For as long as I can remember I have been afraid of the dentist. I have vivid memories of the dentist surgery I went to as a child, I always knew when we were going as we would drive in the opposite direction of our home when we left school, Mum didn't tell us we were going until then as she knew I hated going.
I can remember it was a large converted house on a main road and painted very white, it was clinical and smelt like rubber gloves, there were toys in what was once the front room and oh how I hated sitting waiting in there.
I can not remember what sparked my fear for I never had anything done to me as a child. My parents made us brush our teeth religiously and I thank them for it although when I was little I probably didn't. Every dental check I would have a clean bill of health and so I really do not have a particular event that would have caused my fear. The only thing that I can think of is that my poor younger brother was not as lucky as me. He had to have lots of fillings in his milk teeth even though we both brushed our teeth the same, his were obviously not as strong as mine and as we went at the same time I watched them all (thankfully his adult teeth have been much stronger).
I can not really put a finger on what it is that bothers me, it isn't particularly the setting, the white room and the chair although it does not put me at ease. I know that going to the dentist these days is not generally painful with all the advances in technology. I don't like the dentist being close to me, in my personal space and in my mouth so maybe it is that, I don't like the instruments in there either poking around but who does? I don't understand it but all I know is I hate the dentist.
I have always attended my check ups though and take the Little Ones too. In my mind although I hate going I would rather have the dentist find something small that is easy to fix than not go for years and suddenly end up with raging toothache or major work needing doing. I think it is important to take the children regularly too as they are a bit uncertain, this way they will get used to it and not fear the dentist as I do. I am very careful not to show my feelings about the dentist as I do not want them to feel like me. Little 1 had her first dentist appointment at 18 months and so far the girls seem okay with it, they will both sit in the chair as long as I stand beside them to hold their hand and they love getting the sticker afterwards.
When the 'appointment due' letter comes through the door it fills me with dread, I'll leave it a few weeks mustering the courage to make the phonecall for the appointments and then make it for the next available school holiday so that I do not have to take Little 1 during school time as we generally all go together. Doing this gets me at least and extra month or two before I have to go!!
Up until last month at the grand ol' age of 32 and a bit I can proudly say that I had never ever had a filling, the only thing I have had is a little bit of cleaning a couple of times and do you know what I was really pleased with that fact. Then it happened....
Daddy had bought me some of my absolute favourite treat for Christmas, Thorntons chocolate covered toffee.... mmmm. I only have it on my birthday and Christmas usually as I know it is bad for my teeth! We had been eating it over a few nights a little bit in the evening, I am sure that is what did it. One lunchtime I thought my tooth was rough, I cleaned them thinking it was food but over the next few days it began to sink in that I had done something, I needed to go to the dentist. Although it wasn't painful I wanted to get it sorted asap as it was on my mind and the fear would just be there until I had done something about it.
I went to the appointment, feeling awful, I hadn't slept well for a few days and realised I had been pretty short tempered with the children too, I hadn't been able to eat as my stomach was in knots and I felt really quite sick.....
Yes I did need a filling, a bit of tooth had come out the middle (it probably was the toffee, no more of that from now on then) but I had to make another appointment for a weeks time.... grrr after all that, I'd even told the receptionist that I needed to make an appointment for a filling not a check up. The dentist was not my usual dentist and could tell I was uneasy, she explained that it was just a small one and not much drilling (phew) still I was going to have to do it wasn't I.
The day came and I actually felt better than the previous appointment, I could eat and I had slept well too, the only sign of nerves was the fact that my hands were shaking badly. I had the option of having the local anesthetic or not and quickly decided to go for it as I don't mind needles normally and if I hadn't had it and the filling hurt that would be it for me wouldn't it, the fear would be worse after that.
It was all over pretty quick, I had done it, overcome my fear of having a filling. I can't say I was relieved at all, I just feel worried that this is the beginning of more dental treatment now that I am getting older. I do however feel a little bit more 'meh' about the dentist, still don't like the thought of going, about them finding something, having things in my mouth but I am not so fearful as I was, maybe next time I will not be shaking quite so much... at least I don't have to go for another 6 months, hopefully.