My other ramblings

In the Dentist’s Chair

It’s a non crafty post from me tonight as I’m celebrating a mini victory towards overcoming my biggest phobia. Those who know me personally also know that I am terrified of the dentist. Today I went to my appointment and didn’t cry, I managed to breathe through my whole check up and ‘allowed’ the dentist to use the various terrifying looking implements on his table to check that my teeth were healthy. Right now you’re probably thinking ‘wow, have a gold star’ (said with a mild hint of sarcasm!), and I don’t mind because what is big for me is nothing to others, equally I know there are other people out there for whom even walking past the dentist’s surgery is a huge step.

I wasn’t always afraid of the dentist, obviously it wasn’t on my list of favourite things to do, but I wasn’t terrified, I was able to have treatments without crying or panicking. One day, for some reason that no one has been able to explain, I went for a standard filling and reacted terribly to the local anaesthetic. I woke up to a dental nurse rubbing my nose and vomited in the sink. (Sorry!) After that I was unable to cope with going to the dentist at all and had to be referred to the special needs dental service. In order to have the necessary treatment I had a general anaesthetic, as they didn’t think I would cope under sedation and my reaction had been unexplained. 

Obviously a general anaesthetic was not safe (or appropriate) for regular check ups so I reluctantly kept going every 6 months or so, but refused to let them use any tools other than the mirror. I would have vivid nightmares in the run up to these appointments (think teeth falling out) and have to go and check in the mirror to make sure they weren’t real. I must have been the dentist’s idea of a patient from hell, I never saw the same dentist  (they probably drew straws to see whose turn it was to put up with my panicking and tears!) 

Eventually the time came where I needed the fillings I’d had done under general anaesthetic checked and topped up, so again I was referred to the special needs service. This time they decided to give me gas and air (if it’s good enough to help with pushing babies out it must be ok for teeth!) and keep me awake as I’d had local anaesthetic for other procedures and been OK with it. A very patient dentist, along with Mr C, saw me though a course of treatment where I got braver and less and less scared (the gas and air made me feel all floaty and lovely, it was a bit of a running joke that once there were three Winnie the Pooh stickers on the ceiling instead of one it was safe to proceed!) I also learned some super breathing techniques from going there, and I use them to get me through the check ups, which I have at my usual dentist. (I breathe in for 10 and out for 10, they said I must have a large lung capacity, either that or I count really fast!)

Fast forward to today, where I had a very short moment of panic before settling into breathing steadily and getting through the appointment. Not even one tear escaped from the corners of my eyes, and the dentist explained each tool before using it so I felt sure about what was happening. (I asked a lot of questions, I’m beginning to see where my 5 year old gets his enquiring mind from!) 

I’m trying really hard to overcome this fear, not just for me but for my children (though I manage to hold it together when they are there, and they had their check up yesterday-the 2 year old actually opened her mouth instead of clamping it shut, so my days of prepping her paid off!) It could be a long journey before I’m OK with having a local anaesthetic injection and treatment whilst not sedated, but these baby steps will get me there.

PS the dentist forgot to give me a bravery sticker so I gave myself one, in a glass.

Thanks for reading this slightly random but important post about my own milestones! If you have any tips for being braver, please share them with me.

49 thoughts on “In the Dentist’s Chair

  1. Well done you. We all have a THING but you have persisted and are working through it. If only my dentist would remember to explain what’s happening before it happens, I’d be much happier!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mrs.C, I love you. You were the bravest of brave and did something which was a MAHOOSIVE big fear to you. And then not only that …. but you shared your experience with us all so that we could all feel the fear with you.

    I think you’re amazing. I wish we lived close because I’d be round there tomorrow with a handmade rosette stating that you won the BRAVE GIRL AWARD! But … we dont’ live near enough so I want you to imagine a red rosette, with a circular stamped sentiment, stamped and embossed in gold, saying: I WON THE BRAVE GIRL AWARD!
    You’re brilliant. And we all love you for it.
    ~ Cobs. x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fantastic, sounds like that award in a glass is well deserved. Although I don’t like going to the dentist it doesn’t bother me but when I had my eye op they had to cover my face with a sort of cloth. I am claustrophobic and managed to get through it with deep breathing, but as soon as I got out of the hospital and into the car, I just sat and sobbed. I go back next week and know they are going to suggest having the left eye done, but I just know I cannot go through it again. We do not need to have a reason to panic, most people have some sort of phobia, if its only being scared of spiders or mice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh bless you, I hope your appointment goes really well, I try and focus on something else too, although I guess it’s tricky if you can’t look at anything (for example I count the ceiling tiles). I really hope you can find a strategy. X x


