Dentist is Scary. How to get over it?
February 21, 2010 3:08 PM Subscribe
How can I drag myself back to the dentist when I'm scared of him?
posted by weasel to health & fitness (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A bit of background: I'm 30, male, in Canada. I'm addicted to sugar and I believe every one of my molars had a filling by the time I was in my early 20s. I didn't take care of my teeth when I was a kid, and I'm paying the price now.
I've got a phobia about body-manipulation. I find massages uncomfortable, needles make me go pale in the face, and I can't visualize accupuncture without getting a little queasy.
The Dentist is about the worst experience I can have. Oh, let me count the ways!
- The dentist/assistants usually have bad breath
- The whine of a drill makes me wince
- The sound and vibration of a drill touching my teeth... well, let's say I'm getting clammy and lightheaded typing this sentence
- They use needles, which are bad enough on their own...
- ... And they don't even kill the pain my teeth feel. Which just results in more needles, or them giving up and drilling anyway.
- They leave me in the chair for ages, all alone without even a ceiling painting to look at
- They chide me relentlessly for my childhood's poor-care.
And, of course, there's just the general feeling of dread and paranoia (Dentists get paid for doing tooth-work, not for preventing future tooth-work).
Last time I went, I had an old filling replaced and it was a very traumatic experience. At the end of it, the dentist non-chalantly mentioned "you might have to come back in next week and get a root canal. I'm not sure if that filling will hold."
The logical part of my brain says "root canals aren't so bad," but to a scared denti-phobist like me, that was about the worst thing you could say. If any mass-media production (cartoons, movies) wanted to conjur up feelings of pain and anxiety, root canals are usually the dental method of choice, and I consumed that media heartily. I haven't been to the dentist since, and that was 4 years ago. The tooth had a bit of an odd feeling to it for about 8 months but it faded and everything feels normal now.
As I get older, I take care of my teeth better and better; but that experience really urged me to kick it up a few more notches. I just got a new medical plan that will make my dentist visits free, but I can't bring myself to visit. It's simply too scary. I'm afraid of what they might do and I know the experience will be incredibly unpleasant.
Current state: My teeth are fine and feel perfectly healthy. I have no urge to visit the dentist until I feel pain, but I know leaving your car until the oil light comes on is a very bad idea.
For the sake of my remaining healthy teeth, how can I motivate myself to get back in the chair?