March 28, 2014

Why We're So Afraid of the Dentist (or maybe it's just me…)

After spending all morning either a) traveling to and from the hospital or b) in the hospital itself, I settled myself in for a quiet rest of the day at home. (I'm fine by the way, just some strained and torn tendons in my ribcage) However, this dream of a quiet afternoon was shattered when I remembered I had a dental appointment.

Now, if you're like me, the mere thought of the dentist is enough to send shivers up your spine. For a couple of months/years now, I've been scared of the dentist (and the orthodontist also if you're like me and have had retainers/lip bumpers/braces etc.) 

I don't consciously remember when this fear started, but I do remember sitting in the dentists' chair with my palms sweating and pulse racing (that counts as exercise right?) Apart from the fact that it was a dentist who invented the electric chair, I don't see a logical reason that I should be scared of the dentist who, not counting the prolonged hours I've spent with sharp metal objects poking around my mouth, has done nothing to me.

I wasn't always afraid of the dentist, I think I grew into it as I grew older (you can outgrow fears, seems logical that you can grow into them too) and according to the internet 15% of my fellow Americans and 26% of people surveyed in the UK feel this way as well. It's possible this whole thing started when my lip bumper was removed (some of the most painful, tear-stained memories I've ever experienced in public) however I don't actively remember feeling trepidatious about entering Dr. Cas' office after that…hmm… 

It could also be stemming from the multiple reports of people dying in the dentists' chair whilst getting their wisdom teeth removed…it could also refer back to my numero uno fear of drowning and the excess buildup of water in my mouth at the dentists' office rehashes that painful experience for me. I don't know…I do know there are some ways to deal with this fear that I've developed.

More and more dentists are catching onto this trick of mounting televisions on the ceiling so the patient can watch movies or shows or whatever while getting their teeth worked on, a nice distraction technique I believe. Today, the dental assistant perfectly pegged my personality and started playing Beyoncé preforming "Single Ladies" at one of her concerts. It took all my self control to not start wiggling my hips and gyrating along with her onstage whilst in the chair with four hands in my mouth.

If your dental office is suspiciously lacking a television planted on the ceiling, try to distract yourself and calm your nerves by breathing as normally as you can whilst thinking about something sequentially. It's not a hard trick, I first learned this when we would do our 25m's underwater without breathing (for those of you non-swimmers, that is one lap of the pool completely underwater with no breathing and no above-water strokes, we would usually do this about 25-40 times). You can sing the alphabet song perpetually in your head, start counting from 1-100 and even beyond if you need to. You can also count backwards and sing your favorite song in your head, something that keeps your mind thinking about what's coming next rather than what's going on in your mouth.

So this is my blog post about basically nothing…if you have any tips on how to keep from having a panic attack in the dentists chair, drop a comment below or let me know on one of my various avenues of communication above. Stay fabulous lovelies (I should have a nickname for my tens of readers…hmm…I'll muse on it)


Post a Comment