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My dad is a dentist and caused a lot of the fear and anxiety...

M

MC

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Aug 5, 2012
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45
Like so many of you, I've been lurking the last few weeks and many of your stories have helped put my mind at ease. Mostly that even as an adult, I'm not alone. And I've caught myself saying, "I feel the SAME EXACT WAY." But I was so ashamed to talk about it. And being amongst other phobics, we all understand. I don't have that kind of understanding in my family, especially with my dad being a dentist himself. It's made it worse for me. So here's my story.....

I did something I never thought I’d do. I always thought if it came to that point, I’d rather take a gun to my head (in my mouth, ironically) And every time I thought of it, that image immediately came to mind. I made a dentist appointment. For the first time in over 24 years. It is really time to take care of it. I know I won’t be the worst patient this guy has ever seen, which brings some comfort to my mind.


I’m scared and excited all at the same time. I’m excited because I feel very proud of myself for finally taking the bull by its horn and making the plunge. I feel like I am taking control of something that has plagued me for so long. A weight on my shoulders that I have wanted to rid myself of for years. I’m in a no turning back now situation as I have already applied for dental insurance and even bought a Yelp certificate for the office on top of making the appointment. I’m hoping I don’t chicken out before the day comes. But being that there is a part of me that is looking forward to making up for the last 24 years and then moving forward Im thinking I’m going to go through with it. Despite all of the major anxiety and nervousness I’m experiencing already. And there’s still two weeks to go!


I know that I am amongst good company and a great many people who have dental phobia. The first part of my phobia is how embarrassed I am for waiting so long. For having the issues that I know are there. Growing up as the daughter of a dentist, I always thought I should be perfect, that I should never have to have fillings or anything done. I know this is irrational thinking, but for whatever reason it’s what I always thought. (that wasn't something my dad instilled in me) And when I did have to have fillings as a kid I was horrified. I felt like I let my dad down. That I was embarrassing him in front of his staff. And now that I’ve put it off for so long, the idea of EVER stepping foot in his office was just too much for me to bear. I couldn’t imagine facing him, his assistants, his staff. No way. Especially since it’s been as long as it has. Again, the idea of letting him down was much more expensive than any cost that I will incur going to someone I don’t know.


I’m embarrassed at the procedures, even though I know it’s totally normal for them, and the standard of practice. I think a lot of it has to do with the vulnerability that we all face when having anything done. The thought of anything makes me so incredibly self conscious of how I might look, how awkward I will feel. I know a lot of this is not rational, but it’s really hard for me for some reason. Sitting there with my mouth wide open to the world, instruments going in and out and also feeling constrained by "the chair" is just messing with my mind. All the while I know it needs to be done. Millions of people do it every day and they survive the tale to tell. I always look at people who just came from appointments and just stare in horror thinking, "how in the HELL did they do that?"


One of the hardest things for me is the humiliation. When I was younger, my dad was interviewed for a news story and used me as a “model” to pretend that he was working as they filmed him examining me. During that time, he found a cavity. He didn’t tell me anything that afternoon. When we all sat down to dinner that night, we were talking about the news story and my dad said, “Oh by the way MC, I found a cavity this afternoon when I examined you.” I said, “ no you didn’t.” He looked at me with knowing eyes and said, “yes I did. I double checked it to make sure.” This whole conversation happened in front of my entire family. Of course, my brother and sister busted out laughing. (a little side note...my brother teased me to no end as a kid. I was belittled, picked on and put down viciously on a daily basis. Getting this news in front of him was handing him fuel to his fire on a silver platter) Here I wanted to be on TV and yet I was handed the bad news of you need a filling. I was so humiliated. My dad talks about procedures he does throughout the day frequently, and it’s always made me uncomfortable. But when it’s my business, it’s even worse. And I cannot trust him to keep quiet. Same with my stepmother (his wife). I also cannot stand the idea of them checking in on me afterwards to ask how I am feeling. I just want the whole thing over with and gone. That has fed its way into my adult life, where talking about medical stuff, no matter what is completely embarrassing for me. It’s private and I don’t like to talk about that kind of stuff. One advantage of this new dentist is how close he is to me. But he also prides himself on the latest technologies and having some pain free procedures (lasers, air abrasion, etc). This way, if I am not able to drive home after an appointment, I am close enough to walk or s short cab ride away. And I don’t need to depend on anyone to drive me home. Which means I can do all of this without anyone knowing. Except for me and the office staff, which is huge for me. I don’t want friends or especially my family to know, which is huge for me. I've talked to the dentist already directly... I know he was busy with other patients, but I did feel a little rushed with the conversation. He did say that with the fact that I have only periodic bleeding with brushing and that I have been keeping up my home care (which I have, not some much flossing, but brushing twice a day religiously), that the amount of dentistry I'd need would probably been limited. I don't quite know what to make of that. But I go back to hoping that everything I'll need can be done with the lasers and such. I'm pretty sure I can handle that.


