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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