• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is has a severe fear of the dentist or dental treatment. Please note that this is NOT a general dental problems or health anxiety forum! You can find a list of them here.

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Terrified, embarrassed, ashamed 😣



Junior member
May 27, 2024
United kingdom
As the title says, I am so embarrassed, ashamed, mortified, terrified to go to the dentist because of the state of my teeth. They are yellow, crooked, broken and covered in calculus (which also keeps breaking off). I had a childhood where my parents (both denture wearers) never actively made me brush my teeth either because one was always working or one always out drinking. I’d eat sweets and sugar sticks like no tomorrow and even take pop to bed at night. No one ever taught me the importance of dental health until one day I went to the dentist as a young teenager and dentist made me feel rubbish and basically said there would be no chance of me ever having a nice smile which in turn made me never want to go to the dentist and just shut down about dental health, it wasn’t until I met my boyfriend that I cared to brush my teeth properly but by then it was too late and the embarrassment and shame crept in, I don’t know how he can be with me yet we are now married and have beautiful children. I refuse to have another generation of bad teeth, they go regularly to their dentist with they dad or nan because I can’t physically walk in to a dentist or even talk about teeth or dentists without burning with shame and wanting to cry. I can’t bring myself to even ring and want to be sedated for the check up, the dream would be to be put to sleep completely but I don’t think that would ever happen

I have a fear that I’m so terrified to go that I will die of an infection from it, I’ve been lucky that I’ve had no pain until recently which is so scary as I can’t eat properly 🥺 I often hope I’d get attacked and someone would knock them out just to avoid the embarrassment, how crazy is that!? This is the closest I’ve ever got to talking about it and I just don’t know how I’m going to get past this fear to speak to someone.

I want to smile, I want to be able to progress in my career, I don’t want my children to be embarrassed of me when they get older, I want to be able to smile at my husband so he knows how truly happy I am with him and our life, I just want to be the happy confident person I know I can be with a nice smile 😔 my heart and confidence is shattered and I don’t know how I can ever get past this.
This is like reading about myself! The exact same scenario here. I honestly don’t know where to start with it. The shame gets worse with every year that passes! I’ve seen so many people say their teeth are the worst a dentist will see but I honestly believe that as they are much worse than pictures I’ve seen 😰💔
Hi @Ijustwanttosmile and @malibubarbie1979 👋 !

Embarrassment and shame are such common feelings... we have a whole page about it here, in case you haven't seen it yet:

There are so many dentists who will take huge satisfaction in helping you smile again - for many of them, turning people's lives around is one of the most satisfying parts of their job. It's just a case of finding the right person to help you...
This hit me hard, it was like I wrote it.. I’m in exactly the same place as you, my teeth are horrendous & uncomfortable, I have a build up of calculus that is affecting my speech, eating and is breaking off which sends me into a meltdown.. I have been terrified of the dentist for years but finally built up the courage to get an emergency appointment, the dentist was lovely, told me I had an infection, prescribed me antibiotics and sent me on my way saying she couldn’t help further as it was only an emergency appointment and I wasn’t registered at said practice, I was so disheartened but it got me in that chair and now all I want is to do it again and get them sorted, I hope we can both get the help we need, I don’t know if you’re from the UK like I am but it’s so hard at the minute to get a dentist without having a load of money behind you, it so hard
@jneighties does the community dental service in your area caters to people with dental phobia? It's very much a postcode lottery but if you haven't looked into it yet, it might be worth investigating... in most areas, you will need a referral from a GP, dentist, or other health care/social care professional.
@letsconnect I haven’t heard of this but will definitely look into it.

A few of the dentists I’ve rang have told me that referrals from the GP aren’t a thing, is this incorrect? I also have a mental health worker would they be able to refer me?

I’m going to go to a few local ones tomorrow to see if I can get a finance plan or something along those lines, I haven’t eaten for 4 days because my mouth is so uncomfortable, it’s really taking over my life and getting me down.

Any other advice you may have would be greatly appreciated 😊
@jneighties it seems to vary hugely from area to area, there's no standard procedure for the whole of England. Maybe a Google search will shed some light on what's happening in your neck of the woods! The dentists who work for the community dental service are employed directly by the NHS (though in some areas, the service is now provided through community enterprises), so a GP wouldn't refer to general dental practices, but to the one that's specifically set up to cater to special needs patients. In many (but not all) areas this can include people with dental phobia who cannot undergo treatment in a standard NHS dental practice setting.

We've collected a fair amount of advice over the years, so rather than type it all out each time, we've put it onto website pages... the most relevant ones is this one here:

Wishing you all the best with your search :grouphug:

Hello lovely, I hope this reply reaches you.

When I read your post I felt connected to you straight away because I was feeling the exact same as you.

I just wanted to pop on and let you know how I got on at the dentist.

I was exactly the same as you only a few days ago, I was absolutely petrified of going to the dentist because of the state of my teeth, they were horrific, I had a massive build up of tatar on the top & bottom of my teeth, mostly the bottom and the back was literally wedged with a block of it which affected my speech and my eating, it took over my life constantly thinking about how bad they were, what people were thinking about me, I was always covering my mouth when I spoke or laughed and it was making my anxiety & depression so much worse.

Back in April I started getting throbbing sensations in my gums so I rang the emergency dental line, they booked me in for an emergency appointment the next day.. I didn’t sleep that night and I was absolutely terrified of walking through the doors of a dentist never mind sitting in that chair but I had no choice, I went and had a lovely(ish) dentist who looked at my teeth and gums and said I had an infection, she gave me antibiotics then told me she could clean my teeth but they were ‘cemented’ in and would probably fall out and as you can imagine that sent my anxiety into over drive, she gave me a list of numbers to ring to find an NHS dentist and sent me on my way.. I was crushed, I felt like I’d taken 1 step forward and a hundred back.

The next day I rang 29 dentists and not one could help me and I literally thought ‘that’s it, forget it’, I had a couple of ‘woe is me’ weeks then plucked up the courage to go private, I booked myself in for a week later and spent every waking moment worrying myself in to panic attacks.

The day of my appointment was yesterday, I walked into the and burst into tears, apologising profusely for the state of my teeth.. the dentist was like an angel sent from above, she was kind, gentle and told me she wasn’t there to judge me only to help me get my smile back and put me at ease and she did just that, she told me I had gum disease (which I knew) but couldn’t seen the extent of it until they’d been cleaned and did x-rays, she then introduced me to the dental hygienist and her dental nurse who told me she’d fit me in the next day (today) for a sonic clean and she’s even work through her lunch to help me, they were the most amazing 3 ladies I’ve ever met.

I went today for that clean, first she told me that my x-rays showed minimal bone loss (you could have knocked me down with a feather I was that shocked) and that I needed TWO fillings (again, shocked lol) we then got to the cleaning, she took photos for a before and after.. the clean was uncomfortable at times but nothing I couldn’t handle, they gave me breaks and kept me giggling, 35 minutes later and I was done and let me tell you I haven’t felt as good as that in a very long time, she gave me a mirror and I burst into tears, the difference is unbelievable, my mouth feels so much lighter, it’s clean and I keep full on smiling.

You can do it my lovely, it’s never as bad as you think, the hardest bit is making that appointment and walking into the room.

I hope you find this helpful and know you’re not alone, if you have any questions I’m more than happy to help ♥️