Anderson Dental Care - October 2019

BRUSH - UP

ANDERSON DENTAL CARE Nathan Brooks, DDS, Inc.

7525 STATE RD., STE. A, CINCINNATI, OH 45255 | 513-438-8152 | WWW.ATOWNDENTAL.COM | OCTOBER 2019

HALLOWEEN IS ABOUT FACING YOUR FEARS WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?

When it comes to Halloween, it seems like every family has their own fun traditions to kick off the spooky, candy-filled festivities. My family, for example, plans out a classic group costume and goes trick-or-treating together. Last year, we went as a circus act complete with a bearded lady, a monkey, a strong man, and a ringmaster, and the year before that, we hit the streets to do our best portrayal of the beloved gang from the Toy Story franchise. While Halloween is a holiday replete with costumes and candy, it’s known to hone in on people’s biggest fears. With its haunted houses, winding corn mazes, chilling movies, and cardboard cutouts of ghosts, goblins, and spiders, Halloween serves as a day for people of all ages to face what scares them most. Since I’m in a line of work centered around helping people, it might seem surprising to hear that much of my workday involves addressing fear. But, when the vast majority of the population experiences real anxiety while sitting in the dental chair, helping them work through their fears becomes an important aspect of my job. Over the years, helping assuage patients’ fear- filled thoughts has become my favorite part of being a dentist. I’ll admit to people right away that even though I know exactly what goes on during each and every dental procedure, I still don’t enjoy sitting in the chair getting my own teeth cleaned. Lying back in the chair with several instruments in your mouth can

make anyone (even dentists) feel supremely vulnerable, but I’ve found it’s not the procedure that brings on the fear; it’s the feeling of not knowing what is going to happen.

the hygienist, or me, but once I let them know what to expect from their appointment, I find they feel a little more at ease. Sometimes I’ll start with a joke to break the ice. In fact, the other day, an initially frightened patient and I joked about how awful it would be if I turned the office into a haunted house. I started thinking about all the creepy decorations I could hang and the scary costume I could wear when she interrupted my thoughts and exclaimed, “You wouldn’t need to change a thing! This place already sends chills down my spine!” Amidst our fit of laughs, I talked her through her procedure from beginning to end and even showed her which instruments I would be using. Once she knew what to expect, she seemed much more relaxed. The bottom line is I understand why people are afraid of me and where those fears come from, but, in order to work through that fear-based thinking, we have to face what’s scaring you together. If you know you have an appointment coming up, and you already feel some anxiety about sitting the chair, the best thing you can do is talk to me about it. Tell me how you’re feeling, ask questions, complain even! I promise I’ll do my best to make you feel a little more comfortable and prove I’m not so scary after all.

When you really think about it, the unknown is at the heart of most fears. If you’re watching a scary movie, the suspense stems from not knowing who the villain is, but, once you discover their identity, your fear starts to dissipate. The same thing occurs when you embark on a new life experience like starting a job, going to a different school, or having a baby. Comfort comes from knowing. When I meet a new patient, I can usually tell right away if they are frightened. They might be apprehensive about the chair, the procedure, (even dentists) feel supremely vulnerable, but I’ve found it’s not the procedure that brings on the fear; it’s the feeling of not knowing what is going to happen.” “Lying back in the chair with several instruments in your mouth can make anyone

– Dr. Brooks

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