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Suffering from many issues, have never seen a dentist, terrified out of my mind

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Sean

Junior member
Joined
Feb 24, 2015
Messages
2
Suffering from many issues, have never seen a dentist, terrified out of my mind

I’m really sorry for the ridiculous length of this post but I’d like to offer as much information as possible about my situation.

I’m 24 years old and can’t remember having ever been to a dentist. It’s very possible I did while I was very young and forgot, but I’m certain I haven’t been since I was a child, likely due to lack of coverage. I was also taught very lax care—I am still learning a lot now—was exposed to plenty of soda and sweets and didn’t start brushing daily till I was a teenager and was already developing untreated cavities. I have broken at the gum line and mostly lost 5 molars, I have two more with large cavities, one that has taken almost half the tooth and one that I hope could still be filled, though I’m not going to get my hopes up. One of my upper canines has a chip in it near the gum line—It appeared suddenly a few years ago, so I assume it’s the result of damage rather than decay. It looks ugly and I’m sure it’s not good for the tooth but it hasn’t become any larger or deeper as far as I can see. My gums are in bad shape, they bleed sometimes (though much much less than they once did) and are swollen in places and have heavily heavily receded from the front of my two bottom central incisors. This however only began about 5 years ago.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve gradually ramped up my daily care routine, as of last year I brush three times a day, use mouthwash, floss. I’ve recently begun to cut out worse food or drink entirely. I still haven’t seen a dentist though. I was planning to take the plunge this year but my anxiety has recently gone out of control. I’ve been researching my issues more thoroughly rather than just ignoring them and realized I have some significant tarter/calculus on the front and back of my incisors. I know that this can be easily removed by a dentist but I’ve seen images of the effects: bone loss, receded gums, teeth that suddenly appear long and brittle and could be loose. I already know that the gum line between the central incisors is extremely low, and the gums sometimes appear to be pulling away. I imagine there is very little hope of them coming back in anymore after cleaning without expensive procedures. Also, when my molars have broken in the past, the pain has quickly dissipated—despite everything above, I haven’t had an actual toothache in what feels like a couple of years—but I’ve been reading up on abscesses and I’m convinced at least two of my broken molars, possibly more, are abscessed and have been for a long time. While I’m certain I’ve never seen any pus or had any severe pain from them, the gums are swollen in places. I get very very dull aches in my jaw sometimes (though I’m not always sure if I’m imagining them or not) and I am terrified that an infection is spreading.

I live in the US, and I’m currently unemployed. I may still be covered by my parents’ insurance and have been working up the courage to discuss it with them, but I know that even with dental insurance, procedures are incredibly expensive, and insurance comes with yearly limits. I’ve been researching costs of things like getting broken/abscessed teeth pulled and I can’t really imagine how I’m going to fare with five of them, plus multiple other issues. The thought of going in for an evaluation and coming out with even worse news and astronomical estimates of cost is unbelievably terrifying to me, yet I’m fully aware that the longer I leave it the worse the damage may be. I know the sensible answer is to just go and put your health first but the cost of what I’d need done just to make my mouth reasonably healthy again seems like it will be so high that I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I can’t pull thousands of dollars out of thin air and there doesn't seem to be any way in this country to get help with something like this.

I have a lot of general anxiety, but often about issues that are uncertain or partially or even fully in my head, but this feels like something so real or certain that I can’t just set it aside or be reasonable about it. I’ve always been anxious about my teeth but this past week it’s all come crashing down on my head for some reason. My already constant anxiety has elevated so high that I’ve spent a lot of time shaking, crying and feeling generally hopeless. I can’t seem to eat or get a good night’s sleep anymore. It feels like there is a gun against my head and I have to wait for the trigger to be pulled or just pull it myself, like I’m trapped whatever I decide. I’m having a lot of trouble enjoying things now, or feeling any kind of happiness or hope about any aspect of my life.

I don’t really know what I’m looking for here, I discovered this site a few weeks ago while doing my usual anxiety searching, and it’s been helpful to look at. I don’t have many people to talk to about this and I’m feeling totally overwhelmed. I am hoping I guess for some advice and perspective on how bad things really are for me, and what I should do.
 
