured I’d just keep up with upkeep of my teeth in doing the bare minimum (brushing, flossing, mouth wash) and hope that they never got worse. I‘d just keep them as is. Ha! That’s funny. It’s funny because if I wasn’t so scared, I would’ve known that couldn’t happen. Especially when I didn’t brush or floss or use mouth wash every day let alone twice a day. God knows how often I actually brushed my teeth (and when my new dentist asked me for a number, I couldn’t really think of anything but to say maybe between 3-6 times a week which horrified me.) I wish when I’d gotten trauma from a dental hygienist as a child, I’d been the type who became obsessive about brushing her teeth, etc. That would’ve been easier. Might’ve prevented all this too. Instead I developed PTSD (I should note here I have PTSD and anxiety from other issues as well so yay me!) and it was severe enough that just looking at toothbrushes and putting anything into my mouth to clean my teeth sent me into flashback city. You may be wondering what happened to me. Let me be straight about it: at eight years old, a dental hygienist physically assaulted me by clamping her hands over my mouth forcing me to swallow a entire cup of fluoride that I had originally told her I could not put it in my mouth and hold there. I later threw up in public in front of a great many people, and became not only terrified of throwing up every again, but supremely embarrassed. So trauma.

Over the years I’ve managed a handful of times to go to dentists, mostly got cleanings done. I’ve never actually had any procedures done, but that’s going to change. It has to, because I can’t actually avoid this next part. It’s impossible.

Here’s what happened: I found a crack in my front left tooth. I freaked out. I cried for for an hour, sobbing, heaving with the knowledge I’d have to go to a dentist and god what would they do to me? Looking back I wish it had just been a simple “ah you need a crown or root canal” but nah. Of course not. See this tooth has a gaping crater in it. It’s been there for years and years. I clean it out with a floss pick when I do brush because it’s so deep. I always figured it could just be filled because it’d never gotten bigger in years and I mean I did clean it out and try you know? But then the crack. It runs all the way up the tooth, stops at the hole. It’s very thin, but when I put my tongue on the back of my tooth I can feel it. Mostly at the bottom of the tooth. I can also feel it when I run my finger over the surface on the front.

Let’s talk about my other teeth: right front tooth has a black/brown spot near the top. No crater but definitely not a great scenario. The tooth next to it on the right, has partially broken off (I think, it’s hard to tell but seems like it), and is just kinda there now. The tooth next to cracked tooth? Lost most of the enamel at the front and is arguably the most sore out of all of them. Skip a tooth because that one seems fine and then we come to another tooth that has lost quite a bit of enamel. On the right, there’s a tooth that seems caught in my gum and never moved down (I had an issue with my baby teeth as a young adult. They wouldn’t fall out and the adult teeth would come in creating issues) and has brown decay/black spots. I also have a bottom tooth that’s got some black/greyness near the gum line. Bottom of my teeth, my molars need some fillings.

Anyway. I noticed the crack. And I called a dental place that day. What a huge feat! I didn’t want to call. I really didn’t. But you can’t leave a crack as my mother said. So I called the place she’s been going to. They’re open 7 days a week, and stay open late, and my mother loves the dentist she has. They also have extremely high reviews on Google. Unfortunately for me, he only comes in once a week because he lives far away and works at another dental place. So when I called I was booked in to see a random dentist (I didn’t know who), the next day. I explained on the phone about my phobia and about how scared I was, etc, etc, and the receptionist was really nice. My appointment was the next day at 3 pm (later moved to 3:15); and really I wanted it to be early in the morning because less chance for me to get worked up then. I asked if I could take lorazepam which I’d been prescribed by my family physician for times of extreme stress. I was told no (I assume because they thought they might be working on my teeth that day?)

I barely slept that night. Was shaking like a leaf the next day. Constant stress. Even writing it now, I feel the stress rising again. The tide of it just surging because of remembrance. I could barely shower, didn’t really eat (not that I‘ve been eating much the last month anyway, I just got out of a severe mental downturn only to be met with this. When it rains, it pours!) My mother drove me to the dentist and I had previously told the receptionist she was coming in with me, no matter what. The only thing that made me feel better was the fact we had to wear masks, no dentist could look at my mouth as long as I was wearing that right?

