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Went to dentist after 8 years. Feeling so ashamed.

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takeheart

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Jun 22, 2022
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4
Location
California, USA
I’m 32. I haven't been to the dentist many times in my life, but the experiences were so painful that I've always been terrified of going back. My mouth is full of fillings and my last bout of dental work involved getting interproximal fillings in my incisors and a root canal in a premolar. I was 24. I’d been dealing with major depression for 8 years and taking care of myself was not a priority. Anyway, I got treatment for depression, changed my life radically, and would say the depression has been under control for several years, but I'm still learning how to care about and take care of myself.

I worked up the courage to make a dentist appointment in February 2020 and finally got into the chair a few months later. That dentist diagnosed me with:

- bruxism


- a cracked tooth due to bruxism


- TMJ


- deep bite malocclusion leading to my bottom incisors wearing grooves in the backs of my central incisors, eventually the bottom teeth would fall out and the top teeth would break off if I didn’t get braces ASAP

I asked if I had any cavities and the response was “you have about 3 cavities.” This dentist was not interested in cavities and said they wouldn’t work on anything until I’d agreed to Invisalign. After being read a list of serious, expensive problems my insurance would not cover at all and would cost me my entire annual post-tax income, I left with no intention of seeing this dentist again. I started wearing a mouth guard at night and half-heartedly looking for a new dentist. I knew I had problems - I could see/feel cavities and I occasionally had pain in my molars, on top of the other things that dentist mentioned. But now I was even more scared because Denti-Cal wouldn’t pay for anything - including my cracked tooth, because it didn’t have any decay. I wish I'd come back for a cleaning and made her fill my cavities, even if I didn't trust her.

There were delays (COVID, having to repeatedly switch insurance providers, and then going back to college for two 18-unit semesters), but I made another appointment for this week and the results were … bad.

I need:

- a deep cleaning


- fillings in 10 teeth - including decay around the 8-year-old interproximal fillings in my front teeth


- a root canal in one of my maxillary first molars (#3) - the roots are at a 90 degree angle and I’m scared the dentist is going to mess up and I’ll lose the tooth


- a crown on the new root canal and the root canal I had done in 2014 (#4)


- both of my maxillary second molars extracted (the facial side is completely rotted and the dentist doesn’t think there will be enough tooth left to support a crown - and if there is, it will fail due to grinding. They’re not worth the effort and expense. The teeth are tilted so that the biting surfaces don’t meet their antagonists so I’m hoping I won’t miss them. All 4 of my wisdom teeth were surgically removed 17 years ago.)

The appointment was on Monday and I am so angry and remorseful. Every person I interacted with was kind and calm, and nothing they did in my mouth was painful or even uncomfortable enough to warrant 8 years of avoidance. I’ve always had a mouth full of fillings and my root canal is 10 years old. But the fact that I neglected myself so badly that I need 2 teeth that have been in my mouth for 20 years removed has made me feel like I’ve failed a fundamental test. I spent all day moping in bed, and I feel sick when I imagine eating food and how it’s going to rot my teeth, so I haven’t had anything but water and milk since Sunday. I might actually be able to use this feeling to cut soda out of my diet and reduce sugar - which is excellent because that's another thing I've needed to do for decades and haven't had the willpower for. I consume a LOT of sugar and acid ... and you can see it in my teeth.

I bought an electric toothbrush (it REALLY makes a difference, wow!), restoring mouthwash, more floss, and mini toothbrushes, so I’m going to be better from now on, but I’m just sick about how much damage I did through apathy. The appointment was pretty pleasant and why couldn’t I just brush and floss my damn teeth correctly? I feel so stupid. It’s like not bathing for years, then deciding to ignore visible infection until the skin is rotting off and needs a graft … I would NEVER do that so why did I do this?! :(
(Actually, I probably would have done that in the past. Damn.)

My main concern is: if I already have a deep bite, won't removing molars make it worse?? My upper teeth are straight with the exception of those 2 molars and have no crowding; my bottom central incisors are very slightly crowded, but I don't have teeth to spare anywhere.
 
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letsconnect

letsconnect

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Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,709
Hi @takeheart, I took the liberty of moving this into the Ask a Dentist section because I didn't think that your main concern could be addressed in the Support section! If you like, I can now move it back there?
 
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takeheart

Junior member
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
4
Location
California, USA
Thank you, @letsconnect! I didn't have that question in mind until after I'd posted in Support so I edited it in. I'm very happy a dentist answered! Thank you, @Gordon!

You can move it back :)

Nope. 2 molars won't matter.
Should I be concerned about the teeth under them? My mandibular second molars don't touch my maxillary first molars.
 
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Gordon

Gordon

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What are you concerned about particularly?
 
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takeheart

Junior member
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
4
Location
California, USA
What are you concerned about particularly?
Over eruption of the lower second molars. Actually, I think the teeth do meet a bit, so that should be enough.

Either way, one of the teeth started throbbing a bit yesterday so I don't have much time. :(
 
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Gordon

Gordon

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Lowers tend not to over erupt, they are also likely to drift forward into space.
 
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takeheart

Junior member
Joined
Jun 22, 2022
Messages
4
Location
California, USA
Lowers tend not to over erupt, they are also likely to drift forward into space.
Thanks again, Gordon. So they're likely to move towards the midline of my face and cause crowding?

From what I've read, the upper second molars and the wisdom teeth are the only teeth that don't have much impact on your mouth if they're pulled. Thank you for responding to my fears; I'm feeling much better about my situation. I'll consider this a warning shot and take better care of my teeth from now on.
 
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