It is a well-known fact that dental treatment is a cause of anxiety for many folks. Whether it's fear of the drill, the shots or having a tooth pulled, a visit to the dentist is not generally at the top of anyone's favorite to-do list. Some even report disliking the sounds and smells of the dentist’s office.
Some recent studies show that women, in particular, are more disgusted by dental treatment than men. When shown photographs of dental procedures, women who had reported dental anxiety were especially affected by the photos.
In general, about half of the adult population has a fear of going to the dentist. The problem is that people with this anxiety often put off going, and end up having more severe tooth problems that result in needing more invasive and expensive procedures later on.
The good news is that an ever increasing number of dentists are aware of this fear and have become sensitive to the needs of the many who experience dental treatment anxiety. Some even specialize in "gentle dentistry," catering to that population.
If you suffer from anxiety or fear around going to the dentist, here are some tips that can make the experience more comfortable:
The best way to avoid unnecessary and unpleasant dental treatment is good oral health care. This means regular brushing, flossing, limiting contact with sugary or acid-laden foods and using a good fluoride rinse.
When shopping for a dentist, look for one who advertises that they specialize in dealing with patients who have a fear of the dentist. Another good idea is to get referrals from friends and family.
Meet with your prospective dentist prior to getting any work done. Be upfront about your fears. You will know fairly quickly if this is a dentist that you will feel comfortable with. Does the dentist take your fears seriously? If he or she just laughs it off and tells you not to worry, then you might want to keep looking.
With that said, humor can be a powerful antidote to fear. A dentist with a great sense of humor can go a long way in putting you at ease and making the whole experience more pleasant.
Work out a "code" gesture with your provider prior to dental treatment. This way, if you need a break you can let him know without having to try and speak.
There are things that you can do to help you relax prior to and during your visit as well. Deep breathing, listening to relaxing music and bringing a trusted friend are good ways to make the visit easier.
Are you scared of going to the dentist because you’ll hear the dreaded drill screeching in your ear? Or maybe you are terrified of the needle — and who likes leaving the dental office with a droopy or puffy face? All these dental fears can be minimized with a WaterLase dentist. The WaterLase is a dental laser that enables the dentist to use minimal and even no anesthetic or drills to perform many routine dental procedures!
Remember, fear of dental treatment is common, so you are not alone. You do not have to be embarrassed, and it should not keep you from getting the care you need.