Turned out, I was seeing the owner of the practice. I think she’s only the second female dentist I’ve ever seen in my life actually. Her perfume was a bit strong. I was sitting in the chair backwards, refused to lie back or sit properly. Too anxious. Too many thoughts of vulnerability and not liking things in my mouth and gagging. I think, and perhaps this is the anxiety talking, but I think she was a wee bit annoyed at that. I did let her look in my mouth with the mirror but it was supremely hard.

And that’s when she gave me the news.

”That tooth has got to come out. As do others. You need partial dentures.”

What. The. Heck. (For the purposes here, I’m not using the word I actually said in my head and to my mother later because you know.)

Partial. Dentures.

Tooth. Extraction.

No way, no way, no way!

She tells me ”you can’t be surprised” which yes, yes I can? Denial can be a brick wall that fogs your mind and mine was very fogged. I think deep down I knew that my front tooth was in trouble, and the tooth next to it (the sore one.) but I was so hoping. I’ve seen others who have had worse teeth than me not need them extracted! But alas, no. Mine are too far gone, too broken. Oh, wait, when I say mine, I mean the six she told me had to come out. Which surprised me. My other front tooth? I thought it might just need a filling. There’s no crater, I didn’t see a crack. But she says to me that the six teeth if they aren’t broken will be very soon. My mother was also surprised (afterwards she and my father told me they almost want a second opinion. But then I remember reading of others who have sunk thousands on root canals and crowns only to find out it’s a temporary fix and there was never any hope in saving the tooth long term.) She did mention this. She mentioned extraction is the last thing any dentist wants to do. That they want to save the teeth if at all possible. Which made me feel worse because wow okay my teeth must be terrible.

And then she does something I wish she hadn’t. She asked if I was in pain. I said no, just a bit sore (mainly with that tooth next to my cracked/broken one.) She looks surprised and says I must have a high pain tolerance because I “should be” in agony right now. Then she goes on to tell me I have an infection. And I’m of course completely panicked at that point. Infection? You mean that thing that causes people to die if left untreated? You mean that very painful, dangerous thing that causes pus in your mouth and, and—

You know she didn’t prescribe me any antibiotics. None. Weird right? You’d think if I had an infection, you’d do that but I guess not. Not to mention, my gums. I mean they‘re not great on my those teeth. It’s pretty red around that sore tooth, but they never looked like they were completely infected in the “doomed” way she seemed to be telling me. I do wonder if part of that was a scare tactic on her part. I’ve had a lot of dentists do that. Scare the patient into taking care of their teeth. Even though hahaha, it doesn’t work. Often it makes them feel hopeless like mine did, which just makes things worse.

Anyway since then, those teeth have been varying degrees of sore, which I was assured by my mother is definitely partially because I can’t stop thinking of them. Because I was told I should be in pain, now I‘m in pain. Sometimes it’s not even those teeth, sometimes it’s my bottoms or back front molars, which I think are okay. She told me I had good bone height on my bottoms and it was very, very important I keep that. Which of course. I do not want to lose anymore teeth!

I managed to have a panoramic x-ray done (almost fainted because I was so anxious since I was standing up but you know I did do it), which revealed my bottom wisdom teeth would have to come out (lowest priority though. They’re on a collision course with my bottom molars right now as they’re completely horizontal which I thought was a bit hilarious because how do they get like that? The human body is funny sometimes.) She insisted that she couldn’t really say much else because I couldn’t do the other x-rays. Too high a gag reflex (I did like that they didn’t force me with that and took me seriously.) She called in the treatment coordinator, Carrie, who was very lovely, although there was one part from her I didn’t like too much. I was having a hard time opening my mouth wide enough to let the dentist put the mirror in to look, I was just so she’ll shocked and anxious I didn’t want to. She told me to “suck it up, it’s just a mirror” which, yeah sure. I didn’t like her for that but afterwards she seemed nicer?

Anyway, as the dentist looked at my teeth again, she said it might only be four that have to come out but again, she could not tell without those x-rays. Immediately she says to me “we’d put you under.” And I said “general? As in completely out?” And she said yes. I’m clearly too anxious for anything else in her opinion, and if I go completely out they could do multiple things at once, including bite wing x-rays which right now they can’t do because I cannot stick that thing in my mouth. I agreed with her, because that’s the best case scenario for me. I don’t want to be aware, I don’t want to know what’s happening. I wanna be out and then I wanna wake up and have it be done. I’ve been under general before (in 2013, I had major surgery to remove a tumour from my pituitary gland), I know how it goes and works.

