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The Anatomy of Fear

May 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Barry Franzen @ 5:42 pm

With the commonality of people fearing dental visits, you would think that fear is genetic, something that is inherently passed on. Scientists have performed some astounding research on this topic in the monkey kingdom. Monkeys born in the wild are naturally afraid of snakes. This is a useful fear because it protects the monkeys’ survival. However, monkeys born in captivity don’t show fear around snakes, even poisonous ones. This suggests that fears are not genetic. Are all fears learned, then, as a product of the environment?

Further research has shown that monkeys who were never afraid of snakes later learned to fear them very quickly. How? By witnessing a fellow monkey’s fear of snakes. This only had to happen once before the fearless monkey adapted the behavior of his friend.

According to Psychologies Magazine, we humans learn from our parents, siblings, friends, and the media what we should fear. We incorporate these fears even if we’ve never had a direct personal experience with them. This might explain why so many folks fear the dental chair.

Whether you’ve had an uncomfortable dental experience in the past or not, rest assured, many others are just like you. Some people squirm at the thought of someone looking closely at their teeth. For others, the fear of pain brings terror. Others fear they won’t be able to breathe and that thought terrifies them.

If you are one who fears the dental experience, I want to acknowledge you. Your fear is real, but I have good news for you. You may have had a bad experience in the past, but nowadays, a comfortable dental experience is your right, not merely luck or privilege. Together we can rewrite the scripts of fear.

Now that you understand the history behind fear, is it time to take that next step and visit a dentist you can trust? The best way to avoid invasive procedures is to have your teeth and gums checked regularly. Don’t live with pain and think you are avoiding further pain. This makes no sense!

You should be glad to know that dentistry has come a long way. A root canal today is easier and less painful than it was 30 years ago and technology has made all dental processes easier and more efficient. Technology has created massive progress in the way treatments are delivered. This allows for a less painful and more comfortable experience no matter what you are being treated for. Learn more about our practice here:

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