on dental fears
A growing number of psychologists are helping
patients overcome dental-related anxiety and
other oral health concerns.
By Rebecca A. Clay
By the time one patient came to psychologist Lisa J. Heaton, PhD, it had been more than 15 years since she had last seen a dentist.
“She would walk into the operatory and be so
upset she would start to cry and say, ‘I can’t do this,’”
remembers Heaton, a clinical assistant professor of
oral health sciences who collaborates with dentists at a
special clinic at the University of Washington’s School
of Dentistry. “For the first two appointments we saw
her, she wouldn’t even sit in the dental chair.”