Sadly for me, a problem. Money. I have no benefits. I’m unemployed because I’d rather work for myself than anyone else, and because I do have some other health issues that mean I don’t know when I wake up if it’ll be a good day or bad day. Not knowing means working is hard even if I do have a lovely employer (as I did previously.) My mental health was terrible though. So I quit in 2020, to pursue my real dreams of working for myself. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet. And unfortunately, there are no benefits in employing yourself. So my parents and I (bless them for helping pay for anything) would have to pay out of pocket. I live in Canada, and years and years ago they took away dental being covered under our free healthcare system because apparently it wasn’t important enough (I don’t know why, it’s cheaper for the provinces to pay for dental than it is for them to pay for hospital rooms but okay.) They also took away that if you go under general in say a hospital, it’s free. Nah, what happens at this practice is the nurses, etc come to the practice once a month to do general. All they do on that day is those procedures. The dentist explained they basically turn into a hospital on that day.

Anyway. After finding all of this out, I went and talked to Carrie with my mom. She gave us a total quote of 10,000 dollars. I wanted to cry. We don’t have that kind of money. She said it’s cheaper to go for IV sedation and I’d be so “doped up” I’d remember nothing anyway but the thought of being conscious at all just scared me. My mom was unimpressed that Carrie wouldn’t give a line by line breakdown but I think that was because she knew I was shell shocked by the information I had been given. She did say the most important thing is to get me out of any pain and yeah that is important. Anyway, they were all booked up for GA in April, and May 27th (guess what? that’s pretty close to my birthday!) was the next date. My mom assured me later during one of my ramblings of “oh god these teeth have to come out and I’m scared because what if they’re infecting me right now” that they would not tell me to wait till May 27th if it was bad. No way. But you know.

Anyway. We went home. I cried a lot. I was hopeless. Depressed. I really thought my life, my dreams, everything was over. Seemed like it. There was no way this could happen, so what am I going to do? I had some dark thoughts, I will not discuss but yeah. I couldn’t see myself going through the procedures, I couldn’t see myself with partials. It wasn’t great.
I wrote so much, I’m continuing in a second post.

The next day, I started to think about it and do research. A lot of research. I searched on here, searched videos of young people with dentures (most had fulls but that was helpful.) Looked up anything and everything I could. I was assured that I could do this. And I mean, yeah? I guess I have to don’t I? I have dreams I want to achieve, and they sort of involve being able to smile. I mean I always wondered about that. How does dating and being in the public sphere work when you can’t smile or show your teeth? Like how would I manage that?

This would give me a gorgeous smile. This would allow me to have a free smile. Yeah it was going to be a lot to get there but you know? Why not? I was horribly sick for five years (from 2009 to 2013) and I survived that. I can do this too. At least I think so.

My uncle and I had a lovely chat, and he assured me that at some point I wouldn’t know the partial wasn’t my own teeth, that yes I could everything I wanted to do before with it. That I could eat and laugh and smile and do yoga. He told me to go after my dreams, and he told me was proud of me for turning myself around (my mom had texted him right after the appointment and told him I was very depressed. He was worried about the state he’d find me in when he talked to me.) My brother, bless him, said he wished he could help pay (but he has no money to spare right now) and was so sweet I said I might need to hug him next time I saw him.

The thing is. I’m scared. I am. Of the extractions (I hate blood in my mouth, the thought of dry socket scares me so much and the recovery is just…eep.), of the impressions (only once will they do them. I’ll be living without some teeth for three months while I recover, no immediate because of that gag reflex. They only want to do the impressions once.), of trying to get used to partials. I’m scared now of the fact I have teeth in my mouth that need to come out and what if every single day they’re getting worse? I’m scared of my remaining teeth getting worse (you better believe I’m brushing them and flossing and mouth washing now.)

I’m barely eating or drinking. Well, I can only eat soft foods on one side of my mouth right now to avoid the cracked tooth. It’s a bit hellish honestly. But at least I’ll be prepared for what my life will be like after extractions. Although I’m worried about my nutrition right now. And I miss food. I miss tacos and lasagna and pizza. I miss tea.

Sometimes I wish I had a time machine to go back and tell my younger self to just brush your teeth! See a dental hygienist every six months! It’s okay!

