Greetings from the Office of Dr. Jack Bodie!
Perhaps you sometimes find yourself feeling uneasy about the prospect of sitting in a dental chair. (Don’t worry, I don’t take it personally!) Well, the next time you’re feeling that way, remind yourself of this interesting tidbit:
U.S. researchers have located the human brain’s “dread center,” an area of the brain responsible for feelings of foreboding. Brain scans show that neurons that generate the feeling of anxiety lie within the same areas of the brain activated by pain.
How did they figure this out? Here comes the fun part! Researchers shocked the feet of more than thirty courageous volunteers while simultaneously scanning their brains. (Ouch!) Just be thankful you weren’t asked to participate.
The study found that about a quarter of the group were “extreme dreaders” who were more than willing to take a stronger jolt just to be done with the whole thing. It seems that the dread of an experience can be more overwhelming than any pain or discomfort actually associated with it.
Most dental procedures are not painful, but the anxiety associated with them can be extremely unpleasant. The anxiety could stem from a bad previous experience, a phobia, or even from watching Marathon Man one too many times. No matter its cause, the anticipation of things going wrong can be far worse than the actual experience.
So try to remember this the next time you grimace at the sight of an appointment reminder, a waiting room or a drill. The dread you’re feeling is not proportional to the experience you’re facing. Just take a deep breath and remember that science agrees — it really is all in your head.
If you’re still feeling uneasy and want to learn about the solutions (anti-anxiety meds and sedation) we have for helping you with dental fear, check our website at DrJackBodie.com, call our office at (972)235-4767, or email us at [email protected] today. We’d be happy to discuss your options. And, don’t let your fear prevent you from having a healthy mouth!
Jack Bodie, D.D.S