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Sore gums, gaps, avoiding going



Oct 9, 2006
Dear Experts,

I have had a problem getting worse over the last couple of years of irritation with my gums. I had been doing really well with my dental phobia for a long time, but the last time I had a checkup they told me that I was getting some gaps between my gums (she was specific in telling me it was not 'pockets' but 'gaps') and that I needed to be careful with my inter dental care. They advised me to get some inter dental brushes, which I did, and they did a plane and scale, or whatever it is called a couple of weeks later. She said it should all calm down pretty soon. But I immediately started panicking and thinking that all of my teeth were going to fall out. She showed me the x-ray and she said "there was still a lot of bone" on the affected teeth, but to me it looks like they were all hanging by a thread. I know it is not rational, but this is one of the areas of my life I struggle to be rational about. I really try, I really do, but I just can't beat it. I've had CBT for social anxiety problems, and I did so well with that, but the dental thing is always in the back of my mind and it just provokes the worse irrational fear and anxiety in me and my coping strategies don't always bridge the gap to being able to handle it.

Although some of my gums did seem to calm down, I have constantly had irritation on one spot between my lower molars on the right of my mouth. Right after that last checkup I had a bereavement, and in the weeks following I went back to the dentist a couple of times and both times she just reassured me it was on the mend. However, it never really seemed to get better. It did come and go, but recently it seems to be getting worse and it is almost constant, and the sensation of soreness seems to be spreading between other teeth. To be fair I've got that slightly numbing feeling of discomfort from right at the back of my jaw up to the lower front canine.

I was due to go for another checkup about this time last year, but I was still grieving, and my relationship with my long term partner was breaking up, and I kept on putting it off. I am really terrified they will tell me bad news that I don't think I can cope with. I am hoping that it is just an infection that can be treated with antibiotics, but now I am thinking that I have left it so long that serious damage may be done. I know I need to work up the strength to do it, but I am also frightened of having to get a second opinion and losing trust in my current dentist who is used to me coming in and crying. It is so frustrating, just the other week I helped somebody in to my dentists who was stuck at the door unable to go in and I was completely calm, but then I could not make myself go and make the appointment.

I am trying to organize my thoughts and get myself down there, but it is so difficult. I wish I could just be rational and do whatever needs to be done. I am not really afraid of work being done. It is just the checkups that provoke a anxiety response.

Can someone give me an idea of how bad it is likely to be? I am not getting a huge amount of bleed when brush or doing inter dental cleaning. Occasionally I will get some blood for the odd tooth, and everything does seem a bit on edge. I don't eat much in the way of sugar or biscuits or any traditional problem foods. I also had an undiagnosed vitamin D absorption problem for a long time, diagnosed at 31 (I am 38 now) noe treated with supplement. I have wondered if the damage has already been done by that illness.

Any help/guidance will be gratefully received.


Staff member
Verified dentist
Oct 25, 2005
Gum disease is generally a fairly slow process, if your dentist wasn't worried last year, then there's unlikely to have been a massive change in the interval. Lack of bleeding on brushing is also a fairly good sign.

Best reassurance I can give without seeing you, it would really be better to speak to your dentist about this if it's getting you down this much.


Junior member
Sep 20, 2011
Wasnt sure where to post but this resonated with me. I am a youngish 65 year old with terrible teeth. My mouth feels like a grave yard of broken and missing teeth. I have just moved to Bristol as my children and grandchild live here and in every other way have a wonderul life, but my teeth are completely spoiling my life. I find talking to people really hard as I feel they are just looking at my teeth, so i mumble. Have become quite reclusive because of it. Have never told anyone this and dont have a dentist as Bristol seem to be all private and cant afford to do that. It is making me so miserable and think making me feel unwell as take so many painkillers all the time to deal with soreness. If I could exist in the dark I would be be such an outgoing and happy person but am aware of my teeth every minute of the day. Could you advise me please? Thank you very much