Fear Of The Dentist – And How We Make It Go Away

February 12, 2018

The first reaction to being introduced as a dentist usually is, “I HATE the dentist!” We get it! Really, we do! You don’t like coming to the dentist, and honestly, most people don’t. The noises in the office, the associated smell of a dental office, the fear of the unknown and lack of control is hard to overcome. Couple all of that with the evil portrayal of dentists in movies and skits, and the stories you hear from family and friends, it is hard to look forward to walking through the door at your local dentist’s office.

I often joke that “not terrible” is the common standard for dental treatment. In all reality, at Shades Creek Dental, we want you to enjoy coming to the dentist, knowing that the dentist and team members have your best interest at heart. The truth is, there must be a mutual respect and trust between the team, and the patient, to ensure the continuation of good oral health.

Odontophobia, or fear of the dentist, can result from multiple situations. The most common reasons stem from a previous traumatic experience or a history of dental trauma. These fears keep people from maintaining a basic dental health profile with regular cleanings and examinations. This also puts themself at a higher risk for oral cancer, gum disease, early tooth loss, broken, decayed and painful teeth.

Let’s start with the most common issue we see: a traumatic experience as a child. Historically, pediatric dentistry was taught with an authoritative mindset. This usually meant that you were strapped down or held down in the chair, and the dentist would do whatever was necessary to get your teeth healthy. Thankfully, dentistry has moved away from this authoritative mindset. At Shades Creek Dental we believe in outlining the treatment needed, with your input. We will communicate with you openly, and aid in educating you in the treatment options available. Together, through co-diagnosis, we can determine the best way to attain your desired result. This is easier than ever before with the use of: intra-oral cameras that take pictures of your teeth, scanners that replace dental impressions, and educational videos that can answer questions about the different procedures described. We want you to know what to expect, so you can be at ease when the time comes for treatment to be completed.

Another big contributor to dental fear is – the needle. That’s right, I said it. Some of you just got a tingle up your spine, and maybe even paled a little bit. Sorry! However, it is a reality that your teeth need to be numb prior to your dentist working on them, so the use of an anesthetic is necessary inconvenience. Again, thankfully, our dental anesthetics have progressed! The process is much smoother and the anesthetics are more effective today, than they were previously, resulting in the need for fewer injections. Couple that with the use of topical anesthetics that numb the tissue prior to the injection, and Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) that helps you relax, so even the most anxious of patients can get comfortably numb (Que the Pink Floyd Music) to receive whatever care they need.

The final contributing factors we would like to address are the feelings of helplessness, loss of control and embarrassment. These emotional responses are, by far, the most difficult to overcome. Being ashamed that you have “let it get this bad” is a common theme with an anxious or fearful patient. At Shades Creek Dental, we are not here to judge, only to help. As a dentist, I never take for granted the intimate relationship that results from treating your teeth, and the trust I, and my team, must earn from you to do so. I have found that education and compassion are the best ways to overcome these helpless feelings. Through our advanced and less invasive technologies, and patient education aids mentioned earlier, you will be able to make the best informed decision for your teeth, while clearly understanding the benefits of the treatment needed.

In addition to our co-diagnosis model, nitrous oxide in all rooms and our investment in the latest technologies, we also provide earphones that connect to the in-room televisions to help you relax during your appointment. Netflix is available, so you can catch up on your favorites while we care for your teeth.

If you are anxious and want to experience the Shades Creek Difference, mention this ad for complimentary Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) during your visit.

Click here to begin scheduling your first dental appointment, and we’ll see you in our Homewood dental clinic in no time!

Thanks for reading,

Ron Alyn MacBeth