  4. I’m sure you’re being helpful to others by talking about this openly. Of course, I think a psychologist would just guide you through going to the dentist, so if you can get this far without one, maybe you don’t need one. Mr. C has been helping you. By coincidence, on Monday I gave one of my English classes a listening and conversation activity on phobias and they listened to a story of a woman who was afraid of buttons, as well as other testimonies. All of the stories followed a similar pattern of discovering why and when the phobia started and ended with plans for overcoming the fear. Searching for and thinking about when and why the phobia started is useful (which either you figure out on your own or, if that doesn’t work, you get a psychologist to help you discover it). I’m very happy for you that you are working on this!!! You have indeed met a milestone. Congratulations and drink up! Btw, I avoid the dentist, too, mostly because of a phobia of bills.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, luckily here (at least for now), we have NHS dentists, so a check up is just under £20 every 6 months, and fillings etc are around £50 for a course of treatment (even if that is over a few appointments!) The special needs service was free, though I’d have paid if I needed to. Hopefully the NHS can keep going as it is a godsend. Phobias are a funny thing, I’ll probably always feel a bit nervous. Thanks for the informative comment too. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done! I’m not happy either at the dentist, so I know just how you feel, but such progress! Luckily my son doesn’t mind coming in with me for moral support, but you’re doing so well 🙂 little and often!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I usually have to take someone, my best friend is a super dental appointment companion too! There aren’t many people who like dentists, which is a bit sad as I’m sure they’re lovely people under their masks!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done You… I know awful this phobia is.. My sister suffered with it and it was only a couple of years ago after changing her dentist, she was able to ease her phobia with the kind aid of her new dentist.. So well done and you well deserved your sticker LOL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kudos to you! Overcoming fear and panic like that is so difficult, you’re already well on your way to becoming more comfortable with the dentist – the skills your learning will help with other difficulties, too, and you can pass them on to your kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Do I spy Chocolate Baileys? It sounds like you totally deserved it. The thing about phobias is that we cannot rationalise them, or easily talk ourselves round to what we assume is the sane or adult behaviour expected of us. And it can be so hard to explain to other people quite why you feel the way you do. Generally though, we all understand, we get it, because we all have at least one thing we feel pretty much exactly the same about! You have dealt with it magnificently! Have another glass tonight….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, it is indeed a chocolate Baileys! Thank you for the mind words, it doesn’t matter how many times you try to rationalise it, once you’re in that room it all goes to pot. Will keep making these tiny steps (and celebrating them all!)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well done. It’s so difficult facing these things, but the pride is well worth it. I’m agoraphobic, but 2 weeks ago I managed to leave work and go to the local chemist to sort out what they’d messed up – it took me more than an hour to work up the courage to do so, but I was absolutely buzzing after

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good on you! I once wrote a post about my issues with dentists ( stemming from childhood experiences) and I live with the fear that my present dentist ( we’ve been ‘together’ now for 19 years) might decided to move towns or worse, retire! 😮) We met when Tony came to do a talk to my Year 1 class and I privately told him of my fear after the talk and that since my previous dentist had retired ( had taken me years to find him too!!!) I hadn’t been to a dentist…ahem for 6 years. So Tony offered some free visits where I could just sit in the chair and talk until I felt comfortable but I opted to have a proper check up and I was fine…and no cavities after all those years! But I still take a while to organise check ups even though I don’t think I’m frightened any more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing, sounds like you were lucky with your dentist. I went through a phase of never seeing the same person and never building up a relationship and that is so important, especially when you’re nervous. I hope he doesn’t move!


  11. Well done! I am the same when it comes to anything that involves injections. I am terrified! What helped me was first, asking them to put a note about my fear on the records so the doctor knows what to expect. And finding nurses who are really bloody good at getting it done before I have had a chance to freak out! I had a flu jab recently – it was unplanned – she just asked if I wanted it and did it, and I was absolutely fine, because i had less than 10 seconds to freak out! It makes you feel really proud when you manage to conquer something like this doesnt it!

    Liked by 1 person

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