I feel like I am completely betraying my dad by doing this. He’s always offered to take care of things, and I know he’d welcome me with open arms if I asked him for anything. But I still go back to how incredibly humiliated I would be. And it’s just not anything I think I’d be able to deal with. If I approached my dad and told him how he humiliated me, I feel as though he’d say that it was made up in my head, or somehow my fault or something along those lines. I don’t think he’d take ownership of what he did. I know that is hard for anybody, I know I’m not perfect at it. But I do feel as though if I see my mistake I’ll admit it. I know my stepmother would also do the same thing, and probably yell at me too. I’m hoping I somehow get away with doing this without him knowing and I don’t have to explain it. Just take care of it on my own.


I feel at my dad’s I was out of control. We were forced into so much going to him and I guess that’s part of it as kids. But I also know that he is still like that. When I had him fill my gap about 8 years ago (he did a simple cosmetic bonding for a "David Letterman type gap" in my front teeth), he started trying to go further to exam everything and I ran out of the room. I know his intentions are in the right place. I know they are. But I almost felt cornered and again, forced into something that I wasn’t looking for. I know today’s techniques are to keep the client in control as much as possible. I don’t know that I can trust my dad to respect that. Especially with him in the authoritative figure of the doctor and parent. I remember one shot that was painful and he just kept going and told me to hold still and not move.


I think I have a lot of the same fears that most do, pain, discomfort, etc. But I’m hoping that this new doctor can use as many lasers etc as possible! I sit here praying that I don't need an injection, it's probably the thing that is my worst fear. It's my understanding nowadays, needles are much smaller, and a new one is used with each patient which i am PRAYING makes it less blunt and painful. I've had a few melt downs in my adult life when I've needed shots or my blood drawn, to the point of taking Xanax. (which did nothing for me.....)

I'm also dreading the bad news. I know there is a need for fillings. I can feel them. Thankfully, I only have sensitivity to cold and sweet stuff, and no pain on a daily basis. Nothing broken, nothing missing, nothing falling out. Nothing loose. So I know I'm lucky. And I know many who are in much worse shape. But even today, I started thinking about the looming appointment and I got so shaky. And short of breath.

I've been seeing a therapist for over a year now, mostly due to an verbally/emotionally abusive relationship that I am now over. My ex brought a lot of shame out in me, a lot of it because he himself is so shameful. But my therapist thinks that this phobia is a big part of it. Something snapped in me a few weeks ago and I made the appointment all by myself without even telling my therapist. But I do know that she's on my case to go to this appointment and follow through. But she's also acknowledged that a lot of it it is engulfed in shame.

