Dental Fear

Pssst!    Does your momma know you’re afraid of dentists? ????

It’s ok. She’s probably the one who taught it to you as a child. Dental fear can be learned by example, experienced or picked up from all of Aunt Minnie’s horror stories.

Wikipedia has a nice summary about dental fear, anxiety and phobia. Two of the most important take away messages are that it’s a large ‘club’ (you’re not alone) and what can be learned can be unlearned.

This fear people have is a continuum from butterflies-in-the –stomach to being a part of a diagnosed mental health issue. Obviously the nature and cause will determine the best way of dealing with the fear. Many times it can be handled by the dentist and their teams. The more complex the issues; the more there may be a need for dental specialists or mental health professionals to assist in the care process.

The first task for you is to understand your enemy – the fear, not the dentist. The internet is a font of information, but not always good information. Interestingly, the British seem to have the most web based resources dealing with dental fear:

http://www.dentalfear.org/ ,

http://www.dentalphobia.co.uk and

http://www.dentalfearcentral.org .

These are all excellent sources of information, strategies, treatment information, forums and resources. If you are a DIY type look no further. If you are looking for how to find help their listed resources are extensive.

If you have a dentist, but you infrequently visit or only when you are in dire straits, then arrange to talk to them to explain your concerns and needs. They should be willing to help. We dentists may feel unloved and unwanted, but we really do want to help!

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