New Way to Beat Fear of the Dentist


I’ll just come right out and say it. I’m scared of the dentist. I can’t even go in for a cleaning without a few butterflies, and have been known to cry and grip the arms of the chair with white knuckles when I have anything like a filling done. And you know what? It’s a pretty common fear (up to 75% of people) – especially for people who have had unpleasant dental experiences in the past.

For me, having straight, pretty white teeth is more important than feeling a little uncomfortable, so I brave my twice yearly appointments even if that reclining chair always makes me sweat a little.

But, there are many people out there who skip the dentist altogether, or refuse to go when they have a tooth problem, and for all of them, there is a new solution on the horizon. It’s called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and a study published in the European Journal of Oral Sciences found that it was effective in reducing fear of the dentist in most people after only three sessions. Basically, patients visualize their fear while a therapist guides their eye movements. It is all about teaching people to gain the courage to relax and say ahhh over the course of 90-minute sessions.