Dentophobia (Fear of Dentists)


“Jeremy Wallace, where are you hiding? Come out right now, young man! We do not have time for these games!”

Jeremy Wallace heard his mother’s yelling, but he remained stubborn. He refused to go to the dentist because his friends at school had told him horror stories about what went on there. Even though he was eight years old, he still believed in the Tooth Fairy. He preferred to believe that any problems that he had with his teeth could be solved by going to sleep at night and that when he woke up, the teeth would be taken care of and that he would find a dollar under his pillow. His mother had told him that that only applied to teeth that had come loose or fallen out, but he believed otherwise.

“Jeremy, I am going to count to ten and when I get to ten, you had better have your coat on and be at the front door! One, two,three,”.

Jeremy Wallace could be very stubborn when he wanted to be, but he knew that when his mother started her countdown, he might as well give in because the punishment would not be worth it. He slowly crawled out from under his bed, went to his closet, grabbed his coat, and walked down the stairs.

“Seven, eight, oh there you are. Alright, let’s go young man and I don’t want to tell you again; when we get to the dentist’s office, you will behave! Do you understand me?”

“Yes, ma’am.” he sullenly said as he went out of the house. He waited for his mother to lock up the house and unlock the car door. He got into the front seat, put on his seat belt, put his head down and crossed his arms. His mother started the car and pulled out of the driveway. As they drove down the street, Jeremy looked out the window and whenever he saw one of his friends, he felt like they were seeing him go off for his execution. If his mother said something to him, he didn’t hear her because he was ignoring her as his way of punishing her. By the time that they arrived at the dentist’s, Jeremy was still nervous, but accepted his fate.

“Good morning! We have a 9:00 appointment with Doctor Ferry.”

“Mrs. Wallace? Yes, if you’ll just have a seat, I’ll let the doctor know that you’re here.”

“Thank you. Jeremy, go sit down.”

A minute later, before Jeremy even had a chance to look at the Highlights magazine, the receptionist opened the door to the backrooms and indicated to Jeremy to follow her. He dropped the magazine back on to the table, stood up, and silently followed the woman. She led him into the room, waited for Jeremy to get in the chair, and when he did, put a paper bib around his neck.

“Dr. Ferry will be here in a moment.”

Jeremy curtly nodded at the woman, and folded his arms over his chest. When the dentist came into the room, he was wearing a transparent blue gown and a white face mask. Jeremy looked at him and saw that the man had salt-and-pepper hair and when he pulled off the mask, that he had rosy red cheeks. The man smiled at him and said,

“So, Jeremy, how are you today?”

“Fine.”

“Good. Now, for today, all that we are going to do is take a look inside your mouth and see if you have any cavities. Alright?”

“Will it hurt?”

“Oh, no, it won’t hurt. I am just going to have you open your mouth wide, shine a light inside and see if everything is good. Does that sound like it will hurt?”

“No.”

“Good, then should we get started? Open wide, please.”

Dr. Ferry had told the truth; the examination didn’t hurt at all. In fact, it seemed to go so fast that Jeremy was surprised when the doctor said that he was finished. The doctor took the bib off of Jeremy’s neck and turned off the overhead light.

“Now since you were a very good and brave patient, I’ll let you choose one item out of my prize jar.” After saying this, Doctor Ferry turned to one of the cabinets, opened the door, and took out a large fishbowl-like object. He lowered it down so that Jeremy could look inside and decide what he wanted.

Jeremy fished around among the “prizes” and picked a set of rub on tattoos. He thanked the doctor and walked back to the waiting room. When his mother saw him come out, she stood up and walked over to the counter to pay the bill.

“Mom, look what I got!”

“Oh, how nice. Did you thank the doctor.”

“He said that I could choose whatever I wanted since I was a brave boy. Can I try one on now?”

“Why don’t you wait until we get back home.”

“Oh, alright.”

Just then, Doctor Ferry came out to the waiting room and talked to Jeremy’s mother. Jeremy sat on one of the chairs and looked at the different tattoos, and tried to decide which one he would use first. He didn’t hear it when the doctor told his mother that she was to bring Jeremy back in a month. In the mean time, he told her that Jeremy was to brush his teeth after every meal, if possible. He gave her a kit with a toothbrush and toothpaste and said that he should take it to school with him so he could brush his teeth after lunch. Jeremy’s mother promised the dentist that she would make sure that Jeremy followed his instructions. She then told Jeremy that they could leave now.

The next morning as he was finishing his breakfast, his mother told Jeremy that she had packed the toothbrush and toothpaste in his lunchbox and that he was to brush his teeth after finishing his lunch. She also made him go brush his teeth after he finished his breakfast. When she was satisfied that he had done as she had instructed, she told him to get his lunchbox and backpack and that she would take him to school.

While Jeremy was at school, his friends asked him what had happened at the dentist office. He told them that the dentist only checked his teeth, told him that he had been brave and let him choose a prize. Some of the children were impressed, but Toby Granger, a boy who suspected anything involving parents, told Jeremy that he had gotten off this time, but “just wait until you get a toothache.”

Jeremy tried to seem indifferent to what Toby had said, but in the back of his mind, he felt a twing of fear. Just to be on the safe side, Jeremy decided to run to the boy’s room and brushed his teeth. “I’ll never allow myself to get a toothache! I’ll show Toby!” he thought as he brushed away at his teeth.

