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#135051 - 02/17/06 02:22 AM Dentists- what would get you to go?
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1799
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
Hey Gang,

Today I had to go to the dentist.

I know in the 'doctors' thread some of you mentioned how you don’t like going to the doctor and also mentioned dentists. So I got thinking about my dentist because he also does a lot of research, university teaching, and writing for the trade journals. He’s also always on the cutting edge of the technology, procedures, and he’s a marketing & customer service genius.

So I asked him if he has ever thought about those of us out there who are survivors with our very specific phobias of being touched especially the kind of touching dental work requires. Of course he hadn’t.

I asked how he would reach out to survivors and sell the idea of going back to the dentist.

His first thought off the top of his head would be the sedation he offers but in the same sentence, before I could say anything, he said, “But I don’t know if that would be worse.” We agreed the sense of not being in control with slight sedation could make things worse. Part of me felt survivors may be divided 50/50 on that one with some welcoming the sedation and others being terrified at the idea.

We also agreed that if the doctor knew about the history of abuse he would easily be able to make accommodations and be as considerate as Larry’s doctor. But that takes disclosure and a survivor may not be comfortable mentioning that… even if they added a question on the fist-time-visit questionnaire, “Do you have a history of childhood sexual abuse?” many would say no and that would only work if they had already made the decision to go in the first place.

He also thought having a trusted friend in the room may help and he asked me if I ever noticed that in his office the chairs face the doors so the patient can see if anyone enters the rooms. He says in most offices it’s the opposite.

So aside from insurance and coverage issues, what would get you to go to the dentist? What would you need to be comfortable? Would you be willing to tell the doctor of your history?

My dentist advertises that he “caters to cowards” How can we get the dentists and the doctors cater to survivors?


#135052 - 02/17/06 10:34 AM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go?
TJ jeff Offline

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3594
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
Good thread Roland...

it's been basicaly 10 years since I was last to a dentist

I believe that the only way I'll ever go willingly is if they totaly knock me out cold (I don't wanna remember nothin)

I had a dentist years ago that did a partial sedation (when all of my wisdom teeth where pulled in one siting -was the last time I ever willingly went to the dentist - was forced to go to the military ones) - I was so highly freaked cause I was not in control of my body - I could feel the pain - and yet I could'nt get my mouth to say the words...

I don't really think that there has to be a question added to the forms asking if you've ever been abused - as you said, how many would truthfully answer it - probably few - cause of fear of what others would think about you

I think that the answer might have been found in a clinic about an hour south of me - they give the patient a pill that puts them to sleep and when they wake up the dentist is all done - now that's the kind of dentist that I could actualy go to - I hear tell that this clinic is totaly packed to capacity since they started advertising this new form of dentistry...

I believe that more dentists should get onboard with this new 'sedation dentistry' - advertise it - the people who need it will come...

and that's my thoughts...

TJ jeff

Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

#135053 - 02/17/06 10:44 AM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
So aside from insurance and coverage issues, what would get you to go to the dentist? What would you need to be comfortable? Would you be willing to tell the doctor of your history?
I would need to know that I wouldn't get shamed by the dentist for my history of not going.

Honestly, I get scared and ashamed just thinking of having to tell a dentist how long it's been since I went.

And I don't know how I could tell that without giving away at least some history, since my parents didn't take me to a dentist either.

I also don't really feel like I deserve to go to the dentist.

#135054 - 02/17/06 10:05 PM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go?
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1799
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
Thanks for the input!!

One of the folks on the discussion borad replied with a PM. and that gave me a couple ideas which I thought I would share here.

In talking to my dentist (and from my expierience) there are a lot of new ways they do things to make the patient comfortible... sedation (he says you won't remember a thing)...

I'm going to work on this because it stinks that so many people are having trouble getting the help they need.

Let me ask you this... what if there was an advocate in the room with you? What I mean is... there is a differece between a trusted friend or family member (and you may not have disclosed to them anyway) and say a guy who is a fellow survivor that knows what you fear, what you went throuh who can be there for you and keep an eye on things while you are sedated so you feel safe? (did that make sense?)

Ok let's jump ahead a couple years and pretend...

What if there was an agency or a part of MaleSurvivor that was there to help you make the appointment, explain the situation to the dr's office and actually had someone availible to go with you?

