Category Archives: PTSD

The Dentist Part Two




I wrote in March about my dental phobia.  I home with a temporary crown.  The last three months has been a dental black hole.  I haven’t flossed, hardly brushed, and stuck with mouthwash.  My cleaning last month wasn’t too bad, but only because Barb, my hygienist, is the best.  I made an appointment for the crown after stalling for five months.

Thursday was the day and I have been something  of a mess for a week.  Worse, I was scheduled to have it done two weeks ago and came down with a bad cold and had to reschedule.  That prolonged my agony.  In defense of the dental office, everyone there is just great.  They are nice, competent, and do their best to make every visit as painless as possible.  I have been a patient there for over twenty years.

Steve Law is the dentist.  A Minnesota boy, he went to St. Olaf College in the same town as Carleton College, that Susan, my stepdaughter,attended.  He is a nice guy and a musician as well.  Today he had trouble getting the old crown off.   He drilled, pried, pulled, drilled, pried, and drilled some more.  After he got all the gear out of my mouth I asked him why he didn’t use Channel Lock pliers instead.  He said something about making it more comfortable.  I do not equate the dentist’s office with comfort, despite their apologetics.

The assistant was also good, and funny as well.  I just do not remember her name.  I should remember, she has worked there as long as my tenure as a patient.  I have a temporary crown she installed which will fall out before the next appointment.

I have lived with dental post-traumatic stress disorder for almost sixty years.  Carol is a therapist and has offered to help, but I just cannot face dealing with the anxiety of reliving dental agony.  At least the suffering is a good contrast with the good times I usually have.  How can we know the good without experiencing the bad?  Why does it have