A young boy in the French alps, in a village called St. Gervais went to some pretty extreme lengths to avoid going to the dentist. The twelve-year old boy made up an elaborate lie in 2014 about being kidnapped by a man, when police found him hiding from his dentist appointment in a bush in the village. The boy claimed to be from a nearby village and said he was abducted by a man in a black shirt with a scar on his right cheek, and that he barely managed to escape and was hiding from his assailant. The police were looking for the mystery man for one month before the boy came forward to clear the air about his elaborate ruse.
We in the dental profession often forget what it’s like to be on the other side of the chair, as we see people in it all the time and hear the sounds, smell the smells, and see the sights that are associated with this profession. But most dental patients do not, and they can be extremely negatively affected by them. This is something that is often forgotten by dentists and dental professionals, and this seeming ignorance of their feelings can exacerbate the negative feelings that these patients are feeling.
Like most phobias, they can be deal with and their effects can be reduced, but there is no real “cure” for these kinds of psychological ailments that does not involve years and years of psychotherapy. But your teeth may not have that kind of time. Here are some shortcuts to help you put up with your fear while going to your half year check-up:
Bring some music to listen to while you are in the chair, something that can relax you or take away from what is happening. Close your eyes and shut out the sounds, which are so often the source of fear. If you don’t like music, maybe you can play a game on your phone (preferably one with sound), or watch a movie on a tablet.
Fear and anxiety are very often irrational. Try and rationalise your fears, and that cans sometimes make them go away, or give you firm ground to stand on in case you have an anxiety attack.
Sometimes it’s not you, it’s them. Some dentists do not care about phobias or the way their patients feel. These dentists should be avoided, even if they do a good job, as there are many dentists that can do a great job and be nice to their patients. Many times the phobia is a result of bad past experiences, which is why it is so important for patients suffering from dental phobia to find a friendly and amicable dentist that they like to be near.