memories

Visits to the dentist can evoke memories of traumatic sexual abuse

dentist
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The defencelessness experienced while sitting in the dentist’s chair can prompt memories of sexual abuse, finds endodontist Eva Wolf in her new study.

She has interviewed 13 people, who had such experiences, and found many are scared and avoid going to the dentist, do not show up for scheduled appointments, or leave ongoing treatment.

“It is very clear that the situation at the dentist is reminiscent of abuse previously experienced. It is the same defencelessness and powerlessness that arises in situations of abuse. By recognizing these reactions, dental care can contribute to the disclosure of abuse,” says Wolf, associate professor of endodontics at Malmö University.

She points out that dental education and dental hygienist education are among the programs that, according to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance, must educate students about men’s violence against women, and violence in close relationships.

“Healthcare professionals must be attentive and

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