What You Can Do if You’re Afraid of the Dentist

Family and cosmetic dentistry

Did you know that, according to the book Treating Fearful Dental Patients, about 5% to 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear — and another 20% experience high enough levels of anxiety that they only go when they absolutely need to?

Although going to the dentist might feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable, the truth is, modern dentistry has provided many amenities so that people can deal more successfully with their fears. Long gone are the days where dentists might forget to fully anesthetize a patient, or where comfort is thrown by the wayside in favor of quick patient turnover. If you have been afraid of the dentist but are ready to give this experience another try, then here are a few helpful facts worth keeping in mind.

Many Patients Today Opt for Sedation Dentistry

  • If you’ve seen the Youtube video “David After Dentist,” you might be familiar with the concept of anesthesia administered after a dental surgical procedure. What you might not realize is that pharmacological agents can be administered for routine procedures as well.
  • Sedation accomplishes several things for patients. Sedation can help to reduce anxiety, control the gag reflex (which is stronger in some individuals), increase comfort, and reduce one’s memory of the treatment itself.
  • There are multiple levels of sedation. Minimal, or conscious sedation dentistry, makes the experience more comfortable without inhibiting the patient’s ability to communicate.
  • Sedation cosmetic dentistry is, similarly, an option available to those who are just seeking cosmetic solutions like teeth whitening or veneers, and would like a more comfortable experience.

Why Going to a Dentist is a Good Life Choice

  • Did you know that 23% of adults have untreated tooth decay? Treating dental issues while they’re still small and manageable helps prevent more costly, invasive treatment later on.
  • Do you visit a family dentist with your child? Studies have shown that a child’s impression of dental visits is largely reliant on how their parents react. If you seem to have a positive experience with the dentist, so will they.
  • According to a new study published by the American Association for Dental Research, people with tooth loss are more likely to experience depression and anxiety as a result. Going to a dentist regularly can help prevent the decay, gum diseases, and other problems that can lead to tooth loss.

Does sedation dentistry seem like a possible solution for your fears? Let us know in the comments. Find out more about this topic here.

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