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Monday, July 12, 2010

The dentist

I hate the dentist. No, I loathe the dentist. Basically I both hate and loathe the dentist (okay, not my actual dentist because she is really quite nice, but the act of going to the dentist).

There are many things I would rather be doing them sitting in the dentist chair and having someone poke around. Full on three year old tantrum in the park? Sounds great! Projectile vomiting in my open hands? Bring it on! Twelve hours of labour following fifty-two hours of pre-labour? Yes please! More in fact, if it will get me out of a visit to the dentist.

Somehow in the last six years I have developed a phobia of the dentist. I don't like having to lie back in that stupid chair and stare at the ceiling. I don't like the sound of my teeth being cleaned. I don't like the water and the air swirling and mixing in my mouth. I don't like anyone touching or checking or looking at my teeth!

I find this phobia quite surprising given that I spent years having such things done on a monthly basis. I did, after all, had braces for six years. All of junior high and high school. I also had four teeth pulled, in addition to my four wisdom teeth, to make room for the shifting that slowly and painfully took place thanks to my orthodontist. If I was going to develop a teeth related phobia that really should have been the time. Back when all I could eat for two days were milkshakes and mushy bananas.

Instead, I developed this intense dislike of dentists while sitting in the chair of my perfectly lovely dentist and the pediatric dental hygienist that they always let me see. Because the office quickly picked up on the fact that I tense every muscle through the entire cleaning procedure and go into a trance-like state in order to make it through a cleaning. After a filling I practically need to have a full body message in order to relax.

My feelings about the dentist seem to intensify with each passing year, which has meant that I haven't been good at keeping up with my scheduled checkups. I mean to, kind of. But there was that time we were sick so I had to cancel, and then other stuff happened and then, really, no time is ever good so here we are and it has been about a year and a half since I last saw the dentist.

I did see her today. Thankfully I saw her from across a small room while I sat on a folding chair with the boy on my lap and the girl, my almost four year old girl, sat in the dentist chair for her first check up. The girl did spectacularly well. She let the dentist count her teeth. She let the dentist brush her teeth. She let the dentist floss her teeth. The dentist told me that the girl's mouth is crowded and that she will likely need braces, but then I already guessed that was coming. (Did I mention I had braces for six long years?) The girl declined to have the chair recline so the dentist had to stoop over a bit to be able to look in her mouth, but still. The girl was much more relaxed then I ever am for a dentist appointment. It gave me great hope that the phobia is not in any way genetic.

I even made a follow up appointment for the girl. And because I was there and I couldn't ignore the receptionist like I usually ignore her phone calls, I made an appointment for myself. That I will probably even keep.

19 comments:

  1. i am often in tears in the dentist chair. it's not so much a fear for me as an inability to cope with some of the vibrations caused by the machinery. I am years overdue and I can't bring myself to go back. sigh.

    And I need to take Kiernan. Although at this instant I'm thinking of delegating "dentist" to Eric. :)

    I'm glad the girl did well!

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  2. there are so many things that can be afraid of dentist, but giving a proper care to our teeth may lead to healthy lifestyle.

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  3. Ah, the dentist. Delightful. I am surprisingly getting better at going to the dentist. I got a new one when we moved here and she is amazingly nice and has little fairy fingers I hardly feel. Here are some handy coping hints for you and your little ones.

    - bring your ipod/music player. Find someing relaxing/distracting/funny to listen to throughout the appointment. You won't hear the equipment very much and it does relax.
    - wear sunglasses. Our dentist has some big ones we can wear as she works. Cuts out the bright lights.
    - practice that handy relaxation stuff we learned in labour prep classes. Conciously relax your grip and your feet and your mouth will relax too. I bring stretchy lizards for the kids to fiddle with if needed.
    - ask for a bite-block if you have to have work done. This props open your mouth and allows you to relax into your happy place without opening your jaw to rediculous levels.

    Good luck and may you find the next visit less stressful!

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  4. I am exactly the same! I have always said I would rather give birth than go for a check up! My teeth are always fine too. I hate the feeling of helplessness lying there with my mouth open. ;0S

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  5. I wouldn't say that I have a dentist phobia. But really, who wants to go to the dentist? I've had enough fillings and minor surgeries to know that the dentist is No Fun. And it really makes me wonder what it is that attracts people to dentistry. You have to look at mouths all day, and no one's happy to see you. It just doesn't sound super-fun to me.

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  6. i'm the exact same. i used to be fine now i hate it with a passion. because it hurts. it hurts so bad that i have to get my mouth frozen just to get a cleaning. which means i have to go twice because they will only freeze half at a time. which means i have to double the agony. which means i haven't gone in over a year. sigh. i'm not looking forward to the jellybean's first visit. though i will take recommendations for any good pediatric dentists.

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  7. I have had a fear of the dentist since childhood. I haven't been since my oldest was a baby, he's almost 8 now! He seems to have inherited some of my dental anxiety. Was much better at the pediatric dentist we took them to for a consult. The kids get to pick a movie that they watch on the ceiling, with headphones and sunglasses. If you're in Ottawa I highly recommend Dr Raj-Deep Mahal for your kids! He & his staff are fantastic!

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  8. Dr. Mahal is a fantastic pediatric dentist on Carling Ave.! Sage has been there for cleanings twice already with her third scheduled for August (she's 4.5 now). Harris is going to have his teeth looked at briefly as well (he has a genetic predisposition to thin enamel that requires more vigilance than most), but at just-2 they won't be cleaning his teeth just yet.

    Oh wait, I see Kiki also recommended him already...

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  9. Last time I was at the dentist there was a man in the back that couldn't handle it and was throwing up and gagging the while time. It was so unnerving to listen to.

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  10. I always feel bad for saying that I hate going to the dentist because it truly isn't the person; it's their job. I haven't been in far longer than I want to admit. I really have to bite the bullet and schedule an appointment sooner than later.

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  11. Dentist phobia is also my problem. I mean, I don't like going to the dentist. I'm not comfortable with how a dentist cleans my teeth.

    On the other hand, my sister loves going to the dentist. Her first dental visit is very memorable for her. Last week, she had her shopping spree with friends in Las Vegas. Veneers treatment and teeth cleaning was her next activity after shopping. She got a truly nice laser teeth whitening (Las Vegas) dental treatment.

    I'm so jealous of my sister's beautiful smile. Now, I'm trying to overcome my dentist phobia. Hope it will work out just fine. Thanks for sharing, Capital Mom!

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  12. My cousin had replaced missing teeth with dental implants and now she had pain in upper jaw. She is now very afraid to visit dentist. I recommend her to visit Torrance dentist to get rid of pain.

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  13. I think it's brilliant of you to take your cue from your girl! Usually, it's the other way around. But a phobia for the dentist doesn't seem to strike at any particular age. I hope it all goes downhill from here.

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  14. I think the dentist phobia is just all in one's mind. You just have to keep things in perspective and understand what is more important to you. That way, you'd be able to focus on other things.

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  16. Dentist plays a important role to keep our teeth clean and hygienic. Kids should visit dental clinic with parents to develop a good habit and take proper advise on keeping teeth clean. By proper step such phobia can be kept on a low scale

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