True Life: I'm Afraid of the Dentist... but Not for Long

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


My grandfather was a dentist in my mom's hometown of Lima, OH (yes, the one from Glee). Throughout my childhood, visiting my grandparents meant getting my teeth cleaned by Grandpa – especially at Thanksgiving, when he'd take my cousins & me into his closed-for-the-holidays office & do exams, cleanings, etc. We always got little prizes are rewards at the end, like Beanie Babies.

Ahhh, the '90s.

His practice was called The Smile Shoppe, & though it's long gone now, just thinking of it makes me, well, smile. The business logo was a hand-drawn caricature of my grandfather himself, working on a smiley-faced patient; we owned red & green T-shirts galore featuring that logo. Grandpa's office was small & cozy, with a pet parakeet named Barney who whistled the Ohio State fight song until the health department deemed office birds a no-go; given my grandmother's general loathing of animals, one of Grandpa's staffers adopted Barney.

My grandpa was a nice guy & a gentle dentist. His office featured a wall called "The No-Cavity Club," & we were so proud to be on it - ohhh, how I wish I could find those old photos! After each cleaning, he took a Polaroid of us to hang on the wall, replacing our last photos. In part because of my desire to remain on the wall, I didn't have a cavity until college, after my grandpa had retired (& I certainly didn't tell him about it!)


When my grandpa retired, though, I started seeing a dentist in my hometown, a no-nonsense woman who'd been an army dentist before going into private practice – & I was terrified of her. My mom & I argued so much about my going to that dentist; I was still on her insurance, so I couldn't go to a dentist of my own choosing. Instead, I chose to stop going to the dentist altogether.

I have, of course, been to the dentist since then – but not nearly as often as I should. My grandfather has been gone for a decade now, but the idea of his disappointment in me for not taking care of my teeth is reason enough to guilt me into it... occasionally. In truth, I haven't been to the dentist for four years. That's before I met my husband, you guys. That is not OK. 

But here's the truth: Without my grandfather as my dentist, I am really scared of going to the dentist, even at age 34. Cleanings with my hometown dentist left me scared to return – so I just haven't. I brush twice a day & floss semi-regularly, but I know I need to step foot inside a dentist's office to make sure everything's OK in there.

So I'm doing it.


I'm excited to share that I'll be partnering with Hudec Dental, a neighborhood dental office with 20 locations across Northeast Ohio, to conquer my fear of the dentist & start prioritizing my dental health in the same way I've prioritized the rest of my physical, mental, & emotional health. I’ve sorted out my dental insurance & named Hudec’s Ohio City location my primary dental care facility – so my first appointment with my new dentist is later this month.

Remember how I dubbed 2018 the year I got my life together? This is the next step: Dental health, I'm comin' for ya!

Maybe you’ve never heard of a blogger partnering with a dentist – but bloggers work with gyms, plastic surgeons, & wellness companies all the time, & this is similar. In fact, a trusting relationship with a dentist's office is something most people really need – especially scaredy-cats like me. I'm looking forward to working with them, to getting my mouth healthy, to spreading the word, & to doing my grandpa proud.

My 2019 “smile resolution” is just to get these teeth taken care of – & of course, I'll report back. I may not be in the No-Cavity Club anymore, but I'm finally gonna go find out!


Are you scared of going to the dentist? What gets you through it? And if you're local to the CLE: Have you tried Hudec yet?!

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