• Dental Phobia Support

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pain and panic



Junior member
Apr 10, 2011
I'm a survivor of childhood abuse and brushing my teeth has always been a trigger for me, even when I didn't understand what a trigger was or what it was triggering. it always made me feel anxious and could bring on a panic attack and basically I'd put off doing it or avoid it completely whenever I could. since I was rarely supervised by anyone who cared I mostly got away with leaving my teeth completely alone. for about 25 years. throw in depression induced compulsive eating and the result is neither pretty nor painless
over the last few years the pain has been getting worse. even when I can bring myself to brush my teeth the physical pain usually stops me if the emotional doesn't. and it's even harder to get motivation when it hurts too much and they're already pretty much completely ruined
but now the pain is becoming more frequent and more unbearable. last time I went to the dentist they sent me away and told me off for showing up without brushing my teeth first and this was after I'd made effort to do as good a job as I could. I've just had my second night in a row without any sleep because of the pain and just want to get rid of it. I'm tempted to just tell the dentist to pull them all out and go with false teeth which I can clean while they're not in my mouth but I don't think the NHS would cover it and besides I'm afraid I'd just be sent away again and feel like a failure
The NHS covers all 'necessary essential' treatment up to and including dentures. However they should only agree to that if your teeth cannot be saved with restorative treatment (cleaning, fillings, crowns etc).
Sorry about your last crap experience - that wasn't treating you with respect which an NHS dentist should do according to the GDC and the NHS.

If you can afford private care it would be much easier to find a dentist with the time to help you with your brushing phobia - but if NHS is only option for you, you need to make sure they know in advance you are nervous and in need of a professional clean...then from a clean start you can work on keeping it that way with support. You need to state up front that you know your teeth are a mess and that you don't need any remarks about it.

Try to find a more sympathetic dentist by asking friends.