Why you’re scared of the dentist – and how to overcome it
You have nothing to fear but clean, healthy teeth
Does a trip to the dentist fill your mind with images of shrieking drills and stark white lights, or masked faces looming overhead with shiny, sharp instruments in their hands? Would you rather run a mile than open wide?
Are you scared of the dentist?
If so, you’re not alone. Odontophobia, to give it its proper name, is incredibly common. It’s estimated that around 75 per cent of adults begin to feel anxious the minute they step through the front door of a dental practice.
Here at Finn Dental Specialists, we like to think our patients are visiting a warm, welcoming practice, full of friendly faces and experienced staff. Many of the procedures we perform are usually straightforward and largely painless, so there’s never really any need for our patients to be embarrassed or afraid.
But – here are some of the reasons people fear the dentist:
I feel like I’m out of control at the dentist
Once you are sitting in the dentist’s chair, we press a button, there’s a whirring noise and you find yourself in a prone position, almost flat on your back. That can make you feel defenceless. Everybody around you will seem bigger and taller, and they’ll want to invade your private space by looking in and ‘rummaging’ about in your mouth. You can’t see what’s going on behind you, and that can be discomforting and disorientating, and may cause you to panic if your dentist doesn’t reassure you.
I had a bad experience as a child
Some patients have had dreadful past experiences. Most people’s memories of the dentist will relate back to the time when our adult teeth were coming through and we were growing rapidly, which meant we were having teeth extracted or braces fitted. Your childhood dentist may have been completely focussed on getting the job done, rather than making it less scary and more comfortable for you. Thankfully, times have changed and at Finn Dental Specialists, our patients always come first.
The noises are scary
Scraping and drilling noises are harsh on the ears and can lead you to think something is going to be far worse than it is. Loud noises heighten the senses; they make us tense. We’re designed to react to bangs and crashes, so imagine there is danger present because that instinct can sometimes save us – think of how we jump when we hear a fire alarm go off, or grow wary when we hear the distant rumble of thunder. Our dentists always forewarn patients about strange noises, tastes and smells, so they’re not shocked by them.
My teeth embarrass me – the dentist will tell me off!
On top of all the other fears, if you haven’t had your teeth looked at for a long while, you might be ashamed and not want anyone to see them. This is completely understandable, but we’re a specialist dental practice and we’ve seen such extreme cases of tooth decay that it’s unlikely your teeth will shock or horrify us. Our primary objective is to get your teeth, gums and mouth healthy – not to judge.
Book an appointment with us and we can guarantee you’ll feel much better about your smile after it.
Sometimes when we analyse our fears, we’re half-way to defeating them, but if you have deep-set Odontophobia that can’t be explained or overcome, we offer sedation. This isn’t a general anaesthetic, so it doesn’t come with any of the side-effects, it just makes you sleepy and relaxed so we can get on with the important job of caring for your teeth.
Just think, the more you visit your dentist, the less likely it is that we’ll need to carry out any major treatment. If you come to the surgery regularly, the more normal a routine it will become.
Get to know us and we’ll become your tooth fairies, rather than your demon dentists.
Take a look at our treatments or come in for an assessment to find out where we are with your teeth.