Shame and gut-wrenching fear: 20 years without the dentist.

Sitting in my dental hygienist’s chair gripping the arm rests to the point that I was ready to rip the leatherette and stuffing away from the steel frame, I had to keep willing myself to be calm and breathe.  Laying supine with my mouth gaping open while some dude was poking, and scraping, isn’t the scene where I can wax poetic or opine on some weighty issue.  I was focused on how many teeth he had left to do so I had some sense of when I could leave all that stress behind for another three months.

Don’t get me wrong, my hygienist is both gentle and patient.  Like my dentist, he is non-judgmental and encouraging.  But the journey to the hygienist chair was 20 years long.

I was at one point a custodial single parent.  That meant I had to make many decisions that parents must make, but some of them were weightier.  Cara and Shannon always came first and since money was almost always tight I neglected many things in my life, including my dental care.

As time went on the condition of my mouth got worse and worse.  It got to the point that I stopped smiling, I was so self-conscious.  But it took a decade for Linda, patient life-partner extraordinaire, to cajole me into walking into the dentist.

I was deeply ashamed and in absolute terror.  Childhood experiences coupled with a military dentist left me with a phobia that to this day I’m not sure I can adequately define.

Intellectually, abstractly, I was amazed at the warmth and kindness shown to me by both my dental clinic and equally my dental surgeon.  Without being pejorative, they were direct and honest without accusation.  After the initial assessment I agreed upon an eight-week course of freezing, drilling, sculpting and cleaning.

And I discovered the absolute delight of nitrous oxide.  A stressful time of my life professionally two years ago the gas itself was a great escape.  Every Friday afternoon at 4 I got to leave the world behind and float into the weekend.

How they approached me addressed the shame.  I wasn’t made to feel less-than, inadequate or somehow a failure.  And I could conquer my fear of dentists, or at least chain that beast, with a little help of some gas and a routine that I met without fail for that eight-week period.  And today I can smile, or at least learn to, with confidence.

Linda and I don’t have access to laughing gas although we can use a little humor to help put you at ease.  Our starting point is right now and what may come.  It’s our job to help you identify clearly what it is that you want to accomplish and help create a map for your journey to get there.

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada.  Why don’t you give me (437 266 1125) or Linda (426 266 1126) a call and help you begin the process of making more informed choices.

David Chellew and Linda Odnokon have been life partners and in business together for almost 19 years.  During that time, they have mellowed into their respective roles and enjoy working with individual investment clients.  Dave is a Portfolio Manager and Linda is an Investment Advisor with iAS and work out of the co-work space Brightlane on King West in downtown Toronto.

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.