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the shame and fear controls my life



Junior member
Apr 18, 2022

I posted here once in April about how I was struggling with my teeth and I gave myself chemical burns from oregano oil.

Well, time has passed and things have gotten worse. My mouth is probably in a state of horror and the severe shame I feel is preventing me from seeking any help. I don’t even want to leave my house or see anyone anymore.

For some background, I never been the best with oral hygiene as a kid. My mom has the nicest natural teeth I’ve seen on anyone and as my adult ones came in, I always wondered why mine weren’t as nice. I’m digressing, but I’ve experienced major traumas in my life at a young age such as losing a father to cancer and a whole array of despair.

At 20, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but I’m sure I suffer from ADHD. I always was unhappy in my life and I always forgot to take care of myself. I’ve been to dentists many times in my life and they were never good experiences. One time the anesthesia did not work and I had to go through a filling with no numbing at a young age. I cannot remember the pain because I blacked out. Ive has many fillings done improperly and the last one I got prevented me from eating from my left side til this day. Its been years. The left side of my mouth is more damaged than my right due to the fact theres no interaction or scraping from eating.

On top of that, I went to the dentist in Dec 2019 for the pain in my incorrectly done molar filling and I was told my teeth weren’t great and if I kept up my routine they would fall out eventually. There was no compassion from this dentist. I went ahead and proceeded with the cleaning and the hygienist helped me out and I was on track to be better. I was flossing with a water pik twice a day. Brushing. I told myself I’m going to make a change. Then the pandemic hit and my depression and mental state plummeted.

My life was overly complicated at the age of 24. I has just gotten married. I was in the process of immigrating to a new country and then the borders shutdown and I was separated from my husband. It was truly a dark point in my life. After that time, I gave up on myself and slowly my dental health has gotten worse.

I developed body dysmorphia and I havent been able to really look at myself in the mirror for about 3 years. Im scared to know how my mouth is and I’m ashamed to be near my husband. He constantly asks me if im okay and all I can reply is a lie and say yes, but I’m truly struggling. I am so ashamed of what I’ve led my life to. He wants to kiss me and I just tell him no. I don’t know if he suspects anything but I feel like I’m destroying my relationship with the love of my life, but I am so afraid he will leave me because of my disgusting ordeal.

This post is all over the place, I truly apologize, but the past year I’ve had the worse mental state I been through. It’s even more hard because I live in a province that doesn’t speak much English, so I don’t even know if I’ll be able to communicate with a dentist. The price also is a huge fear of mine because I haven’t been able to find a decent job and the guilt I would feel for putting this preventable burden on my husband is just making me physically sick. This was the hardest thing for me to write. I don’t know what to do, I’m only 28. I know if I got dentures and rid my entire mouth of this rot I would be a happier person, but I am too ashamed to seek helping knowing my husband will know my problem. 😞
Hi. I know exactly how you feel. I have autism and was told years ago that I have gum disease. The dentist I saw for years said that I needed to see her every three months but she didn't say what stage my gum problems were or if they had improved but she didn't mention that there was anything on the X ray. I went to see a different dentist in 2019 who terrified me because she said I had periodontitis. I became suicidal and got sectioned and had to stay on a psychiatric ward in a hospital for four months. I became a voluntary patient when I started to get better. I think about my gums every day and have severe anxiety wondering whether they are still the same or if they have got better or worse. I stare at them a lot too when i am close to a mirror. I was well after I left hospital in 2019 and up until a few months ago but when my dental appointment was rearranged and when I started to feel and see tartar on my teeth which I usually have whenever my dental appointments are due, I started having panic attacks and crying most days. My teeth and jaw look very small and my gums seem thin. My bottom front gums look thinner to me than the top ones. I haven't needed any fillings since I was in my 20's and had two extractions in my 20's and one about 7 years ago. I am 38 years old now. I have nightmares that I might get loose teeth sometime and have heard frightening stories of people not being able to get their teeth replaced. I'm not sure if the mental illness or illnesses I have have a name or names because no one has diagnosed me with anything. Having autism feels frightening to me too because I see things in a different way and I have heard that people with autism have very high levels of anxiety. I live in a supported accomodation but they arent trained in how my autism and anxiety affect me. I also don't go out much because of all of this. I hope you and I can chat to each other and support each other. Are you having any other support at the moment such as counselling or anything?. I might ask the dentist some questions when I have my next appointment on Friday. I might ask how my gums are at the moment if I feel brave enough to ask and ask what are the best products to use. I would be terrified if I had periodontitis. Every time I eat or drink anything, I worry wondering if it will affect my teeth or gums. I have two cups of coffee, one glass of juice, 2 litres of water and up to 3 glasses of milk most days but sometimes I might miss having them and I eat healthily a lot but I have panic attacks if I have eaten anything with sugar in it, even though I don't have much sugar. It's awful being so anxious isn't it?. I also have a phobia of seeing the dentist. I have to see a new dentist at the practice I usually go to on Friday because my dentist recently left the practice so I am frightened about that. I usually just need a scale and polish when I go but I had a deep cleaning which terrified me which the dentist that I saw in 2019 did and there was so much blood. The dentist showed my mum a piece of bacteria that she had taken out and that frightened me too. I hope you and I and everyone else on the forum can enjoy Christmas and forget about our worries for a while.
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@anonfemale I'm sorry you had to go through all that. I don't have outside counselling unfortunately. I signed up recently to get a family doctor, but the wait times are around 3 years to get one. You need referrals to see other specialists.

