Do you get anxious at the very idea of being in the dentist’s chair? Saying that you’re not alone would be a huge understatement. In fact, as many as 15% of people refuse to even go to the dentist simply because they are afraid to do so. That means there are as many as 40 million Americans putting their teeth at risk due to fear. Well, the purpose of this article is to set your mind at ease.
Why Are People Afraid of the Dentist?
Most people who are afraid of the dentist have a specific reason for it. It can spring from any number of
issues such as:
– A bad experience
– Anxiety disorders
– Substance abuse
– Victims of abuse
While a bad personal experience is the most commonly cited reason for fear of the dentist, all of the other issues come down to the same thing – fear of not being in control. When the dentist has his or her hands in your mouth, you can’t even really say if something is wrong. For many, that sparks feelings of anxiety. However, dentists are working hard to change the perception of the oral care industry.
Treatment Options for Those with Fears
Seeing your dentist is very important to the health of your teeth and your overall health (since dental problems can quickly affect other parts of the body). What are some of the ways that dentists are encouraging fearful patients to get back in the chair for important cleanings and checkups?
New Technology – New technology is making the dental experience far better. Patients may experience little to no pain at all, even if there is a problem that needs to be corrected. Cleanings are often performed with ultrasonic solutions and actual scaling with metal tools is kept to a minimum.
Sedation Dentistry – You only need to be coherent enough to get in the chair and agree to any procedures that are necessary. Then you can be giving anything from pharmacological agents that keep you relaxed to ones that ensure you barely remember being in the chair at all. Sedation methods include everything from topical numbing agents to complete sedation.
The fact is that even if you had a bad experience in the past, going to the dentist is very different than it used to be. Even patients who aren’t afraid of the dentist are having better experiences simply because hygienists and dentists are trained to use painless technology. Yes, even the tens of millions who fear to be in a dentist’s chair have new options allowing them to keep their teeth professionally cleaned with no need for anxiety.