I got a personal text from my dental hygienist informing me that they are now scheduling appointments for patients to get their teeth cleaned. Reading that text caused anxiety and anguish. I don’t want to go back to my dentist office. Not because I hate getting my teeth cleaned, I actually love it. Going back will involve being reminded of a time I was feeling hopeful and happy.

I was pregnant at my last appointment. My round belly was getting to the point where it was obvious that I was expecting.

During the visit, my dental hygienist and I only talked about pregnancy and babies. When my dentist came in for the exam, he gave me advice on how to raise teenagers.  WE TALKED ABOUT MY SON BEING A TEENAGER! The discussions were fun and light. I talked about how excited my husband and I were to be having a boy. As I was leaving, the comment was made that next time I am there I would have an almost 3 month old. Everyone was so genuinely excited for me. 

It hurts to remember that version of me. That person gloated about becoming a mother. Her head was filled with wild ideas of what her son’s future would be like. She had all the optimism in the world about raising her baby boy. She was even a little cocky about being ready to be a mother; constantly saying she had no fear about becoming a parent just pure excitement. It is hard to believe that person was me. I hate being reminded of that version of myself.

You might be thinking it is just the dentist you are freaking out over nothing but let me explain why I feel so much anxiety. At this office the dental hygienists remember EVERYTHING. My dad and I have laughed about this fact on multiple occasions. I only go to the dentist every six months for cleanings and without fail the hygienist will start talking about our last discussion – How was your vacation to Florida? Is that big project at work done? Is your pool open for the summer? If we talked about it she will bring it up. Having a baby is an exciting topic, I highly doubt she may have forgotten. I use to love that they made the visit feel so personable. But now…. I dread being personable with people. I despise small talk.

Going to the dentist is supposed to be an easy task. I hate that this has become another situation I have to get emotionally and mentally prepared to handle. I would give anything to be able to go in like it is just another visit. I would love to have small talk that consisted of me sharing funny stories of things my little boy has learned to do. I would love to show off pictures and videos of him.

I fantasize every day of being able to say thinks like: “Our little boy was born in January. His name is Theodore. He is growing like a weed. Everyone was right, time does fly.” Everything in me wants to be the adoring first time mom-to a living child. Instead, if I go, I will have to tell my hygienist and dentist that our son is living his best life in heaven. I will have to see the look of shock in their eyes, that quickly turns to heartache for me. Then I will have to muster up the courage to act like it is OK and go forward with getting my teeth cleaned.

I can’t bring myself to reply to the message. I am considering changing dentists.

I want to run away from situations like this one.

6 thoughts on “The Dentist”

  1. I can totally relate to this. I got anxiety about going anywhere after Asher died, especially to places where people knew I was pregnant. I had a similar fear about returning to my dentist after Asher passed. My last time there I was obviously pregnant and we had similar discussions. When I returned after Asher died, my hygienist knew and she just asked to give me a hug. Sending you love! ?

  2. Dear Mallory yes this is very difficult I’m sure. You still have to go on living and that requires all those ordinary things we do in life. I’ve heard that the first year is the hardest as you need to go through all those dates and events throughout the year. Just call on the Holy Spirit, which is the love of God and Jesus, as you walk through the dentist office. The words will come. Love Susan

  3. I can totally understand why stuff like this would trigger massive anxiety. And you should always do what’s best for you – put your mental health first. If you choose to stay with them, maybe send them a message in written form; explain the situation so they know, but for your own mental health you would prefer not to talk about it during the appointment. I’m sure they would honor and respect that. Love you!

  4. Hi Mallory, I say tell them when you get there but show them his picture and share your life as a mom. They sound like they will be the support you need. Don’t ever feel like you can’t share his story. Love you.

  5. Mallory,
    The more you share, the lighter your heavy heart will become. Aunt Debbie has a good idea, share Theodore’s picture. Cousin Sarah’s advice about sharing when you get there is good. I would go the extra step as she also mentioned and alert them in advance, prior to your appointment. That will help spare them and you of that “uncomfortable, painful “ moment.
    Then proudly share his picture!
    No need to give up the dental care from an office you have obviously enjoyed having a relationship with.
    Each of these hurdles are difficult, but life’s track can be mastered. I have confidence in you, dear niece, and know you will conquer these challenges.

  6. I can feel your reluctance to have to deal and cope with yet another challenge…the “oh how’s the baby?” When you show up and it’s obvious last dentist visit you were very pregnant and now you’re not.
    I think you should send an email or card ahead of time with a note expressing your loss and the need for privacy when you go in for an appointment. The dentist office has your best interest at heart (for many growing up) and they will understand your need for privacy. In time perhaps you could share stories or even a picture bragging about Theodore!

    The first visit back would be difficult but I believe you will be strong enough when the time comes. You can easily put it off until you are ready. I think if you like the dentist & staff it is better than switching dentists. Look at it this way, it will be no different than what you had to face when you went back to work. It was challenging but you did it!

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