We realize that many people don’t look forward to seeing the dentist. While most of us appreciate the product of dental care, not many people enjoy the process and the possible discomfort, be it physical or psychological.
If you suffer from dental anxiety or phobia, you might be putting off your dental care. You may have such severe anxiety that you’re avoiding the dentist, despite experiencing pain, living with fractured, discolored or missing teeth and possibly an infection.
While you may be willing to put up with some pain and think it is minor compared to other health problems, remember that dental health can affect your overall health. The bacteria from oral infections such as gingivitis and periodontal disease travels through the rest of your body. Oral infections have been linked to complications related to cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections and poor control of other systemic diseases such as diabetes.
Fortunately, there are ways we can help reduce your anxiety, so you don’t have to neglect your oral health.
Tips to Overcome Dental Phobia
If you avoid visiting the dentist, the following tips may help…
- Let your dentist know about your anxiety. We take your feelings seriously and will work to help you overcome this fear, but we can’t help if we don’t know about it. Let your dentist’s office know as soon as you schedule an appointment.
- Talk to your dentist. Discuss your fears with us. Let us know why you feel anxious and what, if anything in particular, causes you to feel frightened. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed. We deal with this quite often and will listen to you without judgement. Also, ask what will be done to help you feel more at ease during treatment. In our office, we can take a range of measures, from playing your favorite Pandora station on Bose noise-cancelling headphones to relaxing DVDs with tranquil music to pre-medication with sedatives.
- Ease into your exam and cleaning. We can discuss your past experiences and apprehension. If you like, we can also show you the tools we use and explain what they do and how they work. When you feel comfortable and are ready to proceed, we can talk you through procedures before we take the next steps.
- Create a plan. Work with your dentist to create a plan that works for you. For instance, you may want us to ask you when you are ready to proceed or to fully explain each action before taking it. If you need pre-medication with sedatives, we might plan for that step as well.
Your oral health is important. With patience, understanding and acceptance, we can work together to overcome your fear and ensure your oral health is in top condition.