Oral Health Group

“To Fear or Not to Fear,” that is the question.

April 1, 2020
by Dale Audrey Ungar R.D.H. 


What is fear exactly?

FEARDREADFRIGHTALARMPANICTERRORTREPIDATION mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. FEAR is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown DREAD usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety.  faced the meeting with dread FRIGHT implies the shock of sudden, startling fear. fright at being awakened suddenly ALARM suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger.  view the situation with alarm PANIC implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity.  the news caused widespread panic TERROR implies the most extreme degree of fear.  immobilized with terror TREPIDATION adds to DREAD the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation.

I am sure we are all too familiar with Dental Fear & Anxiety.

Have you ever gone out to dine or to a party when someone asks you what you do for a living? Do you think about not telling them you are in dentistry?

You are afraid that at any moment after stating that you are in the Dental Profession, the immediate response may start with them opening their mouth as they point and show you their tooth,  a horrific story about their dental procedure, or not saying a word as you notice they are distancing themselves from you?

It’s a common occurrence, I’m sure for all of us.

I’m sure we would react the same way if we weren’t in dentistry.  In fact, we make the worst dental patients because we really do know what goes on behind the scenes. And it’s not easy to swallow.

What is it exactly about dentistry that people fear? It’s really quite simple, as I see it, there are three reasons.

  1. Sharp instruments
  2. Pain
  3. Money

It’s no wonder these fears are real. Could it be any more frightful? And with all these reasons, it does not make our profession an easy one.

Besides dealing with those challenges, don’t forget how we work in a microscopic world, a small field and see most patients on an emergency basis.

And if that’s not enough pressure, we must remember, every experience we share with our patients will last their lifetime.

We need to make the best out of every circumstance we face.

One story I will never forget: I once had a patient that had never been for a dental cleaning in over 55 years. In fact, his appointment with me was his first.

Needless to say, his oral condition was extremely poor, but worst of all was the odor from his body; it was eye-watering. I began to perform the prophylaxis in a positive mindset.

Turned the Cavitron on “Turbo” and having one thought only, helping this soul and saving his teeth. As I continued to clean, I literally had to leave the room every 3 minutes as my eyes from the odor was something that I could not withstand. Surprisingly, the odor from his mouth disappeared as I cleaned, but the body odor remained.

I know I had to help as a professional and get beyond it to find a solution.  I would not give up.  I addressed the situation with my boss, and he answered simply, “Don’t worry, put an Oreo in your mask!”

So, I did and saved his teeth!

So there always is a way to solve a situation, if you don’t give up.

Putting aside our personal challenges, we must be cognisant and cannot forget how each patient is special and must be treated with kid gloves.

We must totally forget about the pressures we deal with at the office, on a day to day basis, and put them unselfishly behind us.

We need to always put the patient first, see the experience through their eyes. It’s an easy philosophy to act upon but easily forgotten.

We must remember we are here to provide a service to the best of our ability. Let us not forget we took a Hippocratic Oath.

I believe Its Karmic, making our patients feel comfortable will, in turn, help get better results for them.

More comfort, less pain and a better experience for all. After all, that is why we are here.

Practice with the skills you have been taught, be the best you can every day.

Offer a warm smile and change your perspective and see the world will change.

As my boss once put it, “I’ll do the best I can as a dentist now, but in my next life, I’m going to come back as a clown.”


About the Author

Dale Audrey Ungar R.D.H. is the award-winning Founder and CEO,Oral Fitness Inc., Dale Audrey R.D.H. a Registered Dental Hygienist since 1983. Driven to educate people’s views about their Oral Care and its importance to your overall health. Visit her website: www.daleaudrey.com To set up a call time with Dale Audrey, please click here: https://calendly.com/daleaudrey


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1 Comment » for “To Fear or Not to Fear,” that is the question.
  1. Stephanie M. says:

    Dentists prioritize your experience and comfort on every dental procedure as they too are a human being and are aware of the fear that the patient may feel. Trust your dentist 🙂

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