Most people are well aware of the value of dental care, but cannot bring themselves to get into their dentist’s office and climb into the chair. The reason: fear.
Dental anxiety, unfortunately, is sometimes a shared family experience. Whether it’s just a bout of sweaty palms or acute anxiety, the fears and attitudes of parents can easily be passed along to children unintentionally. Perhaps you grew up without the technical advantages available today. Your unpleasant memories can be fierce enough to interfere with family dental education – and health.
Parents can begin to allay phobias – and keep from spreading them around – by examining the source of apprehension. Dental phobia generally hinges on fear of pain, choking, or loss of control. The dental environment might feel overwhelming. Invasion of personal privacy – the mouth – can be frightening. When you schedule an appointment, how do you feel about it? Do you find yourself cancelling appointments at the last minute? Do certain pieces of equipment make you uneasy? A little soul-searching can help pinpoint your fears.
You need to speak frankly with your dentist. Chances are, he’ll understand. He’ll take time with you to describe new techniques – and there are many – to overcome fear. His dental staff will take special care to respect your feelings and dispel any misgivings.
With some effort, nearly everyone can learn to overcome dental anxiety and relax. The direct benefits – you’ll feel more comfortable when you visit, and, if you or your family have been avoiding the dentist altogether, your dental health will begin to improve. Indirectly, you’ll offer a positive role model for your family. Take this step for yourself, and the family will follow. Call your dentist today to find out how he can help.