Being Afraid Of The Dentist Not Uncommon

added on: January 25, 2016

I really like my ophthalmologist. I don’t like having my eyes dilated or that puff of air that shoots at each eye ball, but I’m not afraid of being in his care.

Like most of us, annual check-ups and periodic screenings are not necessarily things we enjoy, but we do them because we want to protect our health. Ideally, nothing negative is found and we are reassured that we are doing the right things. However, these visits can also catch problems at early stages so we can resolve them promptly.

In my role as a dentist, I occasionally see patients who avoid dental care to extreme levels. This is because they are fearful of dental visits, typically due to a past experience that left them with a deeply embedded memory – one that seems to rise to the surface with every thought of a dental visit.

In the U.S., it is estimated that nearly 75% of adults suffer with dental fear. Up to 10% are classified as having dental phobia. Those are people who break out in a sweat or cry at the mere thought of having to walk into a dental office. Typically, most avoid care until they are forced to resolve extreme pain from an unresolved dental problem.

What is troubling to me as a dentist is that I know dental care doesn’t have to hurt. And shouldn’t. As a matter of fact, I’ve developed a reputation with my patients for ‘painless injections.’ Our entire team has a high commitment to the comfort of each patient regardless of the visit. From cleanings and check-ups to tooth restoration such as fillings or crowns, comfort is always a high priority throughout each visit.

We have also structured our entire office so comfort is incorporated in all aspects of care. For example, our clinical area is positioned away from our private Consultation room. This enables us to have closed-door conversations in comfortable arm chairs in an area that is not intimidating.

Headphones help our patients enjoy music or movies during treatment while they relax in specially-designed treatment chairs that promote comfort. Too, some patients choose to relax deeply with nitrous oxide (also known as ‘laughing gas’), oral sedation or I.V. sedation (‘twilight sleep.’)

While our patients find themselves surrounded in comfort, it is most often the relationships of trust that help them to go from fearful patient to an individual with a healthy smile. We pace each patient’s care so they feel in control and provide treatment according to their preferences. Realizing they are in charge can greatly help patients relax. Once they know they can truly trust us to treat them with gentle hands in a respectful manner, many fears melt away.

Our patients also appreciate that there are no lectures here. We do not try to ‘guilt’ patients into accepting treatment or making appointments. Although we encourage and recommend, your decisions must be based on your ‘readiness’ to proceed and we know that only you can know when that time is right.

If fear is keeping you from having the healthy, confident smile you’ve always imagined, let’s start with a friendly phone call. Ask our phone staff to arrange a time when we can discuss your needs on the phone. Or, for a firsthand look at our office and so we can meet personally, ask for a no cost, no obligation consultation. This is a time for conversation and having your questions answered. We won’t take you to the clinical side of our office unless you wish to tour that part of the facility.

It may also help to speak with people who have overcome their dental fears as a result of our care. We have many dear patients who understand your concerns and are happy to share their own experiences. Having a conversation with someone who has ‘been there, done that’ may put you at ease so you are more comfortable making an appointment.

Begin with a telephone call to 1-866-9-Smiles. We’ll make this first step an easy one! Consider a tour of our office that you can enjoy right from your own home! Click the link below to get to know us:

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