• Dental Phobia Support

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Not to be dramatic but honestly, I can't do this

Still not able to concentrate, all I've done is watch doom and gloom videos and scroll the worse cases comparing. Everything is a mess at my place. I need to tidy, I've barely done anything in 4 days and I've still not eaten anything today. I'm just petrified of making anything worse, my lips are chapping and dry - never have before - because I'm almost scared to keep swallowing and moving my mouth.

It's my exes weekend with my daughter, and usually she'd pick her up in the morning, but she offered to take her tonight as I'm at work tomorrow, and I've said yes. I can't focus on anything really, no idea how I'm going to go to work tomorrow. I feel like I'm dangerously on that edge of like, just calling in sick again and again, but I know I can't do that because well, I feel like I'd end up rapidly on that spiral of just doing it constantly, and I'd be homeless.

I just want to stare at a wall, in silence.
That sounds tough @Whyohwhy12. Hopefully being at work will allow you to focus on something else for a while. It’s only 4 days but it must seem like an eternity! Hang on in there 🤗
@letsconnect i didn't go in to work in the end.

It's this weird paradoxical thing of like, I can't concentrate on anything at all, not even for 5 minutes on any other topic, so I'm desperate to know. I've still not slept through properly overnight, and I can count on one hand the amount I've eaten since Monday.

But at the same time I have major dental anxiety, I don't really have the money for it, nor the 'time' to fix it with appointments and recovery, so I'm not looking forward to it either.

So I'm just in this limbo of being stressed, anxious, bored and at one point just pacing over and over again through my place, but constantly occupied by the same thoughts running through my head.
Well I had a shower, opened some windows, and got dressed. It's strange how in spurts I think, ''well there's 3 extractions for sure, dunno how can save teeth that are basically split in half like a log of wood, but hopefully I can afford a couple crowns though and maybe even go all out beyond my means for an implant or two, and get away with a few fillings"....

....and then other moments I think ''well if those teeth were that bad to break, and even in 2009 I had to have so many fillings and IIRC an extraction even back then, what is to say the rest aren't worse than what I suspect and I'm going to be one of those people who are told I need dozens of extractions, considering I did have a pretty regular daily energy drink habit for like 10 years"?

I've watched videos of people getting dentures that have teeth that looked no worse than mine do. I guess watching these videos on repeat isn't helping.
I'm treating this like a journal at this point. I know there's an area for that but I kind of want to keep it here for now, least until I know the damage.

It's weird how powerful denial is. This time 2 weeks ago I knew I had issues, like I always subconsciously tried to hide the areas I knew about when talking, and haven't smiled with my mouth open in honestly...years. I checked back on Facebook pictures and the last smile was like, 2014, and annoyingly they actually look passable back then.

But day to day I just brushed, and didn't think much of it. I wasn't super vigilant with it, but it's not like I never did. It sounds weird to think about like "how wouldn't you know all that is going on?", but I never really checked, even when I brushed, I just kinda zoned out and did it until the brush buzzed at me, and with the toothpaste all mixed in they never looked cripplingly bad from like the front 6 or 8 and bottom 6.

It's funny how tight my face felt once I started checking the last few days, because I was so used to keeping it tight lipped naturally.

In a kinda crazy way I suppose had this not happened I dunno how long I'd have ignored going to the dentist. Probably another 5-10 years. When I fell of my bike and chipped my front tooth (and probably caused other minor damage) I did send out a few emails to dentists, but because I was still living with my ex, and then Covid hit and we had our daughter, I didn't feel like ''hey so I chipped that tooth and have like 3-4000£ worth to pay because no NHS dentists exist" was really a feasible discussion.

Stupid that denial and embarrassment had such an impact. But also it's made me think about how I neglected myself generally. As I mentioned above, 2014 was the last smile in a picture, but in my head I was thinking, "oh that isn't too long ago", but it's a decade. I've basically been numb and in denial for a decade generally, and I think that isn't only reflected in visiting the dentist, but general day to day life. I was just in such a routine that life was just passing me by like that, and ambition or wanting to better myself in any way never really struck me.

