• 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.

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Too embarrassed to go to dentist, but I really need to go



Junior member
Jul 22, 2021
Hello! I’m a 22 year old male and I haven’t been to the dentist in 8 years. I’ve had some pretty scary experiences at a young age and have always hated going, even for a teeth cleaning. I remember experiences of having teeth pulled, large needles put in my mouth, sharp pain from dentist tools, etc. I’ve also always hated brushing my teeth because the after taste makes me want to throw up. I’m at the point now where I have 2 rotten molars, pretty large tartar build up, and teeth so sensitive I can’t put pressure on one side of my mouth without this numbing pain in my jar that lasts 20+ minutes and basically incapacitates me and also an area of my gums are so sensitive to the touch.

I’m so incredibly embarrassed to go to the dentist. Even sitting here writing online is a huge embarrassment to me. How do I build the courage to go? I’m afraid the dentist or dentists assistants will criticize me for my lack or oral hygiene. I NEED to go to the dentists but I can’t find the courage to do so. How do I get over this? It’s so crippling to my life that it’s an everyday thought. I feel like I’m waiting for something so catastrophic to happen to my teeth that I have no other choice. Please help me.
Welcome on the forum.
I think one first thing to try is to reach out to dentist offices around you. Depending on your level of comfort this could be by email, by telephone or an in-person visit. The idea is for you to evaluate if you feel comfortable with the office and if you want to move further with them.

In some cases, it's possible to ask for a meet and greet while explaining you are a nervous patient that would like to try and see a dentist. A good dentist office should try and accommodate you to properly adapt to your needs. If the staff feels un-welcome, it probably also reflects the dentist's attitude if they are the one who hires them. The first visit where they will look in your mouth should not include any treatment and should only be an examination. It's a good moment to see if they are a good fit for you.

Try taking small steps, that feel comfortable to you and you will eventually get to a point where you can visit a dentist. Those things you are scared of, they are things a dentist should either avoid doing or manage in a better way than what you experienced.

Regarding the feeling that you are waiting for something catastrophic to happen, tell yourself that you at least now still have time to be selective and that you can take some time.
Hi Jaybaum:welcome:,

I agree with everything @geos said and only wanted to add that there are many small steps that can be taken before you feel actually able to see a dentist. If you feel even sitting on the internet writing about it is hard enough for now, than go ahead and feel free to write a bit more until you feel slightly more comfortable. Many people find reading and writing in this forum useful to get familiar with the idea of seeing a dentist and also to get more self-confidence. You could start a journal, take a look at some success stories here or read how common embarrassment is.

All the best wishes
Please allow me to share with you a video I made about fear of feeling embarrassed during a dental visit.
Hope it helps.
Hi Jaybaum.

Im also male and in my 20s, haven't been to the dentist for probably over 10 years (can't even remember the last time...). I've battled depression and anxiety related to my teeth for most of my life, it's even gone so far that I thought taking my own life would be easier than going through the shame of booking an appointment at the dentist, not to mention actually going to one. I did however book an appointment two days ago for next week, after checking out my local dentists. Thanks to this amazing forum.

Look for a dentist that mentions they work with fearful patients, since that seems to be important since you have some bad experiences! I promise as soon as you get an appointment booked A LOT of anxiety will go away just from that, I never thought I'd say I'm excited to see the dentist but I really, truly am, and hopefully you could be too :).

If you don't feel like you're able to book an appointment yet that's OK too, but the sooner it happens the sooner you'll feel some relief, I, for one, am sick and tired of smiling with my mouth shut and covering my mouth when I laugh or speak, I've slept better ever since I booked the appointment, just because I know that I've started my journey to fixing my teeth.

Best of luck to you and hopefully you can get back your dental health, it's never too late