A Redditor with the name huphelmeyer says, “I am not a dentist, but I am a dental hygiene student. Just a little background — I work in a low-income clinic. Most people that come in have little to no oral health care knowledge and have never been to the dentist, so they have something called Periodontal disease (Perio) and cavities. The worse period gets, the worse your breath gets. A new patient came in, and usually, I am immune to the smelly breath (my mask will cover most of it, but sometimes I do smell something), but this patient opened their mouth, and I just about threw up in my mouth.
It was absolutely disgusting. I had the patient rinse with Listerine, and the smell got 10x worse. I began the cleaning, and even with all the water and rinsing, I felt the smell was just getting worse (usually, it gets better). So I excused myself again and sat in the back for a minute, and I just did not know what to do. I can’t just excuse the patient for bad breath, but I did not want to finish the cleaning. Not a huge story, but it definitely left me dumbfounded. TL;DR: Pt had monster bad breath, and after all the remedies I could think of, nothing worked, and I just about vomited.”
jb34304 had a lot to say about the topic: “I am not a dentist, but my family dentist and her assistant had to clean a dead nerve in the top middle-left tooth of my mouth. I had a seizure and knocked about half of it off and could still feel the tooth, so I wanted to keep it instead of getting another implant. I lost my top-right middle and the one next to it in the fall (the cost for each tooth is around $3K with other hardware factored in).
The pressure built so fast in the three days I waited for the dentist. I said that I had a toothache when I called them and just wanted it to be checked out. I really didn’t know it was that bad. You could tell by their looks that it wasn’t pleasant work, and I felt really bad about it because they had to do it on two separate occasions because of insurance red tape. Even though I took antibiotics and ate very little solid food, there was tons of stuff up there when they went to drain it again. Thankfully they “accidentally” squirted some Lidocaine (?) on my tongue, so I didn’t taste uncaught drainage. Very nice and talkative hot dentist 🙂 It’s too bad I have poor teeth after my accident.”
Dealing with bad breath, tartar, and all sorts of gross stuff is normal for a dentist. Many people brush their teeth twice a day but lie about flossing their teeth. Flossing is as important as brushing your teeth, but people fail to understand this. A dental assistant, Tumbleweed425, shares his experience on Reddit: “I work as a dental assistant at an orthodontic office. So we deal with gross teenagers who don’t care about hygiene, including their oral health. and things get a lot nastier because they have braces, so stuff builds up pretty quickly.
We see a lot of patients with plaque caked on their teeth. The worst I ever saw was moldy. At least that’s what we assumed it was. It was black, all over his braces. Seriously, it was so gross. Also saw a little girl who ended up with an infection throughout her whole mouth due to lack of brushing. She had sores all over her mouth and plaque everywhere. It was even built up on the roof of her mouth.” Parents have to make sure their child take up good oral hygiene. If not, they will only suffer from the consequence of bad teeth and sore gums from the start. Instead of having to correct poor oral health, have them practice good cleaning habits earlier in life.
Not all of these stories deal with bad hygiene, necessarily. For example, some people visit cosmetic doctors for personal reasons. Redditor Catty_Mayonnaise describes an experience with a strange patient: “General/Cosmetic dentist here. I once had a patient come in complaining about a lost veneer. It turns out what she had done was buy a box of plastic stick-on French manicure nails and superglue the tips to her teeth.
She had been re-sticking them for years, but she finally got tired of it and wanted me to use some of my ‘dental glue’ to get them to stay on more permanently. When I refused and instead tried to get her to let me clean off the layers and layers of crusty glue and food and plaque, she was mad and stormed out, screaming about how I was only in this for the money and how dare I did not help out a poor mother. The thing is, from a distance, they didn’t actually look all that bad. Up close, a rotting disaster, but from afar, I was actually pretty impressed with her ingenuity.”
A lot of people go face bad dental hygiene due to many reasons such as not flossing or simply consuming too much sugar. Smoking also has a bad impact on your dental health. A Redditor crkhtlr shares a gross experience that his brother’s dentist shared with him: “Not a dentist – but my brother’s dentist said this was the weirdest thing ever. My brother had been having serious jaw pain for weeks, and he said his back teeth hurt like heck.