Anyway, I know what will happen with the first appointment, exam (even the word makes me shudder), x-rays (I'm already humiliated over those), and overall assessment. But I'm still freaking out a bit..... :shame:
 
T

thisisme

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Aug 17, 2012
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"I know a lot of this is not rational, but it’s really hard for me for some reason. Sitting there with my mouth wide open to the world, instruments going in and out and also feeling constrained by "the chair" is just messing with my mind. All the while I know it needs to be done. Millions of people do it every day and they survive the tale to tell. I always look at people who just came from appointments and just stare in horror thinking, "how in the HELL did they do that?" "

Yes! You nailed it. How the hell do they do that?! I don't get it. I feel like I'm an adult and should understand it, but I don't. It disturbs me. In fact, it terrifies me. The pain is whatever... that will fade. It's the thought of two giant people standing/sitting over me as I lie back, feeling all vulnerable and whatnot. Maybe, I just feel that way because it's been years since I last went.

Congrats on making the appointment! :jump:You are miles ahead of me, and I'm so proud of you! I'm still wrestling with the idea of making mine. I'll get there... I will, but I've realized my phobia is a lot greater than I initially thought. Reading and following some stories on here are really helping me work through it, and I hope they'll help you as well.

And, I would have never survived if my Dad was a dentist. I won't even date someone who has parents in the profession!
:D
 
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

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:welcome: MC, and thanks for sharing your story.

First, congratulations on making an appointment and taking charge of your phobia. :jump::jump::jump: It takes an enormous amount of courage to make that call, and takes a lot of strength and self-love to tell your story out loud. You should be incredibly proud of yourself.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to have dental phobia and a dentist for a father. Most of us go out of our way to avoid toothpaste commercials, let alone an actual dentist at the dinner table!

I think shame and embarrassment were my biggest fears when I went back to the dentist earlier this year, after a similar lapse. (You can read my journal here.) I was so amazed that my dentist treated me with respect and compassion, and didn't lecture me even though my teeth were really really bad. Unlike you I hadn't even brushed for decades. I was almost crying when I opened my mouth, and I told her, "There's some really bad stuff in there." She just fixed the tooth I'd come in about, and on the next visit she calmly went over my teeth with me and told me what work would need to be done. Now she heaps me with praise very time I see her, telling me how wonderful my teeth look!

As you've noticed, there's a lot of aspects of dental phobia that aren't rational. No matter how much you read here or how many facts you know, your body is still going to react to going to the dentist as if you were walking into your death. We've all got it here, and I always tell people that dental phobia is just a condition you have, not who you are. It doesn't make you a bad person or a wimp, you just have a condition that causes you to need a little more help to stay calm. They have great drugs and compassionate dentists just for people like us!

I'm actually working on a journal entry about the roots of dental phobia and childhood trauma. It doesn't sound like your dad is a bad guy, but it certainly was traumatic for you as a kid to have someone as powerful as your dad doubling as your dentist, and it sounds like he didn't handle the situation with a lot of empathy. You're an adult now, but it's amazing how hard it can be to let go of some of these childish things, isn't it?

I think it's perfectly reasonable to find a dentist who isn't your dad, whatever your relationship is like. You medical issues are a very personal thing, and you deserve the privacy of having your own providers. If you haven't been to the dentist in 24 years, your dad probably thinks you're already seeing another dentist anyway. I also think you're absolutely right about control. It's really important to feel that you're in control at the dentist's office, and most modern dentists make sure you know that you're in charge. Even as an adult, your dad is still a powerful figure in your life, and that can make it even harder to feel in control.

I think you'll find that modern dental offices and dentists are very focused on keeping you physically and emotionally comfortable. It's good that you were able to talk to the dentist already. I'd encourage you to talk as much as possible and tell him what you're afraid of, and ask lots of questions. Having good communication is a key part of staying in control and getting the treatment you deserve. If your dentist has it, there's a thing called The Wand which delivers local anesthetic without a needle. But even if not, let your dentist know you have a needle fear, and he can make sure to keep them out of your site and to be extra gentle. With some topical gel and a gentle touch, a good dentist can numb you up without you even noticing. Lots of people freak out about needles, so you don't have to be ashamed of crying or breaking down-- dentists get this all the time.

