Avoiding the dentist because of fear or anxiety can actually lead to many health issues. These include gum disease and cavities – and left unchecked, gum disease can even lead to heart disease! Putting off going to the dentist isn’t the answer. However, there are many things that you can do reduce dental anxiety.
Understanding Dental Phobia
Dental phobia is an intense fear of a dental exam. It includes a sense of uneasiness, anxiety, and fear. In fact, it’s estimated that 9 to 15 percent of Americans fear the dentist to the point of phobia and anxiety. This phobia can come from:
- Fear of pain
- Remembering bad dental experiences in the past
- Embarrassment of the condition of their teeth
- Uncertainty about the dental exam process
- Feeling helpless or out of control
Understanding the reason for much of dental anxiety is the key to finding ways to overcome dental anxiety.
Reducing Dental Anxiety
Fearing pain is a legitimate reason to avoid the dentist – no one likes hurting! If you’re afraid that dental cleaning or a filled cavity can hurt, have a consultation with your dentist before about different pain medications that can be used for your procedure.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, this can be part of your dental consultation. Your new dentist can explain what will happen and take the process slowly. Be sure to fully explain your bad experience so that your new dentist can be very aware of what to do differently for this visit.
If you’re embarrassed about the condition of your teeth, don’t worry. Dentists are trained to provide care no matter what your dental condition is. They don’t judge. They just want you to have healthy teeth and gums.
Fear can often come from uncertainty about what will happen during a dental exam, cleaning, or procedure. This walks you through exactly what to expect, but if you’re still uncomfortable, then your dentist may be able to give you a demonstration of the process or procedure so that you understand what to expect and feel more comfortable.
Reducing dental anxiety can happen if you have an open and honest conversation with your dentist – before your procedure. But don’t put off a dental check-up, or you may end up with greater health problems! Contact Riverdale Park Dental to discuss how we can make your next dental visit a pleasant one.