You are not alone. If you are choosing to avoid dental visits out of fear, you are part of a significant group of adults doing the exact same thing. Between 9 and 20 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to dental phobia. Thanks to comfort-focused dental solutions, Dr. Michael Stern and his team at Smile Brighter Willoughby Hills are welcoming patients who have dealt with a lifetime of this dental fear and anxiety to an environment offering gentle, stress-free care and various sedation methods that will help you achieve calm during needed dental procedures.
What Is dental phobia?
Dental phobia is not the same thing as dental anxiety. A person with dental phobia is left terrified of going to the dentist, even though they are aware it’s an irrational fear. Regardless of the rationality of this fear, the result is the same. It leaves people impacted due to the fear and they will not go to the dentist. Avoidance behavior is exhibited by these individuals as they begin to do everything possible just to avoid having to go make that visit. It’s not until they begin to experience extreme pain that a person with dental phobia will begin to even consider making an appointment. Signs that you may be suffering from dental phobia may include:
- Difficulty sleeping the night before a set appointment
- Escalated feelings of nervousness when waiting in the dental office before the appointment
- Heightened emotions (crying, feeling physically ill) when thinking about having to go see the dentist
Reasons behind dental phobia
There are very valid reasons why a person may suffer from dental phobia, some of which include:
- Fear of pain – This is probably the most common reason for fearing the dentist. The fear a person feels can often result from an early unpleasant or painful dental experience or from hearing horror stories told by somebody who had a negative experience. The truth is that, with advances made, dental procedures are considerably less painful and even pain-free.
- Fear of needles – When a person thinks of going to the dentist, they can often fear the thought of being stuck in the mouth with needles before a procedure.
- Fear of helplessness – Many people feel fear at a complete loss of control when in a dentist’s chair with their mouth wide open as work is being done.
The key to coping
Discussing your fears and anxiety with your dentist is essential in coping with your dental phobia. Once your dentist is aware of your fears, he or she is better equipped to help you cope with these fears. Many fears are based on assumptions and can be put to rest with a simple discussion. The things you fear may not even be a reality and knowing this can instantly relieve you of considerable anxiety. If you have fears due to lack of control and helplessness, your dentist can discuss your treatment step by step, so you have a clear understanding of the steps being taken. You can also establish a visual queue, such as raising your hand, to be used during any procedure if you feel panic setting in and this signal will tell your dentist to immediately stop.
Whatever your fear or anxiety may be stemming from, Dr. Michael Stern and his team are here for you. They offer gentle dental care and various sedation methods that will help you achieve calm during needed dental procedures. They want you to be as comfortable and anxiety free as is possible. Please give him a call at (440) 210-0999 today to set up an appointment or consultation, even if it’s just to come in and have a talk about your fears.