We don’t fear pain at the dentist, but the noises cause anxiety
Many of us experience anxiety at the dentist, and a study in Japan in 2013 discovered that it’s not the thought of pain that triggers fear in patients, but the sound of dentist drills, suction instruments and other tools that make noises in the dentist surgery.
Apparently, it’s the way that the brain processes the sounds that determines whether a patient feels anxious or not. The sounds created by drills and suction devices isn’t much fun, but your fear levels are probably determined by which side of the brain is being used to process the sound.
As many as 75% of patients polled in a recent survey said they experienced no pain during dental procedures; however, many more people experience anxiety. Much of which is likely caused by noises.
The study used brain scans to ascertain which parts of the brain are processing the information. We aren’t about to reach a revolution in dental treatment whereby every patient has their brain scanned to see how they react to dental noises, there could be some learning for psychiatrists in treating nervous patients, and for dental surgeons.
Around 10% of the UK adult population are classified as having an extreme fear of the dentist.
You can avoid the unpleasant sounds of the dentist altogether with good oral hygience and regular check-ups. Paying attention to your oral health can prevent tooth decay and the need for surgery. Brush at least twice per day, floss and avoid sugary foods and drinks that cause decay.