An estimated 75 percent of American adults have some level of dental fear or anxiety, approximately 10 percent of those are categorized as dental phobics. These are people who have such severe fears that the mere thoughts of going to the dentist is unnerving. Many in this high-fear category can’t bring themselves to call a dental office without breaking into a sweat or even tearing up. This is likely why our nation has such a high number of adults who suffer with some level of gum disease – at a similar percentage of those with dental phobia, fear or anxiety.
Most dental fears stem from a past traumatic experience at the dentist as a child. These memories of being terrified or treated roughly become so ingrained that anything associated with dental visits recreates the trauma in their minds.
Gladly, today’s dental offices are more sensitive to the comfort of their patients. Some cater on a more attentive level to individuals who have dental fear and phobia, as does our Demotte dental office. However, before we can help you enjoy a healthy smile, we first need to help you into our office.
If you have dental fear or phobia, some suggestions that may help you are…
• If you cannot make the call yourself, have a close friend or family member call and ask questions. For example: Is the dentist trained and experienced in treating fearful patients? What comfort options are available? Do they offer a consultation so fearful patients can get to know the dentist before scheduling an appointment? Etc.
• Consider visiting the dental office after hours. Walk to the front door and become familiar with the location and building’s appearance.
• When a dentist does not have a consultation room that is removed from the clinical section of the office, certain noises and smells can create discomfort for fearful patients. If the consultation must take place in a treatment room with you in a treatment chair, it may be best to look for another office.
• Most dentists who have experience helping fearful patients understand their need to share their concerns without being rushed or feeling judged. These dentists listen intently and answer questions in easy-to-understand terms. You should leave feeling reassured about the dentist’s commitment to your individual needs.
• Some offices offer Oral Sedation, which is in pill form. This helps the patient to be in a relaxed state throughout the visit. For those who prefer a ‘twilight sleep’ state, ask if I.V. Sedation is available.
• When any sedation is used, ask about safety monitoring equipment and training of staff members who will be assisting the dentist. Your safety is as important as your comfort.
Taking small steps at a comfortable pace is typically how most patients conquer dental fears and phobia. Some people will never be able to have dental care without anxiety, but in the proper hands, can accomplish necessary treatment for a healthy mouth and confident smile.
If you have not seen a dentist in years and have gums that are tender, swollen in spots or bleed when you brush, you likely have periodontal (gum) disease. This is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss and will only worsen without treatment. Additionally, the bacteria of gum disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke, perterm babies and more.
The sooner you receive treatment, the less involved it will be. And, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy a terrific smile. Call 219-987-5733 to arrange a free consultation. A pleasant conversation in our private consultation room is your first step to a healthy, confident smile.