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Home > Dental Conditions > Dental Anxiety > Confessions of a Dental Coward
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Confessions of a Dental Coward

Even the worst dental cowards can overcome fear.

OK, you got me cold! I confess! Yes, I was a dental coward. I broke out in a cold sweat and cowered in the corner at the thought of plunking myself down in the dentist's chair and opening my mouth. Because of this, I pushed all thoughts of visiting the dentist out of my head for years, and as a result, the condition of my teeth became worse and worse.

I know this is a terrible hackneyed cliché, but it all started as a young boy. Like most kids, I needed dental work and my parents took me to their dentist. I forget his name which, I'm sure, has been banished forever from my memory due to the horror of it all. Suffice to say, he was a butcher who had no regard for the comfort of his patients, and in fact, once told me that pain is all part of having your teeth worked on. His barbaric attitude and skills, coupled with the available dental equipment of that era, caused me great physical pain in his chair and great mental pain just thinking about being in his chair.

When the work was finally over, I breathed a large sigh of relief, and although I didn't realize it at the time, my fear and avoidance of dentists was forever etched in my mind and I never again went near a dentist's office for decades. During this time, the condition of my teeth got progressively worse, both health wise and in appearance. I probably would have been condemned to remain a slave to my fears for life if a fortunate accident hadn't occurred.

I broke a tooth in half on a piece of hard candy. How, you say, could this possibly be fortunate? I know...it sounds very strange. A few weeks later, the remaining half tooth fell out leaving a noticeable gap in my upper front teeth. I had avoided smiling due to the appearance of my teeth before the accident. Now I stopped smiling altogether. I wrestled with my fear and finally sought the services of a dentist.

Living in Seattle at the time, the dentist I picked was Dr. Reed. He was nearby and he was open on Saturday, which was important to me as I traveled a great deal on business during the week. With my heart in my throat, I timidly sat down in his chair for my initial dental examination fully believing that he was going to cause me unbearable pain. Dr. Reed concluded his examination -- with no pain -- and then, in consultation, told me what I needed. What I needed was massive and expensive. I went home to think about it, and decided I would endure the pain, face my fears and get it over with.

Dr. Reed's staff scheduled me for a series of appointments and my ordeal began. Except, wait a minute, it wasn't at all the ordeal I'd expected! What's going on, here? Dr. Reed gave me an adequate amount of pain-numbing injections (and even those, he did with great care), carefully explained each procedure, and at all times, was extremely careful to ensure that I was comfortable and not in pain. I left my first appointment seriously doubting some of my deep-rooted convictions about dental work. As each appointment was completed, more of these fears went by the wayside. I began to really like Dr. Reed as both a dental professional and as a person. He had a great sense of humor and made me laugh. Imagine me laughing in the dental chair! Will wonders never cease?

Once, I got to him with a little verbal joke I played on him. My appointments were quite long, so we would have occasional rest room breaks. Dental pain-numbing injections cause your speech to be quite slurred and almost unintelligible. Arising from the chair, on my way to the rest room, I covered my face and head with a nearby towel and in my greatly slurred speech announced, "I am not an animal."

Dr. Reed and his assistant almost fell on the floor laughing. Yes, here I was laughing at and making jokes in the dentist's office. Once, during a particularly long appointment, I actually fell asleep in the dental chair and his assistant had to wake me up. My fear of dental work by that time was completely gone.

As part of my needed work, Dr. Reed sent me to an oral surgeon, Dr. Cohen. Dr. Cohen was quite skilled in his work and was also quite funny, and in fact, did stand-up comedy as a sideline. I faced his work with no fear, thanks to Dr. Reed.

Today, I have healthy, beautiful teeth. Yes, much of my mouth is bridge work, but they feel and act just as if I'd had them all my life. I have no toothache or mouth pain as I did in the past, and now I love to smile. I accomplished this with almost no real pain (during or after each appointment). OK, there was one bit of terrible pain when I got the bill. Ouch! My work was in the five-figure range and the first figure wasn't a one. Nevertheless, I feel it was some of the wisest money I've ever spent.

If you've been putting off much needed dental work, I urge you to reconsider. While I was somewhat lucky in choosing a great dentist, I suggest you get referrals and other recommendations and pick your dentist carefully. You'll find there are many skillful and caring dentists from which to choose. Also, the dental equipment and techniques of today are vastly improved from what was available in years past.

Grab your fear by the horns and face it. It's never been easier to do that than right now. I know that as well as anyone, and thanks to Dr. Reed and Dr. Cohen, I'm no longer a dental coward. The next person to say that could be you!!

Want a great dentist who can help you with all of your dental needs? Call us at 1-866-970-0441 today.

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