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I am extremely scared of the dentist due to assault

I was raped and sexually assaulted as a teenager. As a result of that I have an extreme phobia of going to the dentist. In the last 20 years I have only been twice. Just the thought of going leads me to hyperventilating. Laying down in the chair makes me feel very vulnerable.  Someone standing over me makes me feel extremely uneasy. Once things go in my mouth I feel like I have lost all control and I hyperventilate with panic. I loose all ability to be able to communicate how I am feeling even before and after the appointment. 

I know I need to go but have no idea how I will manage to do it. Should I tell the dentist before why I am so scared or just tell him/her that I am scared?

Im so sorry you have had this devastating experience .
Your fears and reaction to being at the dentist are your minds” way of telling you to get out of what it perceives to be a dangerous place .
My thoughts are that you should find a female dentist , and that hard as it may be that you should tell them the truth .
Otherwise the dentist will have no idea whats happening to you , or how to cope with it themselves .
If you were seeing me then I would sit with you away from the dental chair in the first place and just talk through your issues , one step at a time .
There is some good information for sexual abuse survivors on www.dentalfearcentral.org .
If you could manage a private consultation that would be best , or seek out the local Community Dental Service . Your dr may also be able to refer you for Psychological Therapy in relation to the dental environment .
I hope this helps a little
Jenny

Answer provided by: Dr Jennifer Pinder Retired
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