by Kate F. Hays, Ph.D. 730 Yonge Street, Suite 226, Toronto ON M4Y 2B7, Canada,(416) 961-0487Is it extremely difficult for you to call for a dental appointment for yourself? Do you put off making dental appointments even though you've got dental problems? Do you space out or become excessively fearful while in the dental chair? Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
By the age of 18, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused. Not only is the abuse traumatic at the time it occurs, it often has long-term disruptive consequences for the adult survivor. For example, medical procedures can be difficult to tolerate. For many survivors, going to the dentist is traumatic. They avoid visiting the dentist, have trouble making or keeping appointments, are more likely to have stress-related dental problems, and have severe distress symptoms while at the dentist. What is the connection between these symptoms of dental anxiety and childhood sexual abuse? There are a number of symbolic parallels: being alone with a person (often male) more powerful than oneself; being placed in a horizontal position; being touched; having objects put into one's mouth; being unable to swallow; and anticipating or experiencing pain. If you have some of these concerns, please know there are a number of ways to help alleviate your fears. Also, dentists are becoming more sensitive to dental anxiety triggered by early trauma.
|Disclaimer:||Fort Refuge is a strictly peer project, run by people who have been hurt and are trying to recover from the impact of this trauma. Anything you read on this website is an opinion only, based on personal experience of the author, and is not to be used in place of counseling, therapy, or medical or legal advice. If you or someone you know is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation and needs professional help - please call a hotline or your local emergency services; they can refer you to a qualified professional in your area.|