A fair number of people don’t look forward to dental appointments any more than they look forward to visits to a physician. And while modern dental procedures aren’t painful, just being examined can make people feel stressed. Dental anxiety and even phobia are relatively common. It has been estimated that 9% to 15% of patients avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety or fear. That’s about 30 million to 40 million people in this country. One survey suggests 36% of those who didn’t see a dentist regularly said that fear was the main reason.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear boundary that separates normal anxiety from being phobic. Everyone has fears and concerns and copes with them in different ways. However, the prospect of dental work in these times should not create a sense of fear. If it does, then you may need some help, as in medication, overcoming the fears. Whether you suffer paralyzing fear of the dentist, in the sense that you avoiding coming or experience just a slight apprehension, here are a couple of suggestions that can help make your next dental visit a positive experience.
Take the time to communicate with your dentist and the staff. Don’t be embarrassed or concerned about discussing your anxiety with the office. You are not the first patient that ever felt nervous or anxious. Let them know your concerns and fears before a procedure or if you experience any discomfort during your treatment. It is very important to have clear and open communication with your dental provider. Talking will make your experience more relaxed and pleasant.
If you are so anxious or nervous prior to a procedure, talk to the dentist about ways to make the experience easier. Nitrous oxide or other medications (such as Xanax) are used to help you relax depending on the level of your anxiety. The dentist and staff should make every effort to make your visit comforting and stress-free.
If we can be of assistance, please contact us.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
 British Dental Health Foundation, Citation unknown.