• Dental Phobia Support

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Years of fear finally overcome.



Junior member
Feb 7, 2018
So a quick background story. I'm twenty-eight, but only really had a good oral hygiene routine for about eight years or so. Before that, I took my teeth for granted and didn't really look after them. Sadly, the damage had already been done. Unfortunately, as a child, I had a horrendous dentist which led to me being terrified of having any dental work done. Five years ago, I had a bad tooth infection and had to get treatment. The tooth had to be extracted, which didn't help with my fear of the dentist. Ignorance is bliss, right?

A couple of weeks ago, my left ear began to ache. My left jaw became swollen and tingled. But my teeth were fine. I contacted my GP who was quite confident that I had Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which would disappear on its own eventually. Fortunately, I know my body better than that. Dr Google kept suggesting that the symptoms related to a dental abscess. I spent days being worried and stressed. What if Google's right? That means a trip to the dentist. No thanks.

My symptoms got worse over the weekend. Contacted the GP again on Monday morning who was still convinced that it was Eustachian Tube Dysfunction and wouldn't consider that it could be something else. So I took a deep breath and phoned the dentist. They were willing to see me in an hour. Panic ensues. Quick exam and some x-rays done. No abscess! But a badly decayed tooth. Antibiotics prescribed as the facial swelling is unusual. Something that the doctor refused to do.

But it gets worse before it gets better. An hour after leaving the dentist, the badly decayed tooth (which I've known about for years) breaks. About 15% of the tooth is gone leaving a very sharp edge. I assume that the dentists prodding was the final straw. Here we go again. Call the dentist again, but have to wait two days for an appointment. Go back, xrays done again... the tooths pulp is infected, even though theres no abscess. A root canal is the only option. Real panic sets in now, but I don't have anywhere to hide. It has to be done.

The root canal is started immediately. Fortunately, I don't mind needles. Local anaesthetic done, time to start. I don't want to alarm anyone, but I felt instant pain. The infection was interfering with the anaesthetic. Two more loads injected. I was finally numb. For the next thirty minutes, I felt a lot of pulling, grinding and pressure, but no pain. Temporary filling in. Stage one completed.

My mouth hurt for about four days after, but only when I applied pressure to that tooth. Eating became bit awkward but manageable.

I had an appointment booked for the following week to carry on with the root canal. It was a molar, so it was going to take some work. I also scheduled a full exam for two days after stage one was completed. I spent two days stressing that I'd need another four or five root canals. It was self torture. I wanted to cancel the appointment and return to my state of ignorance. But I sucked it up and went. Work is needed. Nine fillings in fact. But no more root canals. But I also needed to see the hygienist to sort out the tartar build up. Great.

I've now had stage two of the root canal done. Again, it was uncomfortable. A few moments of pain, but it lasted seconds. Temporary filling in again, in case the infection hasn't fully gone. If it's okay, I'll be fitted for a crown in three weeks time. If not, it'll need to be redone again. But there's much less post treatment pain this time.

But I've also seen the hygienist, which I've never done before. Everyone told me that it's a bad experience. But my front lower teeth were 80% covered in tartar. I was always self conscious in photos and I avoided smiling as much as possible. I might be lucky but my hygienist was lovely, calming and gentle. She used an ultrasonic tool to remove the tartar and plaque. It was a bit odd, but completely painless. No numbing cream or anaesthetic was needed either. And it turns out that I actually have teeth behind that wall of tartar. I don't have any pain or sensitivity. The only weird thing is being able to feel the shape of my individual teeth. Truly remarkable results and a great feeling. I have gingivitis but its early stages and reversible. Phew.

Overall, I still dislike going to the dentist but I'll do it. Every appointment was a hundred times worse in my head than in reality. The fear can be conquered. I've vowed to look after my teeth as much as possible from now on. I can finally smile without trying to hide my teeth and it feels fantastic.