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How can I convince my dental phobic mother to go to the dentist?

Hi Jennifer,
I have a problem with my mother. I currently live with her as I just finished University. She is absolutely petrified of going to the dentist and hasn’t been for many years. Her teeth are not as bad as they could be but currently she is suffering with toothache and just keeps taking painkillers. They don’t seem to be working and I can tell she is trying to hide the fact she is in pain as she knows I will tell her she needs to go to the dentist. Do you have any advice on how I can finally get her to actually physically step into a dental clinic? I am worried about her, but have no clue where to start with her fear. Thank you.

This is such a difficult situation.Your mother is obviously deeply afraid of the dentist, and all the nagging in the world will not make her change her current way of dealing with this.
The current way is taking pain killers and hoping it will go away !
Some people get to the stage where the pain is so bad or constant that they get tipped over into having to do something about it .
The first stage would be perhaps for you to ring round and find an empathetic dentist .
You could look up to see who has been tested out in your area .
If she would go with the idea that its just a look , perhaps some antibiotics if appropriate, and exploring the options for pain relief and anxiety reduction.
You could offer to go with her .
But its still the case that your mum has to make the decision to take action herself , and you can continue to support her until that time .

Answer provided by: Dr Jennifer Pinder Retired
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