Oh. I forgot that part didn’t I? I do need a deep cleaning. And the dentist wants me to go back every three months after that but I disagreed and thought once the initial cleanings were done and they’d done what they needed to, every six months should do. The three months felt like she wanted more money from me which eh.

So here I am. No appointments yet but the knowledge of what I need to do. Dealing with soreness/pain occasionally that is probably made worth by my anxiety and thinking about it all the time. Dealing with the trauma. Having to face this head-on because there simply exists no other option.

I want to be mad at myself for my own neglect causing this. And I am. But that’s also not giving myself kindness. I had severe trauma as a child. That cannot be overlooked. No one understood I had PTSD so I wasn’t given the help I needed. It was only made worse over the years. And now this. This being the culmination of it all, the face of it. Guess I’ll make like a Greek hero and face that battle with a war cry and a not back down, because it’s all I’ve got now.

That’s it for now. If you’ve read this, all of these words than thank you, I appreciate it :grouphug:
Time for another post so soon? Apparently so.

I thought it might do to just—list out my worries here and then reflect back after things had been done and see how my worries stacked up against what actually happened. Of course, I have so many worries, I think it makes more sense to just break it down step by step.

From what I understand, my first step is extractions, preferably under GA, where they would also do x-rays.

Mmm, so what am I worried about with extractions? I think the first is that I’m losing teeth I don’t need to lose. This is a big one. I’ve read people (even on this very forum) begging others to not get extractions or dentures because their teeth can surely be saved. And it’s weird because I’m reading about some of the states of teeth on here (and gums!) and thinking, man I don’t think mine are that bad. But alas, isn’t this a situation where I need to trust the dentist? If she said I need between 4-6 extractions then I guess I do. And she did explain to me all the teeth that need to come out, if not broken, would break. Still. It hurts to know that. It’s scary to know that. In a way it feels like a loss of control.

Of course that leads to another fear. They do the x-rays and find out they need to take more teeth. This is the absolute worst case scenario for me and I do not think I’d do very well in the scenario at all. The dentist kept insisting she wouldn’t know anything until she was able to do bitewing x-rays but surely, surely, a good dentist would be able to tell by looking at the teeth non? At least mostly I’d think. At least I’d assume they’d have a pretty good idea but you know. This just—worries me to no end. I’m paranoid about it. I keep wondering if I’m feeling pain in other teeth from it (soreness maybe, because I’m stressed and clenching my jaw so much but nothing else.) This is the part where I have to ask myself, is this realistic? Because I don’t think it is. For example, I’m terrified of losing any bottom teeth, but it didn’t seem to be a problem in the initial exam. What would an x-ray reveal that you couldn’t even make a theory on with a look?

I suppose that goes hand in hand with my more severe fear of periodontal disease, etc, etc. She didn’t mention it, and I didn’t have a complete dental exam (I was too nervous) so none of my teeth were charted. So it’s hard to know of course. How good are dentist’s eyesight? Can they suspect from just looking? I wonder.

Another fear of mine is waking up post extraction. Gauze in my mouth, blood in my mouth, drooling, pain. None of those things are particularly appealing to me. When I was little, I had baby teeth knocked out rather violently by various means, and I always screamed and cried at the blood in my mouth, so now I’ve sort of got this aversion to it. Blood in other places? No problem! Blood in my mouth? I’ll be rocking back and forth in a corner wailing. Of course, in this scenario there’s no avoiding that. It’s just a “grit your teeth [though not literally!] and bear it” scenario. And my mom assured me (she had molar extractions done not that long ago actually) that it doesn’t last as long as you think.

Of course, I’m also worried about bone loss/loss of facial structure. I’ve seen that a lot in forums of people waxing poetic about not getting extractions for that reason. Instead of listening to strangers on the Internet, I should really look at my uncle instead. This man has had dentures since he was 20 (full ones) and you cannot tell. I never knew until recently! When you look at him, you can’t see any bone loss or loss of facial structure. He looks fine. It’s hard to believe I will though. I read a horror story from a person who said they lost one front tooth to extraction and their whole face apparently collapsed into something horrid. Of course, logical part of me says that’s purely dramatic and probably from someone who needed time to adjust to how their face looked post extraction. Because obviously you do look different. I mean I’m not disputing that. But it’s 2022, dentures and dental care has come pretty far from where it used to be.