He thought he was getting in his wisdom teeth because he had never noticed this particular tooth before, and the gums around it were really inflamed. It made sense to him – the tooth was just breaking through the skin. Then it got infected. His gums swelled up, and he said his mouth always tasted like chicken soup. So he goes to the dentist (like a month or more after the pain started) and the dentist is shocked. Because it’s not a wisdom tooth, it’s a chunk of chicken bone. My brother has no idea how this could’ve happened. So, my brother thinks he’s getting his wisdom teeth. It turns out it’s not a tooth but a rogue chicken bone.”
Oral health and good quality of life are interrelated, but many people fail to understand this fact. However, brushing twice a day also seems like a huge task for many people. A Redditor RadicalOptimist shares his colleague’s experience working at a dental clinic for four years. “Dentist was working at a clinic, and an elderly man was brought in to get his denture repaired. (For those who don’t know, dentures are to be taken out and cleaned EVERY DAY.)
This poor guy, who was under nurse care in a home, hadn’t had this thing removed in 10 months. The dentist removed his denture, and the most intense smell of rotten food and infected gums was released. Food had been impacted under his denture for so long, it had deformed his gums, and his denture didn’t fit anymore. The dentist took the liberty to go to the home and counsel every single nurse on how to care for their patient’s dentures.”
Out of all the professions, dentistry can be one of the grossest at times. Rotten food and stinky smells are something that dentists commonly have to go through. Have you ever imagined finding maggots in someone’s mouth? Pretty disgusting, right? The same Redditor, RadicalOptimist, continued with another story, saying. “When I was in training to do cleanings, we had an instructor that told us she had a patient that had a calculus bridge behind her front teeth on the roof of her mouth.
A calculus bridge is essentially plaque that has been there for so long, it hardens, and the only way to get it off is to get a cleaning by a professional. The bridge part of it means it stretches between multiple teeth, creating a ‘bridge.’ Anyway, she’s doing her work breaking apart this thing, and she removes a piece and notices MAGGOTS underneath this thing. She has to leave the room before she gets sick and has to come back to finish the cleaning. Pretty horrible.”
A Redditor with the name RedRox said: “Was working in hospital and a Maori woman came into the clinic. She was complaining of pain in her front tooth. She had had multi extractions in the past and also had a lot of carious lesions in her mouth. The front tooth in question looked nothing like a tooth. Asking her about it, she said that she’d had the tooth extracted some time ago but didn’t like the gap. One day she had been walking along the beach and found a dead seagull.
She basically took it home, cut the beak off and shaped it, and then superglued it into her mouth. It flapped around, of course, but she seemed happy with it. Although the gum around it had turned malignant, probably due to the superglue and also the continuous irritation of this beak TL DR – Woman super glue a birds beak onto her gum to look “better” PS: One other case I had in London had a guy come in and wanted me to cut all his lower teeth into spikes so he could appear to be like Darth Maul – I declined to treat him.”
Another anonymous Redditor shared his gross story: “To make this hit with full effect, I want you to understand what a bridge is. Bridges are used to replace a missing tooth. It is a fixed device, usually gold or porcelain. The bridge will completely cover two neighboring teeth and look like three or four teeth fused together. This fills the space and, when done right, can look fantastic. It was her lower right jaw. She was missing two teeth, and a 5 unit bridge had been made. What wasn’t normal was it looked like the bridge had not fit. The third tooth must have been a real issue as the bridge portion looked as though it missed it completely, way too long. No problem, it seems like home depot must have had a sale because a 3-inch long screw was placed through that into the bone.
So where does that leave the lady? Well, the bone soundly rejected the screw on the third support. Obviously, so there was a large infection surrounding the screw, and the bridge was movable (a really bad thing). The second support had abscessed due to the screw in it. And the first tooth was in bad shape because the entire bridge had turned into a lever, making it very loose. Essentially, we had to remove the whole thing, provide a surgical bone graft and cross our fingers there was no permanent damage.”