My irrational fear is that if I brush and do the water pik a tooth will fall out which is ridiculous, but it's the emotion and fear I am living through. I also hate to see blood come from my mouth and I was not fond of flossing due to that.

There are many things food wise that have become restricted for me, so my life is more sad culinary wise, because I do bake and cook often.

I relate a lot to Kalinjax on instagram and youtube. She is a young woman, who had to get dentures and it gave me a reason to understand myself better.

I just want to be able to take the next step and not live in constant shame. Most of it stems from my mom being quite harsh, when I was young. Ironically, my grandmother had to get dentures at 27 because she lost all her teeth after having 4 kids in a row and she came from a 3rd world country, so she lacked the vital nutrients and care.

I'm just a highly embarrassed and a sensitive individual to seek out any help.
Friends, I can only lend you my story and my support. I hadn't been to a dentist in 30 years, which is definitely on the longer side of all the stories of I've read here

I've had two dental visits in the past two days. They were good, even though today's was scary.

I can tell you that as soon as I went in I told them about the shame I felt and how scared I was, and they treated me well.

You can go for a consult and tell them your story and fears and see how they react to it. Then they look in your mouth. If this doesn't go how you want it, then go somewhere else.

But you have to be strong to keep trying if you want to get control over your dental health.

I don't know if any of this I'm telling you helps, but I really hope it does.

My point is any dentist worth anything at all isn't going to judge, shame, or otherwise admonish you. It took me 30 years to realize this.

Please stay strong. Sending all good wishes your way.
@adendum4567 It’s difficult because I don’t know if they speak English and I don’t want to ask my husband to be a translator. It’s difficult enough that I cannot talk to him about it in fear he will no longer love me. 😞
Are things any better? How is it going?
Hi clicheplush,

I am coming a bit late to this, but your story moved me so much, I'd like to reply. First of all: how have you been since your last post?

Someone once told me "Don't trust shame, because shame is a b*tch". Shame is one of the most painful emotions and the reason it is so painful is because it make you feel as if there was something fundamentally wrong with you and this something needs to be hidden from others. It makes you feel alone and unworthy of love and that's probably the most painful state to be in. We would go great lengths in avoiding shame and it's the nr. one reason why it's so difficult to seek help.

You have described a lot of challenges in your life - your mom being harsh as you were a child, all the diagnoses you got, awfully bad dental experience, being separated from your husband, living at a place where English is not easy etc. That's a lot, clicheplush, and it makes perfectly sense that you are struggling. What I wished for you would be to start seeing shame and fear as something that is a "symptom" that can be taken a look at instead of something that is you. You don't need to struggle with this. There are ways out and you will see it everywhere here on the forum. Did you know that the most people come here not because they looked for dental phobia support, but because they were embarrassed about their teeth?

So back to shame, there is only one way out - and you are already doing it. By putting yourself out here. By sharing your story, by talking to people about how you feel, by journaling, by not allowing the shame to cut you off from people who can help, who care and who love you. I know it's hard. That's why even writing here can be so difficult.

I hope you'll be able to find a way out of the shame circle gradually. Feel free to post here as much as you like - it's one way to beat shame in little steps.

All the best wishes
@Dg6300 unfortunately no, its getting worse 😞. i found a small job a few days a week to do to save up when i find the actual courage to go to a dentist. but im in a really bad mental state.
@Enarete thank you for the kind words. its difficult because my husband is the most understanding and kind person, but my irrational fear of being unwanted and shamed for what I’ve done to myself is just past a point of no return , unless im dying I won’t seek out the help. i also got into a car accident recently and things will get more expensive for us, so im struggling really really badly emotionally.
@Enarete thank you for the kind words. its difficult because my husband is the most understanding and kind person, but my irrational fear of being unwanted and shamed for what I’ve done to myself is just past a point of no return , unless im dying I won’t seek out the help. i also got into a car accident recently and things will get more expensive for us, so im struggling really really badly emotionally.

As a mental health professionall I often hear people saying things like "this fear makes no sense" or "it's completely irrational", but the fact is that all feelings usually make sense if you take a look at the past and what that person went through.
Any chance on finding a counsellor that could help with these heavy feelings?
@Enarete I want to find someone to talk to. I’m just really scared. I don’t know whats wrong with me and why I can’t just get help and I’m getting worse. My left side of my face is more swollen and everything hurts. I’m so afraid to say anything. I’m so ashamed of how I let myself go. I wrote this message in tears, because I just want to go away from everyone and do it on my own. I don’t want my husband or family to see me this way.
@clicheplush I'm so sorry for what you are going through. My mental health is really bad over my mouth. I'm not sure if it's psychological or if what I am seeing is really there. It's scary. I keep calling the dental practice to try to ask questions. My teeth feel loose when they arent, I feel like my gums are the thinnest i have ever seen, my teeth look yellow to me and I'm not sure if i have gum pockets or not. I feel anxious when i eat and drink and look in the mirror too.
@Enarete Do you have any advice for me?. You can send me a private message if you like.

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