Today I talked to a group of dentists.  They had invited me to speak and asked me to touch on an eclectic group of topics.  I included a discussion of patient fear and its causes.  It was a revelation to many of them that there was a connection between child abuse and fear of the dentist.  The more I explored it, the more they gave it creedence.  My main point was that it was best for me, as a medical provider, to assume that these highly fearful patients had a good reason to be fearful, something bad had happened to them, and it wasn't their fault.  I argued that once my thoughts were "in that place" I could work with them more effectively and more compassionately.  They don't need to tell me their story and frankly, many of them can't due to feelings of embarrassment, humiliation, and or guilt.  Most of them desperately want to avoid the dentist's disapproval or anger.  They need to know that they are not at risk and they are understood and accepted. 

I want to think that I was effective enough that the dentists will choose to act.


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