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A General Dentist Discusses Dental Anxiety
Regular visits to a general dentist are important for preventing many oral health problems. However, if you are like many people, you may be afraid of your visit. There are many reasons why people are afraid of the dentist. The good news is that there are ways that your fear can be managed. Read on to learn more about how dentists can help calm your fears.
Why people have dental anxiety
Around 45% to 75% of people in America have dental anxiety. About 5% to 10% of them are too terrified to even go to the general dentist. One reason may be because of poor experiences in the past. For example, many people became afraid during childhood. Others became afraid during adolescence. There are several other reasons as well, including:
- History of abuse
- Feeling helpless or powerless
- Fear of potential pain
- Choking or gagging reflex
The problem with dental anxiety
No matter the reason for dental fear, all types can have the same results. Many people will stop using dental services. This can then increase a patient’s risk of gum disease, tooth loss and decay. When treatment is delayed, higher costs often result.
Instead of a simple filling, a patient may need a root canal. This can cause increased discomfort or pain. Patients will also be spending more time at the office. None of this will improve someone’s dental anxiety.
Dealing with dental anxiety
There are several ways that a dentist will work with patients to improve the experience. One reason for fear may be that patients do not understand what is going on. The dentist can talk to the patient before and educate them on the procedure. As much or as little detail as the patient needs can be used. Patients will be able to consent before each procedure, giving them a sense of control.
Patients should not feel embarrassed about their teeth. Even if the last cleaning was a long time ago, the dentist will not judge the patient. Instead, the dentist will be happy that the patient is taking charge of their oral health. The dentist’s job is to take care of the patient.
Many dental offices offer a relaxing environment. The office might have calming music playing or use soothing décor. If these steps do not work well, many dentists offer sedatives for the patient. Even for a cleaning, a patient can take medications to stay relaxed during the procedure. Over time, the patient may be able to use fewer sedatives as dental experiences become more comfortable.
Overcome dental anxiety with a general dentist
Dental fear can cause a host of other issues and it is a vicious cycle. Luckily, choosing the right general dentist can help you have a better experience. Choosing a dentist who listens to you can go a long way toward alleviating your fears. That will help you have a healthier smile. The more you go to the dentist, it is more likely that you will find you have nothing to fear.
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