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Dealing With Your Fear Of The Dentist

Dentists recommend periodic checkups at least every six months to maintain optimum oral health, but millions miss these visits each year because of serious anxieties about visiting a dentist. While it’s true that few people look forward to a visit, millions have had an unfavorable past experience that keeps them out of the dental chair. For many, a bad experience such as a dentist not using enough anesthesia during a cavity filling, has created lifelong anxiety.

The University of Washington’s Dental Fears Research Clinic estimates that between 5-8 percent of people do not go to the dentist, and another 20 percent will go only in an emergency—all because of fear. While most have fear stemming from a bad past experience, many also can have anxiety disorders in which they don’t feel comfortable with the lack of control they have in the dental chair.

Is there a way to get past your fear? Yes, there is. These days, many dentists are specially trained in treating patients with fear and anxiety. It starts with communication. Dentists know that everyone has different pain thresholds and each person will handle the procedure in a different way, so they’re very careful to take the time to ensure patient comfort and to closely monitor pain control. The patient has a responsibility too—to communicate to the dental staff about your anxieties and your needs.

Many dentists do whatever they can to create a peaceful, relaxing and non-threatening environment, including décor that makes you feel at home, treatment rooms that pipe in relaxing music and that have mood lighting, even mini waterfalls for a calming effect.

Ask a trusted friend or relative to accompany you to your dental visit to help calm you. Take your own music and listen to it on headphones while you’re in the dental chair. You can also try breathing techniques to relax you. And of course, dentists have varying degrees of sedation to alleviate your anxieties. Depending on the procedure, minimal, moderate, or deep sedation, or even general anesthesia can be used.

Regular visits twice a year keep decay away and allow your dentist to detect problems early. Don’t stay away! You risk dental pain, lost teeth and gum disease which can lead to serious infection. Our team is committed to providing gentle care. Don’t wander around in agony. Give us a try. We promise to be gentle and take your anxieties seriously.

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