While many of us experience a mild form of anxiety when visiting the dentist, there are others who are downright afraid. This can place their teeth at a higher risk of developing cavities and the chances of maintaining a healthy smile are dramatically reduced.

However, it is beginning to appear that genetics play just as important of a role as the environment and previous experiences.

What have scientists recently discovered and how might this be able to help patients in the future?

– There are many times when a heightened sensitivity to pain is inherited.

– Parents who are afraid of the dentist are likely to have children who feel the same.

– Dentists should be affable with their patients and always try to put them at ease.

“Researchers believe it is the same genes that play a role in the fear of pain that can influence a fear of the dentist.” Luckily, there are many things dentists can do to help terrified patients, such as cultivating a gentle bedside manner and keeping frightening-looking instruments out of sight.

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Dr. Matthew Thomas BDS Wales (1996)

Dr. Thomas was born and brought up in Bridgend. He attended the University of Wales College of Medicine and Dentistry, qualified in 1996, and pursued dental VT training in LlantwitVardre 1996-97. Dr. Thomas held associate positions in Rhondda Valley. In 1999, he purchased Marlborough Dental Practice.

Dr. Thomas is interested in all aspects of dentistry including clear orthodontics (he is qualified to fit Invisalign, Inman, Six Month Smiles, Cfast, SmileTru) and dental implants.

He was a keen rugby player for local clubs in Bridgend and Cardiff Meds where he was Captain for two seasons. He also was a keen sportsperson playing county tennis, football, swimming, cycling, running, judo (until his knees fell apart and needed reconstructions!).

Now, Dr. Thomas rides his mountain bike regularly, and occasionally a road bike, plus he skis and enjoys time with his family, including two daughters and two dogs.