I just hope and pray to god I don't get the worse news. I don't know how I'd take it. I don't think I could take it, as melodramatic as that sounds.
I'm spamming at this point. I apologize, but I know in my own struggles sometimes it's nice to find a thread of someone freaking out somehow.

I searched ''dentist'' in my texts to see if I'd ever discussed it, and ironically a week before I fell off my bike and chipped my front tooth, my ex had said ''I need a RCT and a crown a bit later". Weird how I never even thought about that. But also crazy how I never even noticed at the time, which makes it even worse (because in my head I'm thinking surely if I got that bad someone would have said by now).

I think what petrifies me most is when I'm reading the worse case scenario stories and they give some history, I haven't been treating myself any better than they have. One guy needed everything out and he's ten years younger than me, with the only reasoning being his soda/smoking (of which I partook in years longer than he did) and not visiting the dentist in years, same as me, and when he showed his teeth before they don't really look much worse than mine do. My only saving grace is I religiously chew gum (1-2 packs a day) and never had any issues or major swelling/sensitivities, so I'm just praying somehow that's an indication it's not as bad as what I suspect.

Few root canals and a bunch of fillings and couple extractions? Okay, I'd be relieved. At this point I have no fear of that. I know I have 3 I'm certain are beyond saving. I can get stuff done and then recover in between with a couple days off here and there. Being told ''actually it's even worse than it looks which means it's catastrophic"...I'm not prepared for that. I couldn't go through with that with my work and childcare situation, hell, I don't even have someone to take me. At that point I'd just be willing to get the bare minimum done to survive.

I guess it's the constant wondering how many people in a similar situation escape with just a lot of dental work, and how many people need radical treatment. Obviously if I'm only looking for the latter I'll assume it's the latter, but why should my situation be any different?
Nothing has changed. It hit me that I haven't even left the house since Monday, it's now Sunday.

You know that feeling if you have an interview to go to, but you're incredibly socially anxious, that's almost what it feels like, but even that doesn't carry the same level of terror because of the potential outcome. And, because I've not left the house in a week, it's that strange feeling of being incredibly bored, knowing that the world is still going on outside but feeling completely isolated, but also being too distracted by circumstances to focus on anything to pass the time, even if I could. Cruel.

I'm basically just pacing between rooms, sat at the computer, sat on a chair, sat on the step at the back door, and the moment I just stop and try to think, I'm consumed by terror.
I suppose at this point I just want to know. The options are; run away from it with things only certainly being worse, or face it and pray to god it's not as bad as what I suspect. And if the chance it's absolutely catastrophic news comes to pass, well it was going to be the case anyway. If that did come to pass, I know I couldn't go through with it and have something radical done, so I'd just have to learn to live with it.

The problem is I feel almost like I'm letting myself in for a false sense of security by momentarily not thinking about it, in some weird way. Like I've cleaned the house, done some washing, washed my bedding, got my things ready for work tomorrow, and while at moments I just focus on the task at hand, I'm whipped back around to reality, and that I'm somehow just being in denial of the worse case scenario. Like I'm holding onto a ticking time bomb and I'm just passing the moments until it explodes.

Then I'm battling myself like, how much of this is anxiety, and looking at a couple broken teeth and decay spots and thinking ''man they all must be screwed then", or how much of it is reasonable? How would I escape a different fate from others that I'm older than by ten years, and some don't even look so bad?

I dunno, it sucks. I just need to get the next two days out the way and then face the firing squad I guess, and if it's bad news then well, it gives me some time to make preparations and write my daughter a few years of birthday and christmas cards.
@Whyohwhy12 so sorry to hear that you're struggling at the moment :(.

