Something’s really not right with your tooth. But you’re too scared to go to the dentist. Dreading it! Our dentists will understand your dental phobia and take a gentle approach to get you back into the chair. If you don’t believe us then scroll down to see our 6 steps to get over your fear of the dentist…
Dental phobias can lead to poor dental health
We find that people who are scared of the dentist tend to leave their dental problems until later. This just makes the dental problems worse – and possibly more painful – so they’re more likely to have a negative experience. It becomes a cycle.
For example, early tooth decay can be picked up during routine check-ups and may only require a small filling. Left undetected and untreated, though, the cavity will get bigger, spread to neighbouring teeth and will eventually reach the nerve of the tooth, causing the tooth to become abscessed and be associated with pain, infection and discomfort. At that point, the patient will have to come in and will need to spend longer time in the chair for more involved procedures like root canal treatments or extractions, further compounding their fear of the dental visit.
Developing a good oral health routine with regular dental visits is the best way to avoid any negative dental experiences and is key to minimising any unnecessary time, money and stress at the dentist.
Preventing dental phobia in children
In preventing dental phobia in children, we try to create a fun, relaxing and happy environment. We talk to them in their language and let them go on a little ride on the dentist’s chair. If they’ve had a bad dental experience in the past, sometimes we’ll pop on some happy gas to help, too!
It’s important for children to see the dentist at a younger age. It’s not just about their dental health; it’s also about creating good memories and the idea that we’re a dental family that they’re comfortable coming to. Kids who are used to having things done in the chair regularly, like a check-up and clean, will then develop trust and be comfortable with the surroundings. If they then end up needing a filling, it won’t be a bad experience.
On the other hand, if a child doesn’t attend routine check-ups, then at the age of eight or nine develops a toothache, it can create a bad memory which may stick with them for the rest of their lives. In pain, they’re suddenly being taken to a completely new environment, facing an injection and potentially needing a tooth to be taken out. That’s the memory they’re going to associate with the dentist, because they haven’t had a chance to experience anything different.
6 steps to get over your dental phobia
Visit your dentist regularly, before you have a dental problem
We recommend coming every six months. If you get into a regular dental routine, it’ll help you get over that initial feeling of fear and you’ll find that it’s not so bad. With each regular visit where you don’t have a bad experience, you’ll break down that fear a little bit and you’ll have more chance of a positive encounter.
It also comes back to early detection and prevention. If you’re coming in regularly for a dental clean, your gums and teeth will stay healthy and you won’t have a painful experience during your check-up. But if you put it off, then your gums can become inflamed, sensitive and possibly infected, which can result in pain.
Book an early morning appointment
Making an appointment first thing in the morning can help, as it gets it out of the way and you won’t have as much time to get upset and build up your fear throughout the day. The later you leave it in the day, the more you’ll think about it and the worse your fear can become.
Bring someone you trust for support
Talk to someone who’s not scared of the dentist, whether it’s a close friend or relative. If you haven’t been to the dentist for a long time, ask them to come along with you for support.
Talk to us about your fear
Our front desk staff are very helpful, so confide in them when you first arrive and let them know you’re anxious.
Then when you come in for your check-up, we’ll spend time talking and understanding your fears. We spend that extra time and patience to hear you out and learn about your exact concerns and fears.
We find that with anxious patients, once they’ve put into words what they’re frightened of, they feel a lot better. Then we can see how we can best help them with their fear and adapt treatment accordingly. Say, for example, you’re scared of having a needle, we can use plenty of numbing cream or happy gas to help.
Put your hand up if you’re uncomfortable
At the start of your appointment, we’ll explain the procedure – what’s involved and what you can expect to feel. We do this with all our patients, however, with a very anxious patient we’ll take more time to talk through it.
Throughout the appointment, we’ll check on you to see if you’re going OK. Many anxious patients particularly don’t like the feeling of not being in complete control, so we let them know that if they want us to stop at any point, we’ll stop straightaway and they can take as much time as needed.
Use distraction tools and techniques
We have a TV in each room, so let us know your favourite channel and take the opportunity to lie back and watch some TV. Some patients also bring in their own music and headphones, and tell us that it helps to block out the background noise of a dental procedure, like a drill. It can also help to simply listen to something you’re comfortable and familiar with.
If you’re too scared of the dentist to book an appointment, consider asking a friend or relative to do it for you and come with you for support. Our friendly and caring staff will understand. please Book an appointment online or call our office on 07 3856 2144 today.