I had my six monthly dentist check up today. Doesn't sound much, but to me each one is a milestone and a major stressor.
I am terrified of the dentist, and have been since I was a teenager. At about 15 I cracked my front teeth on the side of the swimming pool, and my then dentist fitted me with terrible crowns, badly fitted and treatment that exceeded the novocaine time limit. He also left me alone once he had removed the broken teeth and I was horrified when I touched the remains with my tongue. I had nightmares for years that my teeth were falling out.
Then I had a dentist about three years later who told me the crowns were so badly fitted that I had abcesses under them both and then, instead of just replacing them, he drilled through the back up into my root. Needless to say, the treatment was agony, the crowns crumbled, he patched them up and I didn't smile again.
About ten years after the original treatment, my mother offered to take me to her new dentist. Not many grown women walk into a dentist holding their mother's hand! I was absolutely petrified. Mr Aslett was wonderful, an old-school dentist who still used gas and air which was perfect for this total psychological wreck. In the first couple of months he had completed a lot of work, many hours in fact, putting everything right while I was sleeping under the gas. I always went with one of my teddy bears; Albert. I was so grateful to Mr Aslett and my mum for introducing us. I always credit Mr Aslett for giving me my smile back.
Imagine my horror when Mr Aslett retired and, worse!, the use of gas and air for dentistry was outlawed!!
I was still so fearful I didn't go again for a few years. Then toothache drove me to a local dentist in desperation. They offered me valium (definitely not recommended for people with depression - I was suicidal for about three weeks!) and Mr Gaffori pulled the broken tooth with no warning,
I remembered I had been prescribed beta blockers for stressful events like interviews which had me hyperventilating with fright. The dentist said I could use them, he had no problems with that. So between the beta blockers for treatment, my dentist and I agreeing no treatment at checkups and nothing without warning, and Albert always being there, even for checkups, I am managing to attend for a check up every six months.
My notes are so cool, they have written on the front 'VERY nervous patient. Always brings teddy bear.'