One little side note: you mention being able to take a cab home if you're unable to drive. That's great, but really unless you're going under general anesthesia for something surgical, nothing you have done at the dentist's office should leave you unable to drive. (I used to worry about this too). I've had root canals, extractions, crowns, periodontal work, and never been anything but tired and a little sore after.

I really can't say enough how proud I am of you for starting to take care of yourself!! I've been there myself before and I know the shame and embarrassment, and I can assure you that it feels FANTASTIC to get through the first appointment and know that you're able to survive a dental appointment and are moving towards fixing your teeth. I encourage you to try to put the shame of where you've been behind you, and start giving yourself credit and pride for having the courage to take care of yourself, and focus on all the great things you're doing NOW.

Great job, and good luck!!!! :jump::jump::jump::jump::jump::jump::jump:
 
F

franklinm

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Hi MC and:welcome: to the forum. Thanks for sharing your story. It is a huge step just to make an appointment.:jump: I don't blame you for not going to see your dad, if he doesn't understand your fears then in no circumstances should you go in see him. You need to find a dentist that understands your fears and one that you can trust. From what I remember the laser can be used for smaller cavities and for bigger ones the "regular formula" will have to be used. I hope your appointment goes well and good luck.:clover::clover::clover::clover::clover: When is it again? Keep us posted.
 
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M

MC

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Wow, Steve..... just wow. Thank you SO much for taking so much time to respond to me. Your words mean a lot and hit home HARD (in a very good way)! I was really hoping for the support like that, so thank you! It is a double edge knife having dental phobia, all the while having my dad be one himself! It is so hard... I have to leave conversations a lot, or pretend I'm not paying attention when my dad starts talking office talk. He really isn't a bad guy, one of the most respected dentists where he lives. Which is 500 miles away from me, all the better reason that I should go see someone other than him. He doesn't completely know everything, meaning whether or not I'm seeing another dentist, but he gets on my case from time to time. Anyway, I wish I could give you a huge hug for your post. I'm really touched for taking such time for a stranger. And another wow to your journal. What a help to know I can make it through this.... I can relate on so many levels, it's almost scary.
:hug5:

Franklin... it's September 5th. Two weeks. And counting. Ugh. And you too... Thank you for your support! I am PRAYING that I can do the non-invasive ways of fixing things. Especially at first as I develop the trust with the staff and dentist himself. It seems as though he's already got the plan to not use shots as much as possible with me, but all the while he'll keep me comfortable. Even mentioning Valium (he doesn't have nitrous oxide unfortunately).

Thisisme.... I'm so glad you understand and see my point! As I've read on this forum, and as my therapist told me, the more you go, the easier it becomes. It's normal to have some anxiety, but hopefully after time you become less and less the more and more you trust who you see. That's what I am hoping for honestly. I just really need to get over the first few appointments. I'm actually looking forward to that part, once I get all the major stuff done, then just maintaining from there. It's really going to be the weight of the world off my shoulders and something that won't consume me anymore. Every commercial is a reminder of what I haven't taken care of. Every conversation with my dad is an embarrassment. It's so amazing how much time it takes thinking about it all. And then looking at those people who make me say "How in the hell do they do it?" I'm now not going to be so consumed with it. And honestly, I'm looking forward to being "normal" in that sense. I'm not looking forward to going through what I have to, but based on what I've seen and what the dentist said, I'm probably making this whole thing to be MUCH bigger than I really should. Here's hoping for you that you can do the same. I think it's a big step that you're reading the stories, as that's the way I started too. I think you want to conquer this thing, just like I do. This is your first step. And like many others have said, maybe the next is to do research on dentists that you might click with (like mine who has all the lasers and air abrasion and such). Then maybe an email. One step at a time. I'm pretty sure with all of these phobics around you cheering you on, you'll find it in yourself to take the plunge too. :cheer:
 
