Why Do We Fear the Dental Chair?
“Boy, I just can’t WAIT to see my dentist!” – said no one, ever. Most people are more likely to put off making an appointment to see their dentist, sometimes for years at a time, rather than face the chair. The real question is: What are we so afraid of? The truth is, the answer is different for all of us but the common, overlying themes are the same.
From the moment you walk into the exam room, you are surrounded by equipment that is, quite frankly, a little terrifying to look at. Everything is sharp and angular, and there is nothing about those tools that say “comfort.” Even though you know in your heart that the equipment has to be pointy to get in between each of your teeth and that everything on the tray is designed to help – it’s hard to get past that feeling that you’re about to be interrogated for information regarding your oral hygiene routine. Add in a few extra bright lights in your eyes and a dentist whose only feature you can see is their eyes over the top of a mask and you’ve got the makings of a great internal argument against scheduling your next appointment.
We have all taken part in the frantic, rigorous pre-appointment scrubbing of teeth in the hopes that the dentist will take one look in there and say they’ve never seen pearlier whites! There is something highly unsettling about knowing that your dentist is going to be scant inches from your mouth and not knowing what they are going to see or smell. As decent human beings, we always want to put our best foot (or tooth) forward, and few things will make you feel more self-conscious than sitting in that chair with someone poking around in your mouth for twenty minutes or more and correctly guessing that you haven’t flossed once in the last six months.
Even as you read this, you may be recalling a time – perhaps recently – where you visited the dentist and had a bad experience. Maybe it was a procedure that was more uncomfortable than you were led to believe it would be. Perhaps you received news that you would have preferred to never have to hear. It’s even possible that your poor experience was a monetary one. Regardless of what inspires that sneaking sense of dread, it’s safe to say that the majority of fear when it comes to visiting the dentist stems from a previous encounter that went awry. Much in the same way that you wouldn’t hurry back to a restaurant that gave you food poisoning or a salon that botched your last haircut. After being on the receiving end of a bad experience, it can be hard to get back in the saddle again.
Fear of Pain
Perhaps the biggest fear of them all, the fear of pain is the most debilitating. We are programmed to avoid pain whenever possible, and, fair or not, most of us associate the dentist chair with pain in some way or another. We’ve all heard the horror stories of people having cavities filled with too little numbing agent, or the dreaded dry socket experience. Even when we haven’t experienced these things for ourselves, our imaginations take over and the pain we imagine is enough to scare us off. The fear is that we will be sitting there, mouth open and hear the words we hope never to hear: “You have a small cavity on one of your teeth that we’ll need to fix.” Or worse, words like “root canal” or “tooth extraction.” While these phrases are unlikely with the proper preventative care, we’re still terrified that they may be said to us at our next appointment.
But Wait, There’s Good News!
That’s right, there is good news to be had. These fears that we all experience – they are not the norm any longer. One of the most notable changes in modern dental care (and one that we at Avenue Dental Arts are proud to say we are on the cutting edge of) is the overall patient experience. We believe in working in tandem with medical advancement to provide the best experience possible. We listen to each and every patient and help determine any concerns, discomfort or reservations they may have about our process or procedures. We use the most up-to-date equipment available, all to be as minimally invasive and as painless as possible.
We have also strived to create an environment that is more spa-like than the typical dentist’s office you may have come to expect. From relaxing music, friendly staff, patient-specific approaches to treatment and even a menu of add-on options designed to help you feel relaxed and completely at ease, we have aimed to make our office feel like a place you can go to rest and rejuvenate your teeth. At Avenue Dental Arts, you no longer need to fear the chair!