Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Making Sense of Dental Phobias

It's no surprise that a significant number of adults fear the dentist. By some estimates, as much as 75 percent of the adult population in the United States lives with a dental fear ranging from mild to severe. The Journal of the American Dental Association released a study some time ago that estimated as much as 12 percent of adults avoid regular dental care because of a paralyzing fear of visiting a dental office.

At Cave Spring Dental Arts, we have seen many different shades of dental fear and we don't think it should keep anyone from getting the oral healthcare they deserve. It's one of the reasons we began offering sedation dentistry at our Roanoke, VA dental practice. Currently, we offer two different forms of
sedation dentistry: oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide.

We would like to spend this blog post, however, exploring some of the common reasons for dental fear in hopes that understanding your fear may help you to eventually overcome it.

Here are some of the most common reasons adults are afraid of the dentist:

1. Fear of the Unknown 

Most dental phobias and fears are formed because of a negative childhood experience with a dentist. The great news is that, as human beings, we don't naturally fear the dentist. What we do fear, though, is the unknown.

At Cave Spring Dental Arts, if you're a nervous dental patient, we will take notice. Some of the ways we mitigate your discomfort is by examining you with the door open, to avoid feelings of claustrophobia. We may also pick our dental instruments up a little slower, or spend a few extra minutes explaining the procedure before we begin the work. We don't want your fear to dictate your visit, and we'll work with you to ensure your comfort. And, as always, if you prefer, we have sedation dentistry options available to give you a tranquil, peaceful dental visit.

2. Fear of Dental Equipment

Some of our dental equipment  makes noises, and some of it, well, you may have no idea what it's for. If a fear of dental instruments is making your visit to our Roanoke dental practice uncomfortable, we have several methods to calm you. One of the things we like to do for our patients is give them a sense of control. We do this by explaining what the instrument is used for, and how we will use it for the procedure we're performing. If you'd like, we can also allow you to hold the instrument so that you can see there is nothing to be frightened of when it's in our skillful hands.

3. Fear of Heightened Gag Reflex 

Some patients fear the dentist because they have a very sensitive gag reflex. While we can't control your gag reflex, we can make it less sensitive with the use of sedation dentistry. In fact, some patients with sensitive gag reflexes opt for sedation dentistry simply so they can get more
dental work done when they visit us. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, ask us how we can make your visit significantly more comfortable with oral conscious or nitrous sedation dentistry.

If you have questions about sedation dentistry, or if you're a nervous patient and want to know how sedation dentistry can be used to make your visit more productive and comfortable, please contact us. If you're ready to make an appointment with our Roanoke sedation dentistry practice, you can also use our convenient online
appointment request form.