dentophobia

No Need to Freak Out! How to (Easily) Get Over Your Dentophobia

Fear of visiting the dentist affects around 75% of Americans to some degree. Somewhere between 5 and 10 percent suffer from dentophobia to the point where they will avoid dental care at any cost!

The fact of the matter is that, as adults, we only get one set of teeth, so it’s important to make sure we look after them. Visiting the dentist regularly is a crucial part of our dental hygiene. So how do stop our dentist visits from feeling like such a traumatic experience?

If you have dentophobia, then you’re not alone. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can overcome your dental fear and start focus on good dental hygiene.

What Causes Dentophobia?

Dentophobia actually makes a lot of sense! Looking at it from a survival point of view, it’s natural for us to be uneasy about someone we barely know sticking their fingers in our mouths. Not to mention the collection of tools that are often depicted negatively in horror movies! Our mouths are crucial to our survival, so it makes sense for us to be protective of them.

Other causes of dentophobia can be linked to bad experiences with a dentist or hearing about someone else traumatic experience. We build images in our brains based on what we see and hear. If you or someone you know has had a negative experience with a dentist in the past, then it’s likely to affect how you portray them.

Fears and anxieties around pain are a common root cause of dentophobia. If you’re concerned about physical discomfort, then the idea of a filling or a root canal probably doesn’t sit high on your priority list! Other reasons can be linked more generally to medical environments such as medical practitioners and the sterile odors associated with them.

Whatever the reason is behind your fear, there are several ways to rewire your thinking around visits to the dentist.

How to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

First of all, regular visits to the dentist are a crucial part of your dental hygiene. Sure, you can cut down on sugary foods and brush your teeth three times a day, but if a cavity makes it through the outer tooth enamel to the inner dentine, there’s nothing you can do without a dentist.

Visiting the dentist regularly is essential to make sure you’re not developing irreparable holes in your teeth. Visiting the dentist regularly is also the first coping technique on our list!

Regular Check-Ups

At first, this might sound counter-intuitive to your desire to stay well away, but regular exposure to something that frightens you is one of the main principles behind cognitive-behavioral therapy. The more times you visit the dentist, the more you’re going to get used to it. Even going to your dental surgery just to sit in the waiting room or have a quick chat with the receptionist can help to ease your phobia.

Regular check-ups are a great way to get into the habit of visiting the dentist and minimizing the chances of your experience being an unpleasant one.

Speak to Your Dentist About Your Fear

If there’s one person who knows all about coping with dentophobia, it’s going to be your dentist. Before you even sit in the dentist’s chair, have an open conversation with your dentist about your concerns.

Most of our fears are worsened when we allow our imagination to run away with them. Simply having a conversation about them with someone who understands can help inject some reality into your concerns. 

Choose the Right Dentist

Don’t think that you have to use the first dentist you see. If you are uncomfortable with dentists in general, then you are going to want to be as comfortable as possible with your dentist. There’s nothing wrong with ‘screening’ your dentist with a quick conversation before you agree to treatment.

A good dentist should be personable and spend some time helping you to relax before any treatment.

Medication

If you’re trying your best, but you’re finding the anxiety around visiting the dentist too much then several medications are used to treat anxiety that could help you. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used to treat the symptoms of phobias. They increase the level of serotonin in our brains which in turn can lower your blood pressure and will ease the symptoms of fear.

They can be a great tool for getting your foot through the door for the first few times if you’re struggling with exposing yourself to the dentist. 

Calming Techniques

Before you try medication, you might want to try some natural calming techniques. When we’re stressed, it’s easy for us to let our worries take the steering wheel, but several techniques can help to retain control.

Having some form of distraction with you, such as your favorite music and a pair of headphones or even taking a friend or family member with you can help by giving you something else to focus on.

Practicing deep breathing and other meditation techniques such as visualization can be a great way to calm your nerves.

Look After Your Teeth!

It might go without saying, but taking good care of your teeth is a great step towards overcoming your fears. If you don’t practice good dental hygiene and consume a lot of sugary foods, then you have good reason to be worried about your next visit to the dentist.

What you eat and what you don’t eat can play a huge part in your dental hygiene. Be sure to brush and floss regularly and cut down on sugary food and drink.  This way, you know that you’ve done all you can to minimize the chances of needing any dental treatment.

Get Over Your Dentophobia Today

Being uneasy about visiting the dentist is completely understandable. By following the advice given in this article, you can begin tackling your dentophobia right away.

