DEAR ABBY: I am writing to you because I can share this anonymously. I am close to 60 years old and I'm terrified of the dentist. Every time I pick up the phone to make an appointment I get so anxious I feel like I'm going to die.
Do you think I will be able to find a caring, compassionate and nonjudgmental dentist? Are they out there? Sometimes I wish I could die instead of going to the dentist. Am I crazy? -- MRS. ANXIETY IN THE U.S.A.
DEAR MRS. ANXIETY: Let me put it this way -- if you're crazy, you have a lot of company. Many people fear going to the dentist. However, there have been improvements in the field since you were a child -- including sedation for people who choose "not to be there" while their dental problems are being attended to.
Good dental health is very important to our overall health, so please don't put off any further making an appointment. Tell the person who is booking the appointment what your needs are, and if that dentist can't accommodate you, ask for a referral to one who can.