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After years of neglect, my teeth need dental care! Is this how I go about it?

Tagged as: Health<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (12 July 2018) 8 Answers - (Newest, 16 July 2018)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

Hi guys...

I think this is more for support as well as advice.

I've been on before about this topic but a new angle this time.

So I've now got a boyfriend and one major issue I had was I hate my teeth. It's because of years of neglect and now I'm trying to right the wrong but I have a massive fear of the dentist. I am so embarrassed by the state of them. It's beyond help!

Any way, I showed my boyfriend and he seemed a little taken aback by it but nearly 1 year on and we are still together.

My issue is, I now hate my dental hygiene so much, it prevents me from making new friends or speaking to people as I don't want to show them.

My boyfriend always says smile... even though he knows I won't. I dream of having a smile...

Which is why I emailed 2 dentists near me to get registered and hopefully start my journey to having a smile.

I am still having to take the first step and go for an assessment and I know it won't be a quick fix but is an email the first step?

I'm so scared and mainly embarrassed that the dentist will be like wow... they are horrendous.

I've requested an older female dentist as I feel more at ease with them, I think it's like the motherly approach.

Do you think this will be listened to and accomdated to their best ability?

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Just needed to see what everyone thinks.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 July 2018):

Your fears are understood; because dental tools and sounds actually get to most people. Your fears are relatable; but unnecessary. Technology and numbing-gels make dental-care virtually-painless and noninvasive.

I've seen the absolute worse as far as the condition of teeth; and I think most people are conditioned to the sight of tooth-neglect. Everyone has friends, family, and neighbors with neglected, missing, or crooked teeth.

Every other day, I gaze into the ear to ear smile at the tea-stained teeth of the top Executive over our international firm; with gaps and shifting teeth. He's very down-to-earth. Yet this man earns 20 million a year, excluding his stock-options, executive bonuses, and other incentives. He smiles without shame. Why should you? He could afford a perfect-smile. He's a good soul, and his smile backs it up! He stands before a Board room, or a packed auditorium; and doesn't give a damn!

Even your Royals have jagged-smiles! It's humanizing and so common. Your worries are just your own overinflated-insecurity. Most people don't care. Purse your lips if you must; but smile, smile, smile! Turn-up the corners of your mouth! There must be evidence of joy in your soul, girlfriend!

I've gone to the dentist ever since I've had teeth; and I dread the visits. I have a wonderful relationship with my dentist and the office staff; but I still have to get past the apprehension, in spite of good dental-health. I just fear that first need to hear that drill; or anything other than a suction tube, or a plaque-scraping tool. Once seated; everyone is so kind and reassuring; and it's over before you know it.

It's been a longtime since you've had a visit; so you've had a long-time to create frightening visuals and fears that have no basis, except your first childhood visits were scary. The longer you wait, the more work is necessary to repair your teeth. Your comfort is a major concern of the dentist and his/her staff. They are well-trained, and fully aware of the common-fears and anxiety people have for the dentist.

The lack of dental-care leads to heart-disease, gum-disease that can be contagious, and serious digestive-problems. The most dangerous disease are those that show no immediate symptoms, or the disease is there; but the symptoms are silently at work damaging your organs. That to me is way scarier than the dentist! Bad-breath and halitosis should be more discerning that a bad-smile.

Many people smile "bigly" (a stolen word that doesn't exist); and the condition of their teeth doesn't steal love and joy from their hearts. Killing your smile and hiding your teeth doesn't make any sense. I don't care how much sympathy you try to pull behind it. God gave us smiles to demonstrate peace and contentment through our facial-expressions. To display happiness and joy! His most precious gifts to humanity.

My Native American grandfather used to remove his dentures; and my siblings and me were both delighted and astonished at his toothless gummy-smile. It was most endearing; and he never hid his loving-smile! He owned a business, and didn't spare his patrons that smile either! If they hurt, out they came!

My dear, shame of your teeth is no a justification to suppress a smile. Shame is appropriate when you've done something terrible to yourself, or to other people.

Visibly-neglected teeth is embarrassing; but shouldn't rise to the level of shame or anxiety. You've had a boyfriend for a year, for gosh sakes! If your smile was as bad as you claim, you wouldn't have a boyfriend at all! As usual, it's what people build-up in their heads that no amount of good words and encouragement can penetrate. People who should be ashamed aren't; and those who don't need to be, are; for the most foolish and ridiculous of reasons.

Smile, if for no one but your boyfriend and loved-ones. They know what's behind your lips; but they deserve to see joy in your face. If I was there, I'd say something absolutely silly and hilarious to force you to smile; no matter how hard you tried to be a drama queen. Maybe the tooth fairy should leave you a smile; but your anxiety and fears are more in your head, than in reality. You will be so surprised.

Please comeback after your visit; and share the experience with us. Meanwhile; please don't make your boyfriend have to beg for a smile. He knows what's in your mouth, and he doesn't care. He deserves to know he can put a smile on your face. That would be such a gift! If for nobody but him!

