My favourite kind of patient is the one who doesn’t like coming to the dentist…. because they are the ones who will end up liking to come to the dentist the most. It is probably the most rewarding part of my job. When a patient first comes and they are absolutely fearful of the dentist, and then with time it is so nice to see them slowly slowly getting more and more relaxed, and then having them come on a regular basis is really something special. “It’s not as bad as what I thought it would be” is something the nervous patients will often say.
As a dentist I often get told by patients that they have a real fear of the dental treatment. I always ask the patient “what is it specifically that you don’t like about dental treatment?” Most say ‘the needle’, some say ‘the entire thing’, and other say ‘the noise’. If they say, for example, ‘the needle’, I will then ask them “what specifically about the needle don’t you like?’. Although the question seems silly because the obvious answer is ‘pain’, it’s important for me to ask these questions to the patient so that they feel listened to, as feeling like someone understands them can often help the patient feel more relaxed. I will then discuss ways the make the ‘needle’ more comfortable, such as using numbing gel for a couple of minutes first.
If you have a genuine fear of dental treatment, speak to a dentist about it. There is nothing wrong with fearing dental treatment however instead of running away or ignoring the problem, the best thing to do is to manage it. With modern technologies, dental treatment has come along way in the last 10 years and there are ways of making treatment comfortable.