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Jenny_Lou82

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2015
Messages
54
Re: Suffering from many issues, have never seen a dentist, terrified out of my mind

Hi and welcome to the forum! Well done for posting, that's the very first step in your dental journey.

I've only been here for a few weeks, but have already had some amazing support from the people here, they're a great bunch.

What are your specific fears about going to the dentist? It might be easier for us to support you if we know what in particular bothers you. For me, it's being so very vulnerable when sitting in the chair, and feeling totally helpless. I'm not a fan of injections much (who is?!), but the worst thing for me is the drilling I think. I do get VERY anxious about going to the dentist and I'm in my own little version of hell right now with a lot of things to face up to. But that's enough about me!

I guess compared to your description of your teeth, I'm not in such a serious place as you, but you will find a lot of people on here who have been in very similar situations with multiple broken down teeth or significant gum disease.

I hope you'll get the support you need here to give you the confidence to make that first appointment.
 
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carriss

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
260
Location
Scotland
Re: Suffering from many issues, have never seen a dentist, terrified out of my mind

Sean, welcome to the forum.
I think most people would agree that the worst thing about dental fear is the not knowing what's wrong and what needs done. Once you manage to see a dentist you will feel better because you have some control over the situation. Otherwise you'll go crazy with worry, when perhaps things are not as bad as you imagine.
Ask your friends and family if they could recommend a dentist that they like and trust, and perhaps you could take it from there. Best of luck.
 
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Sean

Junior member
Joined
Feb 24, 2015
Messages
2
Re: Suffering from many issues, have never seen a dentist, terrified out of my mind

Thank you Jenny_Lou82 and carriss for the kind words, I really appreciate them.

I became so fed up with my anxiety yesterday I just decided to speak with my parents about things finally and I'm really glad I did. It turns out I certainly do still have dental insurance through them and they are also willing to support me with any work I need done. That was a huge weight off my shoulders and it was really nice to feel like they were supporting me. Also allowed me to lower my anxiety enough to see that I may be overstating how bad my issues are. I certainly still need plenty done, but I now realize some of the things I listed above (the so terribly receded gums, the abscesses) might just have been me foolishly trying to diagnose things and looking for the worst outcome possible, as I tend to do.

I am going to hopefully get an appointment in the next month or so for an evaluation, and I may also see my doctor soon about getting something prescribed for my anxiety. I'm still quite nervous about many things related to my teeth and will surely be back here to update and ask questions but I am de-stressing a lot right now and feeling much better.
 
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ScaredyCat22

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
1,344
Re: Suffering from many issues, have never seen a dentist, terrified out of my mind

Thank you Jenny_Lou82 and carriss for the kind words, I really appreciate them.

I became so fed up with my anxiety yesterday I just decided to speak with my parents about things finally and I'm really glad I did. It turns out I certainly do still have dental insurance through them and they are also willing to support me with any work I need done. That was a huge weight off my shoulders and it was really nice to feel like they were supporting me. Also allowed me to lower my anxiety enough to see that I may be overstating how bad my issues are. I certainly still need plenty done, but I now realize some of the things I listed above (the so terribly receded gums, the abscesses) might just have been me foolishly trying to diagnose things and looking for the worst outcome possible, as I tend to do.

I am going to hopefully get an appointment in the next month or so for an evaluation, and I may also see my doctor soon about getting something prescribed for my anxiety. I'm still quite nervous about many things related to my teeth and will surely be back here to update and ask questions but I am de-stressing a lot right now and feeling much better.
Hi Sean and welcome to the forum. I was going to tell you to talk to your parents, because as a mom I would certainly want to know if my son needed help, but I see you have already done that and I am so glad your parents are going to be there for you and help you through this. It is very possible that your teeth are not as bad as you think they are. Often times we expect the absolute worst and it turns out that teeth were not beyond saving at all. I hope that will be the case for you, but even if you do end up having to lose a tooth or 2 I just want you to know that it is not the end of the world and you will be ok. There are so many options for replacing lost teeth. Good luck at your appointment and please do keep us updated on how it goes.
 
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