Are you afraid of going to the dentist? Studies show that about 15% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety or phobia. There are many different factors that may contribute to this fear; however, it’s important to overcome dental fears, otherwise it may have a negative effect on your health. Keep reading for some tips to help set your mind at ease at the dentist.
Fear of the Pain/Drill
If the fear of excruciating pain from the drill or other procedure is what’s keeping you from going to the dentist, there are some steps you can take to help make the idea less scary. First, do your research. Familiarize yourself with the procedure so that you know exactly what to expect every step of the way. Learn about the technology used; today’s advanced technology makes many procedures painless. Ask your dentist, too, as his technique may be different from what is normally done.
If you’re still hesitant, keep your eyes closed and ask your dentist if you can put in your headphones and listen to music while he is working on your mouth. If you can’t see or hear what’s going on, it may help reduce any pain or discomfort you might otherwise experience.
Fear of Needles
The needle numbs your mouth for the procedure, but what numbs your mouth for the needle? If you’re afraid of that sharp needle piercing your soft gum tissue, talk to your dentist. Depending on the procedure, the dentist may be able to use another means of numbing, such as nitrous oxide. If not, he may be able to use a strong numbing gel to desensitize the area before the needle goes in. It may also help to close your eyes, so that you don’t see the needle being put in your mouth.
In some cases, people may be avoiding the dentist because they’re embarrassed by the condition of their teeth. If you are embarrassed by your teeth, talk to your dentist. It’s a dentist’s job to provide you with dental care – regardless of the state of your teeth. Chances are the dentist has seen much worse, and the only way to repair your smile is to see a dentist. Voice any insecurities you have to your dentist. He or she will be able to ease your mind about getting dental care.
Effect on Overall Health
Severe dental anxiety can have negative effects on your health. Letting fear keep you from seeing the dentist can result in poor dental health, which in turn can affect your overall health. If your teeth and gums become chronically infected, this can affect speech patterns and the ability to chew and digest properly, and even lead to heart disease. Because the effect of avoiding the dentist extends beyond dental health, it’s important to overcome any dental fear and go in for regular cleanings.
Dental anxiety keeps many people from visiting the dentist, but that can have detrimental effects on oral health. If fear or nervousness is keeping you from seeing the dentist, talk to your dentist about your concerns. He or she should be able to provide you with what you need to make your experience comfortable.