If you have even a slight fear of going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Many adults, and children, have a moderate to severe fear of stepping into the dentist office.

Some patients refuse to go to the dentist, forgoing the basic, recommended, six-month oral exam and deep cleaning. Unfortunately, this puts their oral health at risk.

Many dentists have come to recognize this alarming trend and made adjustments to their offices and what they offer patients so they are more relaxed and comfortable and have a pleasant dental office experience.

Why are so many people afraid of going to the dentist?

There are many reasons that cause people to shy away from the dentist. The most common underlying causes include:

Past Negative Experiences. Most people with a fear of the dentist have a negative or traumatic past dental experience that they can’t seem to let go of. These negative experiences can have many forms such as a botched procedure, undergoing a painful procedure, having excessive treatment done, or being informed that they have additional or worse dental issues than they thought or knew about.

Those with the fear of the dentist may not have had a painful or traumatic dental procedure done, but the poor service and uncaring and cold attitudes of the dentist and/or dental staff made them feel uncomfortable and unimportant. The uninterested persona of the staff or dentist only fueled their dental anxiety.

Vicarious Experiences. Sometimes people who are afraid of the dentist never had a negative, painful or traumatic dental experience, but they know people who have. Hearing of other’s past traumatic dental experiences lead the hearers to develop a negative, fearful view of dentistry.

Office Environment Stimulants. Like a medical office, the white lab coats, latex gloves, the smells of antiseptic and drilled teeth, the sounds of drills, brushes and scraping of teeth and the taste of gritty, unpleasant toothpaste and mouthwash, can stimulate people’s dental fears by heightening their sense of being threatened. Patients with sexual, emotional, behavioral or psychological abuse may see the sterile dental office environment in an even more threatening way.

Helplessness and Perceived Lack of Control. Patients can have the best at-home oral hygiene routine, but they have no control over what the dentist will find. They can find a cavity or low-level gum disease that the patient didn’t know about nor could control. The treatment can end up being more than what the patient bargained for.

The lack of helplessness or lack of control while at the dentist causes patients to fear going to the dentist.

Sometimes the lack of fear can come when a dental procedure is being done and the patient must trust the dentist to know what he or she is doing and to be aware of the patient’s level of comfort and pain and to adjust accordingly.

Shame or Guilt. Some patients may have been diagnosed with a cavity as a child during their first dental office visit. Other patients may have been cavity-free their whole childhood when one dental visit comes with the bad news that they have a few cavities and/or the beginning of gum disease. They take good care of their teeth and are shocked and angry at the dentist’s diagnosis. The dentist office then becomes a place for bad news.

Patients who have not visited their dentist in many years may feel too ashamed and embarrassed to see the dentist. They know they have a few dental problems but don’t want to think of the treatment that will be required.

Dentists want their patients to have healthy mouths. They also recognize many patients put their oral health at risk by avoiding the dental office for necessary cleanings, exams and treatments.

As a result, many dental offices offer a more relaxing, safe, comfortable office environment, trained staff and advanced treatments and technologies to make the patient’s dental office visit as quick, pleasant, comfortable and pain-free as possible.

If you’ve been putting off dental treatment because of your fear of the dentist, contact your dentist today to schedule an appointment. Doing so might well save you from costly future, dental procedures and even life-threatening oral cancer.



Source by Anna Bird

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