Afraid of the the dentist

Iris for with the dentist blogExtreme fear to see the dentist

Today I went for a check-up at the dentist.
You might think: Big Deal.
It is for me!

After 6 years of being too afraid, I finally got up the courage to go.
Lots of sexual abuse survivors experience an extreme and irrational fear for the dentist and I’m one of them.

Loss of control

The loss of control, the pain, the physical invasion: They can all be triggers when you go for your check-up. But today I come prepared. Knowing the triggers that might happen and knowing breathing exercizes that can help me through it. I’m ready

Communicating with the dentist

I booked a double appointment, so I first sit down and talk with him. I explain my struggle with loss of control. I also tell him that the procedure is invading a body cavity and because of my history of childhood sexual abuse, I find that very difficult. I need him to take me seriously in this. I need for him to stop immediately whenever I raise my hand, so I can be somewhat in control. I also ask him to talk me through the treatment, explaining every little detail, every move he makes before he makes them.

Going for the check-up

Then I feel ready to undergo the check-up. When he starts prodding at my lower molars I feel the need to catch my breath. I raise my hand. He immediately stops everything he is doing. Gives me time to recuperate and when I’m ready he finishes the procedure. No cavities and he even cleaned the teeth! I’m so proud of me.

Remembering the last time

The last time I saw a dentist, I bit her finger…
She got upset.
Me too.

I’m proud. I feel I’ve come a long way since then.

Are you afraid to go to the dentist?

  • Does the thought of going make you feel queezy?
  • Are you repulsed by the thought of a dentist sticking her/his fingers in your mouth?

You’re not alone. This is a very common reaction for sexual abuse survivors. Talk to your dentist. I’m glad I finally did. Plus I’m glad with my supportive network of friends who won’t alllow me to wait another 6 years before I see my dentist again.

How about you?


For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to cope, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at

1 thought on “Afraid of the the dentist

  1. Yes I know what you are talking about I have worked around this and have a dentist I trust. Sadly my teeth have suffered cos I took ten yrs off between visits. I used to feel full body invasion cos they were leaning over and near my face fortunately found a wonderful woman who agreed to work with me every time. Now I see a man who has been brilliant and doesn’t use thick instruments works like yours.

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