DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 22 years old and still terrified of the dentist. I went to a pediatric dentist until last year. Since then, I have not sought out a new dentist, meaning I have not been to the dentist in 18 months. There is nothing wrong with my teeth, but I know it is important to go at least once a year to make sure everything is OK.
Ever since I was a youngster, I have been scared of the dentist and hate the feeling of someone probing my mouth with sharp metal objects. Do you think this is a common phobia for someone my age? Do you have any advice on how I can overcome this fear? -- Scared of the Dentist, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR SCARED OF THE DENTIST: I was much like you after having had a series of bad experiences with the dentist when I was a child. I ended up needing costly and painful procedures because I ignored my mouth for too long. DON’T BE LIKE ME!
Ask your friends and your pediatric dentist for referrals. Find someone who is conscientious and who has a good bedside manner. Once you find a dentist who makes you feel comfortable, you will be able to overcome your fear. It took a lot of conversations to build trust with my dentist, and it worked. We have been together for more than 20 years. You can do it!
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)Read more in: Health & Safety | Mental Health | Miscellaneous