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Sexually assulted by dentist

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doogie

Junior member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
3
Location
USA
I'm not new to the forum, I've been here for 3 years. I just made a new account to remain completely anonymous.

When I was a young child, I was sexually abused by my dentist. I forgot it even happened because it was just so horrible. I had a flash-back at the age of 12, and remember only part of what had happened. I didn't realize it was a dentist that did it until now. I began to get very phobic of going to dentists and had no idea why. My life started to fall apart and I had uncontrolled anxiety and no idea why I was scared of everything in the world.

3 years ago, I found this site, and something drew me to the article on survivors of abuse. I related completely. But I didn't want to believe it.

A couple months ago, I found a list of behaviors displayed by children who were sexually abused. I related to about 90% of them. I asked my parents for the name of my dentist so that I could do some internet sleuthing and see if he's been caught. They have no idea who I went to. I started googling everything I could. No results matched. Then, out of nowhere, I get a letter from a dentist. I remembered his name. The letter said he was retiring, blah blah blah, replacement, blah blah blah..." So I googled his name. Saw his picture. I started crying. I knew it was him. I drove to the office and flashbacks started happening. I don't remember anything about the abuse, but I remember driving there when I was little. I think I must have been sedated. But my gut instincts were telling me it was this guy. I drive by his office every day to work and it's always stood out to me, like it was trying to tell me something. Now I know.

I'm very upset he was never caught. I don't think I was the only victim. I have found closure by just knowing why I had odd behavior and a fear of dentists. I'm a weird case for dental phobia in that I'm not scared of teeth or needles or drills. Just the actual dentist himself.

I want to start healing and I think I've found the right start. I want to talk to my dentist and tell him. I've never actually talked to my dentist or even seen what he looks like because I keep my eyes covered at all times. He's never said a word to me because I told the nurse to tell him not to.

I have no idea what to say to him. Should I just straight up say it? I'm so unsure. I don't want him to freak out
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,964
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In My Dental Happy Place
I want to start healing and I think I've found the right start. I want to talk to my dentist and tell him. I've never actually talked to my dentist or even seen what he looks like because I keep my eyes covered at all times. He's never said a word to me because I told the nurse to tell him not to.

I have no idea what to say to him. Should I just straight up say it? I'm so unsure. I don't want him to freak out
Sorry to hear of your distressing past experiences. I have no personal experience of sexual abuse by a dentist, only sadistic treatment at the hands of one (which is bad enough) but I have found no need to ever directly share my worst dental experience (have only ever done that on here as they were 40 years ago) with the dentists who have followed afterwards.

If necessary though I would make it clear what my treatment preferences are:e.g. 'I always like to be very numb' and I would never stay with a dentist who did not take an interest in me as a person and who did not make me feel comfortable.

I did once share my desire (not in UK) to avoid repeating painful dental hygiene with a new dentist(it traumatised me as it reminded me of the incident 40 years before) whom I interviewed and they managed to deliver on the comfortable cleaning but let me down on sth else; so for me in the last decade, I have had much better luck just choosing an experienced dentist who has a strong emphasis on patient comfort/excellent local anaesthetic delivery technique and whom I happen to like as a person when I first meet them. I only change dentist if I move location. The dentists I trust usually manage to refer me to specialists when necessary who are like them i.e. equally patient-comfort centred.

In your case you have established rather an unusual protocoll with your dentist (the not looking/talking thing) and I think maybe it would be better to change this and to meet him as a person and build a trusting relationship but you wouldn't necessarily have to share what happened in the past (it could put him on guard and make him worried that you might make allegations against him), so yes by all means change the dynamic of the current relationship but don't feel disclosure of what happened is the most important part of this process because to him it's not. he needs to know how you want him to treat you to enable you to feel comfortable accepting treatment.
If you do find yourself disclosing - since your actual memories seem so hazy, it might be best to relate it as past abuse but not necessarily at the hands of a dentist as that might be less threatening to him personally.

Enough people have a collection of bad dental experiences such that it is not a particularly weird thing to choose to set out exactly how you need to be treated so that you feel comfortable. Most decent top-end practices would be looking to build a relationship of trust with you anyway and wouldn't be looking to upset you in any way.
Your dentist probably does think it very odd that you don't look at him etc etc - I'm sure he would prefer for that to change but he may not be ready for the full disclosure and as I say it may not even be necessary.

You will never trust just any old dentist(and nor should you), you need to aim to trust one particular dentist with whom you stay over the years.

Hope this rambling helps a bit. Best wishes.:XXLhug:
 
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D

doogie

Junior member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
3
Location
USA
I do trust him, and I want him to know. In past experiences, being completely honest with how I feel to health care workers has made my experiences much better. You bring up a good point with the thought he may feel as if I'm accusing him or that he should feel threatened. I definitely want to tell him and my therapist told me it would be a good thing, as to make me feel less vulnerable by having his word that he won't do anything like that to me, and so that I can feel more in charge. The problem is, I don't know how to word it...
 
C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,882
Location
Miami, Fl
I ave treated 2 patients who had a history of abuse. They did fine.
On the flip side a number of dentists have been molested by patients while performing dentistry
 
brit

brit

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Messages
6,964
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
my therapist told me it would be a good thing, as to make me feel less vulnerable by having his word that he won't do anything like that to me, and so that I can feel more in charge.
You could more easily have his word that he will always treat you with kindness and respect and never oversell you dentistry?
I am struggling to see how you can say you trust someone you don't interact with or look at.

Maybe the best way would be to book a chat appointment in his office and take your therapist along since she knows the details already to legitimise it from his 'liability scared' point of view.
 
D

doogie

Junior member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
3
Location
USA
You could more easily have his word that he will always treat you with kindness and respect and never oversell you dentistry?
I am struggling to see how you can say you trust someone you don't interact with or look at.
I work in the medical field, so I know when treatment is appropriate. He doesn't know where I work, and hasn't over sold me anything, so I have reason to believe I can trust him.
 
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