Talking about it: Dental Anxiety Part 1

This is a guest post written by Lauri Carter, about her experience with dental anxiety.

Read Part 2, where Lauri makes the decision to go to the dentist, here.

Anxiety can be defined as: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

On a daily basis, I experience anxiety about various things, just as most working mothers do. On a typical day, I worry about my kids going to school in an enormous city. I worry about my dog being in the kennel all day while we are out of our apartment. I worry about how to get the 5,000 things done in the 18 hours that I’m awake.

On a side note, I also worry about going to the dentist. Therefore, I don’t go.

Why do I have so much anxiety about going to the dentist?

I used to love going to the dentist when I was younger. I honestly never had a cavity when I was a child, nor did I have ever have any bad experiences. My dentist was kind, patient, and always funny. Plus, he had a Pac-Man video game that we could play (for free!) while waiting for our appointment AND we always got to pick out a new toothbrush and stickers.

When I was 14 he told me I needed braces. I was excited to get to wear braces! My friends and I used to take the silver wrapper from sticks of gum and wrap them around our teeth pretending to wear braces! Nothing could prepare me for the pain and discomfort I felt the first night my braces were on my teeth. I couldn’t eat, could barely drink because my teeth hurt so badly and I was just miserable (more so than the average 14-year-old!).

Honestly, I think my anxiety of dentistry stems from there, because from that point on, I’ve not had the “pep in my step” to visit the dentist. 3 years later, I had to have my 4 horizontally impacted wisdom teeth removed. Oh mercy, what a horrible experience that was! Dry-sockets, facial swelling that was the source of much hilarity, and pain that I hadn’t had before they were removed!

Now, the adult in me knows that it was necessary to have those wisdom teeth removed. And it was necessary to have those braces on so that I could have not only a beautiful smile, but also the medical benefits of having an aligned jaw.

Now I work in a dental office and I’m surrounded by my anxiety. The best way to overcome an anxiety is to expose yourself to it often to make yourself more familiar with it. Am I doing that? No. I haven’t had a check-up in a year!

I personally have heard Dr. Emery with her patients; she listens to them, she is incredibly knowledgeable and intelligent, and I’ve never heard her scold anyone for not flossing, etc. I’ve also seen her working with her patients; she is thorough, it appears she’s gentle, and even though she is wearing a mask, I can tell she is always smiling while she’s working.

I know Dr. Emery loves her job AND loves her patients. So, if I were going to choose any dentist to care for me, it would certainly be her.

Read Part 2, where Lauri makes the decision to go to the dentist, here.

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By |2017-10-12T15:20:03+00:00May 21st, 2015|Health|