I suppose expecting the worst can be a good strategy, seeing how you're much more likely to get a pleasant surprise that way. Though it probably makes the run-up a lot harder on you! At least it's only 2 days to go now. Hang on in there 🤗
@letsconnect thanks.

It's difficult because I'm not sure how much of it is dental anxiety, and how much of it is justified anxiety, if that makes sense? Obviously it's not entirely unfounded anxiety because I can see I have a lot to do.

I think what is making it feel worse is my mouth since this large filling came out has constantly been irritated. It feels more a shame that I pulled out a filling on top of everything else and it's likely a write off now, whereas before it was filled fine. Hell I could even eat toffee pretty vigorously and have no issues. It's disappointing to know I'm probably going to lose it in those circumstances, unless they can somehow perform a miracle and redo a filling that's to the gumline, essentially.

It feels the margins between ''total write off'' and ''can sort that out'' are so fine that the slightest bit of anxiety means I can only see the worse case in everything.
In 24 hours I'll have been to my appointment.

It's sinking in really badly now. I'm extra worried because I have to go during work, and while it's literally 2 minutes away on foot, I feel like it just adds an unnecessary complication. I'm really trying to come up with a script at this point in my head, like how do I explain how I got into this situation in the least painful way possible, so I don't look a complete nutcase. Dental phobia from a visit as a teen, non existent parenting around oral hygiene and cheap soda in the house always (stupid, but it was never mentioned to me), Covid, NHS waiting list for years, single dad, no money for it, energy drink addiction at work with 12 hour shifts...I'm desperately trying to put together the reason why I'm in this boat so I can explain it as concisely as possible.

I'm trying to make peace with the fact that I guess whatever happens will happen. If I don't go it doesn't improve my situation in any way. Whatever issues that exist will continue to exist regardless of if I go or not, and things can only deteriorate from this point onward, even after quitting sugary drinks like I already had prior to all this. I will be worse off in 5 years, or 10 years, and I'll be here in an even worse position -- maybe after months of dealing with pain, or after even more embarrassing scenarios -- then saying ''why didn't I just go".

And if there's a chance, no matter how slight it may be in my head, that years of soda drinking and obvious damage is reparable, that isn't going to happen if I don't go. I still can't allow myself to think I can fix it still because I feel like that's just a false sense of security and I'm jinxing myself.

To be honest though I'm also over this irritating my cheek and tongue. Every single time I talk it's maddening, and even at rest I can feel it. That's giving me more drive to try sort it out over the other tooth while broke because that somehow didn't bother me at the time.
Hello, I’ve been following your post since the beginning (that sounds a bit creepy on my part haha). I just wanted to reach out and say good luck at your appointment. I hope everything goes well.
@Anxiety Riddled

Thanks a lot. No it's fine, I did the same with others, even ones from years ago. Somehow it's comforting to read basically journals of other people in the same boat, and being able to follow along with their mind state and seeing where we feel the same, and then hopefully to a good outcome.

Hope all is going well on your journey.
That is very true. I’ve found quite a lot of comfort through this forum. In my personal life everyone around me is either very rude about or just doesn’t understand my fears and anxiety when it comes to all things dental so I have no one to confide in. Whenever I’m feeling extremely anxious about my teeth I’ve found it helpful to read posts in the success stories forum. I won’t bore you with my long story but in short I’ve been struggling a lot the last 6 months. My wisdom teeth started coming in fast and I’ve put it off for as long as possible (causing myself more issues and discomfort) which I wish I hadn’t done now… I haven’t been to the dentist in years due to my phobia so I reached out to an oral surgeons office for my wisdom teeth removal but I’ve had to wait even longer (my appointment is finally at the end of this month). I’m hoping for some relief after the removal. I’m also hoping that getting this extensive (at least in my mind) procedure done will make me more comfortable with the idea of finally seeing a general dentist. The not knowing when it comes to my mouth is the worst and I know I really need to address the state of my teeth at this point.
@Anxiety Riddled I'm so embarrassed by the situation that even the few people I could mention it to I refuse to do so. Today at work I'm not even going to say I've got a dentist appointment because I don't want to draw any attention to it.

