If you’re uncomfortable with going to the dentist or have a downright fear of dental checkups, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 75 percent of adults in the US have some degree of dental phobia. Dental checkups are so important to maintaining your oral health that you can’t let your dental phobia get in the way. Avoiding dental visits may only lead to serious health conditions down the road.

Why are people afraid of the dentist?

Many people fear the dentist because of unpleasant experiences they had in a dentist’s office. People can also fear the pain of some dental procedures. Another contributor to dental phobia is the lack of control patients experience during dental checkups and procedures; usually, during a checkup, you can’t move or speak, and the dentist is using threatening-looking tools in your mouth.

How to address your dental fear

First, find a dentist and dental office you feel comfortable with. Find an office with a relaxing environment and friendly staff. Then, before you go in for a checkup, talk with the dentist about your dental fear. If he or she is aware of your phobia, they can work to accommodate you and make you comfortable during your visits.

When it’s time for a checkup or procedure, ask your hygienist and dentist to explain step-by-step what they are doing. This can help you feel more aware and in control. If you need a break, you can signal to the dentist or hygienist to stop for a moment to allow you to regain your composure and comfortability.

You can also choose to bring your headphones with you to listen to your favorite music or soothing sounds as a distraction during the appointment, or bring a friend or family member for moral support. You may also want to schedule your appointment for first thing in the morning, that way, you’ve not already been bogged down by the stress of the day.

If your dental phobia is truly severe, it’s possible that your dentist can offer you sedation or anti-anxiety medication for your checkup or procedure. With this severe a phobia, it’s critical that you discuss your options with your dentist well in advance of your appointment.

Remember that dental fear is pretty common, and nothing to be ashamed of. If you experience any degree of dental phobia, follow the advice above to help you conquer your fear. Dental health is so important, you can’t let your phobia stand in your way!

If you’re looking for a reliable, trustworthy dentist who will be sensitive to your dental anxiety, try with Creason, Weber & Mountford Family Dentistry!