• Dental Phobia Support

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Teeth Anxiety and Obsession



Junior member
Oct 24, 2015
I don't know if this is the right place to be putting this, so sorry if it is not!

I am 19 years old, and suffer severe anxiety (though I am sure that is common among some of you here ;D). One of my main triggers/problem is my teeth. Please bear with me while I vent this out :redface:, it's almost 3:00 AM where I am right now. :giggle:

I've been to two Dentist's in my life. A children's dentist and the one that I have now. I have those kinda of teeth that are just magnets for sugar. My teeth grow cavities and decay faster than you can blink. The dentist I have now is sort of a family dentist for the adults. They are great people, I used to play with their kids when we were young and they babysat me and my Mom babysat their kids.

They're just, well, blunt and kinda mean (?) when it comes to teeth. Which is a huge fear of mine and why I shudder of thinking of going to them for annual cleanings.

Back in May, I had my first dentist appt in two years. Why I hadn't had any cleanings in that time? Two reasons;

1. I'm too lazy, and utterly frightened, to make an appt.

2. My mom is too lazy to make an appt.

The (this is so bad :redface:) only reason why we made the appt was because I noticed three (large UGLY) places of decay in my mouth, and they were starting to ache. Especially when I ate sugary things. I love my sugary things. :love: Soda is a big one for me, pastries too, which I guess is a big reason why I get such bad decay in first place. Also because I don't floss regularly, BUT I do brush very thoroughly.

I went in, they did the x-ray, and completely blew up at me. Snapped at me for my 12 cavities in my mouth that had shown up. I sat stunned in my seat, not realizing I had had that many. Granted, they were small and my one dentist said I wouldn't need to get them worked on for a few years with the right treatment, but still. My little cousin just got slammed with the same news two weeks before, and he barely brushes his teeth, as children do. Imagine my humiliation hearing I had the same news as him. :cry: That day he had actually fixed one of my lesser cavities on one of my top teeth. No problem. Totally chill. We scheduled three other appointments. Two for fillings, one for a cleaning.

I went in for what I called my "Big Mama", a tooth so bad I was informed that if I got one more cavity in it, it would be root canaled. I was that close, too. He gave me shots, I got numbed. Great. He starts in and I can barely control my tears and screams as I feel EVERYTHING. The drilling, the scraping, the digging, ALL OF IT. Granted it would have been worse if I hadn't had the shot, but holy crap was it painful. I have NEVER experienced something like that. The week before when I had had my top tooth done it was nothing. But this? This was traumatizing. And I had one more appt to go. I had brushed it off as being ok. I mean, it WAS a huge problematic cavity, of course it would hurt even with a shot. I didn't make one sound or one face the entire time to let my dentist in on my pain, I also didn't want to stop and ask for more of a shot because the thought of inconveniencing him spiked my social anxiety. I patted myself on the back, traumatized, but relieved. I went in the next week for my lesser decay (but still not good), got the shots and sat back. Only to want to wrench myself back up. Pain AGAIN. I can't even remember to tell you if it was worse than Big Mama or not, I think I blocked it out to be honest. But I walked away relieved that I didn't have to go back until October, cavity and decay free (not really).

Flash forwards to two weeks ago. I'm minding my own business, getting ready for bed. I decided to floss, wanting to get back on it. As I reach back to my most far-back molar, my nail slides against my tooth and I screech out in pain. I have decay, again. Inbetween the teeth and on the front of the molar near the gum, like all my other decay. I cried, I sat and cried on my bathroom floor. My worst nightmare realized, take 4. I had my cleaning coming up, so I felt a tiny relieved that I could possibly be reassured it wasn't as bad as my anxiety-ridden brain was thinking. I go into my cleaning, and begin explaining to one of my dentists (I don't think I clarified; this dentistry is run by a husband and wife team. The husband primarily drills and the wife cleans) about my cavity, and my sensitive teeth and gums. She immediately looks pissed, pissed! And drags me to the cleaning room, pulling up my x-rays. For the next twenty minutes, as an adult, I sat and had this woman berate and yell at me about how bad my teeth are. Look at how many cavities! Give up soda! Absolutely NO sparkling water either! Nothing! Your teeth are shocking! Blah!

I wanted to cry. I'm sure I had tears. (Please keep in mind my dentists do not know I have an anxiety disorder. Sadly, they are the type that would tell me to get over and would not understand why I couldn't do just that, not getting mental disorders.) She gently cleaned my teeth, and set my appt for this upcoming Tuesday to fix my cavity. I don't want the pain from my last two appts to come back, that is my worst fear as of right now.

