I'm really embarassed to go to the dentist

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#1 Posted by Sombre (512 posts) -

Hey gang,

So, in the last...2 weeks? I've noticed some problems with two of my teeth that are next to each other. They feel really dry on the backside, and I'm becoming increasingly concerned about them. I chipped one of them on a PGL at work a while ago, and I was really upset with how my current dentist dealt with it. He drilled half the tooth out and put a filling in it. However, there was no smoothing it was just REALLY rough around the filling, and I was always rubbing my tongue on it and it felt mega abrasive. That same tooth now feels terrible on the back.

Now, I know my teeth aren't fantastic. I suffered from really severe depression for about 5 years, and from that, I just couldn't bring myself to brush. I know this sounds bad, but if you've been depressed, you'll understand how difficult it can be to look after yourself. In that time, I drank a lot of soda too, and I worry I've caused damage. Now, when I went to my current dentist, they made me feel like a five year old and always made me feel 2 inches tall when I tried to explain my mental health problems and how it affected my dental hygiene.

I've contacted a private dentist in the nearest town over, who have spectacular reviews. They sound like they really care about their patients, their lead dentist is very well qualified, teaches at a local dental school, and it sounds like he'll understand.

Has anyone else had problems like this? I've e-mailed the surgery asking for an appointment when they can see me, but I'm sweating just thinking about it, because of my embarassing teeth.

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#2 Posted by doctordonkey (1863 posts) -

Nothing to be embarrassed about, actively trying to fix the problem shows you care about your well being, which is something to be proud of, not embarrassed. It sounds like your previous dentist was garbage and didn't really give a shit, I would suggest leaving that baggage at the door and come in fresh with this new one.

Just set up an appointment and talk to them about your issues, and be open about it. Tell them you really didn't like how your previous dentist treated you and you're hoping for someone a little more professional & caring. You'll be glad you did.

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#3 Edited by Rahf (544 posts) -

It sounds like your previous dentist was a bad experience, top to bottom.

The very best thing you can do to alleviate concerns is to communicate your worries to this new dentist. Tell them about your negative experiences and how it has created a negative association for you, without tearing the previous dentist apart. The more you tell them honestly about your situation, the easier it is for a professional to gently guide you through the process.

It's hard--being honest about one's insecurities--but better 9 times out of 10 I am met with respect and empathy, than the alternative.

I've never seen anything by Boogie, but really enjoyed his contribution here--not a 1-to-1 to your situation, but also regarding dental care:

Loading Video...

PS: Regarding your teeth the dentist sees a worse case once a day, or at least once a week.

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#4 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

As someone who is genuinely likely to have the actual worse set of teeth a Dentist would see in a given day I feel this. I've rarely had a dentist that did not love to at least gently neg me about how badly I've treated my teeth.. as though the severe pain at the time is not sufficient admonishment.

Still it sounds like your previous dentist was just all around bad at their practice and you've done great research to avoid that this time around. You'll be fine and never forget that no shame is worth the misery that putting it off too long can eventually cause.

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#5 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7691 posts) -

@sombre: Never be embarrassed about taking care of yourself. Rahf is right, tell the new dentist everything and even what it feels like. I assure you that good dentist has seen everything, and THAT OTHER dentist will be the embarrased one.

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#6 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2120 posts) -

Trust me, being embarrassed is NOTHING compared to the pain of an abscess.

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#7 Posted by Sergiy (58 posts) -

Hello,

I'm in the exact same situation as you, except my dentist didn't really say anything other than the fact that soda is horrible for my teeth, etc.

Been having issues with depression for a while now, also only recently started seeing a therapist. That aside, I did stop taking care of myself, did only the bare minimum when I went for work or outside.
So, i just started working on my teeth, just last week actaully, got a massive list of cavities and teeth that are broken, finally sorted out some black spots on my front teeth, and i'm feeling a bit better about it too. It's something you should push yourself through, your health matters and you'll feel better once you feel progress.

Hold on there buddy, I know it's tough, but you don't have to do it alone, we're around here for you too, and if you wanna swap stories or just talk let me know :)

Have a nice day and get those pearls polished!

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#8 Posted by liquiddragon (3553 posts) -

I've had bad teeth all my life and even now, I have a lot of issues. I also know some things about depression.

Dental work is expensive but if you can afford it, you're more than half way there. I don't think it'd be hard to find ppl that won't make you feel bad about it. I know how stressful it is but sounds like you're in a position to do something about it. You're making the right moves. Just go through with it. Take care.

