Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dentophobia, my fear of the dentist

Now no-one likes getting treatment done at the dentist.  Why would they? However some have more than just a feeling fear.

Me, I have struggled with visiting the dentist since a young age.  I can't remember a specific visit or event triggering this, in fact I just remember all my appointments being bad. 

Like many families it was a 'family outing', only not the kind where you fight to go first!  I would always wait until my mum & brother had been seen, I think I thought they might forget me or wouldn't have enough time to fit us all in.  No such luck.  In fact my time in the chair was always longer than the others.  That much I do remember.

I always needed something done.  Not once did I climb up into that chair, lean back, open my mouth, squint my eyes from the light & hear
Clare, your teeth look fine, see you again in 6 months
This was what I longed for as I stood in the corner waiting my turn.  The smell, the chair, the lights, the instruments, everything was over powering.  Everything seemed so big & made me feel so small.

I had a few dentists as well, which meant explaining my fear over again.  The look of yes, yes get on the chair.  I know to many, especially a dentist, it may seem irrational.  A couple of butterflies, a little nervous perhaps, but my fear is more than that.

I remember an occasion where I got on the chair & after the mirror going in my mouth, the scraping tool (not the technical term) then out the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of my other big fear a huge syringe!!  Within seconds I had jumped across the room, flying from the chair, screeching out.  

Everyone looked at me like I was in the wrong.  But no one said anything about an injection, I wasn't prepared for this pain & I couldn't just sit there.  This was certainly a low point in my dental experience.  Because what was said next has stuck with me 
"Don't be so stupid, it's only a syringe, doesn't even have a needle, get back in the chair & stop being a big baby"
Nowadays a professional wouldn't say that, they wouldn't be allowed, but this didn't just come from the dentist.  

The nurse piped in with "your younger brother was braver than you", another said "the quicker you sit still, the quicker you will be out of here", then my mother. What words of encouragement & support do you think came from her direction, some one who is not keen on the dentist herself
Stop attention seeking, you wimp
Attention! I didn't want attention, I wanted to disappear.  Did I get back on the chair, yes.  Did it scar me for life, yes I think so!

When I turned 16, I was happy that I was no longer made to go to the dentist.

So I didn't go & I didn't look after my teeth.  I ignored my mouth.  I treated pain myself with pain killers.  Lots of them, most days.  I put up with the embarrassment of bad breath.  I did some horrible things to avoid visiting that chair again, avoiding the attention.  I will spare you the gruesome details. 

After many years of pain, last week, I felt vey unwell, had the kind of pain you just can't ignore & since my mental health wasn't great I was running on no sleep.  I had to do something about it.  I was going to have to face my fear & go to the dentist.

To be continued, but do you have a fear of the dentist? Have you ever gone to strange length to avoid that dental room?

Love Mrs Brown xx

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