October is notorious for being the scariest month of the year. With ghosts, witches, and zombies making an appearance in the days leading up to Halloween, many people look forward to the one night of the year in which scaring others is not only acceptable – but encouraged! But just because October is a “scary” month does not mean anyone should be afraid of visiting the dentist.
If you are afraid of visiting the dentist because it evokes anxiety or panic, don’t worry! You are not alone. Dental anxiety is quite common.
Some people have such a deep fear of visiting the dentist that they go years without a dental appointment. Unfortunately, neglecting to visit the dentist for a routine exam or necessary dental work can lead to serious dental problems, tooth pain, and unattractive teeth.
What is the Cause of Your Fear?
Many people who say there are afraid of visiting the dentist claim that a dentist appointment causes them an unbearable stress level. Common causes of dental anxiety include the following:
It Hurts. Even though reputable dentists do everything possible to make sure you do not feel any type of pain during a dental exam or procedure, there is a possibility that you experienced pain during an appointment in your past. An earlier unpleasant experience is often the reason people with dental anxiety avoid necessary dental appointments.
You Think It Will Hurt. Even though you may never have experienced pain during a dental procedure, you are still afraid that it will hurt. Anticipating pain can be almost as uncomfortable as actually experiencing it.
You Don’t Like Showing Anyone Your Teeth. If you have avoided visiting the dentist for many years, your teeth might not be in the greatest condition. Some people have neglected their teeth and gums for such a long time that they are embarrassed to show them to anyone – including a dentist!
What Can Be Done to Ease My Fear of the Dentist?
It’s important that you not avoid visiting the dentist due to fear or anxiety. There are plenty of ways your dentist can help you overcome your apprehension. First and foremost, finding the right dentist is essential. A dentist who is sympathetic about your anxiety will work with you to find the best method for helping you overcome your fear.
Many dentists offer these amenities and options to patients with anxiety:
- Soothing Music Playing Throughout the Office
- Warm Blankets and Pillows for Patients in Exam Chairs
- Dental Hygienists and Assistants with Warm and Caring Personalities
- Nitrous Oxide (also known as Laughing Gas)
- Oral Sedation
- IV Sedation
The ultimate goal of your dentist should be to help you relax in the dental chair. If you have a fear of the dentist, one or more of the above-mentioned options may help eliminate your anxiety.
If you need additional assistance or encouragement, make sure to have an open and honest conversation with your dentist. With all the advanced dental technology, techniques, and relaxation choices available in today’s world, there should be a way to create an enjoyable dental experience for even the most anxious patients.