Why are people afraid of the dentist? The most common reason I hear is that they had a bad experience in the past. This could have been as a child, with a dentist who perhaps was not as skilled at dealing with nervous children, resulting in a horrible appointment. There are situations where the fear develops later in life. This may be from a situation where the dentist was not able to get you “numb” and continued to drill (not certain why I continue to hear this story, but I do). Perhaps the impressions taken made someone feel as if they were choking or suffocating. There are many potential past traumatic experiences that result in the thought of getting back in the dental chair impossible.
At times, the fear and anxiety is not initiated by previous dental treatment. Unfortunately, I see many people who have been victims of assault. Lying in the dental chair can make someone feel vulnerable, and this can be very triggering.
Whatever the cause, the fear can result in the avoidance of dental care. There is often an acute physiological reaction to the dental treatment. The intensity of the adverse reaction may also vary depending on what dental procedure is being done…for example, some people may be fine with a dental scaling, but the thought of hearing a drill in their mouth is anxiety inducing. Many people may be fine with dental fillings, but can’t deal with the idea of having a root canal. There are people who are unable to sit in the reception area, as the sounds and smells trigger past horrible experiences. Whatever the cause of the anxiety, the end result is typically the same… “I will get hurt so I best run”
Here at Balmoral Dental Arts, we appreciate how difficult coming to the dentist can be. We are sensitive to the fact that past traumatic experiences may make it very challenging to walk through our door. We will work with you to make your dental treatment possible.
People who are frightened at the thought of going to the dentist are frequently not understood by friends and family. Simply being told “get over it” or “suck it up” is simply ridiculous! This can increase shame and as a result, increase anxiety. They just don’t understand. There are so many people who are afraid of the dentist.
When calling to book an appointment, advise us if you have fear or anxiety about seeing the dentist. We can assist you in making your first dental appointment, perhaps in years.