I

iDent

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When I was in college, I had a friend (whom I would describe as "a great guy") whose father was a therapist. Though I did not know him at the time (he was a senior and I was a freshman), I eventually learned that he had attempted suicide the year before. As painful as this would be in any family, I knew it had to have been especially hard in a family where a parent was a mental-health professional. As much as I sympathized with the father (who probably would always wonder what signs he missed), I felt even worse for the son: how much of his suicide attempt was related to being a therapist's child and consequently having to seem "normal," perhaps even "perfect?" Similarly, unless one's family lacks any significant dysfunction, I can see how dentists' children might think they are expected to have perfect teeth. My own moderate family-of-origin issues are not related to my parents' careers, but I nonetheless understand how important it is to avoid negative childhood roles/associations and maintain a healthy amount of control in your adult life.
If I approached my dad and told him how he humiliated me, I feel as though he’d say that it was made up in my head, or somehow my fault or something along those lines.
I completely relate to this. I know that script all too well, and also know I cannot win when my family of origin has it on the playbill! :(

The fact that your father lives 500 miles away gives you a good, rational reason to avoid seeing him for dental care: it's just not practical, especially in the event of emergencies. If you are comfortable telling your new dentist about your father's profession, you may be treated with more respect since your dental knowledge is very likely superior compared to most members of the general public. However, because a dentist might wonder how a dentist's close relative became an avoiding phobic, you may feel more comfortable withholding this information, at least at first.

Many origins of dental phobia are not rational, but some are. Everyone wants to avoid pain, and, unlike medical surgery, dental surgery is performed when we are conscious. Having recently returned to dentistry after 16 years, I can attest that dental local anesthesia is much better than it used to be. Another major issue is control. We all feel vulnerable in The Chair with our mouths open and sharp, sometimes noisy objects inserted, but most people do not have close personal relationships with our dentists. Since your previous dental work was performed by your father, you have never experienced normal patient/dentist interactions. If you and your father had a close, healthy relationship, his also being your dentist may have enhanced your bond. If your relationship with him was neutral or more negative than positive, you had an extra control issue to deal with in The Chair.

As is often written in the DFC forum, one of the most important factors in overcoming dental phobia is having a good patient/dentist relationship. In the past three months I've seen my new dental team six times, with a seventh appointment next week and an expected two more after that. With multiple appointments fairly close together, things feel psychologically more comfortable each time I go. While I would never intrude upon them outside of our professional encounters, when I am there as a patient, I feel like I am visiting casual friends.
Thank you for having the courage to share the first installment of your story. :respect: Please keep writing as you need to between now and September 5th. :grouphug:
 
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M

MC

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iDent...

Another wow from me! This is all so helpful to have support from other people who understand exactly how i feel. I know people out there (my ex specifically) who would have ridiculed me for this phobia. I have a feeling that I'll at least have a lot to explain to my family if anyone gets word of it. But there's no way in hell I could ever confide in them to support me. And I, again, thank you for taking the time to reach out to someone you don't know to help. It really means a lot. :respect:

And your story about your college friend really hits home. I'm terribly sorry to hear that happened to him, but I can COMPLETELY relate. I hope he got the help he was so desperate to find. There are times I look at my therapist's stepdaughter and I'm so jealous that she has that access to wisdom all the time. I wish at times that I could just turn to my therapist for advice. But I can also understand that it can be so hard to talk to a parent about certain things in your life. Just like I do about going to the dentist.

