Ollie’s fear gives Lizzie a blog topic she can get her teeth into

Lizzie Banks discovers there’s a silver lining to being woken far too early by a husband frightened of visiting the dentist – inspiration for a blog. Why he’s frightened she has no idea, but she doesn’t want the children to be the same; hers or anyone else’s…

“What are you shushing me for?” Ollie demanded as he paced back and forth across the bedroom floor.

From beneath the duvet Lizzie’s voice was muffled. “Do you want a list? For a start it’s only six in the morning; for another thing you’ll wake the children, and for a third, if you do that there’s every danger you’ll make them as paranoid as you are. Come back to bed.”

Ollie Banks had woken far too early, filled with dread at the prospect that faced him later that morning – a visit to the dentist to have a cavity filled. He didn’t know where his fear of the dentist had come from, but it was there all the same.

Perhaps it was the sound of the drill, or the stab of intense pain he always felt as the needle plunged into his gum to numb the tooth. Or perhaps it was just the anticipation of both.

His fear was irrational; he knew it was. His mother had always insisted on having her teeth filled without the injection, which she claimed hurt more than having the tooth filled, though she had never insisted on the same for him.

Lizzie reflected that sometimes she felt like a mother to three children, one of whom was two years older than her, and currently marching back and forth in his sleepwear of choice; an old Aston Villa away trip, now several years out of date and for a long time unwearable in public, even for working in the garden. In lighter moments she referred to him as her husband.

Inspiration strikes
As she lay there, giving up on thoughts of any more sleep, she realised Ollie’s irrational fear was a great subject for a blog on her website Lizzie Banks On It.

She sat up suddenly and flung the duvet back, supressing a giggle as, startled by the movement, Ollie stubbed his toe on the end of the bed, uttering a string of profanities as a result.

“Fear of the dentist,” she said. “Perfect. I’ll write a blog about it in the morning. There’s such a lot I could say. Where it comes from, why there’s no need for it, how to keep it under control, and how to make sure children don’t fall prey to it. And while I’m at it there’s room for instructions about how to clean teeth properly so people don’t get cavities in the first place. And mind your language.”

Having checked his toes for fractures, and being mildly disappointed to find no evidence of any, Ollie offered to write something for her. “I know what it’s called for a start. It’s a real thing. It’s odontophobia, or sometimes denotphobia.”

“Get you,” said Lizzie. “Yes please. I’ll take you up on that offer. It might show you just how irrational your fear is. Though I reserve the right not to post it online.”

“It’s a deal,” said Ollie. “Anyway, my appointment is for 10am, so I’ll be finished by 11. I suppose I’ve just got to ‘man up’ and do it. It’ll be OK, won’t it?”

“Well, I should think I could trawl the internet and find a story about someone who’s died in the dentist’s chair, but that wouldn’t be very helpful just now, would it? Would you like a cup of tea?”

“Great idea,” said Ollie, brightening at the prospect of a little normality.

“Good. Make me one too, would you?” she said, resting her head back on the pillow and drawing the duvet over it.