14. When You Try Not To Vomit In Your Patient’s Mouth
Charliesixx has quite the story to tell, saying, “A patient had a whole bunch of cysts that we could see on the x-ray. Sometimes, when you extract the infected teeth, the cysts come out with the tooth. After my fifth one, I was getting a little disgusted. I extracted the tooth, but the cyst was left behind. So I went in to get it out. I started scooping, felt the sac rupture, and creamy white pus started flowing out of the socket into the guy’s mouth. Partner gets the suction and starts getting rid of the infestation while I continue to scoop. After a minute of this, the pus stops flowing, and I think I’m done, but I haven’t hit the bottom yet. When you scoop out (curette) the socket, you are supposed to keep going up until you feel bone at the bottom.
Well, I was to the hilt of the instrument and still no bottom. Confused, I turn around, grab the x-ray, and put the instrument up in front to measure how much further I have to go. I turned to my partner. ‘I think we’re in the nasal cavity…’ Trying to hide the surprise on my face, I tell the patient I have to go talk to the professor who is overseeing us. The professor says that there is no way that we are in the nose and that it’s ‘anatomically impossible’ (it’s not). He comes in and checks it, says ‘you’re fine,’ and dismisses the patient. Three days later, we got a call from the patient. ‘Yeah, so every time I drink, stuff comes out my nose.’”
You think that last story was bad? The same Redditor Charliesixx shared another story about being a dentist. Apparently, it is quite the nasty job, so he has multiple stories to share. “General Dentist here. In dental school, a colleague and I were asked to help get 30 patients ready for the second-year denture program by doing full mouth extractions. Since they all needed dentures, you can imagine what the teeth of these people looked like. However, a few managed to stand out.
A patient came in saying he felt like it was time to get his teeth out since the ones remaining were mobile, and he had a “small hole” in one of the molars, and it was starting to hurt. I took a look at two cavities that had combined to take out pretty much the entire inside of the tooth. Somehow the shell was intact, and he was still using it to chew. Amazingly when we did the extraction, it came out in one piece.”
This unique tale may fall under the category of gross for you, depending on your idea of pleasure. This Reddit quote is a bit on the kinky side. Redditor DrRam121 describes a strange experience with a patient: “Well, let’s see. I had a guy come in with seven wisdom teeth one time. For this counting, that’s three more than usual. I have had people with genetic diseases my instructors and I have never heard of (Trichorhinophalangeal syndrome). I have tons of people that want to blame everyone but themselves and their poor diet and oral hygiene for the state of their teeth.
The best story came from one of my classmates, though. A guy came in who wanted to close his diastema (Michael Strahan style gap). Now, this guy was in his 50’s, and that’s an unusual request at that age because most people have gotten used to the look and even like it by that age. When my classmate asked him why, the guy said he had a new girlfriend who liked oral, and her clit kept getting stuck between his teeth.”
SamK2323 explains: “My case is a bit more standard. It is the usual case of a patient who comes in with a huge facial swelling, and you have to do something about it. The usual case is extracting the offending tooth; however, it isn’t always obvious (if the swelling extends across multiple teeth), or the patient cannot physically get numb. (Due to anesthetic not working as well in a heavily infected environment.) At this point, either antibiotics or an incise and drain are indicated.
As you can probably guess while reading this, we opted for incising and drain; the swelling was deemed so large that antibiotics wouldn’t tackle it, and it could cause danger to his airways. With the help of a senior dentist, we attained surface anesthesia with something called Ethyl chloride (think liquid nitrogen, could spray that freezes) and incised this swelling and sucked the pus out. No sutures and no anesthesia for two main reasons. 1) We don’t want the anesthetic spreading the infection through surrounding soft tissues, and 2) the capsule surrounding the infection is very friable, so likely just to break down.”
Sprinksies92 shares his experience, stating: “He went to dental school in a major metropolitan city in the south. Being in a big city, there were tons of homeless people around that the students practiced on. He got a woman one day who came in with what appeared to be an abscess. He begins working on her only to have a cockroach come running out of it, down her cheek, and onto the floor. She said she slept outside a lot and that it probably crawled in her mouth while she was sleeping.”
He added with another story where he said: “The other story happened fairly recently but isn’t directly related to oral hygiene. A woman came into his office with some sort of beehive hairdo. As he was working on her mouth, he kept seeing movement in her hair out of the corner of his eye. Once again, roaches. Luckily they didn’t spread about the room or office, but he had to fire her as a patient after that.”
