Hi there. So i had a tooth problem a few weeks ago, well, more of a mouth problem. I started getting bad toothache when i was laying down in bed at night (only when laying down) i thought it was sensitive teeth, so i was using sensitive toothpaste like a mad man. Then it got so bad i couldn't sleep at night, because i had to sleep sitting straight up.
My Dentist was all booked up until 5 days later, i tried to wait but that same night i couldn't take it anymore, i was in pain 24/7 and the only thing that would relieve me was cold water. I ended up going to see him as an emergency (he told me to come in in the morning before he saw his first patient).
At this time i would like to point out, i am 24 now. I already had 13 fillings and 1 extraction because of an abscess. I have also had gum disease twice now. The last time i went there was 5 years prior. The truth is i was absolutely terrified of going, i actually have borderline Agoraphobia and still suffer from it to this day. I was in so much pain i didn't even care if i had to go to the other side of the world to sort it. I was on a full course of anti-biotics which got rid of the pain.
I am ashamed to say, when i was a teenager i had no interest in brushing my teeth, which is where i got all my cavities from in the first place, and which gave me 2 abscesses and gum disease.
He also told me if i didn't keep my teeth in good condition i will lose them by the time i'm 40. He gave my top teeth an amazing clean and refilled one of my fillings, i went back a couple of days later and did the exact same thing on my lower teeth, filling included.
I will try and answer your questions, from my point of view as i understand how scary it can be.
1) It can be so worrying, but it could be that the majority is, age is on your side. There is such a thing as brushing too much, no more than twice a day for flossing, mouthwash and brushing. Even brushing just after you've eaten can cause more harm than good. Imagine what acid does to the enamel of your teeth, it softens it, a lot of food contains acidity. If you brush straight after you're going to wear the enamel down even faster. Brushing too hard can also be hell for your gums and even cause them to recede, gum problems can cause a hell of a lot of trouble with your teeth. I know you're probably feeling like you're obsessing and you probably are, and maybe it's giving you some form of anxiety, if so i was in exactly the same boat and i really do understand.
3) Surprisingly my teeth don't actually look that bad, i feel like they should look bad. However, when i first had gum disease my gums receded and i have a visible space only at the top of my two front teeth and a small space in between all of my front teeth at the top. I was so self aware about smiling. I learnt to get over it after i realized that the majority of people didn't really care. If they did, **** 'em, they're not the type of people you want to be around anyway!
Everyone has problems, some of them just can't be helped. A man or a woman that cant lose weight because of hypothyroidism, or a physical deformity they have had from birth or something like Downs Syndrome etc. If people give you a hard time over something you were born with then they are pretty shallow people. I also noticed, the more you obsess the more people notice you are trying to hide something!
I hope i have given at least a tiny bit of familiarity or that you are not alone. Maybe even give you the smallest bit of comfort. I hope so.
Try and be optimistic and stop worrying yourself sick!