Actually, this post is about DENTAL FEAR, but that didn’t seem as catchy…

I have always hated going to the dentist.

I don’t really remember that first dental visit. It’s one of those childhood stories that your parents tell you so often that you think you remember it whether you remember it or not. Or maybe I do have pieces of it, since I don’t think they came back into the cleaning area with me. No, I was all alone back there, with the strange smells and unfamiliar people.

I told the hygienist that I did not like mint, and that I did not want anything mint used for me. She claimed to understand. She claimed that she would respect my wishes.

And she lied.

The moment she brought that buzzing cleaning wand into my mouth I detected it. MINT!

But it was “orange-mint” so that was why they thought it was okay. Oh, no, unless we are talking Tic Tacs, orange mint is still mint.

According to my mom, I ran out screaming and refused ever to return to that dentist.

After that incident, my parents took me to a specialist children’s dentist.

But even calling the Nitrous mask a clown nose couldn’t make me love the dentist. Even having to get fillings after just about every check-up didn’t make me brush my teeth enough to avoid such a fate. I could blame genetics… In fact, I think I will blame genetics. It isn’t the sweet tooth or the hatred of mint in the land of mint flavored tooth paste that led to less than stellar brushing habits; it’s my parents’ fault!

I’ve gotten a lot better about the whole tooth self-maintenance thing in recent years. I actually do floss once a day (except when I’m out backpacking). I can handle the mint toothpaste even though it is still gross. And I still request that my dentists not use mint products on me. That’s got to be a trust issue more than anything at this point. I don’t think it’s really an allergy issue (although the one time I tried to smoke a menthol cigarette, I experienced an instant asthma attack – something that non-menthol cigarettes did not cause). But I prefer that the dentist’s office treat it like an allergy issue, which is to say, seriously, because being at the dentist still freaks me out. It is associated with pain and lies deep in my psyche.

My current dentist probably doesn’t deserve my fear, but I’m glad that they are dealing with it and being nothing less than accommodating and polite.

If they’re lucky, I’ll never run out of their office screaming.

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