How to Stop Dental Fears… a 2-Part Series
by Jennifer Wheeler DMD
If you’re like many patients today and would love to stop dental fears from making you feel nervous about a visit to the dental office, this blog post is going to help you immensely. Do you worry about it days or weeks before the appointment? Are you someone who is actually terrified about dental treatment and worries about it all the time?
Do even those things that are supposed to make visits more comfortable just seem to increase the apprehension or feeling of anxiety and being out of control — like anti-anxiety medication, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or local anesthesia — numbing the treatment area (injections, needles, shots)?
Whichever end of this spectrum you might be on, it may be helpful to know that you are not alone.
Actually, having a little or even a lot of nervousness about dental visits is common. Some studies have concluded that up to 75% of people surveyed experience anxiety before dental visits and would love to stop dental fears. In addition it appears that 10%-15% of people have a great deal of dental fear — so much so, that it prevents them from having any dental treatment at all.
It’s important to successfully stop dental fears especially for people who have frequent dreams about dental treatment; some will only eat soft foods because they are afraid that they might chip a tooth and then need dental treatment. As a consequence these individuals who put off having dental treatment suffer for years with toothaches, infections and poor appearance which can lead to the need for cosmetic dentistry and/or restorative dentistry intervention.
It’s possible, even for those people who are the most fearful, to reduce their fear and to learn to have dental treatment in a way that feels calm and safe.
While dental fear can result in stress and avoidance of care, it can also have more wide-reaching consequences. For some it affects their whole identity and sense of self-worth. They may see other people who don’t seem to have the same reactions to dental treatment and begin to feel that something is wrong with them.
“Why can’t I do this thing that other people seem to do so easily?” In fact, untreated oral conditions may result in even worse general health complications.
In the end, it’s in everyone’s interest to find ways to overcome dental fear and make dental treatment a calm and safe experience.
Now for the good news! First, it’s helpful for many people who are fearful to know that they are not alone. It’s also important to realize that help is available. Actually, experience has shown that even people who have extreme fear about dental procedures can get over their fears and learn to have dental treatment in a manner that feels calm and safe.
If you have been afraid for a long time you may have difficulty believing this, but even people with long standing fear can be helped. Before we describe how it’s possible to get over dental fear, let’s first review some things about what makes people fearful.
If you want to know more about how you can quickly and easily stop dental fears or you’re ready to call and schedule an appointment in our office please give us a call at Midwest Dental in Chesterfield (314) 576-3737.
PS: You may find this a bit funny, but when I was a kid… I had a problem with dental fears as well… and now I’m a Dentist! That’s great news for anyone who wants to stop dental fears and be confident when going to the Dentist.