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How can I get over my dental phobia and have my teeth restored?

Hello, I have suffered a long time with anxiety/depression/social phobia following a head injury back in 1990 ( RTA ).
I have a dentist phobia following a particularly nasty experience with not having been numbed but the dentist carried on drilling regardless saying I was imagining it etc. Fast forward 10-15 years, and I realize a lot of my social phobia is down to having awful teeth. I do not have an NHS dentist as they’re quite a rarity where I live, the last one taking patients on was 70 miles away until recently, and the one currently taking NHS patients has quite a lot of poor reviews from people which is putting me of going to see them for anything at all.
December last year I was in a car accident ( passenger ) and I lost a front incisor, plus broke a front incisor crown. I made a temp acrylic crown for my broken tooth and fixed it in with glass ionomer purchased from ebay. I repaired as best I could the broken crown with the same material. I did this as the thought of visiting an emergency dentist would mean extractions and no front teeth, with no dentist for follow up treatment, which in my circumstances would leave me suicidal. The thought of extractions horrify me but not as much as the thought of having a big fat denture gagging me and covering my upper palate. I have little to no self confidence as it is, but the thought of a denture is ten times worse than my current situation. There’s absolutely no way I can afford private treatment as I’m not working. Is there any place such as a dental school etc I could get implants and crowns done at NHS prices if I volunteer myself as a live ‘dummy’ ‘test bed’ for the students to work on ?
A healthy nice smile would give me the confidence to possibly start interacting with society again ( I’ve pretty much shut myself away for 22 years, avoiding social interaction and I have remained single ) It seems I’m written off, and any time I think of turning myself around I’m met with a wall. This time, more than any fear of a dentist, it’s the cost, and the limits. It’s a vicious circle. I want to get my confidence back and become a happy confident useful productive member of society again, yet I can’t as the very fear and cost of dental treatment negates the possibility of turning myself around.

Im so sorry you find yourself in this situation.
You have had so many difficulties that knowing where to start is difficult .
I’m curious where you got a temporary crown from , and how you know about glass ionomer cement as its highly technical .
Are you having any therapy for your social phobia , as although your teeth may be a contributing factor , there may well be other things going on that need professional help .
Im afraid that its almost impossible to get implants on the NHS in any facilities , even for those who can pay . You could explore having treatment from a local dental school to see what is on offer from there , that is free .
You could also ring your local Primary Care Trust with a view to being seen by the Community Dental Service as a special needs patient in view of your dental phobia , plus other psychological issues such as the anxiety , and also difficulties following your head injury . That would be free and would be a start .
Wouldn’t having a denture be better than having no teeth or badly broken down teeth ? Modern dentures don’t need to be thick and nasty .
I hope you can find some help .

Answer provided by: Dr Jennifer Pinder Retired
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