So, you’re scared of the dentist. We totally get it and you aren’t the first one with that fear.
So, you’re scared of the dentist. We totally get it and you aren’t the first one with that fear. Did you know that it is estimated that nearly seventy five percent of adults in the United States experience fear when it comes to visiting a dentist? Of that number, about five to ten percent of them have a fear so intense that it can be considered dental phobia. That leaves a question: where does this fear come from?
Oftentimes a fear of the dentist can stem from childhood. When we are children, we are typically scared of the unknown. If you weren’t familiar with a dentist the first time you went as a child, it can be pretty scary, even if the experience was overall pleasant. If you add in a traumatic experience at the dentist, that only worsens the problem. Many adults and children have a dental phobia due to a negative experience they had.
These negative experiences can be a multitude of things. It can consist of a time that they were in pain or had an unexpected situation occur during their visit. According to a study by DentaVox, thirty nine percent of respondents with dental fear are afraid of the pain. Twenty four percent are scared of the smell of chemicals, twenty one percent are afraid of the sound of the drill. A smaller few are afraid of being stuck in the dental chair and having to keep their mouth open for a long time.
There really are a variety of reasons that one might be hesitant when visiting the dentist, but it is super important that they still continue to visit routinely.
If you or your child are suffering from dental anxiety, you may think it is easier to just avoid the dentist. This is the easiest solution when it comes to dealing with the fear, but it will likely cost you much more in the long run. If you choose to forego your routine dental visits, you could actually end up having to visit the dentist a lot more often.
The negative effects of avoiding your dental care can be a variety of problems. These can consist of plaque buildup, tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, bad breath, cavities, tooth stains, oral cancer, risk of disease or abscesses and infections. Not only can these things cost you quite a bit of money, but quite a bit of time in the dentist chair.
If you are afraid of the dentist and ready to face your fears, what can you do to help the process be a little easier not only for you, but for your dentist?
A great way to begin being less anxious before your appointment is to watch or listen to things that you enjoy or make you laugh. You can listen to funny audio books or podcasts on your way to the office or in the waiting room. Hopefully this will get you laughing and your mind off of your upcoming appointment. You can also listen to soothing music if that is more your speed.
Another way to relieve anxiety is by asking your dentist to explain everything they are doing before they do it. This brings back a little bit of control to you in the chair and will prevent you from being surprised by anything happening. Most dentists don’t mind and will be happy to have something to talk to you about
Lastly, if you need a bit more, anxiolytics are a form of anti-anxiety drugs (minimal sedation dentistry) that can be prescribed before your appointment in order to help you calm down. If your dental provider is certified to provide minimal sedation dentistry, ask them about your fears and if this would be a beneficial decision for you.
Though you may be fearful of a trip to your dentist, it is imperative that you make it a priority. Work on finding ways that can help you relax and relieve stress beforehand and you will likely be able to make it through your appointment no problem. If you or your dental provider have questions about minimal sedation dentistry, give us a call today!