Facing My Fear of the Dentist
by Debra Poortenga
A combination of a fairly healthy body and no health
insurance meant that I seldom saw a doctor or a dentist as I
was growing up. On the few occasions that I did see a
dentist, my teeth were always fine. This suited me very well.
My lack of familiarity with dentists made me rather afraid of
them. The thought of having shots in my mouth and
someone drilling on my teeth gave me the willies.
Unfortunately, at the age of thirty-two I couldn't avoid
dental treatment any more. I had a cavity that needed
drilling and filling.
I had thought that I was addressing this fear in a really adult
manner until it was time to leave for my dentist
appointment. When I said goodbye to my little son, he threw
his arms around my leg and shouted, "Don't go, mommy!
He had seen my fear, and was afraid something awful would
happen to me.
My first drill and fill experience wasn't great, but now I
knew what it was like. It wasn't a threatening "unknown"
Also, I didn't want my son to be afraid of dentists
like I was. So I sat down with him and talked about it. I told
him that I had been scared, and that it hurt a little bit, but
that I wasn't afraid anymore. The dentist just worked on my
teeth to make them healthy.
We talked about how we can be brave, even when we're
afraid. This is a lesson that is always good to remember.
We don't have to let fear control us.
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