• Dental Phobia Support

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Teeth severly damaged, but going to the dentist is torture.



Junior member
Jun 17, 2015

I'm a 20 year-old who, through the past 5 years, nearly never brushed my teeth properly. Thus, my teeth are now in a horrible state. My enourmous intake of coca cola and other sweets has not helped the situation either. I've already had one root filling, and countless holes refilled. Now a year has gone without a visit to the dentist's, because of a growing fear of the wall of pain that I have to pass through every time I'm there(also because I've been away from my regular dentist, but that's a silly excuse I made for myself.)

Currently, there are 20 holes, large and small, all around in my teeth. There are plenty more on their way. Most of them are in the areas where bacteria gather if they arent regularly brushed. The outer layer of my teeth has probably taken quite the beating too, not being replaced by flouride. Flossing my teeth is no longer an option as the holes are exactly where the flossing scratches the teeth, creating pain which I would normally only experience at the dentist's.

My main problem is that a session at the dentist's is the same as a session at a torturer(Obviously not, but it is atleast really painful, my whole body shakes and I nearly faint.) Ever since childhood, the dentist has been related to immense pain(Until they gave me all of the anaesthetics they're allowed to give children, then I started to forget all about dentist sessions, as I was basically high through the whole thing.) As I grew up, the dentist got more and more reluctant to use anaesthetics on me, as they expected my pain tolerance to grow accordingly(which makes sense, I guess). It didnt. After a few years they coulnd't actually stop me from feeling the pain of drilling or even a basic check.

2 years ago was the first time I had a real break from the dentist. In that period my teeth didnt hurt at all, although that was probably because the bacteria were too busy making the hole that forced a root canal. Whenen I went in for a check, the dentist was really worried as my teeth had only gotten worse. She started almost immediately(in the next sessions) on filling in the holes that were the largest. The pain was nearly unbearable. The dentist didn't understand anything either, giving me all I could have. For the root canal, they gave some serious stuff that really knocked me out, no pain felt and nothing remembered since. The dentist said that they shouldn't really use that again.

As of now, I'm wondering what to do. Of course, cutting sugar, really starting to care for my teeth at home and all that is an obvious. I'm more afraid of all the dentist sessions, as they have to fill those holes in. I'm incredibly afraid of the pain, and the pain alone. The dentist and the assistant are really nice and actually take it so slow that the operation almost takes too long(Making the anaesthetics that don't really work, not work at all, at the end.) I haven't yet asked for something more powerful, afraid that the answer is a great "sorry, but no." Just the thought of 20 sessions with that pain each time really makes me want to cancel anything that has the word "dentist" in it. Now, of course I'm not gonna do that, I realise that the dentist is probably my only way out of this, but I just wish I could handle the pain in a better way.

While the main point of this post was to vent out feelings I've never told anyone else, I'm also feeling more and more helpless as the days go by. The pain from flossing makes me unable to do that, something that was "really really important" - quote my dentist, which I know very well. Brushing and mouthwash is atleast twice a day. But just the thought of the session at the dentist coming up really gives me the shivers(I'm also starting to become really embarrassed infront of my dentist, as my pain resistance is really really low. I hope the poor person doesnt think that I think it's their fault).

On a positive note, my wisdom teeth seem to be devoloping fine, in the correct angle and direction, and good size. So thats nice I guess.

So I'm asking for tips here, just anything that could help.

PS: My only fear or phobia is related to the pain, not the dentist, or the office or any of the people, just the pain. They're all really understanding and seem to do everything that they know to be the normal approach to these problems. I'm just afraid that the regular procedure isnt enough.

PPS: The main anaesthetic that has been used on me was in a syringe, a tiny amount at the start, then more and more as my resistance against pain is so low.

Thanks for any response, I'm really feeling helpless and lost.
I might suggest that you talk to a therapist about your fear of pain. Logically speaking, if you go to the dentist, you might be in pain during the treatment and for some time after as you heal, but your teeth will be better so you should experience less pain down the road.

Also, working with a therapist might be able to help with your pain tolerance and you could also learn some strategies to help you work through feeling physical pain so that it doesn't cause an emotional reaction.

Feeling pain, for me, isn't pleasant and often makes me anxious (not so much during the treatment - but more like during the healing process once I get home). While the dentist is working on my mouth, I make sure to let them know I need more pain medication (just needles for me) - for you: you need to find a dentist who isn't scared of using the correct medication to make you pain free (you DESERVE to be pain free while they work on you). I also have learned methods, such as slow breathing, wiggling my toes, going through a list of chores/errands I have to do, or prayer to help me - it's hard but my goal is to literally focus on those thoughts and not the pain. Because I have these methods in place, I tend to have a very high pain tolerance, and while I have small panic attacks at the dentist, I can keep them pretty well controlled and I only need needles to be pain free.

I wish you the best and I hope that you can talk to a professional to help you through this :)
That really helps alot! The thought of visiting a therapist never struck me, at all. Planning on mapping out the different dentists in my area and having a look-around for people who are prepared for working painkillers, as you suggest.

Thank you. I really appreciate the time you took to respond and get me on the correct road.
Look into something called "behavior therapy". Therapists trained in that would be able to help you learn coping mechanisms and ways to work towards overcoming your fear of pain. :)

There are also pretty easy things that you can do on your own that follows what you would do in behavior therapy.

For people who hate having dental tools in their mouths, they might want to buy a kit of dental tools and place them in their mouths. Eventually over time, with repeated experiences that cause either a neutral or positive experience, the person should alleviate some of the fear.

For me, I have a fear of using my hands to floss. I can usually handle a dentist putting 1 hand in my mouth, but my anxiety goes up with I have 2 hands or a few tools in there too. For the last 3 months I've been working on learning to floss daily - which brought its own fears - and I'm good with that.

Now I'm trying to get myself to use traditional floss and put my hands in my mouth. It means working through the fear/anxiety of hurting myself, gagging, breaking a tooth, getting the floss stuck. Getting the floss stuck can be the worse - my heart will literally race and I have to talk myself through how to calm down and get the floss unstuck (it always does come unstuck but... yeah). I'm doing better and my gums are healthier so the floss doesn't get stuck as often and I know that I can tug on my teeth a bit without causing any damage or pain, so that helps. :)

We all have our phobias here - I hope that you can work on yourself or with someone to help you to overcome your particular issues. You should not be in pain when getting work done, but if you have to deal with some pain during dental work, I hope that you can learn ways to work through the pain to get a healthier mouth :)