There are more than 300 million people in the United States. Of that number, 24 to 35 million suffer from dental anxiety. That is more than the population of the ten largest cities in the U.S. combined! We’re not just talking about those being worried about going to the dentist who still do it anyway (that is a whole other statistic that is ever bigger). No, we are talking about people who are so afraid of going to the dentist that they will not go, no matter what. This is a huge issue, and chances are you or someone you know suffers from it.
The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that it exists. That is what we are doing with this article. If you suffer from this type of problem, you need to know two things. The first is that we are here to help you. Just in our community here in Hellertown, PA, we have many people who suffer from this kind of phobia, and we take great care to make sure that they know they are not alone in their fight against it. The second thing that they need to know is what they can begin to do on their own that will help them get past the fear that grips them when they think of going to the dentist.
Managing Your Dental Fear At Home
Here are several tips to help you get past your dental fear. We know that everyone is different, and this list is not meant to be a be-all and end-all of dental anxiety relief. This is what we have found works for our patients, and we want to share these steps to help you as well.
Step #1 – Figure out what caused your fear
This sounds simple, but for many people, it is anything but. For 2 out of 3 people who suffer from crippling dental anxiety, the fear was brought on by a traumatic childhood experience. That means for adults, the incident is a decade or more old, and you may not even remember the cause of it anymore. If so, talk to your parents; they have a unique skill at remembering things that hurt their children. In that respect, they are very much like an elephant and do not forget. Once you have identified what it is that caused your fear, it is time to move to the next step.
Step #2 – Talk about the incident
This can be with a friend, your parent, or even yourself – just talk about it. No matter how much or little you remember at the beginning, pieces may come back to you the more you dwell on it. Science suggests that we remember every moment of our life and that when we have trouble remembering, or think we have forgotten something, it is just our brain’s way of saying it is tired of looking for it. Don’t let your mind give up. Find the memory, and speak to someone about it. Talk to someone you trust and who has a good outlook when it comes to going to the dentist. Getting it out into the open will be both liberating and soothing.
Step #3 – Talk to your dentist at Hellertown Dental Group
Once you know what caused your fear and you have talked it through, the next step is sharing that information with your dentist. We are used to hearing about the experiences of our patients. It helps us understand what you are afraid of, and it also lets us know what not to do while you are in the office. Every patient is different, and we want to know what your worries are. Having a set of headphones to listen to music is one way to keep from triggering anxiety while you are in the office. We also have oral sedation available for those who feel they need it. Just ask Dr. Hunsicker-Morrissey, and she will get you taken care of.
Step #4 – Take note of the way things have changed
Dentistry today is nothing like it was ten years ago. Which means it almost doesn’t even resemble the dentistry practices from when your incident occurred. Find out what has changed and what we can do ensure that your experience will be a healthy and comfortable one.
Step #5 – Make your first appointment at Hellertown Dental Group
There is a saying that goes something like, “If you fall off a horse, the best thing to do is get right back on.” That is what you need to do. Get back into the dentist at Hellertown Dental Group and let us show you how you should be taken care of. You can reach our office at 484-858-0949, or you can schedule your appointment using our online form. We know you may be afraid, but we want you to know we understand and will take care of you.