Do you dread the thought of having to go to the dentist, even for a cleaning? Often, patients have dental phobias or fears that make them either uncomfortable at the dental office or downright afraid. When your dental fears lead to anxiety, panic and dread, it could actually be a dental phobia. Up to 15% of people have dental phobias, which can induce panic attacks even thinking about dental work. Learn how sedation dentistry can help you overcome skipping dental visits due to dental phobias!
Did you know that the American Dental Association recommends visiting the dentist at least twice a year for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings? These are simple services that have a great impact on your dental health. With comprehensive exams, dentists can spot the signs of oral cancer and oral health diseases. They can use x-ray imaging to detect surface and internal cavities that can lead to tooth loss.
With dental cleanings, dental hygienists and dentists can work together to remove plaque and stuck-on tartar (mineralized plaque) from the teeth. Gum pockets can be accessed and cleaned to help reduce gingivitis (gum disease) problems. Oral cancer screenings can be done in less than 2 minutes, which saves lives every year. With swift detection of oral cancer, patients have a high rate of stopping it.
However, despite all the advantages that these simple dental visits can give patients, only about 65% of people actually visit a dentist each year. Of that percentage, many are only seeing a dentist once a year. It’s no surprise, then, that over 64.7 million American adults have gum disease and 92% of people have tooth decay. Busy schedules, lack of income and dental phobias are main factors in people skipping dental visits. This can lead to tooth loss and very severe oral health issues that will take extensive dental work to fix.
Dental phobias aren’t simply not liking dental visits at times. Many people do just fine having some anxiety about dental work. However, with dental phobias, real health problems can develop from the anxiety and fear set-on by the thought of visiting the dentist. People with dental phobias can have physical responses to being in dental offices and even thinking about dental work. The type of responses people can have include:
Most people have fears of dental shots or dental drills used in dentistry. This is generally due to the pain that these instruments can sometimes cause. A patient may also have had a negative dental experience in the past. Dental phobias aren’t something that a patient can simply put behind them or something where they can “suck it up”. It takes time to overcome, and we try to help them do that with sedation dentistry.
For patients with dental phobias, sedation dentistry was created to help them through dental visits so they can still receive their dental work without all the anxiety. Sedation dentistry consists of medical treatments that can help patients relax or to even forget their dental visit. These treatments for dental phobias include:
When people are anxious about going to the dentist, they can reduce how often they have to receive dental work if they are practicing the right habits at home. Make sure you are brushing your teeth 2 or more times every single day, for at least 2 minutes at a time. Use fluoride toothpaste and treatments to make teeth stronger against decay. Floss your teeth 1-2 times a day to get the 40% of tooth surfaces that brushing misses. Scrape the floss against your teeth as you floss to remove stuck-on plaque. Use mouthwash that can kill decay-causing bacteria as it freshens breath.
These are all great measures to keep your teeth healthy in the first place, helping you to avoid extensive dental work. With the right oral hygiene habits at home, you may only need dental cleanings and quick exams, which don’t require shots or drills at all. If you have dental phobias, start working on those habits. For times when you have cavities or need dental work done, you can combat your dental phobias with sedation dentistry. To ask what we use at our office, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-8425!