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Terrified of Potential Wisdom Tooth Removal



Junior member
May 23, 2022
2 months ago, my first wisdom tooth (lower right) started forming, but I think it's impacted because recently, a couple weeks ago, a white lump formed on top of it and I'm too scared to go to the dentist about it because of past trauma. Sometimes, the lump is soft and squishy, but other times, like today, it swells up, gets hard, and just stings.
The pain is not unbearable, but I worry that if I don't get treatment, I'll end up with jaw problems or maybe the pain will spread elsewhere and then become unbearable. I want to do something about it, but with going to the dentist comes the possibility of them saying, "We need to remove your wisdom teeth. Not just one. All of them" because not many people can just have one wisdom tooth out, I'm sure.

I have a fear of needles already, so that alone terrifies me. But, what's worse is the extraction aftermath... I'm severely worried that I won't look after the sockets properly and end up getting infections (I already have pretty poor oral hygiene) though I'm also worried about nerve damage; as long as it's a possibility I won't want my teeth removed. I've never had teeth removed before either, and have had nightmares about that day occurring.
I refused braces because they said they'd have to remove 4 of my teeth. It's not even the removal that bothers me, it's just the weeks and months of pain I may have to go through.
The pain I'm currently experiencing with the lump right now is probably not as bad as the pain I could experience having my wisdom teeth out, but everything's crowded, so I'd say it's more than likely going to be what the dentist suggests. Still, I don't trust them to do it right; not in the area I live... But I might have to if this lump could get worse. My hope is that the dentist will just drain it or something, but no. I bet they'll demand an extraction.
In that case, any choice I make is bad and will cause me pain; If I leave the lump, it'll probably get worse. If I have teeth out, I'll be in unbearable pain and not be able to eat or sleep because of it. Idk what choice to make, honestly. All I know is I'm terrified. If I just knew the lump only needed to be drained of pus (feels like it does have that in because it's squishy to touch) and that I didn't need tooth extraction, I'd be a lot calmer, but I can't be sure what they'll say, and that scares me. Them drilling and injecting stuff into me scares me as well, because once it's done, it can't be undone. The pain, for me, may not be endurable (I have a very low pain tolerance, like, if you pinch me, I bruise) cause even a needle hurts. Knowing how unlucky I am, I'll probably end up with nerve damage, too. My body is so fragile, I hate that I'm like this, truly.

Besides, what if the lump of pus just keeps coming back because I refuse extraction? What if it gets worse each time it comes back, or develops an infection that proceeds to spread? Honestly, read my username, lol. I just don't want to experience the aftermath of wisdom tooth extraction, I really don't. I'd rather just feel nothing ever again that go through that pain. I might sound like a wimp to you (because I do to my family) but I don't care. Yes, I'm a wimp, and you guys are champions for actually being able to do something like that and not want to just die.
I thought I was finally getting my life back on track and avoiding stress (thanks to therapy) but with this lump formation, I've hit rock bottom with bad thoughts and worries again. The dentists round my area won't understand, they'll just want to cause me pain and not take responsibility for it. Whether I do go or not, I'm doomed.

I just wonder what this lump is and if it is nothing more than a sac that needs emptying. I hope so, but... My teeth are very crowded and I doubt there will be room for the top 2 to grow in. The fact that they haven't yet also worries me when it comes to extraction cause how are the dentists going to get those out?! More trouble, it seems!
I know I can't wait for them to grow to sort this out, but... Honestly, this minor aching and stinging is more bearable than what I could be facing. Then again, it could just get worse. I'm in my 20s and want to experience life and be happy, but nope. My chance hasn't come yet and I'm just scared. I'm pretty sure, lump or otherwise, they'll want my teeth out. 1 would be better than all 4, but they hardly just take 1 wisdom tooth out on it's own nowadays, right? Cause having 1 less would make things uneven and maybe cause gum disease or something? Same applies to my braces; I said I'd have them if they just did the top set, cause those teeth are the worst looking, but no, they said I couldn't have just one set of teeth straightened; I had to have top and bottom or nothing, so the same will probably apply to my wisdom teeth. I know life isn't meant to be painless, but I don't think this is something I'm capable of enduring. I don't even have anyone to comfort me and won't in the dentist since family members aren't allowed in with you where I go. Still, if I do go, they better be prepared for a blubbering mess. How can I trust my dentists to get it right and not put me in agony? They won't care after it's done, but I will; especially if there's throbbing pain, bleeding, and nerve damage. I won't be able to eat or sleep for weeks. Sure, I barely eat as is, but the last time I didn't get enough sleep, I had a seizure. I can't risk that again, but my mouth is important too, so... Idk what to do. The appointment is probably gonna get booked this week, with or without my permission, but I'm petrified of the outcome.

