• Dental Phobia Support

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Too scared to even read the Forum!



Junior member
Aug 24, 2022

I am not sure what to write - I don't want to be triggering for other people - and at the moment I can't really bring myself to read anything here. I saw a dentist for the first time in 16 years last week. It was a disaster. I know what work needs doing now - I wish I didn't - but I have emailed them and told them I am never going back. I then emailed again with about a million questions. But honestly, whatever the answers, I can see no way on earth that I am going to manage to get through what they are suggesting and, since the appointment, it is honestly all I can do to stay on this earth. (I am able to keep myself safe so please don't worry but my mental health could not be any lower right now).

I feel like I have tried every helpful technique that anyone has ever suggested to reduce my fear (including sedation - I bit through a nerve in my mouth out of distress on that occasion). And, whilst I am sure this must be the case for lots of people, what I am dealing with is not so much anxiety or a phobia as PTSD - both related to a dentist experience as a child, which honestly has ruined my life, and sexual assault (which I don't think would have happened had I not learned that my "No" meant nothing in the dentist chair as a teenager when facing a treatment I did not want).

I genuinely feel I have nowhere to go from here and the cost of each appointment is terrifying too. Every time, I get even a basic consultation wrong, I have spent a day's wages.

I am not sure if anyone can help me but perhaps someone here can at least understand how desperate this feels.

Thank you.
3 extractions (two of them have fallen out except for roots) and 3 fillings. They haven't said anything about replacing the teeth but I guess I would prefer implants. I say that but at the cost of a year's salary it makes me want to cry and I don't think I can get through any of this. Also my teeth are not straight. They never will be but it is heart-breaking to be facing this and still end up with teeth that make me want to not be on this earth. I feel like now I have written all that scary information down I won't be able to read this thread either! I had 2 extractions as a teenager (part of the original trauma) and also all my wisdom teeth out under general anaesthetic.
@Bluebelle Hi, that sounds so stressful and painful! I am sorry you are going through this. Before I started some intense dental and medical treatment this year, I talked to a psychologist for 2 months through a mental health app called 7 cups. It did improve things so that I was able to start doing what I needed to do, though it didn't fix everything or make it pleasant or anything like that. Maybe that could possible be useful for you? If that is something you would feel comfortable with.

Your trauma sounds very tough and painful. I think fear, phobia, and anxiety are often caused by trauma. I am fearful with dentists because I have a phobia of anesthesia caused by trauma working with anesthesia and euthanasia at a pet clinic, fear of overtreatment and scamming by dentists caused by attempts from dentists, some sucessful, to overtreat me or scam, social anxiety with dentists and staff caused by dealing with agressive and rude ones, and all round medical phobia caused by traumatic medical more than dental experiences as a young person that affects me in all medical type situations.
@Kml1998 Yes.

@NervousUSA I have been talking to a therapist - I wouldn't have got through the door without the work I have done with him over the last two years but honestly I now wish I hadn't gone! I am sorry to hear of your experiences. Yes, I am the same with medical environments too for various reasons, although have made a bit more progress in that side of things than with the dentist. Still have a massive medical thing to sort but can now go to doctors about things unrelated to that without having a panic attack, which is a breakthrough (although generally still avoiding them if I am honest!)
@Bluebelle Hi Bluebelle!

Firstly, I just want to send you all the love and support I can, because oof. Yeah. That’s really, really tough. I know it probably doesn’t seem like it, but I can completely understand what you mean. I myself have severe PTSD from an incident that happened to me as a child at the dentist. So I understand that part, where it’s not just anxiety but trauma. Where the memories blur and you just feel like you’re being tortured. Like nothing could be worse. All you can focus on is how you can be safe and safety does not involve being anywhere near a dentist.

I too have to have extractions done (and fillings!) And again, I understand that feeling. When I initially found out I’d need extractions, I truly, truly believed my life was over. I thought some very dark things because there was no way I could possibly go through with it. Luckily for me I had a lot of support from those around me, and I have counselling sessions I attend as well. I see you’re seeing a therapist which is great! That’s a huge step in getting yourself into a position to get treatment done.

I’d also like to say you should be so proud of yourself for even getting to the dentist! Really, truly. It’s not easy at all. The fact you got through an appointment is huge. And posting here? Double the accomplishment. You’re seeking out support and that’s progress!

Honestly my best advice is to just work with your therapist and really figure out what you need to feel like you can do this. (As an example, I was offered general for my own appointment because the dentist recognized I‘m too traumatized to be awake.) Sometimes having a black and white list can really make a difference you know? And it’s okay if you have to go with baby steps. We all do here. No progress is too small or too little!

But just know, you’re really not alone here. We’re all here for you, whatever you need :grouphug:
@APhobicQueen Thank you. You have so eloquently captured how I am feeling.
@Bluebelle I am really glad to hear you are seeing improvement at least on the medical front!

Like APhobicQueen said you should be very proud you made it to an appointment at all! That is very impressive, and a great thing you did for yourself, to get that far.

When it comes to being told you need a lot of expensive treatment, I have that problem too. What I have been doing is doing one thing at a time, spread out, and going in order of the least intense treatment to the most intense. It seems a bit less overwhelming than thinking of or dealing with it all as one huge thing. This can make things more affordable as well as providing a chance to use exposure to get a bit more used to treatment.
@Bluebelle the good thing is you won't be able to tell about molars being extracted as their not visible to anyone else
@Kml1998 Yes, that that is good. But it is the idea of having my body changed my somebody that is so terrifying and the extractions themselves that I am struggling to deal with really.
Dear Bluebelle,

I‘m so sorry to read what you are going through right now. And of course you can‘t even imagine to ever go back to that practice and of course everything here on the forum can become another trigger and a thing to avoid.. I guess that‘s what PTSD is about. I am glad you‘re still here in the thread. It‘s not unusual for people who are just at the beginning of their journey to not be able to read much here because even words can be scary if you‘re easily triggerable.

Now reading about your history and fears, I am wondering whether the practice you were at is a good choice at all and how much they tried to work aroung your PTSD when you were there - were you talking about your fears and things that trigger? Were you given the option of having a chat without an exam? Or was it more about “just“ looking at what treatment you‘ll need?

I know things are super hard right now and you can‘t imagine how to get through this. I know you feel like your therapist can‘t be much of help now and like you hit a wall. What may be a good thing at this point is to find a dentist who will gradually work with you towards getting more in control and comfortable with the basic stuff. I wouldn‘t even think of extractions at this point and if you‘re a survivor of abuse, then any kind of sedation may not be a good idea as it only increases the fear of the loss of control.

As you are from UK, there are some brilliant lovely dentists with a special interest in helping people like you. You could either find someone privately who can offer you a simple chat about your fears first and a gradual plan on how to manage not to feel entirely out of control during a visit or you could turn to the NHS for people with special needs. In any case, please do not lose hope; there is help out there, it‘s just that you need an approach that is a bit different to how these things usually work.

All the best wishes