Thursday, 23 October 2008


So I went to the dentist yesterday. I've finally got a good one too, after many years of sadistic hygienists, dry sockets, and not enough anaesthetic. No, this isn't another blog post complaining about my own dentist visits. If you're interested in reading such stories of fear and anxiety, the internet has got what you're looking for and then some; I'll spare you my own reminiscences from the dental office.

I'm more interested in the overwhelming fear many of us have of the dentist. One of the more common phobias (there's even a cottage industry of books assuring youngsters dental visits won't be as scary as they imagine), dentophobia (or odontophobia or just plain dental fear) is much more easily understood than some other phobias. In fact, there's no end of reasons to be afraid of the dentist: the date booked well in advance (plenty of time to fret); the chair; the tools; the invasion of personal space; the possibility you might somehow repulse the staff working on your mouth; the pain; the surgery; the blood; the chance of later infection. The reasons go on and on.

Even the steps dentists have taken to combat pain and fear may be disorienting or frightening - sleeping gas, for instance, which, with its attendant loss of control or even awareness, has all sorts of unpleasant connotations for some.

Though most dentists are undoubtedly kind, well-meaning doctors with a professional dedication to keep your mouth healthy, that doesn't stop the media from focusing on those few anomalies who help feed the image of the crazed, blood-thirsty monster.

Marathon Man features probably the best known of the cinema's demon dentists, but there's plenty of other pictures out there with frightening sequences of dentistry and dental torture. In the last decade or so, Brian Yuzna (remember him?) even made a couple of horror movies with such a crazed practitioner as its subject -- The Dentist 1 and 2.

When something so commonplace has people terrified, you just know it's going to leave scars in people's minds (let alone their mouths). Later, it's sure to be ripe territory for fetishes, sex-games and the like; if nothing else, folks sure do love their retractors! A lot of these fetish sites are pay-only or require membership but here's a few things to get you salivating if you're so inclined.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Wow! These pictures were unbelievable! I wonder if dentists are like in those pictures. But dentists actually are not scary at all. In fact, our dentist in Raleigh, NC is really great and he does not make his clients scared. Also, our dentist (Raleigh area) always make his clients feel comfortable and feel great on how good it is to go to a dentist.