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Terrified of losing my teeth



Junior member
Jan 2, 2013
I, like so many others, have been terrified of the dentist since childhood. I had a traumatic experience a child and I've never been able to get over it. For whatever reason my fear has gotten worse as I've gotten older. Needless to day, I haven't seen a dentist in quite sometime. I just made my first appointment and I'm scared to death. I actually cried while on the phone with the receptionist. I'm so scared of losing my teeth. The teeth themselves don't seem bad. Very stained from years of smoking (quit 1 year ago), but in pretty good shape. My gums on the other hand look horrible. Very re and swollen and some areas of gum are very loose. I can pull them away from teeth. I'm pretty sure pregnancy exacerbated my gum condition also. I feel like they're deteriorating rapidly. I think it's safe I say I have advanced periodontal disease. I'm so scared about my upcoming appointment. What are they going to do? What is the first step in treatment. Plus, I'm so scared of the judgement. I'm trying to prepare myself for losing the effected teeth, but part of me is hopeful that I won't. Advice...
Hi Rorosengarten,

Congratulations on making your first appointment. I know how terrifying that can be. You'll probably be a big ball of nerves between now and the appointment, but once you're through with it, you'll be so proud of yourself.

You should expect the first appointment to be a visual exam and some x-rays. I'd recommend writing down some of your fears, along with your story, to share with the dentist. Some people send a mail or email in advance, others bring it with them. It's easy to lose yourself while you're trying to face the dentist, so it helps to have some things written down. Anyway, the dentist will want to look in your mouth, and will probably use a mirror, but will be very gentle and won't poke or touch anything that looks like it might hurt. He should explain what he's doing and probably ask permission before doing anything. He'll also want to get some x-rays, which aren't fun, but aren't painful. If you have any pain biting down, that would prevent you from holding the x-ray bit in your mouth, tell him or include it in your story.

That should be everything that actually happens with your mouth. From the visual exam and the x-rays, your dentist will go over what treatment is needed with you. If you have any questions or concerns, you can bring these up here. The important thing is to develop a bit of a relationship with the dentist, gain some trust in him, and learn what you need to have done.

You should not expect to be shamed or judged or lectured. Most dentists know that it's hard for a patient to come in after so long away, and will avoid being mean, and help you just focus on what they can do to restore your smile. If your dentist is mean or lectures you, you can always thank him for his time, and find another dentist.

The important thing you should pick up, from the dentist's behavior and from your conversation, is that you are in control. You can schedule an appointment to start getting work done right away, or you can go home and think about it and call back when/if you're ready. You can try to fix everything, or you can focus on certain teeth or certain problems, and address them as your time and tolerance (and money) allow. Your dentist should let you know if anything is an immediate concern, but even so, it's your call whether to start work on it or not. If you need more or less explanation, the dentist should be happy to provide it. Although they have a job to do, good dentists are always focused on keeping your as comfortable and out of pain as possible.

Most people are surprised, after so long away, at how little work they end up needing. There's no way to tell what your diagnosis will be, but even if it's a lot of work, just focus on fixing what you can, and a little at a time, you'll be moving back toward a healthy smile.

I think you'll be surprised at how easy the first visit is, and how little judging or scolding there is.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
Hello Rorosengarten,

Like yourself I am not good with dentists either. I had been having problems with my teeth which I assumed had to do with just my one wisdom tooth being split all the way up on the side. I was right on one hand, but it turned out all four of my wisdom teeth were infected and needed to be removed. Two of them on the left had not come in and apparently one of them was leaning against another tooth which was eroding part of said tooth. Now at first I thought nothing of it, didn't have any fears, probably because I had not been to a dentist since I was around sixteen (I am turning twenty-six in a few days). It was the day of the procedure I was really nervous about. I was so nervous about what would happen during the whole thing, about how the pain would be afterwards. Some how the dentist talked me out of not getting sedated and said that the previous patient (I believe that is what he said) did fine with just the Novocain and laughing gas. So they put the laughing gas on me but it did nothing to help calm me down. I was then at some point given the Novocain to the sides of my gums where my wisdom teeth were. Now I will be honest, for me that was the probably one of the most painful parts. And during the last wisdom tooth extraction I think the Novocain started to wear off or maybe it was just a lot of pressure I could feel. But either way the shots are what was the worse for me.

Afterwards it did hurt awhile for me because I had to keep the gauze in my mouth for some time. I guess the pressure on where they extracted the teeth was hurting. But the recovery so far hasn't been bad for me not much pain. Probably only twice I felt any pain. After like I guess the second or third day both sides of my jaw were swollen, I couldn't feel my bottom lip (I did get feeling back in part of my lip), and my bottom teeth were a light type of pressure (there is no more pressure on my teeth on the left side anymore, and not much pressure on my teeth on the right side anymore). I am still recovering too. I will also need five or six cavities taken care of.

I am not telling you what I went through to make you more scared than you are now but instead I am telling you this because I share the same fear. But please know you have other options other than Novocain shots should you need any work done. TALK to your dentist and EXPLAIN your fears and ASK for other options other than needles if you need any work done.

Also look up Waterlase dentistry I am myself looking at this option as it is apparently a pain free way to get work done. I am still working on getting more information myself, because like I said above, like yourself I am not good with dentists. And as I talked to a dentists on this forum, he said I should not have my experience at the dentist be a painful one.

Please take care and feel free to send me a notification if you ever need someone to talk to.
Hi RoRoRosengarten (apols if too many Ro's!!)

I recently posted about my 1st visit to the dentist in 20 years.
It is nervewracking, it's hideous - taking the first steps into the surgery, and sitting in the chair. I felt a bit 'out of body'ish about it, and even said 'I cannot believe I'm doing this' many times.
I was lucky, I seem to have got away with it (the years of not going to the dentist, I mean) but I do think that if I'd been told I needed treatment, it wouldn't have been as bad as the years of worrying I've already put myself through. It couldn't have been - worrying about my teeth had pretty much consumed me over the years.

You are going in expecting the worse, so you're almost prepared for that. Imagine though, if it's not that bad? That would be nice eh? And imagine if it is that bad? You'll just have had confirmed what you already think you know.

You can do this.