Ask a good number of adults which childhood fear continue to plague them, and you’ll be surprised by the one fear they commonly share: the fear of dentists. Why are these people still terrified of dentists?

Various scientific inquiries have been made to attempt a satisfying explanation to an enduring childhood anxiety. Researchers from several U.S. universities, such as West Virginia University, Indiana University, WVU-Charleston, and the University of Charleston, are among those looking to find answers. Joining them is a group of Japanese neuroscientists who believe they’re inching closer to finding out what actually happens inside the brains of dental scaredy-cats.

When the researchers made their subjects listen to the sound of dental drills and suction instruments, they found that people who absolutely dread dental checkups showed a great difference in their brain responses, compared to those who are simply chilled out, as reported to the Society for Neuroscience in a meeting held in San Diego. These specific “in-brain” reactions are what scientists are looking into to better understand how adults’ irrational fear of dentists persists.

Another explanation has pointed to the understanding of two broad forms of dental dread itself: dental anxiety, which is used to describe a “mild” fear, and dental phobia, which denotes a more extreme dread that affects about 10 percent of people worldwide. For those with dental anxiety, the dread can be attributed to a specific childhood experience, which can be one’s own or someone else’s. A more profound phobia is often attributed to one of three reasons: false connections (the person wrongly associates thoughts from the past with something in the present), learning difficulties, or even a wider psychological disorder.

Either way, a skilled dentist in Buckhead, such as an established dentist from Buckhead Esthetic Dentistry, is prepared to deal with any patient’s dread of dental procedures using specific, industry-accepted methods. One such method is inhalation sedation, which involves the inhalation of nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas). Laughing gas specifically induces a feeling of euphoria or floating, thus its name.

While the inner dynamics of the fear of dentists may still leave some adults in the dark, and the permanent treatment for it beyond reach for now, these sedation treatment methods seem, nonetheless, sufficient enough to work like a charm.


Why Do We Fear The Dentist? Mother Nature Network, September 14, 2012

Scared Of The Dentist? This Is Why, Says Neuroscientists, The Guardian, November 10, 2013

Why Are We So Scared Of Dentists? BBC, February 17, 2009

Inhalation Sedation (Laughing Gas), Dental Fear Central

IV (Intravenous) Sedation, Dental Fear Central

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