The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

← Return to Podcast List

00:00 / 00:00

Dentist Phobia

People who freak out at the dentist.

(this is raw unedited text, computer transcribed directly from the audio, without voice inflection, pauses etc. Sometimes this results in the text implying the opposite of the intended meaning.)

(Micro ad) . . .
The Selfish Path to Romance - download chapter one for free at Dr or at

Here's a question I received about the dentist. Think about yourself as a kid. Did you say mom Kelly, when are we going to the dentist next? I can't wait to sit in that chair. Oh, I love the sound of the drill. And boy when I can feel that hole that he just drilled in my tooth with my tongue. Wow, that's so cool, mom.

You know, kids don't do that. I certainly didn't do that as a kid. In fact, my dentist used to give me the needles that he used for Novocaine. So I thought that was cool as a kid. And he would also give me the mercury, which you can tell my age, they would never do that. Now, dentists would never be allowed to do that. And it probably wasn't very healthy of me to be playing with the little Mercury balls. But that's what we did. So anyway, here's the question from Mica.

Dr. Kenner. I have a friend who's a dentist, and he says he doesn't show his dental work to his patients till he's done. Maybe it's a crown or something. He claims that there is a syndrome while complex. Some pay patients will freak out if they see their teeth shaved down. Is this true? What is the name of the syndrome?

Well, mica, I have bad news. I don't know a specific name of that syndrome. I even tried looking it up online. And maybe if I spent more time doing it, I might have found it. I did not find a specific syndrome. So I do want to talk about just a fear of dentists in general. And I feel so badly for dentists because many people don't say, oh, Doc, thank you so much. I love the way you clean my teeth or the way you gave me a new root canal. Dentists are not the most beloved people in the world. So number one dentists know that and they have skills to help many of them have skills to help put you at ease. In fact, many children's dentists focus on giving the kids balloons or having cartoons playing or putting headsets on the kids so they don't hear the drill sound. And they do this for adults too. And if your dentist doesn't provide that, you can do it I did when I went in for a root canal. My first root canal I couldn't wait. I'm serious. I couldn't wait for my first root canal. Why?

(Mini Ad)
Hey, I got to interrupt this because we've got to pay some bills. 30 seconds. That's it. A very quick ad and then Ellen will be back :

Romance. Oh, I wish guys knew more about what we want from a relationship. Boy, I wish I knew more about what I want. Where's that ad I saw? Here it is - the selfish path to romance. A serious romance guidebook. Download chapter one for free at selfish and buy it at Hmm, the selfish path to romance. That is interesting.

When I went in for a root canal, my first root canal I couldn't wait. This is serious. I couldn't wait for my first root canal. Why? Because I had been so busy. I think I was in grad school or just very, very busy work in grad school. And at home, I couldn't wait to just sit down in a chair for an hour. And I know he's going to drill in my mouth but he was going to numb me and I was going to listen to a book on tape. And this was my mini vacation is a very busy mom and, and student and working person. So I just loved my root canals and I kept that image of root canals or going to the dentist. So many people do have fear of dentists they worry about loss of control fear of pain, maybe they had a previous bad experience or heard a bad story. They don't like the noise, the sound of the drilling. As I said, you can put headphones on listen to music. They may not like a needle a Novocaine going in their mouth. If they looked in a mirror and saw that their tooth was shaved, it may freak them out. You know they look like a toothless old hag. They don't want to do that. So what do you do you understand your own self talk and you realize that you can talk differently to yourself. You can say what I did that, hey, I'm on vacation for the next hour. I don't have to I don't have to think about kids or shopping or whatnot. I can just lie back and listen to music or to a book on tape. So you discover you create an alternative way of managing your affair. You also might need some knowledge from the dentist to allay your fears. If you think that you're going to have pain forever when it's only going to be numb for a half hour. You know your jaw is going to be numb or something, get information from the dentist let them know you're a little anxious because if you try to hide it, it intensifies that anxiety so let them know. Sometimes dentists will put many times a poster on the ceiling of a relaxing scene you can look at. You can learn relaxation techniques, which include breathing techniques versus holding your breath. Maybe they can sedate you a little and you can have a signal system with your dentist to just wave to them if you want to get their attention or something and you can always use gentle Hey, I'm Rob.

