Fear of the dentist is nothing new. It’s been portrayed and stereotyped on TV for years. What it doesn’t explain is why it happens. Even people who’re deathly afraid of the dentist can’t understand why they would be scared of a human being doing his or her normal job. These phobias seem irrational to some, but this is part of the process of getting over it.
It trivializes it in some ways. Anyway, let’s discuss why some people are scared of the dentist.
It’s rare for someone to be outright terrified of everything to do with dentistry. There’s a trigger which sets everyone off. This can be directly related to going to the dentist or an object which someone is generally scared of.
The biggest trigger is needles. It’s one of the reasons why dentists try to avoid using needles where they can. Bad experiences with needles will cause anyone to automatically avoid the dentist. Needles are seen as implements of pain. They look intimidating, so we naturally avoid them. That’s human nature.
Another trigger is the vulnerable position you’re placed in. Lying down with your mouth open and someone doing who knows what over your head is scary. This often begins as a child. The child looks into the face of the dentist with the mask on and it’s like a horror character to them. It carries over into their adult lives and makes them scared of the dentist.
A Bad Experience
The bad experience is another reason why you might be scared of the dentist. These experiences tend to emanate from childhood where something went wrong. We aren’t afraid of specific triggers. We use needles all the time and the sight of a dentist doesn’t bother us. It’s the whole experience which makes us apprehensive.
The mind assumes after one bad experience nothing is going to change. People who suffer from this know it’s irrational, and yet they can’t do anything about it and they feel helpless.
What Can Be Done?
In the case of triggers, it’s about removing the triggers from the scene. For example, instead of needles to numb the gums dentists are using pills taken orally which numb the same area. Dentists have also taken to steps to remove intimidating tools like little drills from the scene.
If it’s absolutely impossible to lose the triggers, patients can bring someone into the surgery with them for some support. They can even opt for a general anesthetic which knocks them out, although this usually requires a visit to the hospital.
If you’re still reeling from a bad experience, the only option is to try again and force yourself to go in. Once you have a good experience you’ll never be scared of the dentist’s again. We tend to look at our past with a strange touch of nostalgia. We remember the good parts and the bad events seem to disappear. The same principle applies here.
A fear of the dentist doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. It’s a trick of the mind. Your job is to reprogram your mind to think in a different direction.