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Scared of dying - advice is welcomed



Junior member
Mar 1, 2018
Hi everyone, my name is Whitney and I am super relieved to have found this forum through all of my paranoid Internet searching (which is, I'm sure, negatively impacting my situation further). I will try not to take too much of anyone's time with my backstory.

I am terrified of dentists. I had a very scary experience when I was a little girl with a dentist who was verbally mean to me, and did not listen when the numbing agents wore off. To make matters worse, I struggled severely with depression and a panic disorder (which I still have, but it does not cripple me as badly). During the height of my depressed years (14-early 20s, I am 26 now), I honestly did not care anything about myself or my health. I was suicidal and did not want to take care of my body, or even do things like shower or brush my teeth. I am aware this was all my own doing, but I definitely did not take care of my teeth in any way and I know that has led to problems today.

I have not been to a dentist in probably 4-5 years, and I am finally mustering up the courage to go, but I am scared out of my mind that I am dying and I won't live long enough. I have one back molar that is gone, and two upper molars that are blackening. I am terrified that there is an infection and/or abscess and it is going to spread to my brain or block off my airway and kill me. I have been researching a lot of things on the Internet and I have convinced myself this is happening now, and I really need some reassurance.

I have an upper respiratory infection right now, and I am scared it is somehow the teeth that are causing it? I am experiencing no tooth pain and I cannot see any overt signs of infection, which my mom is convinced I would see. I have no swelling. My cheeks (both of them; all problem teeth are on the left) have been flushing pink and feel hot to my own touch (no one else's), but I have not had a fever. The doctor looked at my tonsils and one of them is inflamed, but she did not say anything about anything going on with my teeth. Is there still a chance something is wrong with my teeth and I am dying? I have been having more panic attacks than I have had in years because I am scared of this.

I was prescribed amoxicillin this morning as a result of the URI, and I am hoping that even if something is happening, it will save me for long enough. I found a dentist in my area who specializes in folks who are afraid of dentists and offers things to help distract them, but when I got the guts to call, no one answered - it was within 30 minutes of their closing time, so I'm guessing they went home early.

Again, any help or reassuring words at all would be so appreciated right now. I am scared out of my mind. I am psyching myself up to call the dentist in the morning when they open instead of waiting. I am trying to convince myself that I would be seriously sick and unable to function normally if I truly had a life-threatening infection, but so far everything I've read is scaring me and winning out instead.

Thanks in advance for any help at all, I really appreciate it.


Dec 20, 2017
I think the first thing you should do is stay off the internet. Don't go and google the symptoms. Most of the cases that are reported in the news or case studies may not necessarily apply to you. Also, as a layperson, we don't know enough or have any experience to even be able to recognise if what we are experiencing is the same as what we see on the internet.

Also, different people respond differently to the same treatment and diseases. Each person's disease presentation varies too. Factors such as genetic make up, individual diet and habits, overall health, immune system, environment, etc all play a role in how we respond to treatment and disease. So, jumping into any kind of conclusion about what is happening to yourself is like comparing an apple to an orange, and a long shot in the dark.

I can't offer much advice regarding your teeth/health issues as I'm not a professional. But if they are really infected, it would show up on an xray, so I'm afraid the only way to tell for sure is to go see a dentist.

Please go and see a dentist. I would say, use that energy that is spent on aimless internet research and scaring yourself to remind yourself that usually, the first step is the hardest. Once you get past that, you will find that it is not as bad as you had imagine it to be. :clover::clover::clover::clover:


Super Moderator
Staff member
Sep 18, 2017
Hi Whitney, sorry to hear what you are going through at the moment and a huge well done for having made the first step and trying to call a dentist. Hope they pick up when you try next time.

There is quite a lot going on in your post, but we all know that some things cannot be explained briefly so don't worry about the time needed to read your story.

You seem to have been through some really difficult times in your life and I can only imagine how hard it is to deal with all of this. I was particularly sorry to read that you were suicidal. Hopefully these things stabilized a little bit and I assume you are in good hands of a therapist and working towards taking care of your mental health. It seems to me that your dental fear and the other issues you are or were struggling with are not entirely unrelated so it would be a very good idea to have a look at it with your therapist.

You will understand that some issues, be it dental or psychological, might be so complex that finding a trained professional, be it a dentist or a psychologist, seems to be the only wise advice for it. It is always good to discern, wether the dental fear is only an effect of an another issue or if it is the actual problem.

If you feel able to see a dentist, which you obviously do, otherwise you wouldn't have called them, the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to see what is happening with the teeth that are bothering you. Again, it would be good to see the actual dental visit as the right thing to to take care of your dental health (everyone should see a dentist regularly to keep the teeth healthy and prevent problems), but not to see it as the absolute solution to your anxiety.

All the best wishes


Super Moderator
Jan 5, 2012
Hi welcome to the forum. It isn't very wise as you have discovered to try to find answers on google. The antibiotics should help with any infection that you may have in your gums as well as the URI. I hope you found the courage to ring the dentist this morning.

You can go when you get an appointment but don't worry they won't do any treatment on that first visit, they will want to have a look if you feel comfortable with them doing that and maybe take an x ray. Explain how you feel and how nervous you are, they will understand and answer all your concerns. The hardest part is making that first move, you don't have to agree to any treatment. They are there to advice and help us get the treatment we need. If you feel comfortable and feel that you can work with the dentist then you should discuss with them what needs doing and how and when it will be done. You take it at a pace you can cope with and don't be rushed into more treatment than you can cope with at each visit.

All treatment can and should be done totally pain free including the injections.

Any infection in the gums won't spread to your brain and you won't die. Infections can make you feel really unwell as I am sure you know but the antibiotics should kick in in a couple of days and you should start to feel a bit better.

To try to put your mind at rest, I had a really bad abscess for nearly two years that drove me mad and caused me a lot of pain, this was due to dentist neglect. I felt really ill but it did get sorted and I didn't die.

All the best to you


Junior member
Mar 2, 2018
Hello Whitney, sorry you feel so bad.
Hope you get your dental appointment, that will be a good step.
It sounds like you have a health anxiety that needs treating.
Unfortunately googling a lot can feed the fear.
I have a health anxiety too.