British Lung Foundation
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Dentist? No, Don't Make Me Go There!

There was a time, in the dim and distant past, when I had teeths...a proper set of teeths that were all mine.

And I looked after them...brushed and flossed and rinsed...thought that'd be enough to keep me going until in my dotage...until they came ever slightly loose.

Just the front ones...they wobbled a bit and biting into an apple was no longer an option...eating ice-cream was totally out of the question, it was pure agony taking a mouthful of a double Mr Whippy...

I'd spent most of my childhood going to the dentist...having impressions done for braces 'cos my top teeths stuck out a bit...thumb sucking was blamed for that. He was an odd young man called Mr Rolfe who wore rimless glasses and looked like a member of Hitler Youth...his nurse wore a white coat over the top of her day clothes...just as well 'cos her skirts were about six inches long, as were her nails, which she had sharpened to points and painted with pale pink varnish...he was scary but the nurse terrified me...

The carefully made braces didn't do much good because I used to take them out the minute I left home to catch the school 'bus...they'd sit in my pocket gathering dust and gunge until I put them back in as I went through the garden gate...

Reaching adulthood relatively unscathed and still with sticking out top teeth, I developed a serious dental phobia. I'd make appointments and not keep them...arrive in time for an appointment then sidle out of the waiting room before it was my turn...

It reached the stage when the wobbly teeth could no longer be left unattended but still I put off the evil hour...when a back tooth simply fell out onto my plate while I was having supper the children made gagging noises, as well they might.

So I made an appointment with Gary.

And I kept it...

Gary said it'd take much work to get my gnashers into any kind of order...he had a creepy smile when he said it as though he was revelling in my obvious discomfort...I heard myself saying that I wanted them all out...he laughed and told me not to be silly.

So I hunted through the Yellow Pages and found a chap in Norwich who used anaesthesia to knock his patients out...made an appointment and went for an assessment. He was such a sweetheart...explained it all to me and said he was well used to patients suffering from dental phobias and I was not to worry because I'd not know anything about it...

And it was grand...sat in the scary chair with the palms of my hands soaking wet...a nice chap gave me an injection and I came round to find myself sans teeth and not having known anything about it at crunching noises as they were yanked from telling me to 'rinse now' no sounds of high pitched drills...just this kindly man who told me to go and sit in the waiting room and someone would bring me a cup of tea...which they did.

Went back the following day for my new shiny oddly enough I still have a phobia about dental treatment...can't even bring myself to go for new teeth...only have to hear the sound of the drill and I'm away down the street like a jack-rabbit...

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13 Replies

I always had to be knocked out for extractions,even went to hospital for an extraction,not sure if they do this now.

I don't know of anyone who likes the dentist vashti. Pete doesn't have many teeth left but likes to wear his denture when we go out.

Hope you are well. Xxx

My father and eldest and middle sister had/have severe dental phobia. None of them ever went near a dentist all their lives. The result? They all lost all their teeth. They must have gone through agonies with decaying teeth, abcesses etc. and I dread even to think about it.

I too have dental phobia though not as severe and have lost half my teetth through this and neglect. I do go now (very reluctantly) as I really don't want to lose the rest of them.

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I'm trying to pluck the courage p to go, Vashti, lost a crown before xmas that couldn't be replaced so need to have the root out. Urgh how on earth is that done if there is no tooth to pull on? that's what's bothering me :-( janx

Hi You will be fine. I work in dentistry. It is carried out usually over 2 visits. The nerve is reamed out then root filled followed by a new crown. Other option is to have it extracted. Try and save it. Don't worry.

Thanks armadillo, but already been down that route (pardon the pun) :-) years ago, no tooth left to crown need root taken out and gap bridging. :-( janx

Ohh if will be ok though! Look good afterwards x

I know thanks, never really been frightened, just more nervous now that I have lung problems I think, daft aren't I? :-) janx

I sometimes wonder if dentists were a trifle heavy handed about filling our teeth? By the time I grew up my mouth was a mass of fillings.

I go for check ups every six months, essential if you are diabetic. At one point I had gingivitis, I have dry mouth which doesn't help. I only have one set of back teeth on the top right. Dentures would be awkward as there is nothing to hook them on.

I went to the dentist as I needed a crown. She said it would take 20 minutes to drill gave me an injection and started 5 injections and 55 minutes later she finished so was I. When she fitted the crown another tooth which had had an implant needed to come out so another appointment was made. As it didn't hurt I decided to leave it I really had had enough big time. So off I goes and it is a different dentist, I told him I just could not cope with another session he said not to worry and plugged it. Doh

Now I am told I have a clicky jaw and need an x ray what will follow that I don't know but I do know I won't be having any more mucking about I can eat my dinner and that's all that matters. :-)

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Hi Vashti, I don't have a dentist phobia, I am one of those funny people who quite like going to the dentist! I do seem to think though that the dentists in our youth were only concerned with filling and yanking out as many teeth as possible! My current dentist is so different! Maybe that's because I only have the front teeth left!!! He's so keen to keep those looking good. We lived in the country for a while when I was growing up and we had a mobile dentist in a caravan, anyone else remember them?

Sisters under the skin Vashti. Dental work was crude and painful back in the day (in my case that was a really long time ago) and dentists were not the charming, put-you-at ease people they are today. One asked me whether I could smell meat cooking - me helpless in the chair- waved some hellish implement in front of me with smoke arising and said "I just burnt this off the back of your front teeth"! Uuuugh!

I totally empathise Vashti. Phobias do not develop without a reason.

Cheers Ngaire

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