I'm hoping that like you said, I'll develop a normal patient/dentist relationship and be able to see going for appointments as I would any doctor visit. I don't like those either, but I'm at least calm at them. I know I'll be in more control. I know I won't have to face the humiliation at the dinner table anymore. I'm hoping to have a healthier view on the whole thing. And make it a part of my life again, like I should have all this time. Ugh. It's just getting through the next couple of month's appointments. Then I think I'll be fine from there. But it is sooooooooooo hard right now. I'm so worried about a melt down when I get there. My therapist is working with me on relaxation techniques. Ways to control my anxiety. Trying to associate accidentally banging my hand on something (meaning that it is very short term pain) with the needle. Things like that. I'm hoping it's going to work. I'm resisting her a LOT. She called me out on that last night. :giggle: Whoops. Anyway, another two weeks. Exactly. Well, it's evening here. So one week and six days. Ugggggghhhhhhhhhhh....... :scared::shame::helpme::hidesbehindsofa:
 
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

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One of the big things to remember, MC, is that you don't have to do this thing perfectly. Like anything else, learning to deal with dental phobia is sometimes a slow, sloppy process. There may be times when you think you've "fixed it" and then other times when you end up breaking down or freaking out. You're making HUGE progress and taking on some pretty big dragons right now, so don't beat yourself up too much if you can't master it all.

I think it's perfectly reasonable and normal to be resisting your therapist-- the same way it's reasonable to resist jumping out of an airplane, even with an instructor. Your whole body is fighting back against you.

None of which is to say you shouldn't be doing the things you're doing. It's great that you're even able to talk to your therapist and get some exercises and even talk through some of the stuff. (I never was able to talk to even my therapist about my dental phobia.) I just want to let you know that you have permission to stumble and backtrack a little or a lot sometimes.

Keep up the great work! :jump::jump::jump:
 
M

MC

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It's like you know me so well! I am a people pleaser and perfectionist in many ways, and yes, I do feel as though I have to be completely ready for this thing at the first appointment. I'm just so scared I'm going to break down or panic. So thank you again for reminding me that it's all ok.

Going along with iDent... I also need to remind myself that I've never had that "normal relationship" with a dentist and I can be myself rather than what I think that my father wants me to be. They are there for you and not for stories at the dinner table. (at least not in front of me!).

I'm still going back and forth though... feeling ready and wanting to conquer this, and then being frightened out of my mind. Somewhat losing my appetite. It's just a roller coaster. :shame:
 
M

MC

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I'm seeing everyone surviving their appointments, and I am so happy for them! I don't know if I'm doing myself a disservice by reading everything on here or not.... the anxiety keeps coming and going. Anyone else like this? Any suggestions to helping keep calm? I'm trying breathing and it sometimes helps.

I guess it also doesn't help that at work this week, one company I work for had a massive layoff and I lost a day of work with another. I guess when it rains it pours.....
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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Hi MC -- welcome!

I've just got through reading this thread. Like others, I cannot even imagine having a dentist for my father! One of my friends has a sister who just finished dental school and I freak out every time I have to talk with her at a party. I can totally understand you not wanting to continue to get dental care from your father. Some things just feel really private and, as we get older and become adults, there are certain things that we just don't want our parents involved in.

My father is an accountant. My friends always think that, come tax time (I live in the US), I must be so relieved and lucky to have someone do my taxes for me for free. The reality is that I have always done my own taxes b/c there are some things that I just don't think my father needs to know about. I think that, if my taxes ever got more complicated, I would probably pay a stranger rather than have my father do my taxes. I, like you, am a bit of a people-pleaser and just couldn't stand the thought of my father judging my financial life (and this is without any phobia about this :))

I think that, in terms of trying to manage your anxiety leading up to your appt, I can tell you what worked for me. I kept coming back to this forum and told myself that this was my time and place to be anxious. During the day when I would start to get anxious at work, at the gym, or out with friends, I would remind myself that there would be a time and a place for my anxiety when I logged onto the forum in the evening or early in the morning. This may not work for you, but it definitely helped me to contain my anxiety in a such a way that it wasn't impacting me all day long.

It seems like you've got a lot going on -- so sorry to hear about the changes with your work! Like many others on here have mentioned, if you can get through the first few appointments, everything will only get easier from there. I'm excited for you to finally be able to work on having a 'normal' patient-dentist relationship.

