It’s probably true that almost no one likes to go to the dentist, at least in comparison to going to the movies, out to eat, or to the beach. In fact, the British Health Foundation notes that 9-15% of Americans or roughly 30-40 million people avoid making appointments with the dentist out of fear. However, it’s important to know that fear of the dentist is something that can be overcome, and if it isn’t, dental phobia can lead to a higher risk of decay and periodontal disease.
Dental phobia takes many shapes, from those who are afraid of loud noises like the drill to those fear the equipment themselves or fear the prospect of only breathing through their nose. Some of these fears stem from bad experiences as a child, a displeasure with someone working so intimately with our mouths while we’re still awake and unable to control the situation, or a want to avoid judgment about the way we take care of our bodies.
Whatever the reason for dental phobia, there are practical things we can do to overcome our fear of the dentist:
– It starts with the dentist. We make sure to frequently check in with our patients, ask how people feel, seek permission to continue a treatment, and give patients space and breaks on a regular basis. One of the most important things you can do is to find the best dentist who cares for the whole patient.
– Patients should feel free to be open about their fears and communicate early and often regarding anxieties and past experiences at the dentist.
– Patients can also bring along a companion to help ease the stress and provide extra support.
– If appropriate, we can provide sedation to help patients feel more comfortable and relaxed.
Finally, if your dental phobia is persistent and doesn’t go away over time, it might be necessary to see a psychologist to reduce or eliminate your fears and ensure that you’re able to keep your mouth clean and healthy for a long period of time.
If you have any questions about your dental health or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.