Scared of dentist...

Ok I’m not scared of going to the dentist as in a phobia

I’m scared of going because of how BAD my teeth are.

I haven’t been in about 6 or 7 years because of some stupid mistake where I missed 2 appointments in a row and got struck off my dentist at the time unless I paid them money I didn’t have.

From then on, the worse my teeth got the more reluctant/embarrassed I got about going, and now I need to go because my teeth are terrible.

You can’t notice it when I smile because it’s the back ones (or rather now the LACK of them).

I’ve now registered with a new dentist in my area and have to make an appointment.

I’m dreading walking in that room. Can they refuse treatment? I think they might take one look at my mouth and tell me to get out.

This is 100% my fault and I feel like an idiot. Any words of wisdom (no pun intended) to make me feel like, 1% better?

Going to slide this over to IMHO for you.

No matter how bad it is you are not the worst they have seen.

Good for you for taking this step to take care of yourself.

Thanks. I wasn’t sure where this should go.

Thanks carlotta.

I hope I’m not the worst they’ve seen.

I have family in the molar business. They see this and much worse all the time. Don’t fret, and go in and take care of them you only get one set.

lots of people have not gone to a dentist in a long time for dozens of reasons. you won’t be the worst that dentist has seen.

if some of what has to be done to you is beyond what that dentist can do then you will be referred to another dentist for that work.

if you have money constraints then explain that to the dentist and get done what you can afford that is the most important. you might be able to get treatment spaced over two years if needed.

Thanks, this makes me feel a bit better. I’m still worried about that first contact, going in sitting down and them seeing my mouth. Maybe I should explain to them before I sit down? I know I should really ‘man up’ about this but I can’t…:smack:

Appreciate the reply. I know I’ll need a lot of work, as in loads. Hopefully I can space it out as you say ( and afford it.)

Well, I got a decently good teeth-cleaning job just last week, for the first time in several years.

I’ve seen people with horribly bad teeth. Everybody has. If you think only your rear-most teeth (past or present) are bad, consider how awful somebody else’s teeth are when even the front teeth look that bad. Now imagine ALL the teeth like that. That’s what dentists deal with a lot. Because there are plenty of people who are phobic about going to dentists.

This phobia about dentists seems to be some kind of a cultural memory type of thing, from back in the days when a trip to the dentist really was like visiting a torture chamber. Time was, dentists had low-speed drills that were powered by foot-pedals that the dentist pedalled like a bicycle. And NO anaesthetic. It’s not like that any more.

This is why Henry Higgins, in the movie My Fair Lady, sang the song “I’m an Ordinary Man” including this (boldface added):

Thanks for the reassuring words Senegoid. Yeah my front teeth are okay, suppose I should be less anxious than if all my teeth were messed up…

I’m grateful of the replies, thanks people. There’s no one in my “real life” I could talk to about this, because no one knows. I actually feel a bit better already.

I hadn’t gone to the dentist in centuries until a wisdom tooth started hurting a couple of years ago. I dragged myself to a place and was full of apologies before I even opened my mouth. I knew it was gonna be bad. The tooth was rotten and had to be extracted, but turns out that was the least of my problems.

Suffice it to say, I’m really glad I broke my long absence from the dentist. Yes, it was scary hearing about all the problems I had let accumulate, but facing them full-on is more empowering than deluding myself, which is what I had been doing. I found a dentist that doesn’t make me feel bad. Every bit of bad news he gives me, he follows it up with “Don’t worry. I have seen much worse.” Since I know my mouth has issues now and I have been sufficiently scared about losing teeth, I am more diligent about flossing and making regular appointments.

I think dentists are used to getting patients that are ashamed and embarrassed, so they know what to say to ease their fears.

What’s embarrassing is to live in a country where dental care costs a lot of money, and you simply can’t afford to get your teeth taken care of; and then moving to another country where dental care is covered by the national health insurance program, and the dentist there is shocked that anyone would have any reason whatsoever to wait so long to take care of those horrible teeth.

