Is my dental phobia irrational or should I just accept the way things are?
16th June 2011

I am most certainly phobic. I had huge fillings done as a young child with no anaesthesia, it is the most frightening and painful thing I can remember. (and I have been through childbirth four times). I go to a local NHS dentist that also provides IV sedation. I only go because I found out the hard way many years' ago that a dental emergency is more to be feared than going regularly. My husband books check-ups and doesn't tell me until the day I am going. I cry at check ups and I only let the dentist put a mirror in my mouth. The dentists change a lot at my practice and so I regret that I am unable to form any sort of real trusting relationship with them. I have had general anaesthetics for simple work for over 20 years, but now that the IV sedation is much improved, I have this. I can't ever invisage a day when I am not asleep for treatment. I feel quite a failure on this, I am well-educated and completely unable to rationalise my way out of this fear. I also feel very angry that as a child I was abused and damaged this way by a person in a position of trust. Can I ever expect to get over this and have treatment like everyone else, or should my attitude be that at least I face my nemesis and go to the dentist even if I do have sedation? kind regardsĀ 

A. Hello. Well done for facing your fears and going to the dentist at all . What happened to you is not only very unpleasant , but your phobia is not irrational . There is a belief that the kind of experience you had gives rise to something called post-traumatic dental stress disorder .this is burnt into memory very deeply . Of course people still have to go to the dentist throughout the course of their lives , re- activating the emotions . yes it's possible to get over it and have some dentistry without sedation . Building up trust with a dentist who is stable in a practice is the optimum,if possible . Perhaps trying just to have your teeth cleaned with some oral sedatives ? it might be an idea to ask your dr for a referral to a. CBT Therapist , that is becoming an accepted way of helping with this . In the meantime it's good that you are able to access care with sedation Jenny

Dental Phobia

Dr Jennifer Pinder

Bupa Dental Centre 77 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3QQ

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