If you’re still feeling nervous about visiting the dentist, then we welcome you to contact one of our team. We pride ourselves on offering a calm and understanding environment to help make your visit to the dentist as pleasant as possible.

 

   

 

dental fear

Dental Fear: This Is Why People Are Afraid of the Dentist

The fear of the dentist is something that’s been depicted in film and television shows for many years. However, dental anxiety is not only portrayed for laughs and giggles, it’s a real fear. Approximately 8% of Americans avoid the dentist because they’re afraid.

But have you ever asked yourself,” Why are people afraid of the dentist”? If so, we’ll delve into some of the causes of dental fear and how to overcome it. Below are some of the most common reasons:

1. Pain 

Many people don’t like going to the dentist because of their fear of pain. Although the discomfort of a dental procedure is minor, for some people it’s a big deal. It’s similar to how certain individuals are afraid of needles and are terrified of getting a shot.

Some people may also carry the memory of a painful dental experience. For instance, if an adult had a bad encounter when they were younger, they may still carry that memory with them, even though their pain tolerance is more mature.

Just the thought of an unpleasant experience causes dental anxiety.

2. Dental Equipment

Some people have a fear of dental work. They dislike dental equipment and become uneasy at the thought of sharp objects, metal, and drills.

Everyone has different phobias, and for some individuals, anything that’s sharp and cold scares them. Dental fear is primarily mental. For most individuals, their fear of the dentist is based on a perception and not a reality.

3. Loss of Control

Another reason why people have dental anxiety is because they feel vulnerable. Being reclined back into a chair makes them feel out of control and tense.

Most likely, individuals who have an issue with this aspect of a dentist’s appointment are usually scared in other circumstances where they feel vulnerable as well.

4. Bad Information

For a lot of people with dentophobia, their fear is simply due to the bad things that they have heard. Maybe someone they know had a procedure go wrong or they heard other horror stories about the dentist.

For those who have not gone to the dentist because of their fears, it’s sometimes due to word of mouth. Some folks don’t have the courage to experience a situation for themselves. They believe that if others around them have had a negative experience, they will too.

5. Breathing Problems

Breathing problems play a big role in why some people dislike the dentist. As you know, dentist visits usually require that a person breathes a little differently because they have to keep their mouth open during most of the appointment.

This can be unsettling for individuals who suffer from asthma and other respiratory issues.

6. Weird Noises

Another trigger for dental fear is weird noises. For some people, the noise that occurs in a dentist’s office is unbearable.

There are individuals who hate the sound of drills or the clinging sounds of dental tools. For them, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

How to Ease Dental Anxiety

If your fears are genuine and you can’t get over that hurdle of dental anxiety, there are some things you can do to make it easier. Here are some suggestions:

Be Open About Your Fears

If you’re scared, be sure to express your dental fear to your dentist. By doing so, it allows them to be able to treat you carefully. If you’re feeling stressed during your appointment, many dentists will give patients something to ease the discomfort.

Also, if your pain tolerance is low, they may be willing to provide an anesthetic or gas to help calm your nerves.

Believe it or not, dental anxiety is common, so most dental professionals are trained to handle it. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you’re uncomfortable.

Bring a Distraction

Another option is to bring something to distract you during your appointment. Wearing headphones during your visit can help you focus on something else.

You can listen to your favorite artist or put on a serene playlist to give you an escape. If you’re not into music, another good option is to hold a stress ball.

It might be beneficial if you take your anxiety out on another object, and bringing something to squeeze or fidget with helps a lot.

Just Breathe

When you’re feeling anxious during a dentist appointment, it’s important to just breathe. Deep breathing will help you relax and feel less rigid.

Another good idea is to picture yourself in a relaxed place. It’ll put your mind at ease long enough to get you through your appointment.

Read Positive Reviews

Before you change your mind about going to your appointment, read positive reviews. It’ll help to put your mind at ease to realize that other people have had good experiences at the dentist’s office. Keep those things in mind as you go to your visit.

Understand the Importance of Going to the Dentist

The important thing to remember is that it’s essential to see the dentist. Whatever discomfort you might have, keep in mind that not going to the dentist can result in even bigger problems.

Issues like gum disease and other oral disorders can be quite uncomfortable. If you go to the dentist you can avoid having poor oral health.