I’m petrified of dentists but recently had to get a tooth dealt with which had decayed so badly (unbeknownst to me) that it was basically hollowed out - I only became aware of this when a chunk broke right off. My dentist was blase about the entire thing; I had to get a root canal and it wasn’t particularly pleasant but also not the horror I’d expected. Once you go in and explain the situation, I think you’ll be surprised at how professional and reassuring they can be. They’re in the business of fixing things, not of judging and inflicting pain on ugly sets of chompers. :smiley:

It’s amazing how many of your teeth can be saved nowadays. When I was a kid there’d be no chance, and indeed dentures were often the only choice for people even in their 20s. But now most of your teeth, even if far gone, can not only be saved, but restored to pristine condition with crowns, or, failing that, implants. Plus it’s painless, except for in the wallet department.

Closing lines from “The Painless Dentist Song” by Allan Sherman:

You can find it to listen, somewhere on YouTube, I’m sure.

I can’t stand going to the dentist. Still go twice a year, but, man, I’m a nervous wreck. To me, the instruments look like something out of Dead Ringers. (Yeah, the items in the pictures are gynecological instruments! :eek: )

I get the impression that dentists are, uh… painfully aware of their traditional perception as torture-meisters, and deliberately do a lot of things to make a dental visit less traumatic for the patient, compared to other doctors. I believe this is a standard part of a modern dentist’s training these days. Witness:

– Dentists commonly have TV and/or headphones, where the patient can listen to soothing music or watch something on the tube, while the dentist hacks away. Did you see anything like that mentioned on all those nearby colonoscopy threads?

– Dentists these days always keep their instruments of torture behind the patient’s chair, out of sight of the patient. (Years ago, when I was young, they didn’t do that.) And they commonly don’t even have them set out until after the patient is settled in, so the patient doesn’t see them as he enters the room. But when you go into the doctor’s procedure room for that electromyogram or endoscopy or whatever, you get to sit there in a chilly room in your skivvies for twenty minutes until the doc comes in, all the while having the relevant instruments of torture sitting right there before your eyes.

– Dentists commonly offer ativan or nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) to partially sedate a patient for things like fillings, root canals, extractions, or worse. Doctors never offer such palliatives for procedures of similar magnitude. (This is separate from local anaesthetics.)

– Most modern dentists I’ve been to in recent years have carpeted floors in their procedure rooms! When was the last time you saw that in a doctor’s office? (How the hell do they maintain a sanitary and hygienic work space with carpet on the floors anyway???)

Do we have any dentists on board? Am I right about all this?

Let me tell you something about dental fear. One of the greatest things you can do for yourself is to tell people up front, openly and frankly, “I have to be honest, I’m a little afraid, my teeth are quite bad.” Less than fifteen words, but if you can spit them out two things happen.

Firstly, these are trained professionals, familiar with bad teeth and dental fear. They will pick up the thread and run with it, offering reassurance and comfort.

Secondly, just telling the people around you, frees you from having to put on a brave face. You can relax a tiny bit more. Just getting it off your chest will give you an enormous release, and you’ll feel wonderful. Don’t deny yourself this boost if you can manage it.

And I tell you, all of this, as a person with terrible teeth and years of dental fear experience. If you have a music player you should load it up with your favorite upbeat music, an entire appointments worth, then turn it up loud!

Yeah but you know there HAS to be someone that’s the worst they’ve ever seen…

There are dentists now who specialize in sedation dentistry. You sleep through the whole treatment. These dentists have special training to do this. You should be able to find one in your area. My dentist does it but I don’t need the sedation.

My husband is retired Army. The last job he had before he retired, he was the facilitator for the Dental Clinic at Ft Knox. There are people coming and going at all times at that post, plus you’ve got the trainees as well.

Army regulations say every soldier must have a dental exam/cleaning once a year. As the Facilitator, he would get the printouts of every single military member on post, and he had to make sure they all got a little checkmark next to their name, from the Post Commander on down.

He heard ALL the stories.

He had people who were so terrified with the dental visit, they couldn’t even tolerate the EXAM. No problem! These folks were scheduled at the post hospital, where an anesthetist would knock them out. It was routine, and people were handled compassionately and efficiently.

Hubster also got to hear the stories of WHY these people had their phobias. One young man said when he was a kid, his father took him to the dentist and said, “Do whatever work you need to do, but no novocaine. He needs to learn how to be a man.” Dad then SAT on the kid so the dentist could work.

Yeah, I’d be phobic, too.

I would also like to find that particular father, AND the dentist who went along with it. They should be locked up. AFTER I get through with them.