I should also put here, that the fact I’m not getting immediate partials is also a little worrying. I mean—I outlined why in my previous posts, but still. It’s like one of those things where it feeds the fear too, like “Ohmygod I’ll be without teeth for months on end and what if I look horrid and wrong!” But even if I had immediate partials, I’d still need to get permanents for a reason. The jaw and the bone is gonna do what it’s gonna do.

I’m also worried about eating soft food for months on end. There’s only many soft foods out there and I can’t help but worry about my nutrition as well as if I’ll be eating enough. Though in this case, I might actually not have to eat completely soft after my extraction sites heal, because I should have my molars all intact (I better) which are used for chewing. Really, with what I’m losing, I’ll lose a bit of mashing ability, but mostly I’m losing my ability to tear into things and bite them. So I might be able to swing mostly soft rather than complete mush after the healing process has taken hold, and it’s just a matter of waiting for my jaw to shrink to get my partial impressions.

Hmm more worries? I think probably. Can I think of them all right now? Not really. So I suppose I’ll leave it here for today and go on my way. Today is one of my worse anxiety days, so I really need to give myself some TLC and tell myself it’ll be okay.
I love your honesty and appreciate all your fears and anxieties and how depressing the whole journey is. I can relate so well . My knees go weak when i think of my forthcoming treatments and i think little else that its controlling my life. Firstly once the gums have healed you can eat harder food that you desire on them or use the dentures. I think you certainly need to focus on your uncle and how well he looks and copes with his dentures. Also whilst tour losing the teeth you will lose all pain that your suffering with. Blood there will be no blood nor pain they still numb your gums when you are woken from the GA you will probably need pain killers before the numbness wheres off . I recently had a tooth extracted and it healed pretty quickly and had no pain nor blood . I am a smoker and it was hard to for go for 30 hrs but i ate soup instead and i didnt get dry socket.
And more the money seems very expensive i am in the uk and i dont think even privately it would cost 10k could you perhaps fly to another country to have this treatment just a thought. I have 3 maybe 4 teeth to be removed soon and the extractions and sedation will be around 1 k . I already have a partial denture and its a case of having to get used to it once in it does look very good .
Xrays dont hurt and impressions take minutes to be completed so please dont fear those .

Have i covered every concern ?
Thank you so much for your reply Jackie!

I’m so grateful to hear I’ll be able to eat harder food even with just the gums. I’ve heard of others being able to do that, so that will be great while I wait for the permanent partial.

I’m so happy to hear you didn’t have pain or blood with yours! I‘m hoping that’s the case for me as well. Or at the very least it’s so small, it’s nothing more than when I have a split lip from dry skin. Honestly, at this point I really do think my want of the teeth out of my mouth is outweighing quite a bit of the fear. Having them in my mouth, being sore, and having to be so careful around them is…not ideal.

I can’t fly to another country, no. But what I plan to do is call up the treatment coordinator and go line by line about where the cost is coming from. It looks like the GA is especially expensive, and the extractions themselves really.

You’ve covered most of them I think! For x-rays, I’m not really concerned about pain, but simply my high gag reflex. I’ve never been able to do a bite wing x-ray unfortunately, I just immediately spit the thing out. That’s why the dentist suggested they’d do them if I got general, because they can manipulate my mouth how they need to then I suppose. And I’ll be unconscious so no gag reflex!
Can u ask for iv sedation instead GA i am sure this is cheaper and i am assure you almost the same as GA except offered in a dentist not a hospital . Keep us updated . I am awaiting my referal for sedatikn of 3 or 4 teeth atm so i am with u all the way .
IV sedation is an option and was discussed, yes. My dentist though thought GA would be the best for me, as my PTSD is of such a severity. We’ll see though? I might not have a choice depending on the money situation. I mean I’ve heard so many people sing the praises of IV sedation, but personally, I’d just prefer to be completely out and unaware of anything that’s happening. GA at this practice is also administered in the dentist’s office which I thought was interesting. So either way, I’m in the office :toofunny:

I will of course keep updating this journal! I’m sure I’ll have lots to say as the process goes on. Good luck for your referral!
Not much to say today. But I did email the treatment coordinator (I felt better emailing than I did phoning) to say I had some questions and ask if she could answer them for me. We’ll see if she gets back to me (I honestly don’t even know what her hours are so maybe she’s not in today.)

