When my best friend left the state that he had lived in for years, he did not leave his dentist. Even though my friend has moved far away from the dentist, he only has work done when he goes back to his former place of residence. One of my other close friends is from England. She only has dental work done when she flies home to the U.K. I will only see one dentist in the entire city of Portland. Why is this?
Simply put, a lot of people feel negative connotations when the word, “dentist” is mentioned. Could be, they had a bad experience somewhere along the line. Maybe they’re afraid of what *could* happen when they go in to get that cavity filled or root canal procedure performed. For whatever reason, a lot of people suffer from fear of dentistry.
Odontophobia, AKA dental phobia, is a common occurrence. Rather than just stay away from the dental office, however, there are some steps one can take to make dental visits more tolerable. The first thing is to simply TELL the dentist ahead of time that you are afraid. Believe me, they will not think you’re a coward. This knowledge can help them prepare to make the situation infinitely more pleasant.
Oftentimes, dentists that are made aware that their patients are afraid can do things such as tell them to lift a hand when they want the drilling (or whatever) to stop. They can put soft, soothing music on their sound systems or place patients in rooms that have special accommodations for the fearful patient. Some dentists practice hypnosis or can help patients do breathing exercises that can help impart a feeling of calmness and serenity. It can help to ask the dentist to explain what he or she is going to do ahead of time, so that the fearful patient will know exactly what to expect.
The bottom line is this. Everyone needs routine dental care. Not going to the dentist at all can result in much more pain and damage than biting the bullet and going whether one is afraid or not. You deserve to have a beautiful smile. Just tell your dentist if you are afraid. It can make things a lot better.