How many of you are scared of going to the dentist? Well, you’re not alone. A 2006 study, conducted by telephone interview, surveyed a random group of 7312 Australians over the age of five from all over the country. The study found that over 16% of them had a high level of dental fear. Of course, this meant that those individuals were less likely to seek regular dental care, and so their teeth were in worse shape.
Interestingly enough, the group that feared the dentist the most was adults aged 40-64. That means we’re talking about grown-ups who ought to know better, rather than kids with wild imaginations who don’t understand what going to the dentist is all about.
Now, one could say that we’re all just big kids, and in some ways that’s a valid point. What it also says is that there is a significant amount of irrational fear of going to the dentist, and this is having a negative impact on people’s health. Let’s see if we can dispel some of the reasons why people are apt to be afraid of visiting the dentist.
Oh, the Pain, the Pain…
It hurts. That’s what people think, and it’s what they fear the most. The fact is, most dental pain is easily prevented by local numbing agents. Believe it or not, the dental profession has been working pretty hard over the last century to make it comfortable for dentists to work on your teeth. In fact, your comfort is big business, so you know that plenty of resources have been put into pain management for dental care.
Thinking Differently About Your Dentist
Let’s have a look at this from a different angle. Your dentist is actually there to help lessen your pain and suffering. Your dentist would love nothing more than for you to have a mouth filled with strong, healthy teeth. But how would they stay in business, you think. Don’t worry about that. Managing the health of teeth over the course of someone’s lifetime is a full occupation. There are cleanings, whitenings, and straightenings to be done. There are accidents that must be treated. Teeth get old and fall out. Wisdom teeth grow in awkwardly and must be removed to ensure proper functioning of the remaining teeth. In short, dentists have plenty to do, and would be very happy if they didn’t have to also tend to severely decayed teeth.
But I’m So Embarrassed!
There’s no need to be embarrassed because you are afraid to go to the dentist. As we said, you are not alone. Many people are terrified. In fact, they are so terrified that they avoid seeking dental care altogether. Unfortunately, the longer you go without tending to your teeth, the worse they become. What may have started out as a small, easily treatable cavity can become a thoroughly infected tooth that must then be removed. The problem becomes, ironically, so much more painful when not addressed early.
How Can My Dentist Help Me Manage Fear?
Here at Canada Bay Dental, we specialize in working with people who fear the dentist, helping to put their minds at ease. We will answer all of your questions before you receive treatment. We may offer nitrous oxide to help relax you as we work on your teeth. And of course, we offer a full range of options to numb the parts of your mouth that require potentially uncomfortable drilling or other procedures. We may even recommend some type of pre-medication to help you relax.
Perhaps your fear is not associated with pain. Perhaps you have other issues related to the personal nature of having someone work closely in your mouth and around your face. There’s nothing to be ashamed about that. Many people have negative associations with this type of treatment, as it may feel invasive or otherwise threatening to them. Again, our dentists are specially trained to be sensitive to all of your needs. They will go slowly and talk you through their treatment of you.
If you are afraid of going to the dentist, give us a call and see what we can do to help!