A month later, his mother told Jeremy that Doctor Ferry wanted to see him again.

“Why? I don’t have a toothache, mom!”

“It’s just a check-up to see how well you’ve brushed your teeth. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?”

“No, I guess not.”

So when Jeremy sat in the dentist chair, he was fairly calm. While he was waiting for Doctor Ferry, he tried to decide what prize he would pick when the time came. Jeremy had just decided that he would pick a plastic ring he had seen last time, when Doctor Ferry came into the room.

“So, Jeremy, have you been taking care of your teeth?”

“Yes, sir. At least two times a day.”

“Very good. Let’s have a look, shall we?”

Jeremy opened his mouth wide and tried to keep the bright light out of his eyes. Doctor Ferry hummed and hawed a couple of times, then told Jeremy, “I’ll be right back”. Jeremy, at first, was puzzled; the dentist hadn’t said that the first time that he was here. Then Jeremy started to remember what Toby had said at school. Jeremy started to worry and when Doctor Ferry returned, he asked him what was wrong.

“It seems that the cavity I saw the last time you were here has gotten bigger. Your mother has signed the form which gives me permission to fill the hole.”

“But how are you going to do that?”

“Well, first I will have to numb your tooth area and then drill away the rough edges. Then I will put in some enamel in the hole.”

“How are you going to numb the tooth?”

Instead of answering Jeremy’s question, the dentist called a nurse in. He told the nurse to get the equipment and materials that he would need and while she was doing that, Doctor Ferry told Jeremy that he would have to give him a little shot. Jeremy started to sweat when he heard that because he hated needles. He started to yell, “NO! NO NEEDLES!” and the dentist tried to calm him down. He told Jeremy that if he didn’t give him a shot, it would hurt a whole lot more. Jeremy finally calmed down enough to where the doctor felt it was safe to give Jeremy the shot. He suggested that the boy would probably relax more if he closed his eyes during the procedure. Jeremy did as the doctor suggested but he was still sweating. When the doctor administered the shot, Jeremy felt a slight sting. The next stage of fear came when the doctor started to use the drill. Jeremy didn’t make any sudden moves or attempt to scream; he just closed his eyes more tightly. Time seemed to slow down the longer that the procedure progressed, but, eventually the doctor told Jeremy that he was finished. Jeremy slowly got out of the chair and wiped away a tear. Doctor Ferry told him that he could take two prizes, but this did little to comfort Jeremy. He was told that the numbness in his mouth would go away within an hour or two. Jeremy silently walked out to the waiting room and stood by his mother when she paid the bill.

That night, Jeremy had a dream. In his dream, his mother was dragging him down a dark corridor while he was screaming, “NO! NO!”. His mother paid no attention to his hysterics and finally they got to a heavy oaken door. A nurse was standing at the door with an evil grin on her face. The nurse pushed the door open and Jeremy saw an iron chair with leather straps on the arm and leg rests. His mother and the nurse picked Jeremy up by his arms and put him in the chair. They both strapped him in and, when they were done, the nurse said: “The doctor will be with you in a minute.” His mother left the room and, exactly as the nurse had said, a minute later, Doctor Ferry walked in. At first, when he spoke to Jeremy, he was friendly enough, but then the nurse came back into the room carrying a tray with what looked like to Jeremy, instruments of torture. Doctor Ferry walked over to the counter where the nurse had placed the tray and picked up a giant needle. He smirked at Jeremy and said, “Open wide, this won’t hurt one bit.” Jeremy closed his eyes as tightly as he could and opened his mouth. Suddenly, he felt such pain when the needle was inserted that he thought that it would punch through his jaw. The pain was so great that he couldn’t make himself scream. “Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Jeremy heard Doctor Ferry say. He opened his eyes slightly, but closed them quickly after what he saw. Doctor Ferry had changed; his eyes had a red glow and huge bat wings were sprouting from his shoulders. Jeremy struggled against the straps, but it was no use. “Don’t struggle or you won’t get a prize!” Doctor Ferry said. The only prize that Jeremy was wishing for was to be able to get out of the chair and run out of this horrible room, but it seemed that it was not to be. Jeremy then heard a noise that he was dreading. Doctor Ferry picked up a tool that looked like a chainsaw. The man-thing grinned evilly as he turned on the instrument and walked up to Jeremy. Before the doctor could do anything with the evil instrument, Jeremy woke up, sweating and screaming. His mother ran into his bedroom, turned on the light, and sat on his bed and tried to comfort him. After an hour, Jeremy managed to fall back asleep, but anytime that his nightmare started again, he woke up.

The next morning, Jeremy walked into the kitchen with his head down and ignored his mother when she said, “Good morning!” to him. He was silent all through the ride to school and during his first class period. When he heard the bell announcing lunch period, he shuffled out to the tables with his bagged lunch. When he unwrapped his bologna sandwich, he took a small bite. He slowly swallowed and took a small sip of his milk. He was still sleepy from his nightmare, that he didn’t notice Toby walk up to his table.

“So, Jeremy, what happened at the dentist?”

Jeremy slowly raised his head and said, “You were right. I’ll never trust my mom again.”

Ten years later, Doctor Dennis Ferry was found dead in his office. He was found with a syringe driven through his cheek and a drill driven through his skull. His nurse found him in the morning when she opened the office.

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