I keep thinking about this morning and last night, brushing my teeth. I was told I had an infection, but given no antibiotics. I’m not in pain, only soreness and that’s only sometimes. Anyway, I did a little experiment this morning and last night. Held my electric toothbrush over the gum of my bad tooth and brushed gently, waited. And waited. No pain, no blood. It got very red, sure but nothing else. One of my questions to the coordinator is going to be “do I actually have an infection or was the gun jumped because something seems odd here.”

If you go to a doctor, and you’re diagnosed with an infection, they give you antibiotics to slow or stop the spread. They don’t let you carry on your merry way with nothing. This is what keeps playing in my head today. Why didn’t they even talk more about it? “You have an infection” and then not discussed again. It makes no sense.

This is what I mean when I say I felt the whole appointment was a bit of a contradiction. I was even told that if I went under general, multiple treatments could be done at once as I would be out, which I liked, but then told by someone else that the dentist would be too tired from all that standing (I thought they had chairs for a reason? But also how odd. What an odd thing to say.) That’s why I’m hoping the treatment coordinator can answer all these questions and put me straight.

I’m trying not to be anxious all the time. Some days are better than others. Today for example, so far has been pretty good. It’s hard though, to not imagine pain or inflammation. I mean my gums are inflamed but not in the way I keep feeling they are. As if they’re on fire and completely red and destroyed. That is just in my mind :p ’Tis the anxiety making me think so.

Eating is still a bit hard for me right now. I can only use one side of my mouth as I don’t want to upset the cracked tooth or risk it breaking. And I’m trying to eat soft food to reduce any chance of that. Tonight though, I decided to have a taco salad. Not tacos, because I cannot possible eat a shell right now seeing as I have no biting ability, but a salad. I’m hoping I can use the softer lettuce and not any of the crunchy bits. Hopefully it will go well, I miss tacos.

I haven’t tried drinking tea in ages either. Not that it‘s upset anything but I’m worried it would. Mostly it makes my mouth dry on occasion which isn’t fun. Maybe I’ll try that at some point too. I think if I let it cool down enough it should be fine right? I would think so. I drink ice cold water and I’m okay, and this is like that—except just going the opposite way, and of course, more acidic.

Ah, look at me with these rambling thoughts. I never realized how much I needed this outlet till I started it. It’s incredibly useful. Hopefully I’ll have answers to my questions soon and then I can update about my questions and the answers. Until then.
Mmm, more thoughts today. Yesterday was a really good day for me. I was able to get out of bed, and do things that didn’t involve obsessing over my teeth. I even had a taco salad for dinner (with only soft lettuce, that took me a few hours to eat.) But it was nice. It felt like I was the old me and the whole “you need partial dentures” was just a terrible dream.

Haha, I say now.

This morning, my teeth and gums feel itchy. I want to just scratch them. Or pull them out of my mouth. Either way. Me being me, a woman who already has health anxiety, of course went and googled why gums could itch. Itching can sometimes mean healing and I thought “well I’ve been brushing my teeth regularly now, maybe the gums are itching because they’re finally getting attention.”

Ah, ah, ah. No, according to Google. It probably means worsening gum disease. Maybe the dreaded “p” word. Periodontal disease of course.

I mean I’m not stupid. I have gingivitis. I know that. But the thought of periodontal disease scares me so much that it’s now consumed me today. It’s wormed its way into my head and I can’t help but freeze in fear of it. It’s funny too, because even my bottom gums feel itchy, and I keep thinking “oh no! I must have this disease down there! They’re going to pull all my teeth!” Even though I was told I had good bone height on my bottom teeth and I needed to maintain it. It’s like I just forget that fact because the fear kills any sense of logic.

You know what else causes itchy gums? Hormonal changes. Would you like to know something? I have hormonal issues. Plenty actually. My gums often become inflamed around certain parts of my cycle, it’s just a thing. That right there is a far more logical explanation for what’s probably happening and yet—I want to just be afraid. Be terrified. Because it’s natural. But what’s the point? Nothing can be done. Not until I get money together and hear back from the treatment coordinator. So in that sense, am I just punishing myself here? Am I, by living in this state, just making everything worse?

What can I do on my end? Brush my teeth, use mouthwash, floss (although I’m out of floss currently. I need to get some.), make sure I’m not eating really bad stuff for my teeth (which I am not.)

