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How can I get over the phobia caused by bad experiences?

Good afternoon,

Following a number of bad encounters with dentists, starting when I was around 8, I have ended up in the situation where I cannot walk into a dentists without going into a complete panic attack. After not visiting a dentist for in excess of 20 years, my teeth are now in an extremely poor state and I am extremely embarrased at the state of what is left of them. I am presuming that I have bad gum disease and I have lost several teeth already. It is very difficult for me to come to terms with all of this but each time I think of going to the dentist, I start to think a. I am not going to get through the door, and b. the dentist is in some way going to belittle me about the state of my teeth at which point I will probably just get up and never go back again .. ending up eating soft food for the rest of my life. As a grown man of 47, it seems really stupid … but I know that I need to see a dentist but am not sure how I would even go about it or face up to the challenge of walking in and being berated by them!!! Plus I am presuming that I would have to have all my teeth removed .. and false ones fitted .. which would cost more probably than I could afford … sorry for rambling .. but even the thought of being on a dental site is making me nervous …

Any help or advice you can offer would be most appreciated

Kind Regards

Youve made a good start by asking a question here .
What you have said raises a few different issues .
how bad is your anxiety when you get to the dentist ,is it a full blown panic attack? If it is then I suggest you go to Anxiety uk and look at some resources to help to deal with that .
Dentistry has changed a lot since you were 27.
Until you can get to a dentist you are imagining what might happen
Some assumptions are that the dentist will belittle you ,you wont be able to get through the door , this probably wont happen .
You imagine you will have to have complete dentures , that may well not be true .
You imagine you wont be able to afford them , but you dont know that till you find out .
make a plan which you write down
Find a dentist who is happy to take on nervous patients
Perhaps get someone to go with you .
Dont be ashamed your situation is more common than you think , people just dont talk about it .
Ask about your options and consider what to have done .
Ask about how to pay.
Finding out the true condition of your teeth at least gives you a starting place , and a consultation doesnt committ you to any further steps unless you want to .
Good luck ,facing your fears could lead to a better quality of life

Answer provided by: Dr Jennifer Pinder Retired
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