Please keep us posted and let us know how you're doing.

Take good care!
 
kitkat

kitkat

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Hi MC! :waves:
It looks like some other DFC members have already welcomed you into the family but wanted to say welcome as well. You are in a very unique situation given that your father is a dentist. If any of my family members were healthcare providers, I can't see myself ever seeking treatment from them so I can understand where you're coming from. You have a right to your privacy regarding your health and I think where healthcare is concerned, it is in everyone's best interest to seek treatment from an objective third party. I sense that you felt a lot of pressure to please your dad with your dental health; Hopefully, seeing someone who you have no personal connections to will at least help to alleviate that stress and maybe even allow you to be able to be open and honest with them regarding your fears without fear of judgement. Remember, there job is to help you and that's why they chose dentistry as a profession, not to judge you.

Also, regardless of the amount of work remember that you are in control. Take things at your own pace and only move forward with things that you are comfortable doing. You have the right to accept or refuse treatment at anytime and ask questions. As an adult, you are the authority figure now. I have major control issues when it comes to dentistry as well and my dentist had to tell me that I was in control before it dawned on me. I find that a stop signal helps me a lot during treatment and as for the injections, they have numbing gel that can be used prior, the wand as steve mentioned, and most dentists know a lot of painless techniques now. I have had sooo many fillings and injections and honestly have rarely felt anything at all. We will cross that bridge when we get there though. Also not a good idea to get too far ahead of yourself even though it's easier said than done. Just focus on this upcoming appointment and celebrate when it's over! Then you can obsess about the next one! ;) Take it easy til then and give yourself a huge pat on the back for making an appointment! :jump: Best to you!
 
M

MC

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Fearful....

I'm so glad that you understand, as do many others who have read my post. And you summed it up perfectly, that there are just things you don't want your parents to know. And like I said, the thought of letting him down so badly is just so incredibly humiliating. Don't even get me started on my stepmother... she'd just yell as if I were insane. It's a huge relief not to be going to that environment when I will (yes, notice the word choice...) go to the dentist. I've already imagined being in more control and not feeling the judgments coming on. And as I also said, being able to remain completely private about this.

I read someone else's journal (sorry, I cannot remember who, I've read so many!) and they said that none of their friend would have ever known about their intense fear. I'm completely the same way. My dad gets on my case about getting a check up and whatnot, but the last time he did, he did say "either me or someone else." So I feel less betrayal that I'll be going to someone else. On the same token, I would NEVER want anyone to know this.... I only JUST finally told my best and closest friend. It was hard telling him, although I had already gotten over the biggest hurdle of admitting it to anyone (meaning my therapist). When I told her, I broke into an intense sweat, and nearly curled up right there. It was the BIGGEST experience of fight-or-flight I've ever had. I turned every shade of red. It was intense. And I was exhausted after our session. Being here, and being amongst other phobics and having the amazing support and understanding is what I think it going to get me through the next week and a half. :o

I like your suggestions, I'll certainly keep them in mind! Thank you for that! I'm also practicing relaxation techniques. That is very hard for me, but even though I'm not really good at it right now, I do feel a certain sense of calmness afterwards. Must be doing something!

Hugs my friend.;)
 
carole

carole

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I agree I would not want to go to a family member either, it's a bit like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so what happens at the dentist stays at the dentist. It is bad enough feeling as we do, but we only have to deal with it while we are there but if it was a family member or friend, It would be there all the time, that is all I would think about when I saw them. I don't want to ever bump into my dentist out of the office so to have to socialise with them is a no no.

I do think it depends on the person though and I think if my dentists were a relative or friend from a young age I might feel different. Until we are in your position we don't know how we would feel really.

I do understand where you are coming from. I think your dad understands more than you know, if he said get a check by him or somebody else, I think that comes from a caring place. Because as a dentist he see's the price to be paid daily for not having regular checks. So he is coming from 2 sides of caring, one as a father, and the other as a dentist.