Here’s what I can not do: obsess over my teeth, debate whether or not I have a fever, fly into a panic and assume that I’m going to die from an infection or something because I wasn’t able to get treatment right away, assume that all my teeth will need to be pulled for some reason or another, obsess over my wisdom teeth that also need to come out, oh and assume that I have an infection in my jaw bone now. I mean really.

It’s a tall order. It is. Because it’s far easier for me to be in a state of anxiety. But then I think—if I had an infection, if all of the above was true—then yesterday wouldn’t have been a great day. It wouldn’t have been. Infections of the mouth don’t disappear and then reappear. They’re always there. Maybe my symptoms would have been lesser but they would have been there. And sure maybe I need a little reassurance, but that’s okay too. It’s okay for me to ask a family member to give me a top of it, because you know—that’s just the way it goes these days. Truthfully, I don’t think I’ll feel better and be free of this anxiety until my partials are in (and comfortable) and I don’t have my wisdom teeth anymore. Then and only then, will I probably feel relief. Because right now, there’s all these things that need to be done and I’m acutely aware of it, but they aren’t getting done either because appointments aren’t available or because I don’t have the money. And I think that just creates a ticking time bomb. This feeling that time will run out and there’ll be nothing left to salvage then.

But that’s such a fatalist POV, I’d rather not take it. Instead, I think a more positive outlook is needed. Something like: I’m doing everything I can on my end to help my teeth and gums right now. There is no reason to believe I will not be completely fine. I am strong, I am capable, I will be okay.

And on that note, I think this is where I leave it here today. This was a rather disorganized entry, but in a way I suppose it allows everyone here to see what an anxious mind does. The way it runs and twists. Here’s hoping for a better rest of the day, and that I hear back from the treatment coordinator tomorrow.
Ah, finally some news to report.

I’ve just gotten off the phone with the treatment coordinator at the dental place. She phoned me, even though I emailed her for a reason and I found that interesting. If you specialize in phobic dental patients, and your patient emails you, it’s probably because they felt too anxious to call. But I digress. I didn’t get to ask all my questions but I did make sure to ask one that was giving me tons of anxiety.

But let’s recap from the beginning.

The first thing I asked was a breakdown of the cost, line by line. Carrie sent me an email with an estimate and let me tell you—it is completely different from what I was told in the initial appointment. Initially I was told 10,000. This estimate? 3,478.00. Plus the 1,994 for partial uppers (not going to lie, seeing partial uppers confirmed like that was soothing. It means that yes, I do not have to lose all of my upper teeth!)

Expensive yes. But a far cry from 10k. I was confused. I’m still trying to understand how the price went down. Looking at it now though, I see they only put in four teeth for extraction and not six. Perhaps that’s where some savings come from. They also didn’t put in my wisdom teeth, which are low priority and wouldn’t be done in one visit anyway, so perhaps that too? Carrie said the price could go up as without the x-rays they can’t know what fillings will look like. If it’ll be all hands on deck (all five surfaces) or less. The x-rays can’t happen until I’m under for extraction (because of my high gag reflex.) She agreed by the way, that GA is definitely the best option for me. Funnily enough, almost all GA appointments are booked including in May. Looks like July is the next opening. I had a laugh in my head, looks like my entire town has been traumatized by dentists!

Now, we need to talk about Carrie’s bedside manner. Because let me tell you, it’s one thing to tell a patient “we really need those x-rays to see the state of your teeth.” That’s fine, that’s normal, yep I get that. It is entirely another to say “we need those x-rays to see the state of decay of your teeth.” Why say that? Why do that to an anxious patient? Why make it sound like you’re judging me? I’m trying my hardest here. I didn’t like that line, and I felt judged and angry about it. State of decay—okay yes I need work done, doesn’t mean I’m a goner here completely. Carrie seems to run hot and cold. She can be nice, but then she can say something like this and make it—not nice. I dunno. Honestly I’d probably find another dentist but I do like this place and they’re the only ones who will do GA on me so.

I told her I had six questions but after the conversation about money and cost, she was prepared to let me go. Wait! I cried, because there was a very important question I had. What about this infection I supposedly have?