Just call the MaleSurvivor office or whatever, with your Dr's info and you would then get a call back with the appointment date confirmation and your advocates contact info...

I'm just pulling that out of my head as an idea. I'm sure we could get some grant to make that possible.

Sar, you are absolutley right... I felt the same way when I went back.

Sorry for the spelling and the choppy post... I was excited to get this on the board but I have a meeting to run to.

Let me know what you think.

#135055 - 02/18/06 02:49 AM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go?
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
I've always been frightened of dentists. I've also been frightened for my kids when they go. The sounds and smells make me feel ill. I'm not sure that it is related to childhood sexual abuse though. I'm guessing its because as a little kid I had a resistence to novacaine and had several teeth filled with very little numbing.
Regular doctors have never been an issue for me.
Peace, Andrew

there is no courage without anxiety

#135056 - 02/18/06 12:08 PM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
It has been years since I was to a dentist, and I now know it has everything in the world to do with my abuse history - dentists put things in my mouth, hold me by my head...need I go on?

I also wonder if in the past I was rationalizing my failure to go by procrastinating: I will do it next week, next month, etc.

Now, as SAR says, I just feel embarrassed to go after such a long time and fear all the clucking and lecturing as he sees the work that needs to be done. I also know I will be plenty angry with myself for neglecting this.

I would seriously consider any service offered my MS in this area. I feel I am making good progress, but going to an unknown dentist and go through all that stuff? Yeah right!

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#135057 - 02/18/06 12:36 PM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go?
markgreyblue Offline

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 5400
Loc: Pasadena, CA
the last time I went to a dentist - He fixed the wrong tooth! - seriously -

I will go to a Dentist -

with a huge man servant next time - with a nice carnival hammer -

if he makes a mistake - the dentist i mean - the agreement will be - that the man servant - will swing the hammer - and knock this man's head until it swells enough to hit the bell at the top of the wall -

once we hear a 'ding' then - i get a stuffed animal - and we get to go back to the dentist chair - with a new doctor to finish the work!

jeepers -



" not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders

"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous

#135058 - 02/20/06 12:18 AM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go?
george of kent Offline

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 305
Loc: delaware
What an excellent thread.
For me, I think minimal sedation is less traumatic. Dull the pain, but let be remain conscious enough so that I can be aware that boundaries were not violated and that the rest of my body is untouched. After years of avoidance, I now have a trust established with a local dentist and my teeth are much happier.
Love, etc.,

"We are only two and yet our howling can encircle the world's end.
Frightened, you are my only friend.
And frightened we are, every one.
Someone must take a stand -- Coward, take my coward's hand"
Arthur Laurents

#135059 - 02/23/06 08:43 PM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go?
delta.tetra Offline

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 108
Loc: Netherlands

I have an appointment with My dentist on 3rd march this year. When I telephoned to make an appointment the helper person said, "Oh you haven't been for a long time!" Well the last time I was there the dentist said, "you don't have to keep coming when there is nothing wrong with your teeth!" This time I have three broken teeth. Other times in earlier adult life I have waited through years of bad rotting tooth pain because I was too terrified of the dentist.

I am a big man, and I have a lady dentist. She is small and elegant and delicately built and I cannot think she is strong enough to physically restrain me so she could abuse me somehow. She has treated me for about ten years. She was recommended personally to me by someone who said he was very very scared of dentists. She never really hurt me unreasonably yet and I can always tell her if it makes too much pain.

I would like very much to be fully sedated during all dentistry!

I have decided a few days ago that I will tell my dentist the truth about me being abused, and that I am getting proper attention now for those problems. I will tell her that a lot of abuse survivors have problems with going to see the dentist.

I do accept my personal responsibility for the current and future state of my teeth! I am committed to going to the dentist when necessary for my happiness and comfort. I refuse to allow 'the perp' to make me accept tooth ache any more!

#164703 - 07/04/07 08:14 AM Re: Dentists- what would get you to go? [Re: delta.tetra]
theatrekid Offline

Registered: 06/03/07
Posts: 702
Loc: oregon
ok i know this is an old post but im reading old posts tonight.... so any ways i am scared to death of the dentist, doctors, when i was little i wouldnt even get my hair cut.... i never thought it was because of the abuse though... but that kinda makes sense to me... anyways just though i would throw my 2 cents in.

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