Pregnancy

I’m So Scared Of The Dentist That I Haven’t Taken My Daughter In 3 Years

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scared of dentistI made a dentist appointment a few weeks ago, practically sobbing on the phone to the receptionist. This is because I’m scared shitless of dentists. In fact, dentists are the one and only thing I’m terrified of.

When was your last visit?” the receptionist asked. “Um,” I answered, thoroughly embarrassed. “Eight years ago.”

Yes, that’s right. I haven’t been to the dentist in eight years and I’m mortified to admit this. The dentist, like I said, is my greatest fear. I can’t even be in the same room as someone who is flossing their teeth, that’s how much I hate everything and anything to do with teeth. The problem is, I HAD to get over my fear, because my daughter, who is turning nine next week, has to go the dentist.

She has been to the dentist only once in her life, which again, I’m mortified to admit. But I will admit that she has only gone once, because of MY fear of the dentist, which isn’t fair at all.

I can only compare this to people who are terrified of flying. If you are terrified of flying, do you take your child on a plane?

In any case, I went to the dentist, having bitten off all my nails in the three days leading up to the appointment, and clenching my fist for the entire hour they were cleaning my teeth. I tried to go to my “happy place” during the cleaning, which was helped a lot by the gas they gave me. I must be very lucky because I had no cavities or issues with my teeth. On the way out, I booked an appointment for my daughter.

If you are a mother, you are a role model. And being a role model sometimes involves doing things that you absolutely are terrified of. When I became a single mother, one of the things I used to be scared of was filling up my gas tank. For some reason, every time I pulled out the pump and stuck it into my car, I had this fear that my car, and me, would explode. But I HAD to get over that fear, because I no longer had a partner (who knew my fear) to fill up my tank for me. And guess what? I’m no longer fearful of filling up my gas tank, which is a good thing, because most of my time these days is spent as a chauffeur for my daughter.

I was also really terrified of bacon, or rather seeing uncooked bacon, for some reason. I love to eat bacon, but I can’t be the one making it. I also got over that, because my daughter’s new favorite food is bacon, and I don’t want to be the person who says, “Sorry honey. Mommy is scared of looking at bacon, so you can’t have any.” Even I know that sounds crazy!

So all that is left is my fear of the dentist and although I made it through the appointment, I’m already scared of my next appointment in six months. Of course, my daughter needs to go to the dentist, as everyone does. But if I couldn’t even go to the dentist, then how could I make my daughter go? Even more so, if she knew how scared I was of the dentist, then she would be scared too and I don’t want her to be scared like I am. I feel pathetic enough about it.

We do so much as mothers to teach our children right from wrong. We also have to get over our own fears for them too. I have to admit, after leaving the dentist, that it wasn’t THAT awful. It may have something to do with the dentist and dental assistant being super kind and understanding of my fear. But mostly I think I have to thank my daughter for getting over this fear. I did it for her. And I am taking her to the dentist this week. I still hope, though, that she doesn’t ask for me to stay in the room with her.

But here’s the thing. I don’t think she will. The girl, unlike her mother, isn’t afraid of anything. It’s one of the qualities I like best about her. In fact, maybe next time I’m at the dentist, I’ll ask my daughter to come hold MY hand.

(photo: Adrian Hughes/ Shutterstock)