Everyone has their own horror dental stories, but what dentists go through each day is next-level gross. A Redditor with the name Smaktat shares his uncle’s story saying: “My uncle is a dentist, and I like to talk to the people he works with a lot when I go in. I’ve asked them to tell me some stories about some of the nastiest situations they’ve been in, and he basically told me that he had one guy come in who’d never brushed his teeth his entire life. He had total disregard for his teeth.
By the time he got to the office, he had stated he had a large amount of pain in his mouth. When the doctor saw it, there was a plaque build-up on his gums thick enough to stick your thumb in. Needless to say, he lost about half his teeth in a single surgery, and the doctor I spoke to said he never smelled anything more horrid in his life. For the second surgery, he had ordered a special mask that properly blocked all the odor.”
A Redditor with the name ArachnesChallenge shared his story stating: “Former dental assistant. We had a patient who we only scheduled for right away in the morning, and he still had to chew tobacco on his drive to the office. He would even brush at the office but never well enough. Before we did anything, I would have to go through his mouth and suction out all that black crap. Decay, plaque, calculus, blood, saliva No issues. Large amounts of crap that you could clean yourself (or avoid putting in your mouth entirely) floating around in there, and I want to puke, and we will talk about how gross you are.”
To which another Redditor stupidperson810 replied, “I was a nurse in an operating theater. We’d get the really bad ones or people that needed heaps of work under anesthesia. Teeth that are crushed into a gross jelly substance when grabbed by extraction forceps. Of all the stuff you see working in an OR, this seemed to gross me out the most.”
7. When You Realize The Importance Of Oral Hygiene
Sweetwill62 shares his experience as a patient at the dentist. “Not a dentist, but I would imagine I wasn’t the best patient to have. When I was 26, currently 27, I had all of my teeth removed. None of them were salvageable besides 5 of my bottom teeth, and they were crooked and slightly overlapping. One of my incisors was nothing but a nub that would have needed to be cut out due to how little of it was left. There was a gap between my front two teeth that was very clearly there because my teeth were not being taken care of. I could only chew on the right side of my mouth as the left side hurt too much. I had chips in most of my teeth, and I don’t think he even checked for cavities.
Ever seen a professional doctor get almost scared to tell you something? I have three times! First was my dentist, who told me about my teeth. I went in, not expecting anything to stay in there. The second and third time was when I was about to be put under, and boy, that surgeon, and anesthesiologist looked real nervous, confirming with me that I wanted all of my teeth taken out. My mouth looked awful, my teeth were really yellow, not straight, and you could clearly see the plaque on them. I wish I would have taken care of them, but by the time I actually had any desire to take care of myself, my teeth were already too far gone to save.”
A Redditor with the name DrRam121 shares his story as a dental student saying: “I am a dental student and I’ll graduate in May, but I was a hygienist before I started dental school. I have seen a couple of things. I’ve had to tell people that I can’t clean a couple of their teeth for fear of pulling that tooth out with my scaler. I’ve also seen NUG or necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, which is a periodontal disease so bad that the gums start dying. The worst I’ve seen though is a woman whose face was swollen from her midline under her chin to her eye on her right side with trismus. We took a panorex on her, and I identified at least five possible culprits (badly decayed teeth) for the swelling. We sent her to the hospital for IV antibiotics.”
To which another Redditor, ScoliOsys, who is actually a patient, replied: “I’ve always had weird teeth. Adult teeth stained yellow bc I was always sick and had to have antibiotics a lot. When I did have braces, they had to use headgear brackets (I didn’t have to wear headgear) because, for some reason, my teeth wouldn’t hold the glue. I got really good at taking the rubber bands off because of this. I also have TMJ, which sucks, and a very small mouth. They use the kids’ bitewings on me.”
Another Reddit user, queenc92, who is not a dentist, shares a story saying: “I am not a dentist, but I am a dental hygiene student. I recently had a WTF moment. Just a little background. I work in a low-income clinic. Most people that come in have little to no oral health care knowledge and have never been to the dentist, so they have something called Periodontal disease (Perio) and cavities. The worse period gets, the worse your breath gets. So fast forward to the moment. A new patient came in, and usually, I am immune to the smelly breath (my mask will cover most of it, but sometimes I do smell something), but this patient opened their mouth, and I just about threw up in my mouth.
