Published On: September 1, 2012By Categories: Blog

Perhaps you sometimes find yourself feeling uneasy about the prospect of sitting in my chair. (Don’t worry, I don’t take it personally!) Well, the next time you’re feeling that way, remind yourself of this interesting tidbit:

U.S. researchers have located the human brain’s “dread center,” an area of the brain responsible for feelings of foreboding. Brain scans show that the neurons that generate the feeling of anxiety lie within the same areas of the brain activated by pain. How did they figure this out? Here comes the interesting part! Researchers shocked the feet of more than thirty courageous= volunteers while simultaneously scanning their brains. (Ouch!) Just be thankful you weren’t asked to participate. The study found that about a quarter of the group were “extreme dreaders” who were more than willing to take a stronger jolt just to be done with the whole thing.

It seems that the dread of an experience can be more overwhelming than any pain or discomfort actually associated with it.

Most dental procedures don’t hurt, but the anxiety associated with them can be extremely unpleasant. The anxiety could stem from a bad experience, a phobia, or even from watching Little Shop of Horrors too many times. No matter its cause, the anticipation of things going wrong can be far worse than the actual experience. Our patients often tell us that their appointment went much better than they had anticipated and they wished they hadn’t put it off so long!

So try to remember this the next time you grimace at the thought of making an appointment. The dread you’re feeling is not proportional to the experience you’re facing. Just take a deep breath and remember that science agrees — it really is all in your head.

If you’re still feeling uneasy and want to find new methods for coping with your dental phobia, call our office today at (651)738-8204 or email us at We’d be happy to discuss your options. You may even be a candidate for conscious sedation.

Dr. Haag

Recent Blog Posts