We asked the experts at PDG Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics about dental anxiety and dental phobia. Here is what they had to say:
Dental phobia and anxiety are pretty common, affecting 48 percent to nearly 60 percent of the population. That means people avoid getting crucial preventative dental care, which in turn means that small, easy-to-fix dental problems can become big, painful, expensive ones before they’ll see a dentist. We hope we can help all of our patients overcome any dental anxiety they may struggle with.
Where Does Dental Anxiety Come From?
Even though we’re dental professionals ourselves, we can understand why the idea of regular dental appointments (let alone more intense treatments) can be unpleasant for a lot of people. It’s not very fun to lie flat on your back while strangers poke around at your teeth and gums, and maybe it’s easier to hope there are no cavities instead of letting a dentist check and risk getting bad news. A lot of people feel this way, but for the sake of having healthy smiles, it’s important not to succumb to it.
Other people might have a specific bad memory that they associate the dentist with. Maybe they had a negative experience that gave them a terrible impression of dentists in general, or maybe older family members told them about their bad experiences and passed on their dental anxiety that way. At our practice, patient comfort is one of our highest priorities, and we would love to help any patients overcome anxiety based on previous experiences.
Strategies for Fighting Dental Anxiety
Here are a few things we recommend trying to help with feelings of dental anxiety:
- Don’t wait until you are in pain to schedule an appointment. Seeing the dentist twice a year from an early age helps you to feel more comfortable and get to know and trust your doctor and the space.
- Learn about what goes into a typical dental appointment. Ask questions and get an idea of how the process will go so that you won’t have to worry about any surprises.
- Discuss your anxiety and what you think the cause might be with the dentist. When dentists are aware of a patient’s dental anxiety struggles, they are much better able to help.
- Bring a relaxing distraction like your favorite music or podcast to listen to during the appointment.
- Remember that modern dentistry is full of conveniences and comforts that didn’t exist for our parents and grandparents! We get a pretty great deal in the 21st century.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
PDG Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics provides pediatric dental services for infants, children, and adolescents as well as orthodontic services for children, teenagers, and adults across Metro Vancouver. Their doctors are specially trained to allow them to manage children’s fears and apprehensions in a positive manner. They are also specially trained to provide dentistry under mild conscious sedation and general anesthesia, which is recommended for certain circumstances, to lessen the mental and/or physical pain of a procedure.