Over 15% of Americans avoid visiting the dentist out of fear–fear of the procedures and practices that their local dentist will conduct. Unfortunately this can be detrimental to oral health–over 50% of individuals skipped the dentist visit in 2009 according to the CDC. This can lead to cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss. To avoid succumbing to this fear and making sure you get the healthcare you need, take note of the following advice.
Communicate with us.
As dentists, we are receptive to your concerns and fears. Even questions are good for reducing anxiety and can help you alleviate the fear of the unknown. Many patients do not realize that their dentist is looking out for their best interests and wants to make you happy. At Greenspoint we realize that both parties must be invested in your teeth and oral care, so let us know what your concerns are or if you have had a previous bad dental experience. Many older people find themselves terrified of the dentist because of procedures performed in childhood when the technology was less advanced. By asking a dentist we can inform you of the procedures and what it will feel like today.
If you are worried about having your mouth full during the procedure or appointment and fear your dentist will not know what is wrong you can come up with a series of gestures with us so we know what means stop. For example, holding up a hand can be a cue that you are feeling uncomfortable and we can make the appropriate adjustments.
Learn about the medication.
Even though anesthesia in the past was often ineffective and left patients feeling their procedures, the chemical painkillers today are strong enough for you to be fully conscious and not notice when someone is working on your teeth. Ask about the nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, that makes dental procedures more fun and less painful. These painkillers can also help to calm jumpy nerves.
Take a break.
You don’t have to feel like you must undergo the procedure in one step. If you start feeling anxious during the procedure or need a minute during an exam because you feel claustrophobic simply let us know and we will work with you to make you feel comfortable and at ease while sitting in the chair.
If you have concerns about visiting the dentist rest assured that the team at Greenspoint will work to accommodate your needs. It can be nervewracking to let someone operate inside your mouth or even take a quick look, so having a conversation with your dentist beforehand can alleviate any fear and miscommunication.