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"One year ago, I locked my door and went to sleep; like we all do on any given night. Unfortunately, this night was like no other before and was one I will never be able to forget. I woke up that night to a co-worker who had undressed himself, crawled into my bed and raped me. "
Kathleen, rape survivor

Rape is a crime, talking about it isn't. SPEAK.

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Dental Visits

       Going to the dentist can be a traumatic experience for survivors of rape and sexual abuse. Most survivors often experience trouble in making and keeping appointments and as a result are more than likely to experience serious dental problems.

Being alone with a person, being touched, having objects put into one's mouth, experiencing pain and being unable to swallow are some of the reasons a dental visit is difficult for survivors of sexual violence.

Suggestions to make your dental visit more comfortable:

  • Let your dentist know your concerns and fears. Most dentists are now becoming more sensitive to dental anxiety caused by sexual abuse.

  • Ask your dentist to explain the procedure and ask him or her to alert you of pain.

  • If you feel uncomfortable, ask your dentist to stop.

  • Take nice, deep breaths and remind yourself that it will be over soon.

  • Don't watch the clock.

  • Bring a friend.

  • For children, have them bring their favorite stuffed animal.

You may also ask your dentist to:

  • Keep the door open and the lights bright.

  • Keep the chair in an upright position.

  • Have a dental assistant present at all times.

© 2007 After Silence - This article may not be reprinted or reproduced without express permission.


This site is offered for support of other rape and sexual abuse survivors. It is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help.
If you are in a crisis situation we urge to contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional.

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