13-24% of the population have a dental phobia which is stopping them from visiting the dentist.
Avoiding the dentist can lead to dental problems. Those dental problems then become worse and need bigger dental treatments. This then leads to more fear of the dentist and the cycle (or should I say spiral) continues.
It is only when dental pain becomes unbearable that these patients will come in to see us.
Here we talk about some strategies to make those appointments easier.
WHAT CAUSES DENTAL PHOBIA & ANXIETY?
Fear of the dentist can be caused by a number of things, identifying what is causing your fear is a great start to overcoming your dental phobia.
FEAR OF PAIN - This is common, many people have had a bad past experience at the dentist. These experiences can cause you to not want to visit the dentist again. Technology and techniques have advanced and treatments are much safer and less painful than years ago.
FEAR OF INJECTIONS OR NEEDLES - Some people have a fear of the actual needle going into their mouth, others have a fear of the anesthetic not working at all.
EMBARASSMENT - Some patients are self conscious of their teeth and gums, or by the damage that exists.
LOSS OF CONTROL - Some patients do not like the feeling of laying back in the dental chair, with a dentist above their head and not being able to see what is going on.
So now that we understand the causes of dental fears, we can look at ways to overcome them.
10 TIPS TO OVERCOME DENTAL ANXIETY
IDENTIFY YOUR FEAR - After working out what is causing your dental fear then you and Dr Steven or Dr Tijana can come up with a customised plan to manage your stress together.
CHOOSE A GREAT DENTIST - You need to be comfortable with the dentist you have chosen. The dentist should not only know what they are doing but also put your best interest first and treat you with respect and understanding.
COMMUNICATE YOUR FEARS - Make sure that you let us know when you make an appointment about your specific fears. Let us know what is going on, and we will help you through the problem.
MORNING APPOINTMENT - Schedule an appointment in the morning so that you are not thinking about the appointment all day.
STRATEGIES TO REDUCE FEAR - This can include listening to your favourite music or podcast during your appointment (this can distract you from your dental appointment). We have tv's on the ceiling to help distract you while watching something interesting. Bring a favourite object (stress ball, blanket, stuffed animal) can work well (especially for anxious children).
BRING A FRIEND - Bringing someone who is not afraid of the dentist to support you.
NON JUDGEMENTAL - We are here to help you - Never to judge you. No one can change what has happened to their teeth in the past, we can only change what happens in the future.
ARRANGE A STOP CUE - Set up a stop signal with the dentist before the appointment starts to let them know that you need to have a break. Raising your hand (or something similar) works well. At Clubb Dental you are in control of your appointment.
SEDATION - We can use Nitrous Oxide (Happy) Gas or prescribe medication to make your dental appointment easier. We have many people who benefit from use of Nitrous Oxide for a range of appointments (including cleaning).
REWARD YOURSELF - Arrange a pleasant experience for the afternoon after your appointment so you have something lovely to look forward to.
The time needs to be right for you to make the call but when you are ready give our friendly team a call and discuss your dental needs.