Haven't been to a dentist in forever - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Haven't been to a dentist in forever

This is extremely embarrassing for me to admit, but I have never been to the dentist in my adult life. I can't even remember how old I was the last time I went, but it's been at least fifteen years (I'm 30 now).

I bring this up now because 1.) I got an ad in the mail from a local dental practice offering a discounted exam to new patients, and 2.) because I noticed my gums bleeding a bit when I was brushing my teeth last night. So, for the first time in a long time, I'm seriously thinking that maybe I should finally go see a dentist.

The idea makes me anxious. It will be extremely embarrassing to admit to the dentist that I haven't had a check-up in 15+ years. It will also be embarrassing to admit that my dental hygiene is not very good. I'm very lazy about it. I rarely brush more than once a day, and I almost never floss. And when I get depressed, my dental hygiene is one of the first things to go, and it's not uncommon for me to go a day or two without brushing at all.

And because of all that, I'm scared to find out that I might have some really awful problem or disease or something. That just makes me want to avoid this even more, especially if I might not be able to afford the necessary treatments/procedures anyway. I'm afraid that finding out something awful will just make me feel even worse about myself, make me even more depressed, make me feel even more like an incompetent failure who sucks at life. If the news is going to be bad, part of me (a big part) would rather just not know.

Anyway, I guess that's my situation. I don't think I'm really asking for advice or opinions here, since I wouldn't expect anyone to suggest that I don't see a dentist. It's obvious that making an appointment is what I have to do. It's long overdue, to say the least. I just know that I'm going to have a very difficult time making myself do it. The inclination to just keep putting it off is strong, and has obviously been strong my entire adult life. I know that ultimately I will feel better for having done it, but that doesn't make me feel any more motivated to do it. It's like that with everything for me: the promise of relief in the future never wins out over my fear of unpleasantness in the present. I'm terribly avoidant.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 01:28 PM
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The dentist has heard it all before - people don't want to go to the dentist. I am a dental assistant and we see it alot. Just go before it's too late and you develop serious issues with your teeth and gums!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 01:35 PM
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It's been around six years since I've been to one. You probably don't have anything severe yet if your gums are just now starting to bleed, but it also means that they aren't in perfect health.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by shyvr6 View Post
It's been around six years since I've been to one. You probably don't have anything severe yet if your gums are just now starting to bleed, but it also means that they aren't in perfect health.
Not neccessarily. Sometimes if your gums bleed a bit when you brush your teeth it just means you're brushing too hard.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 03:19 PM
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Yes, that is true as well. I guess it depends on anon's answer to see which one is corrcet.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 03:23 PM
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Consider that your dentist has probably seen people that have chewed tobacco for a decade and never been to the dentist and have to get their jaw removed. You're spic and span compared to them.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 03:36 PM
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I'm the same... I haven't been to the dentist since my mother doesn't force me to go anymore It's starting to become a problem.

"Let us go. Let us leave this festering hellhole. Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable.
Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."

— Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 04:16 PM
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I agree with what everyone else has said - your dentist has seen it all.

In the meantime, you might want to be more proactive about improving your dental health. If your gums are bleeding (indicative of gingivitis), you should invest in a soft bristled toothbrush. Start out brushing at least 1x per day (before bedtime would be best) then, over the next 2 weeks, as your gums toughen up, move up to 2x day. To kill the bacteria, rinse your mouth out with a 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water solution. A bottle of hydrogen peroxide will run you under a dollar and can be found in any pharmacy or supermarket. Brushing (though unpleasant) with baking soda is also good for removing plaque and tartar. Taking 500mg of vitamin C daily will help. And finally, for goodness sake, floss!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 01:49 PM
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I've also neglected teeth care myself for quite a while. I only brush once a day, occasionally twice. I also rarely floss, maybe once every three weeks. Part of this neglect probably stems from the SA, I hardly ever socialize so what does teeth care matter? Anyway I've been thinking of trying some teeth whitening products to.. I guess make myself a little more appealing...? They've yellowed quite a bit.

Does anyone have any good suggestions from experience for effective teeth whitening products that are actually good for your teeth? I've heard a lot of them are actually harmful. Can anyone vouch for any specific tooth paste or product?
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 01:55 PM
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I put it off a few years too and recently got it done. I dreaded all the small talk and of course it happened. "where are you working?" "Are you married?" etc. I just said played the game and got through it. Luckily my teeth were ok...I was having pain and dreading needing a root canal.

This is one of those things we really need to do so muster up all the "public face" you can and push through it.

Busdude....I don't know much about whitening because I don't want to risk an problems but I do use a Sonicare toothbrush and it made a huge difference. And teeth care matters a LOT it's not just a cosmetic thing. So don't blow it off because you aren't "seen".
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 12:50 AM
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Yeah you better go. If there are any problems, they are only going to get worse if you don't go. I know it's scary having to deal with the small talk though.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 01:09 PM
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I'm the same with not caring about my dental hygiene when I'm depressed. I just plop into bed and fall asleep without bothering to brush my teeth. I think that's the main reason for most of my cavities. I currently have a temporary filling that I've had for months and I'm pretty sure I need a root canal on it. I've been avoiding it though, mostly because of lack of money and no insurance. I'm also worried about finding more problems. I feel like they'll discover more cavities than before, even though waiting will only make the cavities deeper which means more expensive root canals. Sigh. I just hope to die early so I won't have to deal with my tooth problems and everything else I don't want to deal with.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 04:32 PM
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You should go just in case (might be hard but try force your self if forcing is still too hard then idk feels impossible when something feels too hard to force)
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