Do you have anxiety about going to the dentist?

Well, you are not alone.

According to WebMD, up to 20% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety or dental fear. While some people have a general dislike for going to the dentist, those with dental anxiety / fear have a more severe dislike that causes them to put off checkups and treatment.

There are several reasons people are afraid to go to the dentist. The primary one is fear: fear of pain or injections. A lot of people associate the dentist with pain, even if they have not personally experienced dental pain. Depending on your oral hygiene, there is a potential for pain, but like some other necessary procedures, it is temporary and can be managed.

Another reason people are anxious about the dentist is the fear of being uncomfortable. It can feel awkward to sit in a chair with your mouth wide open for an extended amount of time, with a semi stranger standing above you. Dentists work closely to your face and are in your personal space. Like with pain, the awkwardness is only temporary.

People can also be self-conscious about the state of their teeth and worry about feeling embarrassed. Or, people can be reluctant to admit their real level of oral hygiene for fear of flossing or brushing lectures.

Remember: Your dentist isn’t trying to lecture you, rather they are trying to reiterate the importance of taking care of your teeth by flossing and brushing every day.

Going to the dentist is important.

Just like you get a physical once a year, you should be going to the dentist either once or twice a year for regular cleanings. Putting off cleanings can lead to more severe dental problems that cost more to treat and have more time-consuming fixes. Plaque buildup causes cavities and gum disease, and can lead to root canals and crowns.

If you do suffer from dental anxiety, one of the tools to combat it is communication.

Be sure to communicate with your dentist about your fears.

If you are worried about the tools, ask to see the tools that will be used and an explanation for what each one does. If you are worried about pain, talk to your dentist about the potential for pain during the procedure. If you feel uncomfortable, let your dentist know so they are aware and can try to make you more comfortable during your visit.

Another tool is visualization.

Prior to going to the dentist, visualize your appointment. Imagine feeling stress free in a comfortable environment. Imagine the dentist going through the procedure while you remain calm and pain free. Visualization can be a powerful tool in overcoming feelings of discomfort or anxiety.

A good dentist will not only listen to your concerns or fears, but will also help you figure out a solution. Going to the dentist does not have to be a negative experience! Here at Sterling Dental Center, we want you to have a positive experience and will work with you to ensure that your visit is a pleasant one.