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Why I'm scared of the dentist, how I'm trying to overcome it 

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This past month, I went to the dentist for the first time since the pandemic. Yes, I know that’s been a super long time. But, I hope others who hear my story might see that they aren’t alone and can get the courage to go to the dentist too. 

One of the main reasons I was scared of the dentist is because I hate having people dig into my mouth and am afraid they might mess up on a procedure while my mouth is numb. Even though I know they are professionals that had to go through years of training to work on people’s teeth, I still lack that confidence in a dentist, especially if I’ve never been to them before.  

I also always managed to go to the dentist accompanied by the emotional support I needed from my mom. So, once I went to Berkeley, I was faced with the task of going to the dentist by myself, which was something I didn’t really want to do. I could have possibly asked a friend to tag along with me for emotional support if I really wanted to. But, let’s face it, it can be a little bit embarrassing to ask for help, and they’d probably be wasting their time as a busy college student. 

During winter break, I had the realization that I needed to be much more independent. Since I am graduating this semester, I have to grow up and do things on my own eventually, right? It was also because I was sometimes in pain when I ate sweets, which showed I had cavities and needed work done. So, I made the tough call to the dentist in January and tried to face my fears. 

While my first visit to the dentist’s office was much better than I thought it would be, I realized that the health of my teeth was much worse than I thought. Specifically, there was one big glaring problem — I need a root canal.

A root canal required a much more invasive procedure which I have never done before. Needless to say, I was terrified. After going to trusty Google to find out more about root canals, I realized they were pretty serious and failed ones can lead to tooth extractions. So after mopping and stalling for about two weeks to avoid getting it done, I finally made the appointment. 

The procedure ended up taking three hours due to some setbacks when it came to my teeth structure (since I have an overbite), but I was so glad it was over and didn’t want to go through that experience again. I ultimately saw it as the consequence of my actions, and I sign that I have to take much better care of my teeth in the future. 

Even though I still have a couple of cavities to take care of, I was proud of myself for taking this first step and prioritizing my physical health so that it doesn’t get much worse. Hopefully, my story reminds you that your physical health is really important and encourages you to set up a check-up at the dentist if you haven’t in a while. As college students, there might be things that we fear that come with adulting, whether that be going to the dentist, talking on the phone to set up appointments or learning how to manage your money better. Whatever you might be fearing, just do it because it can’t be as bad as you think it might be.

Contact Samantha Herrera at