Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to be afraid of the dentist. In fact, recent research estimates that one in every seven Americans suffers from some type of fear of the dentist. What is even more staggering is the fact that many of these people understand how dental care can improve their oral health. Unfortunately, many of them still don’t seek treatment. But what if dental fears affect more than the person who struggles with them? What if they are able to pass from parent to child?
Dr. Deborha Staten discusses the possibility that dental fears can be learned by observation.
Can Fear Be Learned?
While not every fear is as strong as a phobia, it may be useful to look at research about phobias to estimate whether or not fears can be passed down to children. Until recently, the consensus among scientists seemed to be that phobias developed out of an instinct to survive. This instinct was then passed down through the generations until it became an innate response. Thus because some snakes are deadly, a phobia of snakes developed out of a need to avoid them in order to survive. However, the tide of opinion seems to be turning, and research involving young children and their fear responses is lending credence to the idea that a phobia may develop when a child observes another person recoiling in fear from a specific thing.
Dental Phobias and Children
If phobias and fears can indeed be learned, parents will probably want to make a concerted effort to talk about the positive attributes of dental care rather than those things which make them nervous. In addition Dr. Staten offers sedation dentistry as an option of helping patients relax during dental procedures. With sedation dentistry, many patients who struggle with dental fears are able to receive the care they need.
Schedule a Visit with Dr. Staten
Do you struggle with a fear of the dentist? Contact Dr. Staten today by calling 702-736-7979.