-I'm sorry that this is so long... I'm a sad & troubled person, I know. I have no one to talk to about this without being ridiculed, so... I thought I'd try here and see if I could gain some sense of peace or clarity. If I knew that the lump was harmless (not a growing infection or tumour) or that it was just pus that needed draining and didn't require a tooth extraction, I'd be thrilled. But I don't know what the dentist will say, so I'm just sat here worrying myself sick. I've not been to the dentist in 3 years btw. Thinking about going often gave me a panic attack, but now I just feel ill and not in control of my own life. I'm just so annoyed that this lump HAD to form. Idk why it did. I gargle salt water in a measly attempt to get rid of it, but it probably won't go away without being looked at, right? When it's drained, the dentists will recommend an extraction, in all likelihood. Of course, I'll say no, but what's to stop another lump forming until said tooth is extracted? Ugh... I should stop talking about it but can't stop thinking about it. All 4 teeth out would be a nightmare, especially when the top 2 aren't visible. Comforting words and clarity would be appreciated since I already know I'm a depressed coward. I've heard all the bad stuff and came here for support or empathy.
Hi @AnxietyRidden

You'll be pleased to hear that in the UK, a wisdom tooth is only removed if it is causing problems. So they would recommend just taking one wisdom tooth out (the one that's causing a problem) rather than all four, if the others are asymptomatic. So a good first step would be to have a chat with a dentist about it and see what (if anything) they recommend. It may well turn out that you can leave it, in which case your worries would be put to rest 🙂. But it sounds as if you don't trust your current/last dentist. Is there any particular reason why you don't trust them, e.g. your past experiences with them?

I don't even have anyone to comfort me and won't in the dentist since family members aren't allowed in with you where I go.

I haven't caught up with to what extent Covid measures are still in place. But the Covid rules keep changing, so it may be worth asking if you can bring a support person along.

You mentioned that you had managed to get your life back on track, thanks partly to therapy. I was wondering if you can get additional therapy sessions and talk about the wisdom tooth issue to someone in person - do you think that might be helpful?

P.S. here's the guidance for removal of wisdom teeth in the UK: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta1/documents/wisdom-teeth-removal-review-proposal-appendix-b2

and here are some tried-and-tested tips for dealing with a fear of the dentist:

Hi. Thanks for taking time to respond. It's true I'm afraid to go to the dentist because many of them have not been too understanding of my anxiety/depression situation. Even if they won't take all 4 teeth out, they might have to take that lower right one because of the lump that's formed over it; if they just drain it, it may only reoccur until the tooth has to be removed, because I'm pretty sure it's impacted since one day it kind of just stopped growing/coming through. My teeth are fairly crowded, though, which is why I am concerned about eventually having all the teeth removed; if one is impacted already, it's only a matter of time before the others are, too. Still, I think I should see a dentist within the next few weeks to find out what the lump is -- Even if it's not too painful for me right now, it could end up being so. Also, I will make sure to bring someone with me for support.

About therapy, I've only ever been offered sessions over the phone and never in person, probably because of restrictions and all that. I should be having another next week, so hopefully I can discuss it more then, though I don't think there's much they can do at this time. Still, thanks for the tips. As content as I feel now about not having all wisdom teeth removed at once, it's probably inevitable since there's not much room for them to grow. I hope perhaps the dentist can do an x-ray and show me what's going on with all of them; as much as I wish for the others to be growing in fine and not like this one, I just have the feeling there will be complications somewhere down the line. The lower right one started coming in about 3 weeks ago and it's starting to look the same, so I'm slightly preparing for the worst. Even so, I know I should get them checked out.

It's not particularly the "going in" I'm scared of, though, it's the process of the checkup, and the potential action that may need to be taken. I don't want to feel pressured to have teeth removed, but feel like I may have to to stop more problems arising, though currently I am in no pain; the lump is just there and swells from time to time depending on what I eat. To me, that pain seems a lot less than tooth extraction, and I'm willing to put up with it, but also it could get worse, so a checkup is definitely due. Again, I am just afraid of the end result/diagnosis; mainly because that's out of my control, but still it's my mouth, and my body. I want to choose the lesser evil, the thing that will cause me the least discomfort, and, right now, the pain of this "lump" I have in my mouth is pretty incomparable to that of a tooth extraction; what with the needles and the pressure and the blood, it would be pretty unbearable for me, especially the 1-2 week recovery process. Sure, I'm worried that I'll look like an absolute wimp to these dentists, but, at the end of the day, no one can force me to do what I don't want to do, and that's how I reassure myself. Still, a checkup/look at my mouth is definitely worth a go and I'm willing to do that as soon as I can actually get an appointment -- I've had no luck so far with any of my local dentists.
The lump is probably an abscess. I had one on my back molar for YEARS. I ended up with severe bone loss around the tooth and had to get a tooth extraction and bone graft. It sounds awful but its really just pull the tooth, clean the socket, pop the bone material in, sew the gums and thats it! The procedure was super easy….And i was anxious mess for a month prior! Recovery was fine. I had IV sedation so i was woozy from that. Pain-wise, it wasnt anything bad. I think i took 800mg ibuprofen and was fine. Didnt even need the hard drugs! Only thing is to make sure you stick to soft foods for a bit.

Definitely take care of that lump. Youll just end up with more problems later on if you leave it.