There is a segment of the population that gets nervous and anxious just thinking about going to the dentist. Dental anxiety is a fear of undergoing dental procedures. It is a legitimate fear, which affects an estimated 13% - 20% of Americans. Many people in this percentage of the population avoid dental care due to their anxiety and fear. Those who avoid the dentist have poor oral health and are at a high risk for periodontal disease. Advanced tooth decay and gum disease can lead to the loss of teeth. Poor gums and damaged teeth affect your ability to chew your food. Clearly, this is a serious problem for those who suffer with the condition.
Dental anxiety affects people in different ways. There are varying levels of anxiety ranging from being nervous to a severe phobia. People who suffer from severe dental anxiety will many times take an excessive amount of painkillers rather than going to the dentist. Taking painkillers for an extended amount of time and taking high doses of painkillers can cause liver problems and even death. Painkillers only mask the pain; they do not correct the source of the pain. Only a dentist is able to treat the source of the pain. Only a dentist is able to treat the source of the pain.
Some people have anxiety because they have allowed their teeth to deteriorate and do not want to be judged. Others have a limited knowledge of dental services and fear the unknown. There are patients who fear the loss of control that they experience when they are in the dental chair. For some, it is the pain, while others cannot tolerate the sound or smell of the drill. These types of anxiety are mild and may be easy to overcome with some help.
The first step to overcoming your dental anxiety is to discuss your anxiety with the staff when calling to make your appointment. Then when you come in for your visit, you will see that the staff and the dentist are supportive and specially trained to deal with dental anxiety and phobia.
There are things we can do to assist you in overcoming your anxiety.
If you feel the need, you may book an appointment solely to meet with the dentist and help ease your fears. Ask to schedule your appointment at a time when your wait time will be minimized. Tell the dentist that you would like to take baby steps and go about any procedures at your pace. You may need to spend 15 minutes sitting in the dental chair, without having any procedures done. During that visit, you may only have your x-rays and exam done.
Distraction is one method employed to minimize the fear. We provide TV and music to distract the patient from the work being performed.
Also, there are pain management options we offer such as topical anesthetics and pain-free shots with DentalVibe.
Many of our patients have successfully overcome their fear with the help of these techniques.
Finally, phobias and fears are best managed when you have a support system in place. Share your fears with your loved ones. Ask for support when making and going to appointments.
The bottom line is that you need dental care to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Phobia or no phobia, your teeth will collect bacteria and plaque. You will get cavities if you do not regularly see a dentist. Take the first step to overcoming your dental anxiety today!
This newsletter/website is not intended to replace the service of a doctor. Information in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for proffesional advice. Please do not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating any condition.