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A male reader, TylerSage United States +, writes (14 July 2018):

TylerSage agony auntIf you're able to enter a relationship with your bad teeth and still kiss and converse and smile with your boyfriend for a year, heading to the dentist to have them remark at how bad they really are should be a breeze.

It's clear you're insecure about your mouth and yet you're able to share that insecurity daily with another human being. Sure, you're not making any new friends but you have a lover who could potentially turn into a lifetime partner. How fortunate could you be? I can only image how often you force yourself not to smile each day. This must severely tug at your self esteem.

As you've mentioned in your letter, your teeth being in a bad condition is your fault. You allowed it to happen. If you let too much time pass by they will only get worse. CALL a dentist and let them know how you feel about your teeth and as @MissKin said explain your tremendous fear of dentists, I'm sure a good dentist would be willing to be gentler with you to make sure you are at ease with the necessary procedures. Plus they drug-you-up so you don't feel anything.

The ONLY way to get over your fears is to face them. Talk to a dentist and book a date. Maybe it could even be a month from now so that you can mentally prepare for whats ahead. In the meantime, YOU need to take better care of your teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day, use mouthwash twice a day and floss twice a day, the dentist can only do so much.

When we face our fears we grow and when we grow be become happier people.

All the best.

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A female reader, MissKin United Kingdom +, writes (13 July 2018):

MissKin agony auntBe honest and upfront with your dentist over how anxious you are and your fear of the dentist and they should help you appropriately. While emails are good and often cause ME less anxiety, phone calls are quicker, can put your mind at ease and means the decisions isn't "hanging around" waiting for a response. Just a thought but I always send emails!

I've had a tooth out, have three front fillings (white) and five fillings at the back that I can remember, I would never let my dentist make me feel awful- you clearly want to improve so they should accept that and just be helpful :) I've never had an issue with a "mean" dentist and I'm sure they have always seen worse.

Don't be afraid to ask for a dentist who is used to or has experience with patients who have severe fear. :) Take someone supportive in with u if necessary - my brother held my hand all the way through one appointment. My fiance does that job now lol

Well done for taking such a positive step :)

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A female reader, Anonymous 123 Italy +, writes (13 July 2018):

Anonymous 123 agony auntYes OP, this IS the first step. Even if the dentist says, wow that's bad, so what? Logically tell me, so what? He/she will still do your dental work! They don't know your, they will be know you beyond just being another patient and you will soon be forgotten. They are professionals, it's their job to make you get better.

Don't put this off any longer. Just do it and get it over with and start anew.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (13 July 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntWell done on taking the first step, that should be something to be very proud off! I remember your previous post on here! I am the same I have a fear of the dentist. But you are doing the right thing. You have taken the first step. When you go for a assessment just remember that is all it is. No the dentist won't look at you in shock, believe me they will have saw teeth in much worse conditions, to the point of no return. It is great you are taking this step. Take one step at a time, and tell the dentist off your fear so that they know how to help you. Remember any work that needs done will all be done pain free with injections and you can also get pills to help calm your nerves from the doctor.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (13 July 2018):

Honeypie agony auntJust do it.

Make sure you tell your dentist that you have neglected your dental care out of fear but that you want to improve. If your dentist spends time scolding you. Don't use that dentist again.

The dentist will have seen worse. And if your dentist is ANY good she will help you feel comfortable and help YOU get over the worst of your fears.

Having BAD teeth can lead to other health issues so it's actually pretty important to keep them chompers clean and get a YEARLY check up and cleaning. I once skipped 5 years and I will NOT do that again. I am not a fan of dentists or doctors but sometimes you just HAVE to suck that up and go anyways.

You can do this. Do it for you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (13 July 2018):

Unless you have the most beautiful set of pearlies most people are embarrassed by their teeth and they shouldnt be.

A lot about your adult teeth is set down when you are in the womb and you had no say about whether or not your teeth were going to be strong or weak.

Added to that life has ways of making things difficult.

So you can loose teeth to accident and trauma.

If you have overcrowding or impacted wisdom teeth youve got another set of problems, not to mention marketed devices that go in and out of fashion according to the amount of damage done to your teeth.

Mouthwash is a good step to improving your dental hygiene and of course a decent dentist.

You are not alone in not looking forward to going to the dentist but when you see a competent dentist it gets easier.

If you can train your mind to switch off through meditation it is all to the better.

But tell your dentist you suffer anxiety at the mere thought of dental treatment and they will book you a series of shorter sessions so that you find it easier to cope.

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A female reader, suzzzque269 United States +, writes (13 July 2018):

suzzzque269 agony auntim happy you finally feel confident enough to tackle this issue. one thing that might ease your anxiety is the fact that im almost positive you arent the worse case these dentists have seen. You didnt mention anything about pain or bleeding so you probably arent as bad as you think. good luck with the process.

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