I hate the dentist…how do I get over my bad experiences?

Person with anxiety

I have so many patients who, as my own mother used to say, would “rather have a baby than see the dentist!”

Okay, so where do we go from here?  You have a dental issue/or think you might, you want help, but you are having trouble coming to terms with your bad past experiences.

First of all I want to say that mistrust and anxiety over even thinking about talking to a dentist is a sure sign of REAL phobias.  They are as real and immobile as a WALL.  They can be a wall that leads to much additional pain, loss, and suffering if not properly negotiated.

The thing is that you have inside you the mechanisms to start tearing down this WALL.  It doesn’t happen over-night and it requires patience both with yourself and with your dental team.  How?  Here’s how…

PEOPLE KNOW PEOPLE.  You know when a waitress is attentive and wants you to have a great dinning experience RIGHT?  Okay, so when you meet a dentist, it is possible that you can get to know them a little FIRST!  Do they care?  Do they seem attentive to what you are telling them?  Is their staff up to snuff?  Is the office friendly?  Do they work to answer all of your questions in a patient and kind way sorting through insurance, etc…?

BEFORE you are to even consider getting ANY work done, it is possible to do this.  And this is the first of many steps to tearing down the WALL.  BBBBBBBUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTT you must first find a dentist who passes these first “PEOPLE” tests.

In any profession and in all walks of life there are those who only think of themselves.  Conversely, there are those who truly LOVE to serve others.  They are compassionate, caring, attentive, they listen, DON’T JUDGE, and are patient.   BUT are they perfect? NO!  Do they get everything perfect the first time? NO!  Will they make it right? They will do their best and when their abilities are exceeded, they will expand the dental team to other professionals who they KNOW and trust to help.  Do they have your best interests at heart?  That’s what they ought to be PROVING to you over time!!!

Remember that as you are SLOWLY getting used to your dentist, they are getting to know you, giving them a chance to better serve you, allowing them to be able to anticipate your needs and desires.  As you build this RELATIONSHIP of trust and openness you are on your way to tearing down that WALL.

I hope that you have enjoyed this short discussion on dental anxiety and that it helps you or someone you know to get the dentist who is right for them.

Blessings to you all,

Dr. Philip Estes