Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dentist?

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346773820_9cdf9b61c2.jpgAs a dental assistant at CVIM, I see many patients that are terrified of sitting in our dental chairs. It's not due to the fact that we are scary (Our whole staff are very sweet females), but instead to an excessive and unnecessary fear, Dental Phobia.

The fear of dentistry is common fear among many people. Although about 20% of people with dental phobia have a concurrent psychiatric or mental disorder, the majority of the people have no reason to fear the dentist.

There is a clear distinction between dental anxiety, dental phobia, and dental fear. Dental anxiety is having a stress reaction in response to going to the dentist without knowing what to expect. Dental fear is a reaction to a know danger. For example, they may have to receive a second root canal knowing that their first one was not pleasant. Dental phobia is s stronger fear that debilitates the person from going to the dentist due to an excessive fear.

The most common reasons for having a dental phobia are due to a bad dental experience, an uncaring dentist, a prior history of abuse, humiliation, observed learning, preparedness, post-traumatic stress, etc.

Knowing these different fears I will do my best as their caring physician to decrease these fears in my future patients. It is important to me that I have a clinic that is warming and welcoming to all of my patients. I am very close with my dentist at home and I hope that I one day can also motivate someone to love going to the dentist.  

Image can be found from Flickr

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