Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Dentist

The very first dentist appointment I can remember I must have only been about 4. I remember being sat on the special chair, I wasn't laid back, just sat with my legs dangling off the side. The dentist asked to look in my mouth and showed me the small mirror he would use to look around. Everything was going fine, until for some unknown reason, I bit his thumb.

The appointment I remember after that was at a different clinic. I was still quite young but a bit older this time. I'd told Mum I wanted to go into the room by myself and be a 'big girl'. I don't recall much about the actual appointment, but my main memory is of crying because I was scared and being told by the assistant "Oh go and cry to your Mum then" and shoo-ing me out of the room.

I'm not sure if this is what first started my fear of dentists or if it was something else, but that memory is still clear in my mind. There's a history of dentist phobia in my family, my Mum being the main one. She's been scared of dentists for as long as I can remember so that's probably where I learnt it from. Although how, I'm not quite sure. It's not as if she'd take me to the dentist and have a panic attack, or would tell me how terrifying they were. Instead she'd take me to my sixth month check ups without fail and would sit by my side supporting me.

The most vivid memory I have of the dentists is when I was fourteen. I pretended I had toothache so I could have the day off school. Unfortunately for me, my Dad was off work that day so he booked me in for an appointment. I was feeling slightly cocky, I didn't really have toothache so I knew I would be fine. How wrong I was.
It turns out on that day, I needed 3 root canals doing. The dentist gave me the option of starting treatment right then or coming back another day. Of course I wanted to bolt straight out of the door, but my Dad, being as he is, forced me to stay and have some treatment done. I had my injection and was sent out to the waiting room.
The next part I will always remember. I sat in the waiting room in tears, begging my Dad to take me home, I didn't want the treatment done, I didn't even have toothache. Of course now it was too late. We were here and I needed treatment. Aside from that is the fact there was a young girl running around beside me, much younger than I was, who had also had an injection. Not only did I feel embarrassed but also extremely immature but I couldn't help myself.
The absolute worst part of this story, is the pain. The unbelievable agonising pain I felt when the dentist drilled into my supposedly numb tooth. I was screaming and sobbing for her to stop. The only thing that made her stop were my Dads threats. Her only response being "well it should be numb". It clearly wasn't, I could feel every single thing she was doing and it was so painful.
Eventually when all my treatment was over with, I was filled with a beautiful gold filling.
Which promptly fell out the next day.
Since then I have had nothing but trouble with that particular tooth. At this current moment in time, it's not even in my mouth anymore. After the filling fell out and I was left with just the outside outer casing of my tooth, it became so weak from chewing and brushing, it actually snapped out of my gum leaving little shards of tooth behind. Lovely.

Dentist phobias are probably one of the most common. I realise that most people I know have at least the some small fear of the dentist. I also realise I don't know anybody as terrified of them as I am.
Since pregnancy my teeth have become awful. They've cracked, some have crumbled, I've had abcesses and as I said above, some have fallen out (only the one mind you!) so it became inevitable that at some point I would have to visit the dentist. The trouble with this is the fact I cannot physically bring myself to go.

I've been to a few appointments, but each and every time I have left in a blubbering wreck. I've had panic attacks and I've nearly fainted. Despite knowing I need several fillings and the shards left from my old tooth need to be taken out of my gum, there seems to be nothing that can convince me to go. 

I hate the fact I'm scared of the dentist. It makes me feel like a child. I feel stupid and immature, and I hate myself for it. I know that I am risking my teeth becoming that much worse by not going, but I feel like the only thing that will get me to go is if I end up with terrible toothache. And it's got to be bad. My fear is that dominant that I often think I would rather go through the birth of Princess all over again then have a filling at the dentist, and that's saying something. 

Anyone that knows me will know the fear the Dentist strikes in me. I once burst into tears at work because someone told me I might have to go. (My face was swollen up like quasimodo but even THAT still wouldn't make me go). It turned out to be an abcess and I remember having to be physically restrained by my Mum and Jo because I was too scared to have the dentist even look in my mouth. I hadn't even been able to make the appointment myself because I was too busy crying at the fact I was having to go. 

Right now I have a wisdom tooth coming through and I am thanking my lucky stars that I don't have any pain with it (touch wood). My last x-ray about 5 years ago confirmed I only had wisdom teeth growing on one side of my mouth so I'm praying that I'll only have the two. 

I apologise for rambling on, blame the lovely Bryony over at Viewfromtheloungewindow for convincing me that sometimes just talking about something can help. I'm nowhere near ready to go to the dentist just yet. I think it will take something dramatic to get me there. Sometimes it just helps to know that you're not alone in something, and that you're not the only one to feel the way you do. Dentists will always terrify me, I have no doubt about that (you have no idea the amount of times I've clenched my teeth just having to write the word - which isn't helping!) but I'm hoping at some point I will feel brave enough to overcome my fear. I will be brave enough to go and have the treatment I need without being a crying wreck or biting the dentists thumb.

It won't be any time soon, but we'll see.

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