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Fear and Anxiety… Dental Fear-Anxiety


Fear and Anxiety… Dental Fear-Anxiety I

Warning: How Fear And Anxiety Eat You Alive

My wife doesn’t like spiders in the house. When she gets surprised by one, she’ll express that “Eek! A spider!” response. She’s terribly afraid of spiders.

Toronto Dentist Blog: Fear of dentists and dental anxiety.

That’s fear.

Fear is an immediate response to a perceived threat. Until a spider comes along, my wife feels perfectly fine.

After a spider encounter? Well, it’ll take her a minute or so to shake it off.

Anxiety is different. That’s where you stress over things before they actually happen... You refuse to enter that old tool shed, because it might be full of spiders or other creepy crawlers… You refuse to go to the dentist because it might hurt.

I’ve heard lots of people claim to have fear of the dentist. Yet for the last 25+ years of being a dentist, I’ve never once heard anyone say “Eek! A dentist!”

I have seen some true dental phobics. My mother was one. She couldn’t even come visit me at the dental office. That level of phobia is less common nowadays.

That being said, LOTS of people are anxious about going to the dentist. That’s one of our profession’s biggest challenges – helping people overcome dental anxiety.

Look beneath the anxiety to find the true fear.

Beneath that anxiety there’s often a fear factor. Fear of pain is a big one. Fear of needles. Fear of confined spaces. Fear of losing control. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of the unknown. All that gets wrapped up in so-called fear of the dentist. We’re an easy target to blame.

Let me put it another way. If you were terrified of heights and were taken to the top of a tall building with big glass windows, you would be afraid to look out those big windows. You’re not afraid of big windows or looking out of them. You’re afraid of heights. The windows are the conduit of your true fear, not the source.

That’s how it is with dentists. Look beneath the anxiety to find the true fear.

For clarity, I’ll outline some differences between fear and anxiety.

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    Category : Uncategorized Posted on September 13, 2011