My stepfather's biological son, Ryan, age 29 and a single father, had a toothache that he was too scared to address. He had a fear of needles and refused to go to the dentist, even when his tooth was noticeably infected and his relatives begged him to deal with it. He came home from work one day with a swollen jaw, said he couldn't hear out of his ear, and went to the bathroom. He didn't come out. The infection had reached his brain, and he was diagnosed with a massive stroke. A week later, he was removed from life support, and his 5 year old son was orphaned.
I am telling you this to bring awareness that these things really happen, and they happen more often than you think. I don't like going to the dentist either, or any other physician for that matter, but listen: you have to take care of the damn holes in your head. They can kill you, and don't think for a second that it can't happen to you, because my 29 year old stepbrother certainly didn't think he would die a horrible death and leave his child parentless. Ryan's death was a front page headline, and dentists in the area made a plea to the public to let them help. There are ways to deal with this kind of situation, including sedation with prescription drugs, which could have allowed Ryan to get the care he needed. If he had been willing to talk to a dentist about his fear, he'd still be here. Bottom line.
It has been a little while since I've made this public service announcement, but I assure you I had not forgotten. Seeing him unresponsive, connected to tubes, with a hose coming out of his brain and a horrifying intracranial pressure of 84 is something I will never be able to erase from my memory.
If you have an infection, please take it seriously. I know the dentist is expensive, but many of them accept monthly payments, especially for potentially harmful scenarios like this. Beg, borrow, whatever you have to do to get the money. Cry on the dentist's doorstep. The worst they'll say is no, and there are others out there who will say yes. Communicate, or find someone who will speak on your behalf. Just go, please.
Thanks for reading.