Unique and Funny Ways to Make Your Visit to the Dentist Bearable
As much as it pains me as a dentist to admit, people are scared of me. I’m not sure why. I don’t have three heads, I don’t bite, I don’t have pierced nipples and facial tattoos. I have a family and a dog that won’t listen to me. In fact, sometimes my kids don’t listen to me—not the type of behavior you’d expect from someone that strikes fear into the heart of strangers. But here I am, reaching out to say hello to children only to have the shriek in terror and run from me.
I’m not sure what I did to deserve this, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that in some past life, I was the biggest, baddest, scariest biker in the world and some of that must have rubbed off on me, even with my spectacles, tennis elbow and own fear of spiders. So in an effort to understand why people are so scared of me, I really started hassling my patients until they screamed how horrible I was—no, I didn’t do that.
Neat Ways to Lessen Your Fear of Dentists
But what I did instead was try to find some of the more unique ways that my patients who were really terrified of the dentist made their visits more tolerable. Then, I passed this on to other patients who were scared and what I found in the end was that it wasn’t me that people were scared of—it was actually other dentists. Despite my great relief, my dog still won’t listen to me.
- The fist clencher. One day I had a patient come in with clenched fists. My nurses told me about it while he was in the waiting room and sure enough, he had his fists clenched still when I got around to seeing him. I asked him why he was doing that and he responded that when he tenses up his muscles, he is more anticipatory to pain, thus making him ready to deal with anything. Whether or not he really needed to clench his fists to have teeth whitening strips put on, I’ll never know, but at least it gave him the peace of mind knowing that he was ready for whatever came his way and he was stronger than it. Sometimes, that’s all you really need to know. Just be careful you don’t look like you’re going to knock anyone out, scaring people is my job! (Yes, I was a little scared of the fist clencher!)
- The chanter. Another patient of mine kept muttering something under her breath during an appointment and when the office got completely silent for a second, I swore I heard her say, “The dentist can’t hurt me.” This was pretty surprising because she wasn’t that big and I probably could’ve at least taken her in a thumb wrestling match, but after I was sure I heard what I heard, I couldn’t help but ask why she thought I would hurt her. She told me that she was a practicing yogi and that she found spiritual strength in repeating mantras or chants that were self-empowering. While her chanting implied that I was out to hurt her (which hurt my feelings a bit), at least she didn’t have her fist clenched ready to hurt me back!
- The yeller. A third patient of mine with a unique technique for braving my presence first caught my attention all the way from the parking lot. I was finishing up a call to the lab for some bridge work when I heard a blood-curling, primal scream from outside. Needless to say, the office was soon abuzz after a third, fourth and fifth scream started when a calm looking young lady walked in the door. After hearing the receptionist and nurse nervously wondering if they should call the police, the young patient admitted that it was her screaming outside. When we asked her why, she said that the anticipation and buildup of stress that comes with a dentist appointment is too much for her to bear. She found that if she lets out all of her stress in a primal scream, she is completely relaxed and ready for her appointment. Why she had to scream five times just for a checkup is beyond me, but if she ever needs a cavity filled, I’ve alerted the national air traffic control to be aware of sonic booms coming from my parking lot.
You Should Find a Dentist That Puts You at Ease
The point here is that we all get scared and deal with our fears in different ways. I obviously deal with my fear of my clenched fist, screaming, chanting patients with humor. Still, there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of the dentist, especially with all of the modern techniques we use.