And now, here I am, losing hair over this. (I lose hair when I have anxiety attacks.) For some reason this week I have been having random gum problems. They are swelling and flaring up, turning red and irritated. I am sitting up till 4 AM inspecting every angle of my teeth, digging at them with my nail (I know this is a nono, but honestly can't stop myself) and any discolorations in fear it's decay or a cavity. My teeth ache for some reason, and I cry at random times just thinking about my cavity. It's on my last last molar in the very back on the top row of teeth. I have tears as I write this. When I eat anything, drink anything, I hear my dentist's words in my head, and I'm constantly paranoid about getting cavities.

Yeah, I came across this website and really just needed to vent my worries and stress. My teeth aren't as bad as my brain is making up to be I think, they look fine (to me) albeit a little yellow and crooked (whole other story :(). Some people on this forum have been through A LOT more than I have, and have been worse off (I am truly so sorry :shame:) but yeah, I think it's just me and my anxiety that is making all of this worse added on top of my dentist's horrible reaction to something her husband made really no big deal of in the first place :(. The decay I have on my molar hasn't even given me any problems until my nail scraped it a couple weeks ago. I'm also panicking because of gum recession. I never knew that even existed until a family member talked about their own. I believe I have a bit of recession, particularly on my second most far-back molars on both sides. When I was in for my cleaning in May, when she was scraping the backs of them I had jolts of horrible pain, some on my lower teeth too but not as bad. She mentioned exposed nerves and sensitivity, and maybe she did mention recession but I was trying to calm my pounding heart and tears down. Also my bottom most-front teeth are extra long. I don't know if that's how they've always been or my paranoia is taking a stronger root than it had before. My dentist has not said I have gum recession exactly, so it could just be my anxiety and teeth-paranoia.

I'm just scared. Terrified.

Everyone I know has little-to none cavity/tooth sensitivity/gum problems. I want to scream. Why I can't have freaking normal teeth? :mad: Thanks for listening to this long rant/vent! I needed this! Any positive comments/good stories would be appreciated!:love:

Please don't worry, my dentists are the best around, I'm lucky to have them working on my teeth. They really are good people, they just don't know boundries and are harshly blunt. They also sadly aren't sensitive to other people's fears/worries.

I had to write this right now. The gum right next to my top front teeth is swollen and smooth feeling, and I feel like the gum is swollen inbetween my two top front teeth. This just came about last night I believe. :mad::cry: I also have two kanker-sores (sp?) in my mouth right now. Cut me a break! :cry:
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Welcome to the forum. Please feel free to vent here as often as you like. Many of us can understand and sympathise with your anxiety and problems with your teeth.

First off, your dentist might be very skilled and able, and they might be a lovely dentist, but that doesn't change the fact they're in the wrong for being so thoughtless and harsh. A lot of dentists get trained in how to be compassionate nowadays (most healthcare providers of any kind do). You know why? Because it's SUPER important. They are only adding to your anxiety and causing you real mental distress. That's not okay. Not at all. It doesn't mean your dentist is a horrible person, but they are not doing the right thing for you.

I imagine it's hard because you're so young and insurance may be a concern, but is there any chance you can get treatment with a dentist who is better at compassion and treating anxious patients? Because trust me, please, a dentist who accommodates you in that regard makes a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE. I can't emphasise that enough. It's the difference between leaving the dentist and feeling hopeless and ashamed, and leaving feeling hopeful and reassured. It's just so important. So many people here with terrible phobias have made amazing process after finding a dentist who will work with their anxiety.

Finally, I really don't wanna lecture you on your diet - because I'm a sugar fiend myself. I LOVE my sugar. But, if you don't wanna cut down on pastries and chocolate etc, please at least consider cutting down on soda. I know it's delicious. I was addicted to Pepsi for years! But it's not only super sugary, but acidic as well. The acidity makes decay even more likely. You don't have to cut it out of your life entirely. Just cut down, if you can.

You are young, so that's on your side. If you keep up a good routine (blushing and flossing every day - especially flossing! so important) you can probably keep on top of everything, despite the sugar.

Making some small positive changes like that can help your anxiety. Because when you feel yourself start to obsess, you can remind yourself of the things you are doing to combat the problem - not to mention reminding yourself that it all seems much worse in your head than it is in real life!

As for the swelling on your gum, it may only be irritation, it may be a small infection. Try not to panic over it, as hard as it can be. If it doesn't go away, ask your dentist to take a look. :)