• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Phobia of dentist is beyond my control

L

Loupyloulou

Junior member
Joined
Feb 26, 2024
Messages
3
Location
Scotland
Hi. I’m shaking writing this. I’ve always had anxiety about going to the dentist. I was late diagnosed with ADHD and CPTSD (now 43, perimenopausal)

I spent much of my life from the age of 6 to 12 in the orthodontist to move the top of my mouth forward. I also had traumatic experiences getting teeth out as a child under gas.

I have always kept on top of my dental hygiene but hereditary dictates that it’s not enough.

A week tomorrow I’m going back to the dentist with my support worker and hoping to be referred to a dental hospital as I need teeth taken out and A LOT of work done. I can’t afford private.

I’ve come to the point now where I’d rather not be ‘here’ anymore than go to the dentist. I can’t describe how difficult it has become.

I’m a vocalist and I need my teeth. I’m terrified of wearing dentures and it could ruin my future. I was prescribed diazepam for visits but it does nothing.

The sensory stimulation is too much to bare. The waiting list for sedation is really long.

I feel like I’m alone in this and I cant see a future as it’s ruining my mental health so much.

I feel like I’m going ‘crazy’ and it’s all irrational but I just can’t stop the fear.

If I had the money I’d get them all taken out and have permanent dentures put in.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Please help!
 
Hi Loupyloulou :welcome: ,

first of all thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We all know how much courage it takes.
I'm really sorry to read what you've been through and how your fear is so much that you'd even rather not to be here rather than having to see a dentist. :(

To jump straight to your question at the end: is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, there is. And the most important thing is to take your fears and any mental health conditions seriously and to be willing to go ahead slowly.

I am not an expert on ADHD but familiar with PTSD/CPTSD and I see how that makes some aspects of seeing a dentist even more challenging than what the "classic" fear of dental stuff would do. So first step may be to think of what do you think will it be that may make your upcoming visit difficult (or what you generally find difficult) and then to think of strategies how to make it all less scary. This site is full of some of them and if browsing here is too scary, we are happy to share some concrete tips if you feel like sharing what is worrying you the most for that visit that is about to come.

When it comes to the rest, it's better not to think too far. One step at a time is the best approach.
Oh and by the way, nothing is irrational here. I am sure that looking back at what you have been through at the dental office and maybe in life generally, your fears and reactions make perfect sense.

So please, hang in there and feel free to post and read here as much as you like. It can be scary but can also help.
 
What an absolutely lovely reply, thank you so much. That’s really validating. I do tend to spiral into the future almost immediately and unfortunately that’s associated with ADHD… it’s very visual and almost like you are even there in real time, hence the anxiety!

I have buried my head in the sand about this for so long so I guess I’m moving forward by facing my biggest fear.

I really appreciate your lovely response, thank you.
 
Hello Loupyloulou (love your screen name :) btw)
I am brand new to the group too and just want to lend you my support even though I don't really have any great advice. But I know how you feel, living life with anxiety is so hard and even people that aren't normally anxious can feel stress about the dentist. For people like us it can be overwhelming. I have OCD with contamination issues (a big time germaphobe to put it mildly) and am mildly agoraphobic so going to the dentist is hell for me. I am not really afraid of needles or pain but I hate having to be close to people, having them stick stuff in my mouth and basically trusting that everything is clean. And worrying about what horrifying news they have to tell me. Waited 45 minutes in the waiting room today and everyone probably thought I was nuts as eventually I had to get up and pace (not to mention avoiding those with the sniffles). So I just wanted to welcome you to the group and let you know that you aren't alone
 
I just wanted to say Hi, I also have ADHD (inattentive) and I'm early perimenopausal (which hasn't helped the anxiety one bit, and the lack of sleep is adding it's own misery).

I've seen my fair share of dentists, NHS and private and it's incredibly hard at times, I have panicked and then wondered how I'll get through the next time, etc etc.. I guess I just do.

I'm awaiting a RCT appointment and I'm utterly terrified. It's the one appointment I fear the most tbh. But I'm in pain and just want to get it over with now, I still don't know how I'll cope but I don't have much choice.. I could pull it out but it's one of the only front few that I have left (all chewing teeth, bar 4, have been pulled)... My teeth are constant work tbh, I don't remember when I was last pain free and in feel like I never will be, there'll always be some degree of pain, I feel... I know you're not meant to, that's why you see the dentist, but I have many deep fillings and I just can't afford working on them all. My nanna lost all her teeth by my age, my mum's are awful, so are my father's.. so I don't have much hope for my teeth!

Anyway, I digress. To help I've taken music with me before, noise cancelling ear buds are a godsend (I struggle with too much noise), I can't stand the sounds of the tools so it helps. I'm not keen on smells either but I just try with eucalyptus/Olbas oil before I go in.. I think I need to remember something to occupy my hands with,I was fiddling with my phone an awful lot last time and I worry I may inadvertently stop my music playing.

I was overwhelmed and thought 'what's the point' and 'id rather not be here', afterall a dentist visit at some point is inevitable and I felt I couldn't possibly do it.. but it really does get easier over time.. I can't say I'm thrilled to go, not at all, but it's doable 👍

I've never had sedation, I think the wait for that is incredibly long, I've just managed without, mainly through fear of side effects or how I'll feel tbh! But I know it's worked wonders for many people.

Easier said than done (because I do it myself), but just try not to get too far ahead. Break it all down into what's manageable, even if it's the tiniest of steps, whatever works to stop the spiral 👍
 
Thank you! It really sucks having sensory issues and it makes sense now why I struggled so much more than ‘others’ at the dentist when I was young. I’m now suspecting I’m also autistic so that’s a bonus 🫠

Thanks for your reply. I’m sorry you are struggling with pain. It does make me feel less alone to hear others plights. I really appreciate it.
 
@Loupyloulou I read your post and felt your fear and desperation completely and could totally empathise with every word. I also have this terror of going to the dentist. I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s when dentists had unlimited amounts of NHS funds and carried out unnecessary work on innocent and unsuspecting victims. I was one of those victims unfortunately and so was my best friend. We both suffered because of unscrupulous dentists. We are both now terrified of the dentist and it dominates our lives. I used to go to the dentist every 6 months religiously because of my extreme terror of losing my teeth but since I got into my 40s the opposite happened and now I avoid going at all costs unless it is absolutely necessary. Today a filling fell out of my tooth and the trauma of this has made my mental health go through the roof. I have a history of anxiety and depression and the experience of the filling falling out has made me feel physically sick and brought on a major anxiety attack. I desperately want the tooth fixed but the fear of going to the dentist and sitting in that chair with someone examining my teeth is just unbearable. I've been crying since it happened, I haven't dared to eat anything and have an incredible headache. I know the fear is extreme but there is nothing I can do about it. The treatments I went through in my teens traumatised me so much so that over 40 years later I feel exactly the same as I did back then. After my horrific experiences I changed my dentist and my new dentist told me that I never needed to have the work done. I stayed with him for 20 years until he retired because he made me feel safe but since then I only visit the dentist if something happens to my teeth. I went 7 years without a visit. It really is the most terrifying phobia and one I will never get over.
 
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