Overcoming Dental Anxiety and Phobia

dental anxiety and phobiaThe whir of a dental instrument, the sound of your teeth being scraped.

Sprays of water in your mouth, followed by suctioning.

Having to lie back in a chair, while someone with a mask on leans over your face.

These are things you may associate with a regular dental visit, but are the things of nightmares to some people. Those that suffer from dental anxiety or phobia may experience emotions ranging from mild uneasiness to intense, unreasonable fear.

Dental anxiety and phobia are extremely common. It has been estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear. That’s about 30 million to 40 million people. In a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, 36% of those who didn’t see a dentist regularly said that fear was the main reason.*

Unfortunately, those with dental anxiety or phobia are more likely to have gum disease and early tooth loss, as well as emotional insecurities about the appearance and health of their teeth. Those with dental phobia also tend to have poorer health in general, as poor dental health increases risk factors for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

Most dental anxiety is due to one of the following reasons:

  • Fear of pain. Nobody likes pain. And the older you are, the higher the chance that your early dental visits were before advancements in dental practices made it much less painful.
  • Loss of control. For some, having to lie back in a chair and be still, especially with someone in close proximity, can lead to feelings of helplessness and loss of control.
  • Bad experiences in the past. If you’ve ever been uncomfortable or experienced pain in a dental chair, you’re much more likely to be uneasy about going to the dentist again.
  • Embarrassment. Those with dental anxiety may be embarrassed to have their teeth scrutinized, especially if they have avoided care for some time. And a dental exam and treatment can feel very intimate, as they require physical closeness.

Advances in dentistry

At Kimbrough Dental Care, we take your comfort, ease, and safety during appointments very seriously. We understand that not everyone is comfortable with dental procedures, and that some are fearful of going to the dentist at all. Thanks in part to advantages in technology, we are now able to provide optimum care with less pain and less risk. Our technology provides fully digital x-rays, which not only reduce the radiation exposure you get from traditional film x-rays, but are also more comfortable when taken. Our state of the art treatment rooms are designed to put you at ease, and make your treatment comfortable and relaxing. Here are some of the amenities that you can expect during your appointment:

  • We have Overhead TVs in each patient room, offering local cable channels, a DVD player, and Bluetooth headphones. Bring a favorite movie from home if you like, or catch up on some daytime TV.
  • Our treatment room chairs have memory foam and lumbar support for comfort. Gone are the days of the uncomfortable dental chairs with no support! We can also adjust the incline of the chair during procedures to a comfortable level.
  • We now have Side Delivery Systems in our patient rooms. In other words, there are no trays or hoses hanging over you during a procedure. You can just lie back and relax.
  • All of our x-rays are digital, which greatly reduces radiation exposure compared to film x-rays.  Most x-rays can be taken without placing anything in the mouth.
  • Our patient chairs face floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking landscaping and bird feeders, which helps to alleviate any “closed-in” feeling you may have experienced in other dental offices.
  • Nitrous-Oxide (laughing gas) and oral sedation are both available if you need them.
  • We take time to listen to our patients’ concerns, and we welcome questions regarding any diagnosis and treatment options.

Don’t let your fear and anxiety keep you from the treatment and care that you need for optimum dental health. You are not alone, and we are here to help! If you have concerns or fears about your treatment, our staff is available to answer any questions you may have. 

*http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/article/what-is-dental-anxiety-and-phobia