Well, turns out nothing is noted on the file. It appears I do not have an infection. I have a something (her words) on my right, upper gum. I think I know what she’s talking about. There’s this patch of gum, above the tooth next to my front that’s a bit bulbous? A bit round. It never hurts, never gives me trouble, but it looks a little out of place. She told me to keep an eye on it, and that if it “imploded” I would definitely know. She also told me that they don’t always prescribe antibiotics if something is draining on its own. I thought that was interesting. I learned something new. I figured you’d prescribe the antibiotics anyway just to help out but I guess not?

Anyway, I’m now going to be extremely anxious about that thing on my gum. I’m going to obsess over it and freak out over it. I know it. But at least I’m self aware enough to realize. And it really doesn’t hurt. The only thing that hurts is my other tooth, the one I’m deeming my anxiety tooth. It’s one that needs to go and one that seems to hurt only when I’m anxious :p How hilarious.

I accidentally forgot to ask about financing and she still didn’t bring it up which ugh, not great. It sounds to me like they want that money up front. Which—of course they do.

I’m still shocked at how much more affordable the cost is. Also! That they only said four teeth. Surely she wouldn’t have put in just the four if she thought two other teeth really needed to go right? Or we were talking worst case scenario? But then again, I’m also a little confused about the numbers next to the teeth. The numbers (21, 22, 24) are all for bottom teeth And those ones I don’t need to have out. Maybe she mixed up the numbers. I assume so. Or maybe those numbers don’t represent the teeth numbers but something else? There are codes next to the numbers. Looking those up might give me more anxiety but you know I can’t leave well enough alone with that one.

Anyway, I’m going to take care of myself for the rest of the day and focus on the positive! Because I think there are things to be positive about. Not only did I make it through the phone call, the cost is a lot less than I thought it would be. That’s excellent news! Also no infection! Thank goodness. Let’s hope it stays that way!
Great news re the cost . Whilst your so positive call back and ask about the payment plans . How many teeth are you having removed on the upper. I ask as i have a partial denture of 2 teeth currently. Re the gum if she says its ok then dont worry anymore and if it dont hurt all the better. Can i ask you may have said already how old are you ?
@Jackieallen Yeah, I’ll send a reply to her email since she said I could contact her for any questions and I assume emailing would just be easier. Right now, she’s put four but it could be six. I’m in my late twenties re my age.

Thats not so bad then only 4 i have a partial denture for 2 teeth but have lost many more but because they are back teeth no denture needed but am a little older x i assume your in canada hence the high charges
@Jackieallen Mm, I think I can handle four teeth. That’s the best case scenario. Four teeth, restoration on two more, and then a bunch of fillings. But yes, I’m in Canada, so it’s a high charge. Also higher because I’m getting GA. But not nearly as much as what was initially quoted. I think perhaps they were pushing the IV sedation, so they were trying to steer me off GA, but then when I asked for a line by line estimate, I can see it’s not too bad for that.

My mother and brother both having missing back teeth as well! No dentures there, although my mother was supposed to get some. I get to go first now :)
So pleased the cost came down . Can i just say i recently had iv sedation and i was out out out same as ga no different but less cost if that helps . Honestly the line went in ..then i woke all done . So please consider this a option .

Are yours back teeth ? You may not require the denture. I did get one for my back tooth but didnt get i with it .
Mm, the treatment coordinator was also in agreement about GA, and I feel most comfortable with it so that’s what I’ll be doing, despite it being a little more. They can do multiple things at once then as well which is extremely useful.

No, mine are all in the front, which is fine, since it means a partial shouldn’t have me gagging (a real concern of mine with any form of denture)
The GA obviously is your choice . I am having 3 teeth maybe 4 taken out soon using iv sedation again. I just wanted you to have a real opinion of it . My denture is for front teeth and matches my others perfectly so u will look beautiful
Thank you for telling me of your experience! I definitely think I would’ve considered IV sedation and gone that route a few years ago (I would’ve done it when I last went to a dentist, ten years ago for sure, although back then I needed no extractions.) I think with what I need done though, it might just do more harm than not to have me ”awake” in any sense. This seems the easier route.

Thank you for saying so! I can’t wait to have a lovely smile and be able to do so without fearing what I look like. I was assured that there would be no way anyone would be able to tell with how well the dentures are made at this place and I trust that.
Here in the uk its rare to get GA for anthing other than wisdom teeth. I only know from my expierence of iv you are definately not awake ...i dont recall anything. But you have to do what your comfortable with . I should hope with what your paying the dentures ahould be gold plated x