And here's a little more from Dr. Kenner.

(From tv)
You've had quite a life, I suppose.

I know just what you're thinking. This is only the beginning. It's only gonna get worse from here. Let me tell you something. I'm at one now. And every morning, I open my eyes and I see the sun streaming through the window. I hear the birds chirping. I smell the coffee brewing down the hall. And I walk into the bathroom and I look into the mirror. And do you know what I say to myself?



The point is, it is only gonna get worse from where you are right now. What did you want me to say - life gets better with every passing year.

But you're not making me feel any better, Moira.

It's because I can't. Nobody likes to get older. But it doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself. Look, you're way too young to be concerned about all this. Don't waste the best years of your life worrying about something you can't control.

I know. I know. You're right.

And that's from Frasier and a little twist there. And think about the people in your life that you know, maybe your parents, maybe your grandparents, maybe yourself who are becoming more aware of the aging process, maybe have failed the arthritis, maybe you look and you see some wrinkles, maybe you see here where there shouldn't be hair on your chin or coming out of your ears and you think oh my god, what's happening to me are a few age spots on you. And you just feel like your life is passing you by how do you manage that? Do you have a method to manage that? Or do you just accept the way you are. And if you are one of those individuals who just feels like you don't have much control over your life, and you're just losing it and you don't have a lot of fun things in your life, you may end up focusing on the negative, that's not healthy for you. But you know, there's an alternative. And if you would be your own best friend, my guess is your take yourself by the hand and say, hon, look in that mirror, that is you. And whatever you look like on the outside, on the inside, you can be playful, you can be young, and you want to give yourself that experience. You do want to smell the coffee, if you like gardening, maybe you can have a little garden maybe even indoors, if it's winter time. Maybe you can have an activity that you like or watch I Love Lucy shows maybe some of you were too young to know it at the I Love Lucy shows, they're very funny. But just some sitcom that you like or some hobby that you have, or some interest or passion maybe you're a history buff and you love reading history, or you love your grandkids and love spending time with them or always wanted to travel and now you have a little more time to travel. Even my I go to get my nails done. And my nail tech tells me that he doesn't like to travel at all and he thinks his brother loves to travel but he doesn't like to any kind of things stupid, like he just he stays in his building all the time in his business. And he does nails most days of the week and goes home to eat. And it was an odd lifestyle for me and then he filled me and he said Look my brother spends all this money to travel and adherence money and then he goes around the world he says look at this and he shows me his computer. He said at the touch of my fingers I don't have to pay any money of course he says this in a Vietnamese accent. I don't have to pay any money and I can travel around the world and that's the way I like it. You know he doesn't like to pack he just likes to travel so even though he's even if you are what's called a shot in your in your home, you can't get out much you can make your days interesting. If you choose to.


For more Dr. Kenner podcasts, go to Dr. And please listen to this ad . . .

Here's an excerpt from the selfish path to romance the serious romance guide book by clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner and co author Dr. Edwin Locke, who is world famous for his theories on goal setting:

You chose your partner you did not choose your parents. You should not cater to an unreasonable or blatantly irrational parent, your partner comes first and deserves your loving support. Now consider children. Of course children are beloved irreplaceable values. Assuming you had children for the proper reason you wanted the joy of raising them, then it is not a sacrifice to give up lower priority values such as being in a time consuming tennis tournament. You've made a tragic and emotionally costly error if you had children out of duty, or to please others. Spending time with your children is typically a great source of pleasure. Nevertheless, partners need private time together on a regular basis

You can download chapter one for free by going to, and you can buy The Selfish Path to Romance at