Dental Fears Are Common, And Are The Source Of Many Dental Problems

added on: October 25, 2022

As Halloween approaches, many front yards are adorned with “scary” things from a child’s perspective. It’s normal for children to react to the thoughts of green monsters and evil witches. Quite frankly, most of us can still remember feeling uneasy about what lurked in the closet or under the bed when the bedroom light went out.

As adults, different fears may can emerge over time. A fairly common one amongst adults is that which is associated with dentistry. For some, going to the dentist invokes feelings of anxiety and even a perception of pain. For a percentage of fearful individuals, they can experience sweating or a more rapid heartbeat at just the thought of being in a dental office.

For most, however, the feelings are better described as “anxiety.” Being anxious doesn’t necessarily prevent people from going to the dentist, it just causes many to delay care. Deep down, anxiety is the true reason for finding other excuses to not go to dental visits. It’s normal for some people to say they’re too busy when they may be trying to rationalize because of dental fears.

One-third of the U.S. population avoids going to the dentist because of dental anxiety or fear.

One research company surveyed over 18,000 people worldwide, revealing that 61% of those surveyed admitted to having dental fear with nearly 4% having never been to a dentist. Of these, most cited being afraid of pain, the smell of chemicals and/or the sound of the drill. Some dreaded feeling trapped in a dental chair or having to keep their mouth open for an extended time. Cost was cited by less than 5%.

So, what is wrong with someone who reacts to discomfort even before treatment begins?

Quite frankly, nothing.

As a dentist in Shelby Township, I have a long-standing reputation for providing compassionate, gentle care. This has developed because, throughout my 25 years as a dentist, I have made patient comfort one of our highest priorities. This is true for my entire staff as well.

Early in my dental practice, I pursued special training to provide oral sedation. In pill form, this form of sedation acts fast to ease the “jitters” of anxious or fearful patients. Under oral sedation, some even doze in and out throughout their procedure. Trained staff oversee each patient throughout the procedure using advanced safety monitoring equipment.

For many patients, having oral sedation available was sufficient, allowing them to receive the dental care they needed and even achieve the “beautiful smile” goals that fear had kept at bay for many years. Yet, there remained a segment of the population who needed the added measure of I.V. sedation, also referred to as “twilight sleep.”  These individuals typically have a deeper level of fear, so much so they prefer the reassurance of being totally “out” for dental treatment.

This “in-the-vein” drip is a well-known sedative for many outpatient procedures, such as a colonoscopy. As with oral sedation, IV Sedation is also administered with safety to the highest level. Recovery is quick and most people are back to normal within a day.

While sedation options are helpful, we believe it’s our entire approach to individualized dental care that works best. Our Macomb County dental office is designed to accommodate about any fear level or patient concerns. Features include:

Well-managed Appointments: A long wait in a reception area can allow anxiety to build. We are committed to seeing patients within 10 minutes of their appointed time.

Good Communication: While some patients prefer to be distracted from what’s being done in their mouths, others feel better knowing each step. For those, we keep patients informed of what we are doing and use monitors to show images of areas to be treated.

Relaxing Distractions: Listening to music or watching a movie during treatment can take the focus off the procedure.

Committed Team: Our entire team is committed to offering a welcoming, respectful, and compassionate environment for all patients at every appointment. 

Before the end of 2022, reconsider your stance on dental health. Its importance to your overall health is significant. The bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease can lead to systemic inflammation in the body. It has also been correlated to a number of serious health problems, far beyond the mouth. These include: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, some cancers, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Too, a smile that is healthy complements your appearance. Having clean teeth and fresh breath reflects positively on each individual. If flaws cause you to hold back on smiling, consider an in-office Zoom whitening. This one-hour treatment is affordable and provides dramatic, quick results; far better than those whitening kits available OTC with exceptional longevity.

Begin by viewing a brief video on sedation at: DrBarbatSedation

You may also want to download our “Guide For The Fearful Dental Patient”: DrBarbatFearfulPatientGuide

These sources can help in moving fearful patients forward. However, the true “first step” is to schedule a one-to-one consultation appointment. These are provided at no charge and are obligation-free ways to get to know us on a personal basis. Or, begin by viewing: DrBarbatOfficeTour

Your smile is an important part of your appearance, overall health, and sense of confidence. Just smiling can perk up your mood and even give your face a bit of a lift. All of this puts your oral health and well-being in a pretty strong light.

If you’ve delayed or avoided dental care, reconsider your relationship with a dentist and a dental office. We pledge to make your experience a positive one. Call 586-739-2155 or tap here to arrange a free consultation.

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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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