Whether we choose to make them known or not, we all have fears. For some, it’s fear of the unknown, death, rejection, the dark or spiders. For others, it’s the dentist.
Many adults and children experience some degree of dental phobia – from a mild fear to severe anxiety. Regardless of how extreme, fear is preventing millions of Americans from going to the dentist for preventive care every six months. In some cases, it causes people to ignore the pain of an untreated dental decay until it becomes unbearable, and a trip to the dentist can no longer be avoided.
A key to addressing dental fear and anxiety is to be honest about it. It’s a fairly common condition that is being discussed now more than ever before. Most dental professionals are sensitive and understanding of this fear and are more than willing to help patients through the process of calming fears and easing anxiety. It all comes down to communication.
When making an appointment, it’s best to let the dental office know that you suffer from dental anxiety. This will enable them to plan ahead and ensure enough time is blocked for them to give you the attention needed. From explaining each action before it is performed, to allowing patients to help dictate the pace, there are a number of ways dental professionals can make patients part of the process and help give them a greater sense of control.
Visiting the dentist regularly makes it easier and more affordable to address dental health concerns as soon as they arise. It also lessens the likelihood of encountering pain and needing more major procedures.
If you suffer from dental anxiety, don’t let fear stop you from making your next dental appointment. With some advanced planning and an open discussion with your dental provider, your next visit might leave you pleasantly surprised. You’ll also have a brighter and a healthier smile to show for it.