DENTAL PHOBIA AND anxiety are pretty common, affecting more than one in every ten Americans. That means that close to 40 million people avoid getting crucial preventative dental care, which in turn means that small, easy-to-fix dental problems can become big, painful, expensive ones before they’ll see a dentist or in our case, an orthodontist. We hope we can help all of our patients overcome any dental anxiety they may struggle with.
Where Does Dental Anxiety Come From?
Even though we’re dental professionals ourselves, we can understand why the idea of regular dental/ortho appointments (let alone more intense treatments) can be unpleasant for a lot of people. It’s not very fun to lie flat on your back while strangers poke around at your teeth and gums, and maybe it’s easier to hope there is nothing wrong instead of letting us check and risk getting bad news. A lot of people feel this way, but for the sake of having healthy smiles, it’s important not to succumb to it.
Other people might have a specific bad memory that they associate the dentist with. Maybe they had a negative experience that gave them a terrible impression of dentists in general, or maybe older family members told them about their bad experiences and passed on their dental anxiety that way. At our practice, patient comfort is one of our highest priorities, and we would love to help any patients overcome anxiety based on previous experiences.
Strategies for Fighting Dental Anxiety
Here are a few things we recommend trying to help with feelings of dental anxiety:
- Don’t wait until a scheduled appointment to visit the dental office or orthodontist. Come in ahead of time to meet the team and get familiar with the space. Maybe even bring a friend or family member along so you can feel as in control as possible.
- Learn about what goes into a typical appointment. Ask questions and get an idea of how the process will go so that you won’t have to worry about any surprises.
- Discuss your anxiety and what you think the cause might be with the dentist or orthodontist. When we are aware of a patient’s dental anxiety struggles, we are much better able to help.
- Bring a relaxing distraction like your favorite music or podcast to listen to during the appointment.
- Remember that modern dentistry is full of conveniences and comforts that didn’t exist for our parents and grandparents! We get a pretty great deal in the 21st century.
We Are on Your Team!
We hope every patient we interact with can leave our practice feeling confident that their healthy smiles are in good hands. If you struggle with dental anxiety or have a family member who does, we want to help, so schedule a time to visit the practice, get used to our facilities, and meet our team. We can’t wait to answer your questions and help you feel at home.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Top image by Flickr user Nenad Stojkovic used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.