It was absolutely disgusting. I had to excuse myself. Luckily, I have some essential oil that I put in my mask for that exact reason, so I put some on, and then I had the patient rinse with Listerine, and the smell got 10x worse. I began the cleaning, and even with all the water and rinsing, I felt the smell was just getting worse (usually, it gets better). So I excused myself again and sat in the back for a minute, and I just did not know what to do. I can’t just excuse the patient for bad breath, but I did not want to finish the cleaning. Not a huge story, but it definitely left me dumbfounded. TL;DR: Pt had monster bad breath, and after all the remedies I could think of, nothing worked, and I just about vomited.”
4. Things Went From Bad To Worse At This Dental Office
A Redditor, drdrillaz, shares his horrible encounter stating: “Two things almost made me puke. The first was when I volunteered at a homeless shelter. The guy’s teeth were green. And I stuck an instrument straight through his front teeth. I almost vomited on him. The second was a lady who previously had a root canal. The temporary filling had fallen out, leaving a hole in her tooth. She said it had been out for a year. I picked decomposing chicken out of this hole. The stench made me dry heave right in front of her. It was the most disgusting thing imaginable. I will never forget those two situations.”
Then, osodeoz adds: “I had the periodontics clinic awhile ago, and you could not believe the smell and the things these people had in their mouths, basically have you ever seen the green calcifications that starts building up in the sprinkler of old showers? Imagine a tooth COVERED completely by that crap. Also, I saw a temporary tooth during my internship that started coming out sideways like the permanent tooth was pushing in the wrong way so you would see the root and the crown of the tooth in a horizontal way but still attached to the gums and bone.”
If you aren’t grossed out to the max, you have made it this far. A RedditorLyingFor-Karma describes his weird encounter with a patient, saying: “One day a regular patient of ours came in, all seemed normal, pleasantries were exchanged, but later on in the day I was going to a life-altering amount of poor hygiene.
As soon as they sat in the chair and uttered an ahh at my request, I saw that since their last visit, most of their teeth had been nearly rotten all the way through. I’m not even kidding. I swear one of the back molars was hollow. Long story short, they now need dentures.”
An anonymous Reddit user who is a patient shared his story, saying: “Growing up, I didn’t take care of my teeth properly, and when I got older, I didn’t have insurance or the money to go to the dentist. Now I’m 28, and I have at least three teeth that probably should be pulled and two others that I’m pretty sure that bad cavities. At this point, I know I need to go to the dentist because it will only get worse, but I am so afraid of them judging me.
To add to matters, I now live in another country–I am American and now live in the Netherlands. I’m learning Dutch, but almost all of my ‘outside’ interactions are high stress for me as it is. I’m not afraid of pain from the dentist; it’s more the shame I feel for letting it get this bad. I know that if I had just flossed/brushed my teeth more, it wouldn’t be this bad.”
1. When Someone Really Needs a Hygiene Lesson: Chewing Tobacco Is Gross And Unhealthy
Redditor Tinyfishy shares his view on this topic, saying: “Food is up there for gross. Hard calculus is kinda ‘fun’ in a ‘can’t wait to clean that up way’ and not as gag-worthy somehow. Weeks-old gunk under dentures is awful. Soft plaque spreads on like cake icing, and where the upper layers are bright colors is a bit gross but also fun to clean away. Bits of chewing tobacco and pre-cancerous lesions around it are chilling. So why do you ask? If it is for a friend with a ‘gross’ mouth, we have seen it all pretty much before and just wanna help.
In turn, another Redditor, goldeeen, added: “The only thing that’s made me physically gag was a patient with dentures who didn’t know she was supposed to take them out and brush them. The amount of calculus that was built upon the bottom was profound” Another Redditor tdoggins replied to this saying: smoker’s teeth can be really bad, and infections won’t be pretty as you might expect. Tons of people would find watching procedures like extractions quite gross, though I’ve heard that in dentistry, the smells are generally much worse than the things you’ll see.”