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Where to start/What to expect (Pics of bad teeth)

M

mgf_86

Junior member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
3
Location
London, England
Hello,

I have had a phobia of dentists from a very young age. During my childhood and teenage years I had several bad experiences at the Dentists which included extractions without the anaesthesia set in, extremely rude/bullying dentists and an extremely atrocious diet including BED (Binge Eating Disorder) and smoking for several years. Of course this has lead me to be extremely avoidant of Dentists in adult life and now in my mid-30's I feel like I am at a crossroads with my oral health and health in general.

My last trip to the Dentist was in January 2016. It was the first time I had willingly been to the dentist without an emergency appointment and was able to build up some trust with the Dentist which helped ease my phobia. The first visit was just a look and chat, the next were a deep clean and two root canal treatments, the third was temporary fillings from Nov 2015-Jan 2016. Unfortunately, the Dentist had called in sick for my last appointment near the end of Jan 2016 - it was a major blow to the trust I had built up, mainly because of all the procedures I had created in order for me to physically go to the dentist willingly. I had become a master of meditation during this period and self-hypnosis. However, sickness happens and I rearranged the appointment a week later. I follow the procedures again, the meditation, the hypnosis, the sleepless nights of worry and nauseous feeling for days before the appointment only to be told the Dentist has gone AWOL. It was the final straw for me. The trust I had built up had gone and I have not seen a dentist since.

The 4 temporary fillings she had put in place have all fallen out about 1-2 years ago now. She had put me on the waiting list for Dental surgery at a local hospital (Romford) and was told it has the highest waiting list in the UK for Dental surgery appointments and I could wait up to 10 years! I remained in the area until late 2017 and was never contacted. The surgery was to remove 4 roots from the upper jaw where all the teeth had eroded to the stubs.

In 2012 I had emergency root canal treatment on my left front upper tooth after a bad abscess a week before cured with antibiotics. The dentist was only able to save about 25% of my tooth and filled the rest up with filler. In 2017, this broke off biting into a Ciabatta and have been left with a broken smile ever since. To say my confidence has plummetted since then would be an understatement. I have been single for 3 years and do not even bother trying to date anymore because of my teeth.

My reason for writing this post is to find out what my options are? Especially from a Dentist or other people who have been in the same or similar boat to me. A few months ago I had a shave/trim at the barbers for the first time in my life and when he swung the chair back I had a full-on anxiety attack because it reminded me of the dentist. It's been playing on my mind since then that I need to stop avoiding the issue and start addressing it.

Unfortunately, I can't afford to go private in the UK which leaves me with the option of the NHS or seek private treatment abroad in Eastern Europe.

The former (NHS) as far as I understand do not do cosmetic treatments - so that rules out fixing my front tooth but I could get the roots surgically extracted to help my oral health in the long term, right? One friend told me to go to a Dental School where I can get free treatment by Students but this only heightens my phobia knowing they're not fully trained.

Another friend said the NHS will extract all my teeth and give me dentures but at 35 years of age is this the best choice?

The latter (Private abroad) would be affordable in about 12-18 months of savings but is it safe? I have one friend who got a filling and crown in Budapest and was full of praise. They do not have a dental phobia or needed as much treatment as me.

Do I contact my local NHS Dentist and make a check-up then go from there? Do I contact a Dental Hospital? I really don't know where to start.

I have attached two of the best photos I could at the poor state of my teeth after many attempts.

IMG_20200305_212734.jpg
IMG_20200305_212621.jpg
 
T

tazey

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 2, 2018
Messages
628
Location
Hampshire U.k
I'd think very hard about going abroad,personally I wouldn't because if anything goes wrong once your back here you will not find anyone willing to touch it plus you'd need more money to get back there. If you have an nhs dentist then they can prob refer you to a dental school.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,720
Hi mfg_86 :welcome:,

sorry to read about your situation. I can't even imagine what a shock it must have been to find out that the dentist you have trusted and who helped you to get back on track suddenly left. I would say this is a nightmare of many of us who arrived at a safe place in a good practice. Your story shows how important it is to have a dentist you trust and who can guide you through the treatment at a pace that is comfortable to you. It's good you're reaching out and looking for solutions to change your situation.

Now I understand your train of thoughts when it comes to the question "how can I get affordable treatment soon" and that question is an important one, however reading about how a visit at the barbers caused you a panic attack, I was wondering whether
- you really feel able to get into any clinic (abroad or not abroad / dental school or not, simply going somewhere unfamiliar) and simply get the treatment done and
- if you did that, how much worse might that make your fear?

