The advent of a new course is always an exciting experience for both us and our attendees, and “The Science of Dental Fear” was no exception!
Dr. Larry Sangrik took a very scientific approach in identifying the nature of fear & the root causes of it. This opened the floor for attendees to draw on their personal experiences in the dental office. The participants discussing their cases in retrospect caused them to look through things from the patient’s perspective, now with a greater understanding of what made the patients apprehensive.
Moving on, Dr. Sangrik supplemented topical points of his presentation with interactive demonstrations. He called on attendees to volunteer to demonstrate different methods of calming an anxious patients. For instance, the first demonstration on how to properly approach a child patient who needs injections. He thoroughly explained how a doctor could perform such simple tasks and have subtle interactions with the child patient in order to completely remove the fear component in a visit. Our executive director Dr. Kenneth Feiler was able to expand on this demonstration with an anecdotal story of his own regarding a fearful child patient at his old practice. The give and take among attendees and the doctor made for a beneficial mention.
While Dr. Sangrik provided plenty of examples of practices that were able to extinguish the presence of fear in their dental office, he also provided examples of practices that were not successful in doing this. He showed a video clip of a very skittish and nervous patient getting a cat scan where the staff facilitated the scan, but did not establish any communication with the patient. This lack of communication certainly exacerbated the man’s fear of the situation he was in and did not reflect well on the staff or practice.
The video clip he showed then transitioned into a conversation regarding the necessity for a “Fear Assessment” when going over a patient’s medical history in order to prepare for patients with notable fears of the dental office. Dr. Sangrik’s course overall was able to get the participants to reflect on their own experience to better understand dental fear in the office and prevent any mishaps in the future. We hope to see him give this course again in our facility!