Janet’s Inner Child Goes to the Dentist

I really dislike the dentist. Let me rephrase this statement, I really dislike going to the dentist. Since I was in fifth grade I have gotten bad news from almost every dentist I have ever had. Often when I visit the dentist I feel like a fifth grader again.

It is not unheard of, in my past, to break into tears as the dentist once again announces that more dental work needs to be done. Impacted teeth must come out. Oh look I need another root canal. Those crowns look old, time to be replaced. There is a cavity underneath that crown, off comes the crown a filling is placed, and on goes a new crown. About five years ago it was announced that two of my back teeth needed to come out, bone buildup needed to be done, and just like that, I had my first implant. Oh sigh.

At close to seventy years old “young Janet” often shows up when she goes to the dentist. If there is one place that my inner child finds free reign to come out and create havoc, just point me towards the dentist. I become a nervous wreck, not sleeping well the night before my appointment, and bracing myself for the “hard news” once again. I encourage myself to be strong and don’t cry. It isn’t that bad. The news feels like the end of the world and the tears come.

I will use several techniques to keep calm and in control. I wish they always worked but at least I have them in my arsenal and often I am amazed to find they do work.

  • Breath Work. I have practiced yoga for many years. I am able to bring forth breath work to help me through this stressful time. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.
  • I picture the whole event before it happens. I see myself as calm and in control.
  • I have had talks with my inner child from time to time, remembering to tell her that she is loved and this is a part of life. After the appointment is over I can have a treat. It helps. Really. Today a Donut. (I know, not a healthy choice but sometimes…)
  • I do a lot of research so that I can become my own best advocate. I know it is sometimes hard for the dentist to have to answer all the questions yet it makes me feel better to be a little more in control.
  • I arrive early so I have time to relax and breathe.
  • There was one dentist in my past that had a massage chair. I liked that a lot.
  • And if all else fails after my visit I have a good cry and get over it.

I am in San Diego, camped at Mission Bay and I have two more dental appointments this month. Sigh. It helps that this periodontist is professional and kind and treats me with respect. As I signed the treatment plans today I felt that I was becoming a part of the team. I think this helps me remain a little more the adult Janet.

I still went for that white cream-filled donut on my way back to my rig.

3 thoughts on “Janet’s Inner Child Goes to the Dentist

  1. Sorry about your dental stuff. I still don’t like going to the dentist either – thanks to Dr. Shiek. I clench my hands so hard that I leave mail marks on the inside of my palms. Right now I’m dreading the urologist! The joys of old age!

  2. Hi Janet , As a retired dentist myself i feel your anxiety. No ne chooses to go to the dentist for fun. it’s just a necessity. But reach out to your dentist to discuss what causes you anxiety and fear. They can then do their best to allay your concerns. That personal relationship is the key in developing trust which in turn helps the fears at least lessen. Scott

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