I was chatting with my wife after work yesterday and we got talking about what can make someone feel anxious about a dental visit or treatment We have both worked in Dentistry for more years than we care to count and interestingly we both identified one of the major causes of anxiety being what people had “heard from a friend” or what they have read about a specific treatment.
I guess this is a common way to form opinions and judgements. We almost all subscribe to this approach in some aspect of our lives yet it does not a particularly balanced, scientific or for that matter accurate way of doing things. For patients who suffer from dental fear or phobia in particular approach to forming opinions and judgements, while very natural, can be less than helpful.
The way that we process information to make it useful to us ( in theory ) is based on a mixture of what we see, hear and read which is then filtered by our underlying beliefs. Now those of you patient ( and kind ) enough to read my musings on all things dental will know that I frequently describe our subconscious as having 2 voices. One is the voice of doom that tells us that everything will go wrong with our treatment and “it” ( whatever “it” is ) will be a dreadful experience. The other voice is our rational one that reassures us that everything will be ok and that if we choose the right people to help us with our dental fear and phobia everything will be fine. This is true even if it is our own personal experiences in the past that are forming our opinions and views today, the key here is finding someone who really is interested in helping you.
So here is my question for you if we want to beat dental fear which of our two voices should we feed the most, the positive reassuring one or the negative one?
There are lost of places on the web where you can hear reassuring stories that affirm the positive reality; that modern dental care can be comfortable, informed, relaxed, and pain free. Dental Fear Central is just one great example. Whats more there a whole group of people ( like the team at our Edinburgh Dental Practice pictured to the right) who are happy to have a chat by phone or e-mail long before you ever have to actually visit to talk through your fears and concerns.
Talking to enthusiastic professionals and finding positive examples of detal care will not solve dental fear entirely but if you want to change the way that you feel, they can help you to make a start, and in truth the hardest step is always the first.
So if you have a fear that is stopping you taking that first step why not take positive action and make contact with someone who can help to feed the positive voice that tells you that you can beat your dental fear. If we can help in any way just let us know…..
Have a great week!