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this is my story. I'm 43 and haven't seen a dentist since I was a teen



Aug 15, 2021
Hi everyone.

I'm going to try to keep this short, but I need help.

Ever since I can remember, I was afraid of the dentists. Afraid to get lectured, afraid of the pain that I was sure to experience.

When I was a kid, my mom would force me to go, so I had to. I pretty much just got cleanings but I remember getting lectured about brushing by the dentists when I was very young.

That wasn't so bad, I guess. But when it was time and they told me I needed braces, I was very resistive. Right about that time, my parents divorced and my braces were forgotten. I was happy at the time and wasn't going to press the issue.

Well, after the divorce there was no more dental insurance. Fine, I was young and didn't care. But my wisdom teeth came in, and ever since have been crowding my lower teeth. I've always felt very embarrassed by them and by the time I realized it was a problem I felt they were already very bad. There were also periods of time where dental insurance wasn't available to me (I'm now referring to after I went out on my own, late teens-early twenties.)

So through my twenties and thirties I just dealt with bad teeth. But I really want my teeth to not be an issue anymore. They're crowded, very crowded on the bottom. The top teeth are thankfully not to bad at all. But they look awful and where the crowding is worse they're discoloring. Occasionally I get some pain. I know that this isn't going to improve without some dental care.

I want to take the first step but I don't know how. How do you do it? How do you contact a dentist and say "I'm 40+ years old, and I'm scared of the dentist. I haven't been in 30 years."

Quick edit: I actually tried to Google "<my city> no shame dentist" and had tears in my eyes because I didn't know where to start, and couldn't really find anything that seemed to help.
Hi adendum4567:welcome:,

first of all, it‘s great that you decided to move on! It‘s ok not to know where to start and not a reason to get discouraged. Your google search was a great start and the emotions and tears that arose as well. You are doing great :)

When it comes to the fact that you haven‘t been in 30 years, this may be something very profound for you and your story, but your dentist won‘t judge you for that. The amount of years you haven‘t been doesn‘t say much about the state of your teeth and not even about the level of your fear. The only thing that counts is that you are ready to go now and willing to change your situation. By the way, teeth shift and wander forward as we get older and they can become crowded. It‘s a natural thing and so is discoloration.

It seems to me that the best start may be here:

It‘s an article with many tips on how to find a dentist and where to start. Hope it helps!

All the best wishes and keep us updated!
Thank you so much for the help. I'm afraid my teeth go beyond what is considered normal. They are quite bad, and I know that this fixing this is going to require extensive effort.
Hi and welcome ?

I can't really add much to what Enarete has already said. The page on how to find a dentist for nervous patients above has some good advice!

Nowadays, the vast majority of dentists fall into the "no shame" category (it's not really good for business to shame people!). That's why hardly anyone bothers advertising themselves in this way. If you need any help with your search, feel free to ask here on the forum ? !
Thank you to both of you for your encouragement. I've just found a dentist through reviews and searches and emailed them explaining my situation and asked if they would be willing to take an anxious, self conscious patient on.
This sounds great, well done! Hope they get back to you soon, with a nice reassuring reply :)
Hi adendum
I started my journey back to a dentist yesterday and you have made the first step. That is a huge thing to do. Pleased for you.