And yeah I'm 100% with you on your last point. It's a vicious circle. I know I have problems, but I'm petrified at getting those issues looked at in case the news is worse than what I suspect. If a quick visual look highlights all these problems then letting someone investigate every inch and take x-rays is horrible, because I know at the minimum I will have more issues going on than what I suspect, and I'm already not comfortable with the ones I do know about. What if I go and they're like ''oh so that one tooth which split 4 years ago...well you had an infection you somehow didn't notice, and it's been spreading that whole time and everything has to come out and btw you're so screwed it's wrecked your bone..."

My fears don't stem from the procedures themselves, my fears are entirely down to the unknown and how I can justify allowing myself to get to this point. That's where it started for me. As a kid we had so much cheap soda, no dental hygiene and no regular dentist visits, so by the time I did go I was already in an emergency situation. And I remember vividly the comments from the dentist at the time. Perhaps those comments were more exacerbation at parenting and allowing me to get to that situation, but who knows.

I can't believe it's today. I already feel sick. I'm going to spend my last few hours before the firing squad trying to come up with a script I can fit in quickly to explain everything.
Don’t worry too much about having to explain things or justify yourself @Whyohwhy12 - as it’s been said many times before on here, dentists are doers, and they‘ll be much more interested in figuring out how to fix things than pondering how things got to this stage 🙂.

We‘ve got a downloads page on here with a helpful patient form you can use if you like:

All the best for your appointment today! Please keep us posted!
@Whyohwhy12 I completely understand the “not wanting to bring attention to your mouth” thing. I’ve been like that my whole life. Very self conscious about my teeth and the way they look. Always hide my mouth when I talk to people or when I laugh. And oh man did I feel that statement you made about being worried things are worse than they seem. I am also terrified of that… I try to think positive but then my mind starts racing. Before I was just worried about losing my teeth and now I have this new obsession with thinking my gums are irreparable and that the structure (bone) is deteriorating. I always feel odd sensations in my mouth like my teeth are loose or moving which has sent my anxiety though the roof. And I agree the unknown is one of the hardest parts. I feel like it’s much easier to expect the worst and hope for the best. I hope your appointment goes well today! If your feeling up to it afterwards to update us on how it went I’ll be looking forward to that.
@letsconnect I know, I just can’t get over the fact I’ve let it come to this. I want to explain in the best way how I got into this position. There’s a huge number of things, I remember as a kid for some reason I’d pop the cap off soda cans and scratch at my teeth with it. No idea why. So many things have contributed to it, even taking amitriptyline for migraines and giving me try mouth, or falling off my bike and busting up my front tooth and I believe a couple others, and I want to try explain that first.

@Anxiety Riddled we are so alike. I’m scared because I always believe the worse and I’m preparing myself for some really bad news. That along with the embarrassment are my worse fears. If they wanna root canal multiple teeth or whatever I’m not bothered, but if I’m irreparable then I don’t know how I’m going to take it.

Less than an hour to go until I’m in. Part of me still wants to abandon the idea but I can’t. If I do I’m 70£ down and I’ll be in exactly the same position but worse in a years time or five years. Nothing I can do at this point is going to help matters, even with perfect dental hygiene, so I have to really.

Honestly feel like I’m about to face a firing squad. I will update everyone though, it’s always interesting to read others stories and the outcomes when they eventually go.
I’m leaving to go in 20 minutes.

Jesus my heart is beating out of my chest. It feels like the nerves I had getting married and having to give a speech when you’re introverted, but even worse than that.

Fucking hell. I even saved 40mg of diazepam for this staggered throughout the morning with one just now and it’s not even touching me. I think I’m even shaking already.
I’m outside. Fuck I’m so nervous.