August 5, 2016
There is hardly a day that goes by that we do not see patients who are fearful about their dental treatments or simply have anxiety about the dental office. It’s a challenge to make a dental office a comfortable and nonthreatening environment, although we try to accomplish this feat every single day.
There are several different reasons a person can fear or avoid the dentist. Today I want to examine those reasons and give you the power to control your dental fear once and for all. I’ll start by saying that nearly 20 percent of all Americans struggle with dental fear, and about 5 percent of the country will avoid the dentist at all costs.
Dental fear isn’t something that simply keeps you away from the dentist or makes you anxious in the dental chair; it can flat out deplete your oral health. Patients who avoid the dentist because of dental fear are much more likely to experience dental problems and need extensive procedures.
Here are some of the reasons people avoid the dental office.
1. Fear of pain. Dental pain is like no other pain in the world. We dentists certainly never want to hurt our patients, which is why my office has studied so extensively to provide comfortable and noninvasive dental treatments. By offering comfortable treatments — like nonsurgical gum disease procedures or Invisalign for correcting crooked teeth — patients can focus on the results instead of the procedure.
2. Fear of embarrassment. Even though most dentists have seen their fair share of dental problems, people are still embarrassed to admit their dental issues. We’ve met with countless patients who told us they were embarrassed about the state of their smile and did not want anyone — even me — to see their teeth. Our office doesn’t judge anyone who walks through our doors. In fact, we applaud them. Forget about your dental past. Forget about feeling guilty about the state of your teeth. We want to help. It’s that simple
3. Fear of being lectured. This goes along with embarrassment. While I don’t think dentists try to embarrass their patients, I know that some dentists have a tendency to lecture patients. As a dentist, I understand how frustrating it is when patients do not follow your advice, but I NEVER lecture my patients. You will not hear a lecture from me or my staff. Again, we’re here to address your dental issues, not to make you feel bad about the state of your mouth.
How can we help with dental fear?
Our office is compassionate and caring. We understand that not everyone is comfortable in the dental chair. We expect that everyone is different, and we believe we can accommodate your dental needs. First and foremost, you must feel comfortable in our office.
If you cannot make yourself comfortable in our office, we have other options, including sedation dentistry. One great form of sedation is oral conscious sedation. This sedation is rendered in pill form and helps you relax in the dental chair.
Oral conscious sedation is taken before your visit. You’ll have a friend or family member drive you to the office. By the time you reach our office, you’ll find yourself in a total state of relaxation. Even though you are technically conscious, most patients who take oral conscious sedation fall asleep in the chair or have little to no memory of the procedure. In addition to helping you relax, we use oral conscious sedation to treat multiple dental issues in one visit. This helps you cut down on your overall time at the dentist.
Learning about your dental fear can help you combat it. Don’t let the fear take over your mouth. You can call us anytime at 703-552-2530 to schedule a dental visit.