If you "hate going to the dentist," you are in good company. Many people tell us that going to the dentist is not their favorite thing to do. The important thing is to determine what is causing you to feel fearful, angry, or out of control, and then communicate it loudly and clearly to the dentist and dental team. Our interviews revealed that people who hate dentists can have a greatly enhanced and positive experience in a dental office:
If they trust their dentist and dental team.
If they have full confidence that they will be in total control.
If they know exactly what to expect during the dental procedure.
If they are confident that they will be numb or can be sedated in some way.
What follows are dental stories that demonstrate the type of concerns patients commonly express.
A Story of Fear and Anxiety
<<The dentist said I was numb and I wouldn't feel anything. But I wasn't numb and when I told him, he didn't believe. He dismissed me, and a that point, I lost my faith in dentists>>. JJ
People can develop strong fear and anxiety around going to the dentist when they hear dental “horror” stories from friends or co-workers. Or they become distrustful, especially if they've had a bad dental experience like the “I wasn't numb” story we just related. In some cases, they never get past their fears long enough to make another dental appointment. We've even heard some women say, “ I'd rather go through labor than go to the dentist.”
The Real Story
It's necessary to develop a rapport with your dentist and dental team. This is crucial because not only is fear a problem, but trust is an issue too. If you are very apprehensive, you will need to search for the dental professionals who are willing to take the time to reassure and support you. There are dental offices that pride themselves in caring for "high fear" patients. Everyone deserves a caring dental team who will discuss the variety of comfort and pain-relieving options available. The dentist can also assure you that you will be in control and listened to every step of the way. If you say that you are feeling pain or holler stop, be assured that all work will stop.
To be continued... (From <<I hate dentists!>> by Mac Lee, DDS, et al)
(Dr. Ming Zhao's comments: At our office we saw patients who became high-feared after a bad dental experience and think they can only get dental work done under sedation. While sedation is a option to help them finish their dental work, it can not deprive these patients of their past bad memory and attitude about dentistry. Can you imagine putting people to sleep for even a dental cleaning? So I think that the most important thing to do to help these patients is to desensitize them and get them out of their dental fear by using contemporary dental technologies. This method has been used successfully in the medical field in mental therapy. Let these patients experience what can be done equally well without sedation and have positive feedback. Once they realize the difference modern dentistry can bring to their dental care, they will gradually recover from past bad experience and become a regular patients for their lifetime.)