Let’s face it most of us don't enjoy visiting the dentist, and it's often a relief when that six monthly visit is over. While most of us will simply get on with booking an appointment, around 5 to 10% of the population will actively avoid seeking dental treatment, and some are prepared to put up with a substantial amount of pain and infection.
The trouble is that having poor dental health can have a hugely detrimental effect. If you're embarrassed about your breath or teeth it can make it difficult to be in social situations, especially if those situations involve eating. People with dental pain often choose softer foods, and this can make it quite difficult to have a balanced diet. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is essential for good overall health, as the two have been linked in numerous studies in which dental health has a direct correlation to other significant health issues.
Why do People Find the Dentist Scary?
Often dental fear stems from a bad childhood experience, or it can occur if a child has seen a parent being afraid or nervous about visiting the dentist. It is easy to see how this fear can arise, as lying back in the dental chair can leave many people feeling quite vulnerable, especially as it is difficult to speak. It doesn't particularly help being told these fears are irrational, but there are ways to overcome them.
Your Dentist May Be More Sympathetic Than You Think
No dentist wants to hurt or scare their patients, and many are far more sympathetic towards dental phobias than you might think. The modern dental office is equipped with technology to make your visit comfortable and pain free. Some dentists have even received special training to help patients who are phobic. However they can't help you unless you let them know how you feel, so make an appointment to talk to your dentist about your fears. If you don't think your dentist understands, then look around for another one, some dentists have even designed their dental offices to be nonthreatening, and to put patients at ease.
If you hate the feeling of not being in control in the dental office, then there are lots of things your dentist can do to help you. These include making sure you understand all the treatments, and answering all questions you may have. They should proceed with the dental treatment at a pace you feel comfortable with, and should make sure you are happy to continue at regular intervals. Some patients find it helpful to have a prearranged signal, such as simply raising a hand to indicate the need for treatment to stop right now. Others find it more comfortable to listen to music during treatment, or to practice simple relaxation techniques beforehand. It could be that your dentist offers extra sedation for nervous patients, and some people find this very helpful.
Often the fear is worse than reality, and replacing bad experiences with good experiences in the dental office can be enough to break a phobia. All your dentist wants to do is to make sure you feel comfortable enough to have essential dental treatment, and they do not judge anyone who hasn't been to the dentist for a while.