Alleviating Dental Anxiety
Dental phobia is very common among patients of all ages. This feeling can be so intense that patients avoid regular dental visits or delay important procedures. Dr. Bruce Wilderman works to build trust with his patients so that they feel safe and comfortable under his care.
Fifty percent of the dental population has some form of dental anxiety. I learned a very, very, valuable lesson about 30 years ago when I had a minister sitting in my chair who was about the most white-knuckled patient I had ever encountered before. And this man was very well educated, he had his Ph.D. As a minister, he counseled people. And yet when he was in the dental chair, he was like a little child. It was at that point that I realized that he could not control his emotions, and he had been previously conditioned by a bad dental experience, much like Pavlov and the dog. The example with you ring the bell and the dog would salivate, it was the same thing for him. He would hear the sound of the drill and instantly takes him back to whatever that bad childhood memory was. It's a fight-or-flight response. It's the lizard part of our brain, we can't control it. No matter how much we want to try, the cerebral cortex, which is our rational brain, doesn't communicate with our lizard brain. And therefore, when you're stuck in the dental chair, if you want to have dental treatment done and your lizard brain is telling you to get out of the chair, your body goes into overload. And you just can't control it. No matter how much you want to try to say "I shouldn't feel this way," you can't, you can't rationalize the fear away. But what we've found is that once the patient understands that I get where their fear is coming from and we try to work with them, I find in one or two visits that their anxiety level drops to a point where they no longer feel the need to get out of the dental chair during treatment. And with each successive positive reinforcement, we're reconditioning them to have a positive dental experience. Announcer: If you want or have been considering a masterpiece smile for yourself, contact our office today.