Fear of going to the dentist is a universal phenomenon. If you fear visiting the dentist, you are not alone! Studies show that between 10% and 20% of adults avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear – including fear of pain, needles, anesthesia, possible embarrassment and loss of personal space.
Dental phobias are much more severe. Those who experience them are terrified, panic-stricken and may become physically ill. They know that their fears are irrational but are unable to do anything about them.
Older adults, who experienced dental care when procedures were not as advanced, commonly fear the dentist. It is likely they had a painful dental procedure when anesthesia was not used and their comfort was not a consideration.
Calm your fears:
1. Talk to your dentist. If you are anxious about a procedure, talk with your dentist about it. It could be that the ‘unknown’ is what you fear, especially if it has been many years since you last visited a dentist. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
2. ‘Talk’ with your hands. It’s impossible to communicate with a mouthful of dental tools. Talk to your dentist before your procedure about how you will communicate any pain or discomfort you may feel.
3. Take a break. During a long procedure, anxiety can build and you may begin to feel claustrophobic. If you feel, at any time, like you need take a break, let your dentist know.
4. Get distracted. Think about something else; let your mind wander. Listen to the radio, a podcast or an audio book on your mobile device. Tune in to tune out!
5. Consider medication. Today’s anesthesia is much more effective than in years past. Discuss with your dentist the varied possibilities. At Star White Dental, we offer Sedation Dentistry – a safe, tiny pill taken the night before your procedure that calms your anxiety.
If you lose sleep and tend to worry excessively about what might happen at the dentist’s office, let us put your fears to rest. Your oral health is well worth the effort!