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tragiclikebowie's avatar

What can I do to help my boyfriend overcome his fear of the dentist?

Asked by tragiclikebowie (4805points) February 11th, 2010

My boyfriend is stubborn. This is not my problem but it has to do with my problem. I love him dearly, but, he has terrible teeth. And by terrible I mean revolting to the point where I don’t want to kiss him or be near enough to smell his nasty breath. It’s harsh, I know, but it’s true. For the past three years he has been telling me he will go to the dentist and get his teeth fixed, etc. But he never does. He only tells me to appease me and then never does a damn thing about it. He is crippled with a fear of the dentist and it stresses him out very badly to even think of it. Any time I bring it up he immediately shuts down and doesn’t talk to me. I’ve tried being supportive and compassionate; it doesn’t work. I’ve tried being mean and a huge bitch; it doesn’t work. I’m not just worried about the vanity part of it, there are serious health issues he is at risk for by keeping his teeth in this state and letting them decay even further. I don’t know what to do, I’m at the end of my rope and I feel sick with worry. Help.

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24 Answers

PhillyCheese's avatar

The only way to conquer fear is to confront fear itself.

partyparty's avatar

Perhaps he could get something to calm him down from his doctor, before he goes to the dentist.

Eventually he will have to face his demons, because he will start to get toothache.

But always be supportive of him, I am sure that will help him.

Judi's avatar

He is probably afraid of getting a lecture from the doctor, and of the cost.
Dental care is one of the most important health maintenance issues. Dental infections can effect your whole body.
Most important is to find the right dentist. For. One bad dentist can cause exactly what is happening with him.
I now go to the dentist often because my dentist has become a friend. He will give me valum before a procedure and is very concerned about not hurting or stressing me.
Maybe you can find a dentist that will let him consult without having to get in the chair. This is tough.
If that doesn’t work, has he tried hypnosis?

Cruiser's avatar

Scare him straight into the dentist chair….Many people do not realize the connection between gum disease and heart disease. Healthy teeth are crucial to good health. This link gives a nice synopsis of the issue. You could always threaten not to ever kiss him until he gets to the dentist too! Good luck!!

Sophief's avatar

Why did you get with him then?

snowberry's avatar

I have an allergic reaction to a chemical that many/most dentists use. It is severe (life threatening). I need to go and am dealing with this very issue. I’ve had dentists who refused to work with me on this…

I know I need to go, but at the same time, I’ve had so many very bad experiences, it sounds easier to put it off. Gonna set that appointment though, cuz I know it’s not going to get better.

thriftymaid's avatar

No dentist, no sugar.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am also terribly afraid of dentists – it is an awful fear but one I overcame by finding the right dentist for me who didn’t guilt-trip me and was sensitive and so forth. I say tell him you will go with him, tell him to try hypnosis, perhaps. Tell him you care about his health and how much dental health matters.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@partyparty He is already in pain. He needs 2 of his wisdom teeth out as well. One of the problems is the novocaine doesn’t work; he can still feel everything. I’ve tried suggesting sedation destistry but it is hell of a lot more expensive.

@Judi He has been to a few consultations, but so far he hasn’t followed through. I just want to knock him out, tie him up and drag him there myself.

@Cruiser I have tried to scare him but maybe not enough. I don’t think I’ve gone into detail. And I did tell him it makes me not want to kiss him >.> He had two panic attacks last night after we fought about it. It really stresses him out so bad he can’t function and I just don’t know how the fuck to deal with it.

@Dibley Why? We met online 4 years ago and were friends for a year before we started a relationship. By the time we met in person I was already in love with him. He’s my best friend and I can’t imagine life without him. That’s why.

@snowberry Really? That must be tough. What chemical?

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I haven’t tried that, or hypnosis which @Judi suggested also. Would you go to someone for hypnosis or is it something you can try at home?

Sophief's avatar

@tragiclikebowie Did he have bad teeth when you first met?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tragiclikebowie Sometimes pain killers don’t work for me as well – but with this new dentist, they do – I think he’s just more capable at placing the medication into the right areas. As far as hypnosis goes, it is expensive, but I’d go see a specialist, not try to do it myself. You can also give him a Valium to relax him (okay, this is probably not a good idea).

Judi's avatar

He needs a dentist that he feels comfortable telling “hey, that hurts!”
Sad thing is, the really good ones are the most expensive.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Dibley Yes, but it had been a recent thing. I guess it all hit him at once because pictures from a year or two before where he was smiling there was no trace of them.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’m guessing that’s not something covered by insurance (lol)? Also I could get him a Vicoden or a Valium from my friend if need be. Hmm.

@Judi Yeah, he went to see a sedation dentist and I guess it was ridiculously expensive, but that’s what he needs. His dad will cover some of the cost but I’m not sure if he’s actually talked to him about it or if he just tells me he does to get me off his back.

Judi's avatar

My dentist always prescribes me a Valium before any procedure more than a cleaning.
If he won’t go, at the very least, get him a sonic care toothbrush and some synsodyne toothpaste. It can really help reduce gum disease which can effect the rest of his health More than he realizes.

snowberry's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Finding the right dentist is not as easy as it sounds. After 2½ years of looking, I finally found one I could afford, that was willing to work with me, and not screw me over (Whew! A tall order there)! Then we moved. Now I get to do it all over again. What fun. Almost sounds easier to fly back to my old dentist just so I don’t have to go through the pain of finding a new one.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@snowberry I know, I got uber super lucky!

Cruiser's avatar

@tragiclikebowie A dentist can prescribe a “relaxant” for your BF to help him get through that moment.

ChaosCross's avatar

When I have a painful experience ahead of me I think to myself:
“This will pass, after this is done I will be improved.”

DrMC's avatar

do you evil get the evil thought of sneaking a syringe home, and when he’s sleeping clang a pot and pan to startle him awake, then chase him around the house cackling insanely while chasing him with the syringe. (fill it with water and blue food coloring).

Never did?

That’s too bad, sounds like utterly sadistically diabolically satanic fun.

Good thing you’re not going to do it though. He would be severely traumatized.

snowberry's avatar

Yeah, for me that moment almost DIDN’T pass. I have a life threatening allergy to one of the chemicals that dentists use. That’s why I freak out. I’m fine if I am only going for a check up, but if I have to have a filling, that’s when I am placing my life in another person’s hands. I have to trust them enough to know they are not going to accidentally put that certain chemical in my mouth again.

gailcalled's avatar

Has he tried nitrous oxide (laughing gas)? That is both effective and pleasant.

speleorelic's avatar

knock out one of his teeth,, metaphorically, of course

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
snowberry's avatar

I just called up a new dentist and told him I’m a total wuss in the chair. In the past I have broken down and cried and trembled as if I were in shock (actually I probably was because of extremely traumatic experiences in the past). Once I even had to be sedated for a simple filling! They were willing to work with me, and there’s nothing more I can ask.

If he waits it will be worse. Eventually he’ll start hurting, and when it gets bad enough, perhaps he’ll go to the dentist. In addition, if he continues to neglect his teeth, it can lead to extreme bad breath, loss of teeth, and other diseases in his body.

”...under certain circumstances, the CDC says these microorganisms are associated with health problems such as stroke and heart disease. Diabetes is not only a risk factor for gum disease, but gum disease may make diabetes worse.”

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