Do you dread going to see the dentist? Does the idea of them looming over you with dental tools send a terrified chill down your spine? If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people avoid the dentist due to anxiety. But why? And can your dentist do anything to help soothe your worries? Read on to learn why people are afraid of the dentist in Brady. Don’t worry, most dentist these days provide relaxing care that leaves you with nothing to worry about.
Why Do People Avoid the Dentist?
There are many reasons people skip out on their regular dental appointments, such as:
- Cost. It’s estimated that 44 percent of people don’t visit the dentist because they don’t have dental insurance and fear the cost may be too high. However, many dental practices offer discounts to people without insurance.
- Fear of instruments. Many people are frightened of needing work done and fear the noise that any drill or tool might make. Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, though, most instruments needed for dental procedures make virtually no noise.
- Bad memories. If you had a bad experience with a dentist in the past, it can be difficult to overcome that fear, especially if you were a child.
- Too busy. Sometimes people don’t want to make the time to visit their dentist. Missing out on regular appointments can create the need for more time-consuming procedures down the road.
- Fear of being lectured. No one likes to be told their dental health is in bad shape. If you haven’t been brushing or flossing as much as you should, you might be scared the dentist will verbalize their disappointment in you. However, your dentist cares more about fixing problems than lecturing you.
How Can Your Dentist Help You with Your Fear?
Most dentists offer sedation for patients who experience dental anxiety. There are two methods: nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is administered through a mask you wear over your nose while you receive the dental work you need. It produces feelings of relaxation and euphoria. The effects wear off quickly once your procedure is done, meaning you can drive yourself to and from your appointment. Laughing gas is perfect for busy patients with mild to moderate dental anxiety.
For patients with more severe dental worries, oral conscious sedation might be a better option. Your dentist will prescribe a pill to be taken an hour before your appointment that will put you into a deeper state of relaxation than laughing gas. The effects will last for several hours after your procedure is completed, so you will need a ride to and from the office.
Being afraid of the dentist is quite common, but there are plenty of ways to help you overcome your anxiety and get the care you need stress-free. If you’re still worried, talk to your dentist about your fears. They should be able to work with you to calm your worries.
About the Author
Dr. Greg Ritchie is a graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He then completed a one-year residency at Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, where he received special training in sedation dentistry. Currently, he treats patients in both Brady and Marble Falls, TX. His practice offers both laughing gas and oral conscious sedation. If you frequently experience dental anxiety, contact Dr. Ritchie here or at (830) 693-8833.