You might get replies from someone who knows the system better, but I thing finding a NHS dentist to get a check-up and see what your options are sounds like a good option and I can only encourage you to look for someone who you will like as a person too and who won't only treat your teeth. I know this might be hard, but the best aim is to find a way to treat your anxiety along with treating your teeth.

You could also get in touch with the Community Dental Service and see whether you could find a dentist for special needs, you can read more about it here.
Another option might be to get in touch with your GP and see whether they could give you a referral for CBT which might help you get some control over the anxiety.
London is one of the places that offers dental health psychology for adults with dental anxiety as well, take a look here (not sure about waiting times, availability etc. your GP might help you further).
Last but not least, we have a recommendation section for dentists in London, if you like to take a look.

You can read about dental tourism and why it might not be the best idea here.

This was quite long, I guess what I want to say is that there still might be hope and some options so please keep on going. Fingers crossed for you to find help soon.

All the best wishes
 
M

Mike

Member
Verified dentist
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Scotland
Not much I can add to what Enarete said other than to say IF that front tooth is fixable it may well be able to be done on the NHS. It’s unlikely to get done under sedation on the NHS though.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
604
My suggestion would be trying to find a kind NHS dentist who can look at your mouth and help you consider what your options are. My understanding is that the NHS's role is to maintain oral function and health, so while they won't be able to give you a Love Island smile, there will be things they can do to help you feel better and more confident. Might you be able to ask colleagues and friends if they can recommend their own dentist? I recommend mine to everyone - she should give me commission!
 
M

mgf_86

Junior member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
3
Location
London, England
Hi mfg_86 :welcome:,

sorry to read about your situation. I can't even imagine what a shock it must have been to find out that the dentist you have trusted and who helped you to get back on track suddenly left. I would say this is a nightmare of many of us who arrived at a safe place in a good practice. Your story shows how important it is to have a dentist you trust and who can guide you through the treatment at a pace that is comfortable to you. It's good you're reaching out and looking for solutions to change your situation.

Now I understand your train of thoughts when it comes to the question "how can I get affordable treatment soon" and that question is an important one, however reading about how a visit at the barbers caused you a panic attack, I was wondering whether
- you really feel able to get into any clinic (abroad or not abroad / dental school or not, simply going somewhere unfamiliar) and simply get the treatment done and
- if you did that, how much worse might that make your fear?

You might get replies from someone who knows the system better, but I thing finding a NHS dentist to get a check-up and see what your options are sounds like a good option and I can only encourage you to look for someone who you will like as a person too and who won't only treat your teeth. I know this might be hard, but the best aim is to find a way to treat your anxiety along with treating your teeth.

You could also get in touch with the Community Dental Service and see whether you could find a dentist for special needs, you can read more about it here.
Another option might be to get in touch with your GP and see whether they could give you a referral for CBT which might help you get some control over the anxiety.
London is one of the places that offers dental health psychology for adults with dental anxiety as well, take a look here (not sure about waiting times, availability etc. your GP might help you further).
Last but not least, we have a recommendation section for dentists in London, if you like to take a look.

You can read about dental tourism and why it might not be the best idea here.

This was quite long, I guess what I want to say is that there still might be hope and some options so please keep on going. Fingers crossed for you to find help soon.

All the best wishes
Hello Enarete,

Thank you so much for your in depth response to my post. I have bookmarked all the links you have suggested and after a quick read of them I think they will be extremely beneficial in helping me take the next step.

To answer a few of your points. Yes, physically going to a dentist is my first and next hurdle but from what I remember last time - the first appointment involved just a look and no work which lessens my anxiety a little. I contacted a local dentist to me in West London over a year ago who deal with nervous patients but I never followed up to make an appointment. This is something I should look into.

As for the CBT, for the last 3 years I have had therapy on the NHS for Depression and Anxiety. In 2018 and 2019 I asked for it regarding my dental phobia as I feel the terrible condition of my teeth is interlinked with my depression/anxiety issues. It wasn't until the CBT I had last year, this was even linked into the discussion but I still found it very limited dealing with actual dental phobia. It was more based around general CBT. From the last dental visits, I found meditation and mindfulness practices beneficial so I will look into these again in the build up to my first appointment.

As for the dental tourism - you have made valid points and I will have to seriously consider whether it is an option to pursue in the future. However, from my current point of view it appears to be dental tourism if I want to smile again or nothing because there is no way I can afford cosmetic treatment in the UK unless I win the lottery!
 
M

mgf_86

Junior member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
3
Location
London, England
A general thank you to everyone who has replied. It really means a lot and I take all of your comments on board. My next course of action is to find a new dentist I can trust and hopefully have long term treatment with.
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
636
Location
US
Good luck! By posting here you have taken an important first step. You’re further along than you realize. Keep us posted.
 
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