Why is it I’m still afraid of the dentist? or not so much afraid as really super unwilling to go. I don’t exactly fear pain, because I know it doesn’t hurt so much. My dentist is careful to numb me up. I also don’t worry a whole lot about cavities. I don’t really expect any. Yet today I have to get my teeth cleaned, and I’d rather . . . . not. At all. Even a little bit.
Part of this, or probably all of this, has to do with the dentist I had as a child who had a separate waiting room for kids and parents (nowdays that would be a red flag, right?). All the kids were nervous, and often crying (this was a pediatric dentist). And apparently the assistants and doc didn’t like this nervousness and crying, because they would threaten us with spankings and of course, that this would just hurt if we didn’t stop. Now that latter may have been true, but it didn’t help, because of course it made us cry harder, and then made us fear that our crying would cause more pain for ourselves, which caused more fear and crying, and look! An ugly spiral.
Once I got a little bit older, I stopped going. It took me nearly 25 years to go again. And then I had my first root canal. That was my only cavity, and it was a doozy. (I’d been so paranoid about the dentist that I was ferocious about keeping my teeth clean). The root canal was kind of icky, but really, not all that bad. Nothing like all my surgeries and health invasions. Not enough to justify my knee-jerk adult dislike of going to the dentist. And yet, even knowing as an adult it wasn’t so bad, I still didn’t want to go. I make myself go because Adulting, but I really don’t like it.
So off I go, and it will be fine, and yet I just wish for nanobots that would take care of me without me hardly knowing. Or some sort of magical solution. How do you feel about the dentist?