• 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.

Total Meltdown at Dentist's Office



Jul 28, 2015
I have A LOT of stress in my life. That was compounded by a trip to the dentist today. I totally lost it in his office for 10 minutes...Ugly Cry and all. I went back and tried to apologize. I just couldn't get the words out. The dentist gave me a hug.

The big questions are: Should I go back OR switch dentists?
Should I send the dentist and staff an Apology Card?

I'm so embarrassed.
Now I'm THAT Horrible Patient.
What if he does NOT want me as a patient? Should I ask?

Here's what happened:
He discovered cavities UNDER white fillings. . .HUGE cavities close to nerve. I was handling everything pretty well. What made me mad was that I had these teeth refilled two or three years ago, replacing "silver" with white, to be proactive, as the silver fillings were old. At the time, I had asked for silver fillings, knowing that they should last longer. The dentist (his partner) insisted on white and I wasn't given an option. Today, I asked him what's best and he said "silver," (the opposite of her). I asked him to do silver (which I wanted in the first place.)

Now, I'm wondering:

Should get my teeth refilled a second time and change them from white back to silver?

Or wait until I end up with huge cavities under all the white fillings?

Of course, the dentist blamed it all on me: "You must be grinding or eating hard things. You must not be brushing well enough. You have to keep white fillings super clean. A little bit of plaque can cause cavities underneath them."


stop stressing like me. I'm geting so much work done they have new cars because of me. only the dentist can see most of your teeth. I'm trying to win the battle on mine. honestly I got perdiontal diease which can cause you to lose all teeth. I think mines hormones. it's all hormones with alot of thinks people get moody because they don't have that hormone like they did in there 20s . just my 2 cent
So sorry you're going through this! First, you don't need to apologize to the dentist or be worried that you are 'that' patient. Almost every one of us on here are 'that' patient and dentists who treat anxious patients are quite used to us. The fact that he gave you a hug to comfort you is a good sign (as long as it didn't make you uncomfortable). I would take it as his way of saying that he wants to help.

Funny story - about 8 years ago when I first started going to my dentist, I had one of my wisdom teeth out at his office by an oral surgeon who used to go to his office once a week. I was not numb and felt everything. I was crying very loudly... so loudly that my dentist, who had been on the other side of the office nowhere near where I was had to come into the treatment room to tell me that I needed to quiet down because I was scaring other patients who were sitting in the waiting room (I should say he wasn't mean about it and really tried to calm me down). I was mortified and didn't want to ever go back. I actually went to another dentist for my next cleaning. I only started going back to my dentist after the office manager called me to see why I had left - I made up some story about insurance changing, but, by calling, she convinced me that I was not hated or their worst patient ever. Fast forward to a few weeks ago...I was reminding the dentist about that incident where I was crying uncontrollably. He has absolutely no recollection of it. I say all this to say that, while it's super embarrassing and a big deal for us, it's not for them. I often bring chocolate to my appointments for the dentist and his staff.. I joke that it's a bribe so they won't hate me so much, but I know the reality is that my dentist doesn't hate me. Even after all that and all the other times I've been crazy... about a year ago, I was at the office to get a crown replaced. The dental assistant, who is relatively new, said that, in their morning meeting, they were going over the schedule for the day and when the dentist saw my name he got super happy. At least one of us was happy about me being there. Lol! One thing to think about is that, over time, working with patients like us can be very rewarding... if they can gain our trust and get our oral health in good order, it's a very tangible success for them. These are often difficult to come by in a profession where most people hate even having to see them.

Now... about the fillings. I've have some of my composite fillings for many years with no issue. Some of them have had to be replaced, but as long as I'm going regularly for cleanings/exams any issues will be caught before they are catastrophic. They dentist should not blame you for the decay... that does nobody any good. If he wants to give you tips on things that might help, that's fine, but the blame game is not helpful.

For the teeth that have decay under the fillings, you need to fix them. For the ones without decay, I wouldn't replace the fillings unless there is an issue. Decay generally develops very, very slowly. So, it's important to make sure you get regular cleanings and exams so small problems can be fixed early before they require more extensive treatment.

If you're worried about what to say the next time you see the dentist, maybe plan it out ahead of time. You don't need to talk about what happened, but if you want to, do it in a way that feels ok for you. I use humor a lot when I'm anxious... just something to consider.

Hang in there!
You know I think I'm just going around this forum agreeing with everything Fearful says!

Huge hugs Persephone :XXLhug:

Fearful is right - you absolutely do not have anything to apologise for, and you absolutely don't need to go and find a new dentist! I think it's lovely that he gave you a hug, he's definitely trying to help.

You know what? Sometimes having a meltdown can even be a good thing - it can help them to see how distressed you are! Some patients (like me) often don't show it at the time and it can be really hard for the dentist to tell how you are coping...they want to help, so that means they want to know if you are in distress! My poor dentist often ends up trying very hard to read me and guess whether I'm ok or not - I do try to communicate it, but often i find I just...can't. I'm paralysed. The day I lost it and ended up proper snottery crying into the hygienist's scrubs was a huge breakthrough for me, like the walls finally coming down.

And as for being that patient? Yep, I'm pretty sure I am. I can be hugely high maintenance sometimes. But you know what else I know? My dentist derives great satisfaction from how far we've come, and from the progress we've made in treating my phobia. I know this because he's told me! Sometimes investing in helping that patient and then seeing them come through and make progress is the thing that makes their day.

You have nothing to be embarrassed about, and nothing to be ashamed of x