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#9 Posted by ltcolumbo (194 posts) -

Never be embarrassed about trying to better yourself. It’s like making fun of an obese person at the gym - if someone mocks another person who realizes they need improvement and is working towards that end, they’re the piece of shit, not you.

Good luck with your teeth. As much as people dread the dentist, the dread is almost always a lot worse than the actual process of getting them fixed.

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#10 Posted by nutter (2397 posts) -

Take care of yourself. The dentist is there to help care for your dental health. Let them.

I have...iffy teeth. I’ve never had a cavity in my 40 years, but my parents also avoided the braces route. While my wife has the teeth of a model, I look a little more...human. On top of that, my mouth is a plaque machine. My kids inherited this too. All the brushing and flossing in the world won’t stop it.

When I leave the dentist, I feel like a million bucks.

Oh, I joked about my awful plaque and less than sculpted teeth, and the hygienist and dentist both said it was nonsense and that they both see and help with much worse. I believe them.

See a doctor, dentist, or whoever, as needed. Don’t be ashamed of taking the initiative to better yourself in any way....and really, I get that people have different approaches, but if they’re giving you shit for your attempt to pull back from a bad place, fuck them.

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#11 Edited by imchardo (64 posts) -

There's much good advice in this thread that I agree with and won't bother to repeat what I read. I'll add though, because I didn't see it above, that aversion to the dentist is a very very common problem and a good dentist is accustomed to taking all necessary time to make his patients comfortable. You needn't feel bad about having that conversation.

Good on you for actively seeking personal improvement. It's an important part of being a successful human and something many of us fall down on.

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#12 Posted by tds418 (524 posts) -

I don't mean to be a negative nancy here, just want to provide realistic expectations. If a dentist examines your teeth and believes there are dental issues that have developed due to poor oral care, it's their job to have that discussion with you. A good dentist will do it in a caring way and take into consideration mental health issues, but there will be a discussion along those lines if appropriate. Going to the dentist is never fun, but the positive health impacts are definitely worth it.

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#13 Posted by spartica (136 posts) -

@tds418 said:

I don't mean to be a negative nancy here, just want to provide realistic expectations. If a dentist examines your teeth and believes there are dental issues that have developed due to poor oral care, it's their job to have that discussion with you. A good dentist will do it in a caring way and take into consideration mental health issues, but there will be a discussion along those lines if appropriate. Going to the dentist is never fun, but the positive health impacts are definitely worth it.

This. Especially the last sentence.

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#14 Edited by fledeye (264 posts) -

I know a person who goes to a dentist that specialises in patients that fear the dentist or have to have a lot of work done for one reason or another and are putting off going. She says he’s amazing and after years of not going to the dentist or practicing good oral hygiene, she’s now really happy with her mouth.

Her dentist was prescribed by her GP and is NHS. If you’re not in the UK, obviously that exact route won’t be an option, but there maybe something similar in your area.

I turned up at my dentist for an appointment one day to find the building boarded up and really struggled to find a new one that was as good, but they do exist. Good luck and don’t be embarrassed or ashamed.

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#15 Posted by Sombre (512 posts) -

@fledeye said:

I know a person who goes to a dentist that specialises in patients that fear the dentist or have to have a lot of work done for one reason or another and are putting off going. She says he’s amazing and after years of not going to the dentist or practicing good oral hygiene, she’s now really happy with her mouth.

Her dentist was prescribed by her GP and is NHS. If you’re not in the UK, obviously that exact route won’t be an option, but there maybe something similar in your area.

I turned up at my dentist for an appointment one day to find the building boarded up and really struggled to find a new one that was as good, but they do exist. Good luck and don’t be embarrassed or ashamed.

Thanks for this pal. Like I said, I just don't wanna go cause I'm embarassed. I don't know how to explain to a dentist "I have poor dental hygiene cause I'm so depressed".

'Cause most people WITHOUT depression can't even FATHOM things like that. My mum's got better, but only because she saw the depths of depravity I went to in my worst times. I don't know how to explain that to a stranger

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#17 Posted by Max_Cherry (1659 posts) -

I can relate. I haven’t seen the dentist for 3 years and I haven’t brushed. Before my last appointment I hadn’t been to a dentist in 16 years. I have some of the same problems as you, and I just humored the dentist and said that I just didn’t brush my teeth regularly instead of never.

It sounds like you got a good dentist, though .

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#18 Edited by extintor (1108 posts) -

I went to the dentist last year for the first time in over 15 years. Throughout that entire 15 years I was a regular twice a day brusher, several times a week flosser, and a twice-daily mouthwash user... and had been telling myself that my good dental routine was going to be enough to protect me from negative consequences... to the extent that I wouldn't need to go to a dentist.

