If This Were Easy…


Reason #3: Because I should really go to the dentist.

Filed under: brushing, personal care, reason — Easy @ 2:04 pm

I’m afraid to go to the dentist.

Not a deep seated, hysterical, oh my god I’m going to fall over in a dead faint fear. More like a combination of small fears that add up to ‘I haven’t seen a dentist in 10 years.’ To enumerate:

1. Social Anxiety about phone calls: I don’t have a dentist in Ontario. I’ve never had one here. Finding a dentist and making an appointment would require that I make phone calls. I very much do not like to make phone calls of that nature.

2. Dental specific fear: A few years back (quite a few years at this point), when I wasn’t afraid to go to the dentist, I asked my mom to pay for a visit to my dentist back home for my Christmas present. Not the best of all possible Christmas presents, but I was in University and I didn’t have health coverage, and she’d have to make the appointment for me (thus saving me the anxiety creating phone call) so I thought that was pretty good, all around. She ended up making me an appointment at the college to have the student hygienist clean my teeth instead. 8 hours of utter hell later, I could barely open my mouth. And that was just a cleaning. I’d imagine they need more than a light cleaning by now. Consciously, I know that was because it was some idiot student doing the work, but there’s still a small part of me that fears.

3. Work anxiety: I don’t quite understand how my dental plan works, in terms of paying and submitting. Figuring it out will require asking for help and having people at work do things they don’t normally do (I’m an out of country employee, so my insurance situation is unusual, along with all my other HR related situations, and I’m trying very hard not to have those things be a major pain for the company I work for. Because I fear that if I’m too much hassle, they will lay me off just to not have to deal with it.

4. More dental specific fear: I fear, that having left them undentisted for 10 years, my teeth are in really, really, really, really, really terrible shape, and that if I go to the dentist, they will be mad at me. I realize that not going to the dentist for even more years is not likely to improve this situation. However, I feel like if I could just get into a solid brushing habit for a few months, I could at least get my teeth looking not utterly, unbelievably neglected, and maybe when I go to the dentist, they won’t yell at me.

So, this is part of the plan. If I can make this toothbrushing thing happen for a month or two, then I will try to work up the necessary mental energy to actually go to the dentist.



  1. I don’t really have any advice beyond the first, but for #1: could you have a local friend make a call? Perhaps even to their own dentist as a recommendation? That allows you to go to a dentist that you have a hint of how good they are, and lets you avoid the first phone call as well.

    Comment by aemasu — 2008-05-20 @ 6:07 pm

  2. I too didn’t visit a dentist for 10+ years, mostly because I plain forgot once I was no longer a child and I moved away from home. Even growing up I very rarely saw doctors/dentists. Maybe it’s cultural.

    At any rate, the dentist said my teeth needed a cleaning or two and I had some cavities, but nothing major, and that my gums were in good health. So if you’re not suffering from tooth pain, take heart that your teeth are probably okay, even after 10 years of not seeing a specialist.

    Comment by Aya — 2008-05-20 @ 7:34 pm

  3. I’m somewhat similar… haven’t had dental coverage until recently, haven’t really had the urge to go, and I *know* they’re going to yell at me if I do.

    Having said that, I’d suggest you’re probably on a good route right now – get into the habit of regular tooth cleaning, and start asking around at work and around with friends to get a good reference, then when you’re comfortable, work on the phone call thing.

    Comment by Rus — 2008-05-20 @ 9:49 pm

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