Conquer Your Dental Fear Once and for All

If you want to make your dental fear a thing of the past, we can help. Here at Willow Creek Dental, we pride ourselves on taking care of all of our patients. 

Plus, we offer a variety of dental services that’ll give you a beautiful smile.

If you have questions, call us at 303-779-2797 or contact us online

We look forward to connecting with you soon!

 

 

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Dental Anxiety Tips

Do you suffer from dental anxiety or have a fear of going to the dentist? You are not alone. Often a bad experience as a child or young adult can result in an extreme fear of all things dental related—including just being in the office for a routine cleaning.

People with dental anxiety often put off regular dental visits or choose to not go at all for years to avoid feeling uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t help keep their oral health where it needs to be. Problems that may have been prevented with regular cleanings can develop into tooth decay and periodontal disease, which can ultimately lead to severe pain, bone loss, and even tooth loss.

If you suffer from dental anxiety but know that you need to see a dentist, there are several things you can do to help reduce your level of anxiety.

  1. If you are a new patient, let the dental office know that you suffer from dental anxiety. Trust us, they want to know so they can do everything they can to make your experience more comfortable for you. Willow Creek Dental patients are given a “Handle Me with Care” form to let each patient tell us specifically what bothers them. If your office doesn’t offer a form, feel free to write down anything in particular that bothers you (i.e. hearing the drill, being tilted back in the chair, feeling judged) and bring it with you to your appointment.
  2. Listen to music. Not only will listening to your favorite music relax you, it will also help reduce any dental-related sounds that may bother you. At Willow Creek Dental, we offer our patients headphones so they can listen to their favorite Pandora station. Bring your own headphones and iPod or phone with you if your dentist doesn’t offer this.
  3. Ask for a closed operatory. Sometimes just being in closer proximity to other dental patients can be unnerving. A closed operatory with doors that close may help you feel less tense.
  4. Wear comfortable clothes and bring an extra sweater or jacket if you tend to get cold. The less concerned you are about your clothing, the more you may be able to relax and focus on what the dentist is saying. Often dental offices can be chilly so we always offer our patients a blanket for their comfort.
  5. Utilize the amenities. If your office offers massage chairs, beverages and free Wifi, take advantage of it. Being able to surf the web on your phone and drink a cup of coffee while you are waiting may help you keep your mind off the dental appointment. And why not get a free massage while you are there?
  6. Request medication. In some cases, a patient’s anxiety is so severe that they require prescription medication prior to the appointment to help calm their nerves. This is done on a case-by-case basis and usually the dentist will need to speak with you on the phone to talk about your anxiety. Nitrous oxide or complete sedation may also be an option for patients during many procedures.

If you have put off going to the dentist, now is the time to make the appointment and get your oral health back on track. Contact our office at 303-779-2797 and make sure to communicate any concerns that you have.

Source: willowcreekdds.com Blog

How to deal with Dental Anxiety

If you suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia, you are not alone. In fact, it has been estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear (approximately 30 to 40 million people).

Dental AnxietyIf you associate with having dental anxiety, you may get uneasy prior to your appointment. You may have trouble sleeping or feel more nervous as the appointment approaches. If you suffer from actual dental phobia, you may literally fear the dentist and feel physically ill. Many people who have dental anxiety or phobia avoid the dentist altogether and as a result are often living with gum disease or constant pain from decayed or broken teeth.

Dental anxiety or phobia can be caused by different things. Often we hear patients describe a past terrifying, painful experience when they were a child or young adult—something they wish to avoid again at all costs. Even though technology has advanced tremendously to help reduce or eliminate pain at dental visits, it is difficult for people suffering from dental anxiety or phobia to rationalize this due to their past experience. Others may feel extremely embarrassed about the condition of their teeth and have anxiety about having someone examine them closely.

Instead of avoiding the dentist, there are things you can do to help with your dental anxiety or phobia. First, inform the dental office that you have dental anxiety and fill out this “Handle Me with Care” form to let the staff know what specific things bother you or what is most concerning to you. With this information, there are things they can do to help you feel more comfortable such as using a room that is more private, offering headphones for you to listen to music to help keep you calm, or giving more anesthetic if you have a lower pain threshold. In some instances, the doctor may prescribe medication prior to your visit to reduce your anxiety.

If you have been putting off going to the dentist, take the first step and make a dental appointment today. Let the staff know you have anxiety and they will do everything they can to help you feel at ease.

Source: willowcreekdds.com Blog