“Our records show you are due for a teeth cleaning.” If you dread that twice–a–year phone call or letter, don’t feel ashamed — an estimated 10%–15% of Americans avoid the dentist’s chair entirely because of anxiety and fear. The most common concerns are pain, injections, and loss of control. Your oral health affects your entire body, so don’t wait until you have a tooth emergency.
- Find a dentist you’re comfortable with. You have freedom of choice — locate a dentist willing to work with you in overcoming your fears.
- Distract yourself. Many dental offices now have TVs and headphones to provide entertaining diversions and block noises (bring your own headphones if this isn’t offered).
- Don’t fear pain. Dental technology has rapidly evolved. Procedures such as root canals are often just as painless as getting a cavity filled. If pain occurs, let the doctor know — they can easily adjust sedation or anesthetic levels.
- Sedation dentistry. This emerging practice offers different levels of sedation — including minimal, moderate, deep, and general anesthesia — depending on the patient’s pain threshold.