• 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.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

Terrified of the Idea of going to the Dentist



Junior member
Feb 26, 2016
I'm 24, and if I had to guess, I haven't been to the dentist since I was maybe 11? Some of my teeth seem to be in pretty bad shape, really obvious cavities and everything. I didn't have the best brushing routine for those years, and sometimes it's still hard to take care of them properly because of other problems like depression and stuff, but that's kind of beside the point.

I know I should go to the dentist before it gets worse, but my big problem is that I'll go and end up finding out that the problems are way worse than what I think (and I already think they're pretty bad.)

I'm scared of the needle, not so much because of the needle aspect, but because it's going into my mouth. I'm also scared of the drill. The noise and feeling it makes, and the irrational fear that something will happen and the dentist's hand will slip and the drill will just go wild in my mouth and ruin all my other teeth/cheeks/lips/tongue. Also of that metal hook/scraper they use(do they still use that?), that always hurt SO MUCH. I'm also positive I'll end up crying if I go, I'm crying just thinking about having to go.

My biggest fear, I guess, is going and finding out I need a lot of really extreme work done, or teeth pulled. I'm also really not sure what my insurance would cover (if I even have dental insurance? I'm still on my parents' insurance, but I don't know if that includes dental, or how much it'd pay for everything.) because if I had to pay out of pocket, I absolutely wouldn't be able to afford anything at all, even if I could do some kind of payment plan or something. I'm just really scared of going and having to say "no" to treatment because I couldn't afford it, and having to watch my teeth get even worse.

My "worst" tooth is my right front tooth, there's a big cavity on the side. I know I need to get it taken care of, but I'm scared I'll need to have a root canal or a crown or something, or something that I won't be able to afford, so they'll have to pull it instead, and then I just won't have a tooth there anymore. I already hate people seeing my teeth, I can't imagine not having a tooth right in front...

I'm also really scared of being judged, even though I know dentists have probably seen worse teeth than mine, but it doesn't really help. It's just that feeling of "I have the worst teeth in the entire world, nothing other than pulling them all out will make them better".

And not directly dentist related, but I'm scared of what my parents would say, since I definitely need my mom there for support. I'm just really, really scared of letting my teeth get worse, but I'm even more scared of getting them fixed and letting people know how bad I let them get. I don't know what to do anymore.

I'm sorry this is long and kind of rambly.

Editing in to add: I'm also really scared of a root canal or crown or something because I don't know how that would affect how that tooth felt? If they drill out the nerve and everything, that would have some kind of affect, wouldn't it?
Last edited:
Hi :)

You have the right idea in that if you wait any longer, the problems won't go away - they're more than likely just going to get worse. As scary as it is to face the judgement of a dentist (or at least what FEELS like judgement), it's much better to take care of problems when they are little, before they turn into major procedures.

As far as dental insurance, plans are typically separate - but if you're able to be covered by your parents' health insurance, you probably still qualify to be covered by the dental plan, as well (at least that's how it was for my dad's insurance - we were covered until we turned 26). How much it covers depends on if the dentist you use is in-network or out-of-network (you can call the dentist and ask, or contact the insurance company). In-network pays more, but if you're like me, we have to go with a dentist we're comfortable with, which isn't always the cheapest option.

Your parents might not say anything at all - especially if a fear of the dentist has been a lifelong thing. They'll probably be proud that you acknowledge that you need to start seeing one to fix the issues.

Root Canals & Crowns - I've had three root canals, three crowns, and a bridge. Honestly, they're not nearly as bad as movies and TV shows make them out to be. The dentist (or endodontist, depending on how things go) makes sure that you are good and numb before they begin any work. You might have discomfort for a few days as your mouth adjusts, but it works. Root Canaled teeth are great, actually - No more pain when I bite into something sweet or cold! :grin:

You're among friends here - We've got your back :)
I'm just worried that these problems aren't "small", and are going to need major procedures to fix them. I know it'll only get worse, but I can't shake the fear that it's already horrible.

Since you've had root canals and crowns and all that, do those teeth... feel different from teeth that haven't had the same done to them? I don't know if that affects anything at all, but it feels like having the nerve and everything drilled out has to make some change? I honestly don't know what I'm asking here, it's such a vague kind of question, I guess?