I am glad you have found a dentist you feel able to go and see, and I wish you good luck :clover::clover::clover:
 
mikey boy

mikey boy

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Wow what a thread :goodpost: I don't have a whole lot to say sorry but I will try my best :)

I know exactly how you feel as an adult now I always blamed my mom and dad for my horrific Teeth but as I got older I realized it was no one else's fault but mine which is why always feel ashamed no a days but I try to keep a positive mind :D

I hope all goes well for you keep going and don't stop :XXLhug:
 
M

MC

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Thank you so much KitKat.... I'm on the fence in some ways in that I almost want to get it all over with as soon as possible so that future dentist visits are routine cleaning and check up (and hopefully just small cavities if that). Maybe that's good, maybe it's not. I guess I'll have to face that when the dreaded time comes. And that's the part that scares me the most. What is going to have to get done. Like I said, I can feel cavities. I have some gum recession. I know not the worst by any means, and I have a pretty good feeling I'm not going to need extractions, except possibly wisdom teeth. But anything else I am suspecting is salvageable. It's really the bad news that I dread so much. And is the part I'm really having a hard time coming to grips with. I also know that the longer I put off said bad news, the worse it will be. Ugh, these mixed thoughts spinning in my head.

And I know I'm jumping to conclusions, and pretty much everyone on here has said that the bad news wasn't as bad as they thought. I need to keep remembering that. Hence the reason I keep saying it over and over. Is that the way it is for everyone until they get through the first few appointments? :shame:
 
M

MC

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Carole....

Yes, my dad is a good guy, I'm not going to knock him. He's one of the most respected dentists where he lives. And I know he loves me. And wants the best for me. But I cannot even fathom stepping foot into his office, having to face the humiliation. And yes, most of that is in my head. But so is dental phobia in general. There are elements that are rational, and elements that are not rational. And I don't know that my dad is one who could make me feel at ease enough to deal with the irrational aspects. I'm not looking forward to showing these emotions to people I don't know, but as you said, you wouldn't want to socialize with your dentist. I wouldn't either. And since my dad like to air our "dental laundry", if you may, I don't need my siblings or family knowing how freaked out I am.

One week and two days to D-Day. Ugh, my appetite is starting to diminish....
 
G

gettingthere

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I may be wrong here but I would bet that many children of dentists would prefer to be treated by their parent even if that they have not anxiety whatsoever. I think we all have a natural desire to pull away from our parents and assert our independence especially when we reach adulthood and that independence is focussed on caring for our own bodies.

I have the utmost respect:respect: for you growing up with a dentist in the house! Wow! I seriously can't even contemplate such a thing. I did a couple of foreign exchange trips as a teenager and each time would be gripped by fear that I would be matched with a student who had a dentist parent and I would be in their house for two weeks, and they would talk about their work, and they might notice my own teeth, and then, and then, and then...:frantic: On one occasion, I remember we (or, our parents) were invited to state family occupations which we would not be comfortable with (e.g. police officers in certain countries would have guns in the family home) and I remember trying to work up the courage to ask that I not be accommodated with a dentist but never did know how to broach or explain it without being laughed at or dismissed. Thankfully it never happened :thumbsup!:. We also had a dental practice (although not the one we attended) very close to my childhood home and like you I used to watch, fixated on the people calmly walking in and and out, thinking "how do they do that???" :confused::confused:

I really hope all goes well for you. I understand the fear surrounding the anticipation of bad news but, in my experience, even when the news is bad, it is better than the unknown and gives you something to focus on as you (hopefully with the input of a great dentist and definitely with the support of the good people here :grin:) work out which coping strategies are best suited to you.
 
mikey boy

mikey boy

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Almost like they are superhuman or something and you are just a mere mortal ;) So we try and understand how they do it and in the end we find that all it takes is just that one step to make it all happen
 
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