Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Child Abuse Survivors and Dental Fear

I didn't realize how much of an issue this was for many folks out there until I wrote about it.  Yes, if you have read my earlier posts on my issues with the dentist, then you will know how much dental fear I have as a child abuse survivor.

It is not easy for those that have been through trauma and torture to deal with dental fear.  No matter what I do, its still not easy.  I avoid the dentist like a poison that is gushing out of the sink.  I don't want to be anywhere close to it.

Most dentists don't care from what I've found if you have dental fear and anxiety.  Many will say they do, but they think after the first visit, all that will gone.  It is frustrating beyond belief.  I have had only two dentists that I really trust and unfortunately I live too many miles from them to go back now.

I'll never forget the one dentist who treated me and then a follow up visit, acted as if there was something wrong with me because I still had dental fear and anxiety.  Another one proceeded to make me feel pretty bad for not taking care of my teeth.  Another wanted me to go to a teeth cleaning and I thought I had found a hygienist that I connected with and trusted.  Unfortunately, the person had to be out for the day and instead of the dentist office letting me know, they assumed that I would go to the next hygienist they had on staff.

When you've been beaten, held down into a bed where you couldn't breathe and had sexual things shoved into your mouth and raped, you don't trust anyone.  I could get more graphic if I thought that would wake some dentists up.  My body was tortured and the last thing I want to do is allow anyone to have control over me and inflict pain upon me.  My anxiety begins the minute I have to start thinking about seeing a dentist and doesn't stop until there are no more visits.

I am glad there is a site called DentalFear.com and that someone is addressing this issue, because it is a big issue for many people.  They have some great information on their site which I've actually used (long before I found their site) and it does help.  It doesn't completely take care of the dental fear and anxiety for me, but it helps.

For me, I always have someone I trust in the room with me.  I take my headphones with a playlist on my ipod and play it.  I close my eyes and ask that they put something over my eyes to shield me from the light because the light really bothers me.  I'm very sensitive to light.


It helps if the dentist is understanding and empathetic who listens and takes their time.  Just trying to see how fast you can go is not good for me, because I need a rest and a break.  I need to be coached to remember to breathe and breathe deeper and slowly, because I often forget that.  Fear and anxiety are not friends of proper breathing.

I know my dental health isn't good and it embarrasses me, but until I find the right dentist and then have the necessary income, there's not much I can do about that.  Maybe there is a dentist out there that would work with me, but after several, I've given up hope that I will find one.

I'll gladly help any dentist understand what it is for me to go through a visit to a dentist office.  I believe there are probably some things that could be done to help those of us who struggle to do this.  We may all have to think outside the box, but there is a significant population who are suffering and have no one to turn to for proper teeth care.  The dental fear and anxiety is just too great.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly
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