One of the most feared doctors in the medical field is the dentist. But why do people fear the dentist? Why do dentists get such a bad wrap?
Perhaps because their workspace, the human mouth, is one of the most intimate and sensitive places on the body.
The mere thought of someone – we don’t care who they are or where they’ve been trained – coming near our mouths with a sharp object, is terrifying… at least at first. Like anything in life, we humans get used to the idea of someone working on our mouths. The brain has a fantastic ability to assimilate. Any anxiety we feel in relation to the dentist will dissipate from the initial exposure to the dental experience.
Now, there are some factors – the reception the dentist gives his or her patients, the connection you feel to your dentist and hygienist, the over all state of mind the patient is in, their past experiences with pain or trauma – any and all of these can trick your mind into thinking that the experience they are about to have will be the same. Some people think pain and fear is just a part of their trip to the dentist, so they just gear themselves up for the worst and hope for the best. If they can walk out of the dentist thinking ‘that wasn’t so bad’, then it’s been a good day.
The instruments dentists use, the look and feel of the dentist’s office, the smell, what music is playing, can all contribute to a fear of the dental experience. In extreme cases, these and other psychological factors can even build up so much anxiety that it results in a phobia, and a refusal to go to the dentist at all.
The dentist could be the nicest person you’ve ever met, but until the fears and blocks one has to the simplicity of dental care -because let’s face it, when we wipe away all the made up fears and anticipation of pain, it is simple – people will continue to be stuck in their prison of negative thoughts.
The Trick to Conquering Your Fears
The trick is to trick yourself into being open to the possibility that the dentist is your friend, and go from there. The more we can change our own minds into positive thinking machines, the more we can change the reputation of dentists from people to be feared, to people we can trust to care for us.