Turns out that I was incredibly wrong about that.

Even with all of the good habits, it turned out that I had fairly advanced gum disease. It took three hours of dental cleaning to clean in-between all my teeth and into the gums to reset the situation. After that there was a period of a couple of months where my teeth were re-settling into new positions due to the plaque in my gums having been removed. The pain of this was crippling to the point that even triple doses of normal painkillers weren't really strong enough to allow me to sleep. Once the teeth had settled, the dentist took a look at a small cavity that had formed in one spot where my brushing hadn't been directed properly and I ended up requiring a root canal (and crown) for that tooth.

I've been visiting the dentist every three months for cleanings... and to keep any gum issues from returning... and even though my teeth and gums are now 'stable', I will have to keep going every three months...for ever!

One thing I learned that turned out to be incredibly useful is to use a water pick before brushing. This blasts out stuck materials that might otherwise get pushed further into areas between teeth by brushing. The added bonus compared to flossing with line is that the water blast is also good for removing bacteria build up in those areas.

So in short...even if you think you are looking after your teeth, if you aren't going to the dentist regularly then you aren't. I learned that the hard (and expensive) way.

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#19 Posted by WMoyer83 (1051 posts) -

Bro, once they hit you with the gas, you will have a blast

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#20 Posted by Sombre (512 posts) -

@wmoyer83 said:

Bro, once they hit you with the gas, you will have a blast

They don't gas you in the UK. They just give you some weird injection that numbs your entire mouth, so when you go to spit out the mouthwash, you dribble it all over your shirt

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#21 Posted by psmgamer (132 posts) -

I went to the dentist a few months like in June/July and the dentist was surprised that my teeth weren't that bad. I had a few cavities that needed to be filled but other than that, it was alright. I always hated the dentist as the thought of a person poking at my teeth caused me fear. I brush my teeth every day and have started flossing as I never used to do it before. I think the last time I went to the dentist was in 2005 so it's been years. I am glad that I went to the dentist as my teeth felt better after the cleaning even though it took me two visits to get my teeth cleaned and cavities filled.

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#22 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

@sombre: I've never been to a dentist that still used gas, only novacaine or lidocaine. Which I'm usually weirdly resistant to so it takes a whole bunch of those shots.

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#23 Posted by dudeglove (13792 posts) -

Not read anyone else's posts, but I recently had a root canal (seriously try to avoid having one of these) and the filling for it felt pretty much like what you said but that sensation goes away with time (it was roughly a month ago and I've only just stopped noticing it).

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#24 Edited by North6 (1205 posts) -

@sombre said:

Hey gang,

So, in the last...2 weeks? I've noticed some problems with two of my teeth that are next to each other. They feel really dry on the backside, and I'm becoming increasingly concerned about them. I chipped one of them on a PGL at work a while ago, and I was really upset with how my current dentist dealt with it. He drilled half the tooth out and put a filling in it. However, there was no smoothing it was just REALLY rough around the filling, and I was always rubbing my tongue on it and it felt mega abrasive. That same tooth now feels terrible on the back.

Now, I know my teeth aren't fantastic. I suffered from really severe depression for about 5 years, and from that, I just couldn't bring myself to brush. I know this sounds bad, but if you've been depressed, you'll understand how difficult it can be to look after yourself. In that time, I drank a lot of soda too, and I worry I've caused damage. Now, when I went to my current dentist, they made me feel like a five year old and always made me feel 2 inches tall when I tried to explain my mental health problems and how it affected my dental hygiene.

I've contacted a private dentist in the nearest town over, who have spectacular reviews. They sound like they really care about their patients, their lead dentist is very well qualified, teaches at a local dental school, and it sounds like he'll understand.

Has anyone else had problems like this? I've e-mailed the surgery asking for an appointment when they can see me, but I'm sweating just thinking about it, because of my embarassing teeth.

I guess I'm not sure why mental health would come up in a conversation with a dentist either. I understand it probably is the root cause, but they clean teeth. At a bare minimum, getting your teeth cleaned will help your mental health because it's one less thing to worry about, make you feel better about yourself, etc.

Specifically though, if the backs of your teeth feel bad, gritty, uneven, it's almost certainly just plaque. Especially if it's a recent development. They'll clean it off and you'll be fine, just go and stop worrying about it. I've felt the same thing, and was certain that i'd chipped one of them, or something worse. It's plaque, it's always plaque. You'd be surprised how fast you can get food stuck between a narrow gap and then it can start to calcify.