Scared woman at dental office, looking panickly at dental tools

Is Your Fear Holding You Back From a Healthy Smile?

What is holding you back from visiting the dentist?

  • The cost?
  • Time commitment?
  • What about fear?

According to the Canadian Dental Association, 10-20% of people avoid visiting their dentist out of fear or anxiety. If you’re one of those people, you can find comfort knowing that dentistry has advanced in a way that is designed to be comfortable and painless.

“But going to the dentist is painful!”

Whether it was a lack of personal protective equipment, nothing being done to reduce discomfort, or using extremely old-fashioned techniques, there are many reasons people vow to never set foot in a dentist’s office ever again.

These days, most procedures should be relatively painless. If something is causing you pain or extreme discomfort, let your dentist know. They have drawers full of medication to make your experience more comfortable. Most offices will do everything in their power to put your comfort at the forefront of the appointment.

Dentistry has come a long way over the years and there are so many new options for treatment constantly emerging. Most dentists are constantly learning and staying up to date on new techniques. You would be hard pressed to find one who provides treatment the exact same way they did 20 years ago.

In addition to the training, the treatment options are constantly changing. Now there are tons of options to ensure that your mouth is happy and healthy, including the use of stronger and more visually appealing materials.

“My dentist is going to judge me for not visiting sooner.”

If you’ve been avoiding the dentist, the idea of visiting now probably fills you with anxiety over what they might find or even what they might think.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for your dentist to see patients who haven’t visited a dentist in as long as 20 years. With that being said, no matter how long it’s been since your last appointment, the important thing is being willing to start again.

When you go for your appointment after putting it off for years, you know it’s been a long time, and your dentist knows it too. They shouldn’t remind you of that or make you feel guilty. If they do, it may be time for a change. You deserve a dentist who treats your first day back in the chair as the first day of your relationship, with no judgement.

“I don’t have the time or money to deal with all the problems I just know they’re going to find.”

Avoiding dental care doesn’t make you have cavities and gum disease.

However, it’s a lot easier for your dentist to diagnose problems when they’re smaller and easier to deal with, which is why it’s important for regular visits.

If you’re going for an appointment after years of putting it off, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be bombarded with a list of problems with your teeth and gums. Some patients only have a few problem areas that require a quick fix. But it could easily go the other way.

Not visiting the dentist doesn’t make the problem areas non-existent. The sooner you know about them, the sooner (and better) you can treat them.

How can I manage my dental anxiety?

If you’re still on the fence about visiting the dentist, there are options for you.

Ask your dentist about sedation. There are many ways to be sedated, including taking a small pill before an appointment, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), or IV sedation. If none of those appeal to you, consider using NuCalm, a new technology that mimics the effects of meditation.

If your dentist doesn’t offer sedation, ask if they can refer you to an office that does so that there is nothing stopping you from getting the care you deserve.

It’s easy to put off visiting your dentist, especially out of fear. Dr. Andrea Stevens and her team are committed to making sure that you are as comfortable as possible.

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