By some estimates, nearly 12% of people in the United States have some anxiety about dentistry. That means that over 38 million people might be impeded by their fears from getting the oral care they need and deserve. If you struggle with dental anxiety, here are some quick tips to help ensure that your health doesn’t suffer.
According to psychologist Ellen Rodino, PhD, the fear of dentistry “stems not so much from the experience of pain as from the lack of control that patients experience in the dentist’s chair.” The fact that patients are not able to move as well as usual can be unnerving to them, as can the fact that they often can’t communicate as effectively as they would like.
What this means is that a good dentist will make sure that their patients are comfortable, and that the procedures they are going to perform are clearly understood. But patients should communicate with their dentists, too, especially before the procedure. Tell your dentist about your concerns, and make sure they’re being addressed.
Many experts say that dental anxiety has a lot to do with misunderstandings of what the dentist really does. Often, dental procedures are far less painful than the oral problems they’re fixing!
For example, take the root canal. When you hear the words “root canal,” you probably imagine something really painful, like the dentist is using a shovel to dig into your gums. But, as expert Peter Milgrom says, the root canal has a bad reputation “because it is typically preceded by painful toothaches…The procedure itself relieves this pain, often in a single visit.”
Some people who have dental anxiety may still be able to make appointments when they really need treatment. But other sufferers may have anxiety so severe that they cannot bring themselves to see a dentist even when the pain is overwhelming.
If you truly have too much anxiety to get the care you need, it might be worth scheduling an appointment with a therapist or mental health professional. Luckily, phobias are fairly straightforward to treat. Dr. Philip Cardamone, a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders, claims that most people with straightforward dental phobia only need six to twelve visits before they’re ready to see the dentist.
More than anything else, if you struggle with dental anxiety, it is important to trust that your dentist is able to provide a safe environment and that he or she is taking your needs seriously. Here at Serene Dental Spa, we provide an environment that combines cutting-edge dental care technology and the comfort of the spa. If you are in the Matthews-Weddington area, schedule an appointment today!