Me, too. A dentist from my childhood treated me terribly and my mother didn’t believe me. He was a mean old man and I think he HATED kids. He would yell at me and put the chair low where he could put his knee on my chest to hold me down. He’d grab my chin so hard I had bruises.

As a result I’ve had dental phobia all my life. Later in life I discovered a lot of others who were his patients as children did, too.

They have to put me out to work on my teeth. I start to panic walking into a dentist’s office. I ended up losing my real teeth because I was too afraid to go no matter how much a tooth would hurt.

As an adult I found a dentist who specialized in working with patients with phobia. His whole staff was trained to treat those of us with dental phobias. They couldn’t even touch my mouth without me gagging — so the gentle dentist would tell me no one was going to touch me and ask me if I could open my mouth so he could look without touching me.

They eventually sedated me and managed to get impressions and xrays by letting me put the mold or whatever in myself.

Then for the work all I had to do was get as far as the chair and sit down and that’s all I would remember.

Bless the dentists who understand and take care of those of us with phobias. I wish I’d known about them earlier in my life when my real teeth could be saved.

My abusive dentist is dead, too. He should have lost his license and been sued for the damage he did to so many kids in my hometown.

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.

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