Dental phobia is a very real issue for adults all over the United States. Many adults who deal with dental phobia had some type of traumatic dental experience during childhood. The experience may be related to pain, feeling out of control, or dealing with a dentist with a questionable bedside manner. No matter what caused the dental phobia to develop, it can be difficult to overcome in adulthood. In order to deal with your dental phobia and get to the dentist, you need to develop a few strategies. Fortunately, the strategies are not complicated but have the ability to make a positive difference in your feelings about going to the dentist.
Deepen your knowledge about oral care
Knowledge can be power when it comes to dealing with dental phobia. The possibility of experiencing some type of pain or feeling out of control at the dentist will always be there. It is also possible that none of those fears will ever become reality. One thing that is guaranteed, however, is that you will experience dental problems in the future if you do not get routine dental care. Skipping out on dental cleanings and examinations can lead to a buildup of plaque and tartar. Over time, decay and gum disease can set in. The combination of these issues can leave you in pain and eventually lead to tooth loss. When you understand the serious consequences of neglecting your oral care it may help you work through your fears about getting routine dental care. You can avoid a lot of pain in the future by getting proper dental care now.
Take a tour of the dental office
Getting familiar with the dental office where your appointments will take place can help you deal with your dental phobia. Many people experience dental phobia because they feel out of control in the dentist’s office. Taking a tour of the dental office before you schedule an appointment can help you envision your appointment and get a grasp on what you can expect. Proper expectations can significantly reduce anxiety about going to a dental appointment.
Learn about IV sedation anesthesia
IV sedation is an anesthesia option that helps patients with dental phobia get the dental care they need. IV sedation can help you feel calm and relaxed during your dental appointments. You are not asleep during your visit but the sedation can calm your fears to a much more manageable level. Many people find that IV sedation anesthesia helps them completely overcome the anxiety they previously felt at the dentist.
Dental phobia is a serious issue because it can prevent you from getting the dental care that you need. The consequences of skipping out on routine dental care can be serious and far reaching. If you are dealing with dental phobia, consider the strategies outlined above to help you overcome your anxieties and get the oral care that you need.
Peter J Samuels DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.