Why I’m afraid of the dentist, how I try to overcome it

Last month I went to the dentist for the first time since the pandemic. Yes, I know that was super long ago. But I hope that others who hear my story see that they are not alone and can work up the courage to go to the dentist too.

One of the main reasons I was afraid of the dentist is because I hate when people dig into my mouth and fear they’ll mess up a procedure while my mouth is numb. Even though I know they are professionals who have had years of training to work on people’s teeth, I still lack that confidence in a dentist, especially if I’ve never been there before.

I also always managed to go to the dentist accompanied by the emotional support I needed from my mother. So once I got to Berkeley, I was faced with the task of going to the dentist alone, something I really didn’t want to do. I could have possibly asked a friend to join me for emotional support if I really wanted to. But let’s face it, it can be a little embarrassing to ask for help, and they’d probably be wasting their time like a busy college student.

During the winter break I realized that I had to be much more independent. Since I’m graduating this semester, I have to grow up and do things on my own eventually, right? It was also because I sometimes felt pain when I ate sweets, which showed that I had cavities and that there was work to be done. So in January I made the difficult call to the dentist and tried to face my fears.

While my first visit to the dentist’s office was much better than I thought it would be, I realized that the health of my teeth was much worse than I thought. There was one big glaring problem in particular: I need a root canal.

A root canal required a much more invasive procedure that I have never done before. Needless to say I was terrified. After turning to trusty Google to learn about root canals I realized they are pretty serious and failed canals can lead to tooth extraction. So after about two weeks of mopping and stalling not to get it done, I finally made the appointment.

The procedure ended up taking three hours due to some setbacks regarding my tooth structure (since I have an overbite), but I was so glad it was over and didn’t want to go through that experience again. I eventually saw it as the result of my actions and I sign that I need to take much better care of my teeth in the future.

While I still have a few cavities to take care of, I was proud of myself for taking this first step and prioritizing my physical health so it wouldn’t get much worse. Hopefully my story reminds you that your physical health is very important and encourages you to make an appointment with the dentist if you haven’t in a while. As college students, there may be things we dread that come with growing up, whether that be going to the dentist, making phone calls to make appointments, or learning how to better manage your money. Whatever you’re afraid of, just do it because it can’t be as bad as you think.

Why I’m afraid of the dentist, how I try to overcome it

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