A Fear Of The Dentist

I think most of us have a fear of the dentist. When I was a kid, I remember not really being a fan even though my dentist was a lovely and hilarious indian chap and was always very kind, patient and reassuring. The invasion of personal space and instruments being so close to your face, poking around inside your grill whilst you lay there helpless and vulnerable is a very scary position to find yourself in.

Not gonna lie, I've had my fair share of scary dentist experiences. The first was when I was very young, around 7-8 and I had to have 2 teeth extracted to make room in my mouth for braces. This was a downright nightmare. I remember not feeling much, but the shaking around of my head still haunts me. Then I had around 3-4 years of dentist and orthodontist appointments torturing my life and whilst my orthodontist appointments themselves were usually a breeze and sometimes fun (if the bubblegum flavoured teeth moulds were involved!), the altering of my teeth was agony. I remember not being able to eat when they were tightened, the wires cutting into my gums, the yanking when it came to removing my braces at the final stage and the smell of the place. I have lovely straight teeth now, but getting here was hard work.

Then when I was in my early teens, after all that with the braces, I was trying to hole punch some homework with my stepmum's huge hole puncher which had a safety clip on it. Long story short, the safety clip snapped off and the hole punch sort of sprung up and hit me in the face, chipping away half of one of my main front teeth. That was agony too. Exposed nerves, half a tooth missing. I felt like Quasimodo.

It wasn't until a couple of years later that I went to the dentist to have the front of my tooth replaced with an artificial piece so believe it or not, half of my right front tooth is fake. But to do this, the dentist had to file down a bit of my real tooth to make a nice clean edge and he tried to inject me in the mouth without telling me what he was doing. I have a phobia of needles, another common one I think, but needles make me physically sick, my knees go to jelly and I panic, big time. But here I am willingly going to get tattoos every year. Bizarre isn't it. Anyway he came at me and we ended up falling out, he told me off for pushing him away whilst he had a needle in his hand and we agreed in the end I would endure the pain rather than have a needle in my face. Truth be told, I don't remember it hurting, just a tad uncomfortable.

After this ordeal, I didn't return to the dentist for years. Around about 8 years I want to say. It wasn't until I was with James and we both realised we weren't with a dentist, that we ought to go and get check ups, just in case of an emergency then we'd know we'd be registered with a dentist should we ever need one. We returned every 6 months for check ups and on my check up last December, the dentist told me my teeth were in that good nick that I could come back in 9 months and not 6.

I'd been feeling some sensitivity in one of my lower molars recently and upon inspection there was a tiny hole. Luckily my appointment was a couple of weeks away so I left getting a closer appointment as it wasn't painful and it wasn't sensitive all the time...only when I focussed in on it. Convinced I'd need a filling, I started to get myself in a right state at the thought of being drilled and injected because I've been very lucky with my oral hygiene and have never needed anything doing. But I went to my appointment and it feels like the more I go the more nervous I get, convincing myself something is wrong. My dentist spent a couple of minutes examining me in all of my wide open (ha!) glory and propped me back up again, praising me for having such amazing oral hygiene. She told me I was doing really well with looking after my teeth and the sensitivity was absolutely normal, no cause for concern. She even gave me some toothpaste samples...I'd have preferred a sticker though!

I guess what I've come to learn though is I'd much rather keep up with my appointments because they're beneficial for two huge reasons:

1. If you need anything doing, a routine check will pick up on these things before they get nasty, painful and scarier.
2. If you have a dental emergency, you've got a dentist!

So if you're terrified of going (and believe me I can relate to you 110%, I'd rather go for a smear) push yourself as hard as you can into getting to your appointment or even booking one and get your pearly whites looked at. It only takes a couple of minutes and if you're lucky the dentist might give them a quick polish too!

Thanks for reading,

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