Fear is a good thing. Yes, fear is a perfectly valid, normal, and appropriate response to perceived danger or threats of danger. It is our way of protecting ourselves from various forms of peril.
It moves us to either confront potential dangers head on, to freeze in place, or to flee from them entirely. Again, all of these are perfectly normal, natural reactions.
Fear becomes a problem, however, when it’s irrational. It’s one thing to feel afraid while watching a scary movie, like The Shining, for example. It’s quite another to be so paralyzed with fright at the thought of staying in a hotel because you’re worried Jack Nicholson is hiding behind every corner ready to chase you with an ax, that you avoid going on vacations.
At that point, your fear becomes a phobia. It’s when your fear motivates an inappropriate response that it can truly pose a problem. Dental anxiety can be classified as one of those fears that stimulates inappropriate response. This isn’t when you’re afraid of going to the dentist but you go anyway because you know what’s good for you.
Dental anxiety is when you’re so terrified at the thought of being in the dentist’s chair, you avoid stepping inside the dental office altogether. In this case, fear is not a good thing!
Now, this is not to suggest that your anxiety isn’t for a good reason. Maybe you had a negative past dental experience, trauma, or injury, and going to the dentist brings all those unpleasant feelings back. It’s completely understandable that you’d want to avoid revisiting those kinds of feelings.
It’s also not to suggest that you’re among some rare, exclusive group of people hiding from the dentist. Not at all! In fact, recent studies estimate upwards of 34 million Americans suffer from dental anxiety and skip routine checkups because of it.
Everyone’s fear is their own, certainly, but we have found that there are three prevailing causes of dental anxiety among patients. If we can help you understand what might be behind your fears, perhaps you will better equipped to face them.
At Brar Dentistry, our hope is that you will trust us to help you through your fears and anxieties about professional dental care because we care about you and your oral health.
So let’s take a look at the fears that typically lurk behind your dental anxiety.
Fear Of Loss Of Control
When you do something everyday, it becomes second nature. Over time, it can be easy to forget that people who do not do what you do are unfamiliar with it and don’t understand it. The same applies to doctors and other medical professionals.
Too often, patients complain that they’ve been to other dentist’s offices where there is little to no interaction from doctor to patient. They just pick up the tools and get to work while you sit helplessly in the chair not knowing what’s going on. You see them stop, place one tool down, pick up another and return to your mouth, all while you sit there without a clue about what that tool is for or what’s coming next.
This can be incredibly scary! At Brar Dentistry, we are very understanding of patients who feel uneasy at the thought of being out of control with the process. That’s why we take our time with you to explain all phases of treatment thoroughly and carefully.
We have found that when you know what’s happening, why it’s happening, and the order in which things are going to happen, it can be an incredibly effective way to set your mind at ease.
Fear Of Embarrassment
If you’ve neglected your routine dental cleanings and exams out of fear, you may be embarrassed by the state of your current oral health. You don’t want to be lectured. You don’t want to feel judged. Nor should you be!
We are here to help you, not criticize you for being afraid to see the dentist. We want all of our patients to feel welcome, accepted, and cared for at Brar Dentistry. With us, there is no reason to fear embarrassment about your smile.
Fear Of Pain
This one is pretty self explanatory, don’t you think? While we understand this fear, we know that our sedation options, from nitrous oxide to IV sedation, and our heated massage chairs are tremendously effective in helping patients feel completely relaxed during their experience here from start to finish.