Sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, my palms are sweating and I’m trying to convince myself everything with fine. Why am I so scared of the dentist? I’m thinking of a girlfriend who has to have surgery in a few days after being diagnosed with breast cancer. ‘
‘Natalie the dentist is nothing’.
I cannot control the deep-seated fear and external sweating.
My fear of the dentist began as a young girl and that fear has never left me. Growing up if you needed a filling – it hurt and the instruments used generated noises which seemed more suited to a construction site than a dentist. These memories will stay with me forever.
While in the dentist chair today, mouth completely numb from 3 local anaesthetics, I began to concentrate on this blog. Yes I was scared. Yes I was nervous. But when I looked back at my kids going to the dentist, they were holding my hand and supporting me. Children feed off those close to them and often imitate the same emotions and fears. As the extra long pointy drill moved within my mouth, water trickling down the back of my numb throat trying to choke me and the dental nurse ever so gently suctioning up the water I couldn’t swallow, I was determined never to show my children this fear. Dentistry has come along way over the past 30 years and the pain I experienced today would have barely required a band-aid. Uncomfortable – YES, painful – NO. I left the dentist with a swollen face, dribbling out of the corner of my mouth completely unaware of how I must have looked.
So to stop transferring your fear of the dentist to children, here are a few little ideas:
- Remember, dentists no longer hurt like they use to as when any major procedure is required, they use a local anaesthetic.
- Take baby steps – make the appointment and have a simple check up. NO dental work. If you need to return for a procedure, do it in small stages so you are not in the chair for longer than half an hour.
- Concentrate on something else while in the chair – writing an article, creating a master chef style meal, going bungy jumping (come on – if you’re scared of the dentist surely you’re petrified of leaping off a bridge with the only thing to save your life is a little rope).
- Choose a dentist you are comfortable with and always get a second opinion if you are not happy with any work they want to do.
- Reward yourself with a glass of wine after being so brave at the dentist.
I am a good Mum and I realise going to the dentist ONCE a year isn’t really that bad after all. My kids look up to me – ‘Monkey See Monkey Do’. In saying that, if I didn’t have children at my age, I probably wouldn’t go… I’m no hero.
I’ve been to the dentist on several occasions and only once have I ever been scared. This fear however can be easily explained as it was built up of my Dads teasing and telling me false stories. If it weren’t for this I would have been absolutely fine like I have been every other time.
A few months ago I went to the dentist to get some fillings, something that required a couple of needles and I faced it with a cool, calm and collected attitude. Mum looked more worried than I felt. It took a while to convince her I was going to be alright and that I didn’t need her in the room with me. She could wait for me in the waiting room. I went through the small procedure easily and didn’t stress one bit, I can only hope Mum didn’t.
The idea of going to the dentist doesn’t give me even one ounce of fear because I didn’t see any scary to fear. Despite what Mum may think, I can only give one piece of advice to parents who want to ease their child’s experience with the dentist.
Do NOT put your experiences on your child, and especially your fear. Let them decide on their own whether or not the dentist is something they do or don’t like, otherwise they will think its natural to fear the dentist when in truth there is nothing to worry about.
See ya Ashlea
Linking up with Essentially Jess