Dental Fear…Where Does It Come From?
Fear. Ingrained in our DNA there’s a protective mechanism that helps us avoid danger. It’s essential to the survival of the human race. Our ancient relatives wouldn’t be part of our family tree if they hadn’t operated with a solid dose of fear. But sometimes fear keeps us from healthy situations…like dental care. Rational or not, nearly 40 million Americans avoid dental care on a regular basis due to extreme anxiety. Understanding the causes behind an often paralyzing emotion is the first step to overcoming this obstacle to better health.
First, your personal experiences significantly influence your level of anxiety, especially if they occur as a child.
But the personality of the dentist can also dramatically alter the long-term impact of the experience, regardless of age. For example, even if a procedure is slightly uncomfortable, long-term anxiety will be dampened if the provider is warm, caring, and compassionate. But that also means anxiety can also be amplified by a cold, uncaring demeanor. Our practice, our team understands the critical combination of treatment that’s gentle and comfortable with a chairside manner that’s empathetic to your experience. Regardless of age, you can expect exceptional chairside care that emphasizes the best experience in dentistry.
Second, unpleasant interactions in other healthcare settings can result in fear that is carried over to dentistry.
As a result, some people develop anxiety at “hospital” smells and the appearance of sterile clinical clothing. Children receiving uncomfortable immunizations at a clinic may expect the same in a dental office. That’s why our practice has created a safe, warm environment that provides a clear contrast to other medical encounters. Many of our patients remark they never knew dentistry could be “so good!”
Third, nobody likes to feel like they’re out of control.
It’s not comfortable careening down a ski hill, and it doesn’t feel any better in a dental office. Control, or the perception that you can influence your experience, proves critical in keeping dental fear at bay. At our practice, we clearly understand you need a voice in every part of your time with us. Simply knowing your providers will stop and respond to your concerns dramatically quiets dental anxiety.
Fourth, if you’ve ever watched the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors it probably didn’t make you want to schedule your next appointment right away.
Or if your neighbor described a neglected tooth that abscessed and his subsequent hospital visit, your blood pressure probably spiked. Unrealistic media portrayals of dentistry or an unfortunate story can feed your own anxiety and even keep you away from vital dental care. Starting with a comfortable initial visit in our office to discover your current condition, we’ll help you counter the media…and the neighbor.
At our practice, we understand many reasons keep people away from critically needed dental care. While some are discussed above, you may have your own. We look forward to listening to your concerns and helping you discover contemporary dentistry that treats people, not just teeth.