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Dental Anxiety

December 26th, 2012

Tell us about your dental anxiety or read one of our stories.

What are the causes of dental anxiety?
Our experience tells us that some patients are more sensitive to certain aspects of dental treatment, which often leads to irrational fear of the dentist, also known as dental anxiety. Here is a list of the typical concerns ordered by frequency of occurrence (based on our observations):

  • The screeching sound of the handpiece – truly the stuff of horror movies, which all the technical advances of the past century haven’t been able to remedy. It’s plain drilling. You have to accept it. Just as you have to go through the annoying drilling process before you hang that masterpiece on your wall, so do we. Keep the end in mind!
  • Needles – another prop of horror movies. When executed correctly, anesthesia doesn’t hurt more than a mosquito bite. Plus, it delivers chemical relief to your body, securing an absolutely painless treatment. The needle is a friend in need.
  • Fear of the unknown. The unknown being that which is happening in your mouth. It is perfectly understandable that you can’t feel completely secure with your mouth open to someone with a drill in hand, wearing protective clothing. However, please remember that you walked in after you carefully researched the dentist and possibly, based on a friend’s recommendation. You are in the hands of a highly qualified professional who has been tried time and time again.
  • Shyness. Sometimes people tend to fret over the silliest things. If everything was fine and dandy with the insides of your mouth, you most probably wouldn’t be visiting the dentist’s (doesn’t apply to our more conscientious patients who don’t miss a regular check-up).

Once you realize that the dentist is not to be feared but attended regularly and come to visit us, we will take it upon us to provide you with a great service and a caring attitude.

How did I end up fearing the dentist for no apparent reason?

This is a story contributed as a token of gratitude by one of our more anxious patients.

As a child I had absolutely no problems going to the dentist’s. Strangely enough, the fear developed gradually over time, almost sneaking up on me, until one time I found out that I was truly afraid of going there again.

When I asked myself why on earth I should be afraid, to be quite honest, I found no logical answer. I had no previous traumatizing experiences, no serious teeth problems, nothing that would instill this illogical fear of mine. But there it was.

Then I started paying attention to the first thoughts that pop into my mind on hearing the word dentist, and I noticed that it was always this overwhelming fear that if I go there, the dentist is bound to find something horribly wrong with one of my teeth, and what will ensue is a long and painful process of repairing. Even though, as a pretty rational person, I am able to explain to myself that this fear makes no sense, that dentists aren’t bogeymen who torture people with their little pointy devices, it is all of no use. The anxiety and fear remain a constant.

Although, certain little things help. I found myself squeezing the sides of the dentist’s chair far less hard when my dentist is sympathetic and happily prepared to spend time, even more time than it is usually necessary, to carefully explain certain things regarding the specific tooth. This way, the horrifying fear of the unknown becomes far less pronounced, because you know what to expect. Also, the feeling of vulnerability is diminished. Especially if you are provided with the explanation by a person who is smiling and is telling you that everything will be fine, that all you need to do is relax, because you are in capable hands. You know that things are not as bad as you thought them to be, and that makes you at ease.

The other thing that really frightens me is the drilling sound. It really sends shivers down my spine. But unfortunately not much can be done about that, unless they come up with a silent method in the near future. Soothing music in the background seems to do the trick, in my case at least.

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