I don't really have pain in the bad tooth(or any tooth, thank goodness). At least I wouldn't call it pain, if there is? It's a little sensitive with (only some) sweet things or very cold things, so I'm worried that means "yep, that tooth's a goner". Though it only "hurts" if it gets into the hole in the tooth, not just touching the tooth? Does that mean it's maybe not as bad as it could be?
First, welcome!

The first appointment is almost always the hardest because there are so many unknowns. Without going there's really no way to know what kind of work you may need... But most people on here have found out that their teeth are not in nearly as bad a shape as they thought they were.

As for root canals/crowns. I have 4 teeth with both root canals and crowns. They don't feel (or look) any different than my other teeth. But, honestly, I wouldn't get yourself worked up for this until you know what work you need.

Best of luck to you!
I know it's not a good idea to get worked up before I even know what's wrong, but it's always been like this for me. I always convince myself that it's the worst possible thing and that it's going to be awful and this huge big thing (even though it never is, but...)

So the teeth with root canals and/or crowns aren't brittle? I read that they could be/become brittle, and that worries me. What if it's so brittle it just breaks when I'm trying to eat?

And.. Not too related, but (assuming it might just need a filling) is it totally unlikely that I could ask the dentist to take care of it in the first visit? I don't know how long visits normally last, or what normally happens in the first visit past.. probably some paperwork and maybe xrays or something? I'd really like to get it taken care of in the first visit if at all possible, just for some piece of mind.
Root canaled teeth can become brittle - that's why it's most often recommended (especially for teeth like molars that bear a lot of chewing force) that a crown gets put on - this protects the tooth. All of mine are on back molars and I don't have any problem with them.

As for getting work done on the first visit, it really depends on the dentist's schedule and if they are able/willing to do it. If you want, when you schedule your first appt, you can ask what they plan to do and let them know that you would prefer if they can also schedule one for the dentist to do the filling. They may not do this without seeing you because of it turns out you don't need a filling then they've scheduled time that they can't use... Does that make sense?
Sorry for the wait for reply - been away for a few days.

I think I only have one crowned tooth that feels "different", but that's because its been a 'problem' tooth for years. Most days, I don't even realize that they're not the natural teeth that my tongue feels, to be honest.

You can absolutely have a sweet tooth or a tooth sensitive to temperatures - and that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a "goner". To me, your situation with this sounds like it could be as simple as getting a filling (I'm not a dentist, though, so whoever you see may feel differently)

I wouldn't say that root canaled/crowned teeth are brittle, but there are certain things that you'll have to be careful chewing (ice, really hard candies, certain types of gum - things like that), and really, that's not because the tooth is 'brittle' but because of the crown. Then again, I've always had crowns placed over the root canaled teeth, so maybe they do. Either way, I've had one of my crowns/rct teeth for roughly 10 years now and it's still perfectly fine.

The first appointment depends on the dentist. Some will just talk with you, some will just do x-rays. The dentist that I'll be seeing in a couple of weeks has it set up to where you can just come in and get x-rays (but since it's been 3 years, I'm getting a cleaning too). I kind of doubt that they'd be willing to do a filling in the first appointment, simply because of scheduling constraints.

You can always email the dentist and ask, if talking over the phone is too anxiety-inducing. I emailed my dentist's office and asked questions under a different name/throw away email address (Yeah....I'm THAT person :grin: but it was better to know than just assume)
Well, I have an appointment scheduled for Thursday. I guess it's a good thing I got in so soon, since I think it was Monday, maybe, that I asked my mom to call and schedule an appointment (and by "ask", I mean I cried for a good hour about how scared I was, haha).

At this point I've mostly psyched myself up enough that I'm not worried about the needle or the drill (except the whole "sudden, random seizure that the dentist has and ruins my whole mouth" thing).

It's just that stupid hook they use. I don't like metal on my teeth, it gives me the willies. It doesn't hurt, but it's just such a gross feeling that lasts for so long, even after it's gone.
Not to mention that every dentist I've ever gone to has used that hook to dig into cavities. Not gentle prodding to check it, but they ram it in so deep, and it hurts SO much. I'm hoping I can ask the dentist or whoever to be gentle. Or maybe numb me up first....

My mom actually asked, I think, and the hygienist/receptionist (they do both jobs, I guess) said the dentist could probably do a couple fillings. Probably not all of them since I know I need a bunch, but they said if they could, they'd try to do the two in my front teeth that bother me most. I guess that's good, it gets it over with.

Just kind of afraid I'll need a "deep cleaning" now. I didn't even know those existed, and they sound absolutely awful.