If you have been putting off seeing the dentist out of fear, you’re not alone. In fact, many patients, both old and young are afraid of the dentist. There are many causes behind people’s dental fears including unpleasant past experiences, the fear of their poor oral hygiene habits being found out, the fear of the dentist finding something wrong or the unpleasant smells and sounds. Adults can also dread the bill they may be hit with if they don’t have good dental insurance and something bad is found.
You may have heard from someone at one time or another to “face your fears” and that the more you do which is uncomfortable for you, the more likely you’ll get use to it and it will no longer be scary. The same logic can be applied to visiting the dentist. The more frequently you visit the dentist, the better you’ll know your dentist and staff and the more accustomed you’ll get to the look, feel, sounds and smells of the dental office.
Patients are highly encouraged to see their dentist at least twice a year, or every six months, for a routine dental examination and professional teeth cleaning. These types of routine appointments are quick, inexpensive (many dental insurance plans cover these check-ups) and don’t cause any pain or discomfort or the patient. Sticking to this regular dental office visitation schedule will help you gradually calm the fears and concerns you may have had about going to the dentist. They will also help inform you and your dentist about possible oral health issues that can be easily and effectively treated while in its early stage.
Many dental patients who cave into their fears and don’t regularly see their dentist are at a higher risk of having oral health issues that require more intensive, uncomfortable, long, expensive treatment. This can, in turn, reinforce the patient’s fear of the dentist by once again giving him or her a negative, unpleasant experience.
Some patients think that because their teeth and gums look and feel great that they don’t need to see their dentist. This is a common misconception that often results in patients putting their oral health at unnecessary risks. While some dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease have symptoms that can be easily noticed by someone with no dental knowledge, other oral conditions such as Bruxism and oral cancer often don’t exhibit any noticeable symptoms. Without the examination of the trained eyes of a dental professional, a patient can very well have a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment. Even if nothing serious is detected, a dentist can observe and anticipate the growth and development of various oral conditions, something an untrained eye would easily miss. Proactive and preventative dental treatment can then be carried out, sparing the patient from additional pain, discomfort, complications, and costs.
As the old adage goes “prevention is the best medicine.” Catching oral health issues early and getting a deep-cleaning teeth cleaning to prevent cavities and gum disease can spare dental patients from needing expensive, lengthy and invasive treatments in the future, all things that are common sources of patients’ dental fears.
If you’re compromising the health of your teeth and gums because you’re afraid of the dentist, remember the importance of those regular, six month dental office visits and how they can save you some green and unpleasant dental office experiences.