If the idea of sitting in a dentist’s chair is enough to give you nightmares, you’re not alone. Fear of the dentist, or “odontophobia”, is estimated to affect about 15% of Americans, or about 30 million people. Not to worry, though; below are a few ways to overcome your fear of the dentist.
If the thought of a scary, masked figure looming over you is contributing to your fear, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment simply to meet your dentist and discuss your concerns. It’s important to remember that underneath the white coat, your dentist is a real human being, just like everyone else. Talking to your dentist about your phobia will ensure that he or she can take the appropriate steps to accommodate your needs.
Before beginning your procedure, set up a signal with your dentist, like raising your hand, which will tell him or her to stop immediately. Knowing that you will be able to communicate any discomfort can help ease your anxiety.
The world of dentistry is rapidly changing. If you fear the dentist due to a traumatizing incident you experienced as a child, remember that there have been many advancements in pain-free dentistry in the past few decades. You might be afraid of a procedure that isn’t even performed anymore, or one that is performed in a completely different way.
Dental phobias can be serious, because they can prevent a patient from receiving adequate dental care. Then, it’s easy for small problems such as cavities develop into serious problems that require major invasive procedures. This causes a cycle of avoidance in which the individual, who has avoided dental care due to fear, is now even more afraid of the dentist—and even less likely to return for a routine treatment. If you suffer from fear of the dentist, it’s essential to break the cycle, lest you continue to put your oral health (and overall health!) at risk.
When you’re ready to take the next big step towards a beautiful smile, call Park Cedar Dentistry. Our friendly dentists and hygienists will help you feel confident and secure during your appointment. To schedule an appointment with us, click here.