If the buzzing sound of a dental drill or the latex smell of the office gives you familiar chills, rather than making a dental appointment, you’re not alone. Millions of people avoid getting necessary treatment because they fear going to the dentist. Although there may be many reasons for your anxiety, however, modern dentistry and those trained to help dental-phobic patients can make facing your fears less frightening than you think.
Cause of the Fear
Someone with an intense fear of the dentist is usually reacting to memories of a past unpleasant experience, whether it’s the result of a painful incident or similarly upsetting life event. Those who experience mild anxiety before a dental appointment, on the other hand, may just be nervous about a procedure they have yet to experience. Still others equate a dental visit with pain because their last experience wasn’t as pleasant as today’s pain-free dentistry allows.
Fear of needles or a sensitive gag reflex can also cause people to avoid going to the dentist, as can the embarrassment of someone seeing the condition of their teeth if they haven’t been treated in a while. Feelings of helplessness or loss of control when in the dental chair can create phobias as well. They can even come out of flippant or insensitive remarks by a dentist or another staff member. Keep in mind the apprehension of going to the dentist can also be learned and passed down from parent to child.
Facing Your Fear
If you haven’t been to a dentist for over a year because of a deep-seated fear, your teeth and gums may be paying the price. The good news is Dr. Jaleel understand these fears and has plenty of experience making dental appointments more comfortable for their patients. Whether you suffer paralyzing fear of the dentist or experience just a little apprehension, here are a few suggestions that can help make your next dental visit a positive experience
1. Ask friends and family.
If you don’t already have a dentist, ask people you trust about their own dentist and if they are happy with their provider. Word of mouth is a great way to find a good dentist.
2. Search for a dentist online.
Many dental offices have web sites where you can learn about their practices, the type of services they offer, meet the staff and learn what values and goals the practice wants to achieve with patients. If you have found a few dental practices that look promising, ask friends and neighbors if they are patients or if they know anything about them. We welcome you to come in for a visit and speak to the members of our team.
3. Talk about your feelings.
Another important point to remember is to communicate with Dr. Jaleel and the staff. Don’t be shy! You are not the first patient who ever felt nervous or anxious. Convey your concerns and fears before a procedure or if you experience any discomfort during your visit. It is very important to have clear and open communication with your dental professional. Talking will make your dental experience more relaxed and pleasant.
4. Ask questions.
Ask our dental team to inform you about the type of dental treatment they recommend based upon your unique oral health needs. Once a treatment plan has been developed, ask your dentist to explain the procedures in detail. Knowing what to expect before it happens can help put your mind at ease.
If you are uptight or nervous prior to a procedure, talk to Dr. Jaleel about ways to make the experience easier. Nitrous oxide or other medications to help you relax can be prescribed depending on the level of your anxiety. We will make every effort to make your visit comforting and stress-free.