We got a call from a man (we’ll call him Bob) after hours last week, complaining of a tooth that was throbbing and keeping him awake for the past few nights. He then admitted the tooth had been hurting him on and off for months. Why didn’t he call us sooner?! For the simple reason that he was afraid of the dentist. A dentalphobe, Bob, hadn’t been to the dentist in 4 years. He worried that it would hurt, he worried what we would think, and he was worried about what we would tell him he needed. Unfortunately, Bob is not alone!
Whether it’s from a past bad experience or just simply a fear of dental offices, the fear of dental work is a common obstacle for many people to overcome. In fact, 60% of people are afraid of coming to the dentist, and about 9% have a true phobia. Like Bob, we often see this fear prevents people from coming to the dentist until they are in pain and have a dental emergency. Fortunately, dental phobia can be overcome, and you can enjoy better dental health without dreading your trips to the dentist.
Some tips to overcoming your dental fear include:
1) Make sure to express your concerns to your dentist and their team. Identify what it is that you’re afraid of. Are you scared of needles? Pain? Both!? We promise we won’t find your fears silly. In fact, we probably can relate! A good dental team will listen and help to put your fears at ease. If we know your fears ahead of time, we can support you and help to make you comfortable during your treatment, whether by scheduling extra time to allow for breaks or by providing you with a blanket and headphones if it’s the sound of the dental drill that bothers you.
2) Visit the dental office before your appointment. We’d love to meet you and take time to talk to you about any concerns you may have regarding your dental treatment. This way, we can be prepared on treatment day to help support you through your appointment.
3) Schedule appointments first thing in the morning. This way, you don’t have all day to think about it. Also, nerves may be frazzled by the end of a stressful work day, which may cause increased anxiety about an already stressful appointment looming in the future. We do our best to see patients at appointment time, but there is always the possibility of us running behind schedule.
Scheduling in the morning ensures less time waiting in the office as we won’t be running behind first thing in the morning. A big part of overcoming dental fear is by trusting your dentist and their team. Whether it’s been six months or six years, Dr. Stenvall and her team at Queen City Dental Arts can promise you a judge-free visit. We offer you a caring, compassionate and welcoming environment with treatment options and a listening ear. Give us a call at Queen City Dental Arts to discuss any questions you might have about reclaiming your oral health!