Do you experience anxious feelings when you go to, or even think about going to the dentist? Do you feel embarrassed or extremely apprehensive?
If so you may suffer from dental anxiety.
Promise: We can help you deal with and overcome dental anxiety.
You are not alone. According to the Journal of Dental Hygiene, 10 to 20% of the adult population suffers anxiety when they seek professional treatment for oral health.
Dental anxiety is a real problem for many people.
Does even reading about the dentist bother you? Call 803-324-7670 or Contact Cranford Dental and explain your fears.
A hygiene visit or initial consult may be the best way to get started. You want to detect problems that come with avoiding dental care.
Our dentists have had great success in helping patients overcome anxious feelings about dental visits. They can help you too.
Here we offer advice on dealing with dental anxiety:
What are Symptoms of Dental Anxiety?
Many people have slight levels of fear or discomfort about dental visits. The anxiety becomes a problem when it prevents you from going to the dentist or from accepting dental treatment.
You may have extreme dental anxiety, or dental phobia. This is an overwhelming, irrational fear of dental work. This can lead to long term dental problems caused by avoiding dental visits.
Have you experienced any of the following?
- Decide to make a dental appointment, but never get around to making the call for a reserved time
- Make an appointment, then cancel due to feeling anxious or other reasons
- Clammy hands, dry mouth, or general nervousness when you enter a dental office
- Claustrophobia or extreme anxiety when you are in the dental chair
If these symptoms apply to you, we can help you overcome your fear. Call Cranford Dental at 803-324-7670 or contact us online if we can help you.
Now let’s begin to understand dental anxiety and how to overcome it:
What Causes Dental Anxiety?
Science cannot fully explain what brings on dental anxiety. Possible explanations include:
A past dental experience
You may have memories of a dental visit where the dental staff did not listen to your concerns, needs, and wants.
Perhaps the dentist did not explain what his treatment would involve. Or you remember pain from a dental visit from childhood.
Exaggerated stories from family members or friends
People often make a big deal about their dislike of the dentist without realizing that some people suffer from real anxiety. These stories may stay embedded in your brain.
We all remember cartoons or jokes about traumatic dental experiences. These are not real life with modern dentistry!
Most fears that feed dental anxiety are not real in modern dental treatment; however, they are real to the person who is afraid.
Common dental fears:
- The unknown – You do not know what to expect from visiting a modern dental office.
- Bad teeth – Your teeth may be bad and will require treatment. Or you may not want to face the chance of losing teeth.
- Pain – Past memories or impressions of dental visits may make you fear that dental treatments will be painful.
- Needles, drills, smells – Sensory issues may make you fearful of the dentist office.
Current studies in childhood trauma document a connection between extreme fear of the dentist and childhood abuse for some survivors.
This is a very serious problem for patients who suffered from abuse.
Our dentists will work to make you feel safe and in control when in the dental chair. Let them know how you are doing as your care progresses.
Inform you dentist if she needs to coordinate your care with a physician or health care professional.
How do I Overcome Dental Anxiety?
Follow these steps to overcome dental anxiety and move forward with dental care:
First, acknowledge that your apprehension will not disappear immediately; it is a process.
Second, understand the options available in modern dental offices. You will be amazed at the high-tech dental equipment and minimally invasive dentistry that we offer today. Modern dentistry should be comfortable and painless.
Third, find a good dentist. Look for a dentist who will talk to you about your fears – one you can relate to. Our blog post What Makes a Good Dentist will help you find a dentist who is a good match for you.
Fourth, call his office and schedule a consult visit. Visit the office and meet the dentist. Talk to the staff members in the office. Explain your anxiety and ask the dentist what she will do to help you overcome dental fear.
Do I Like the Dentist and can she Help Me?
If you feel like the dentist is a good match, schedule an appointment for a thorough examination and cleaning. Request a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth and gums. Ask your hygienist to explain exactly what she is doing as she cleans your teeth.
If understanding calms you, ask the dentist to give a detailed explanation of the condition of your mouth and your treatment plan. He may report that you have healthy teeth and gums. Fears relieved!
If she suggests treatment, ask the dentist to explain exactly what is involved: number of appointments, cost, and options. Review radiographs and photos of your mouth to make sure you understand why you need dental procedures.
Also let the dentist know if you can relax better without hearing the details of your treatment. Our long time patients often just say, “I trust you.”
Now you have a dentist that you like, an office that you are comfortable in, and a treatment plan you understand. You can move from anxiety to trust.
Modern dentistry is very different from your grandmother’s experience.
Even the smells and sounds of old long ago visits don’t exist in modern offices.
What does Cranford Dental do to Ease Dental Anxiety?
Often patients make their first appointment at Cranford Dental because of our expertise in dealing with dental anxiety. We have many years of experience in helping people relax using information and excellent care.
Here is what we do at Cranford Dental to relieve dental anxiety:
We listen to your concerns – including your fears about dentistry. Our dentists and staff will take time to talk to you and build trust. We always inform you what dental procedures you need and why.
Taking photos and radiographs and explaining exactly what is going on in your mouth will often take away many of your fears about treatment.
Educating puts you the patient in charge of decisions about your dental care.
Here are simple ways to help you relax while the dentist treats you:
- Look at the trees and wildlife outside our operatory window.
- Use a blanket to make yourself feel more secure.
- Ask for you favorite program on the television- or wear headsets and listen to music.
- Hold a Cranford Dental stress ball during treatment.
- Take breaks – Signal with your hand when you need to stop and relax.
- Ask the dentist or assistant right away if you have questions or concerns.
Our dentists offer various levels of anesthesia and anxiolysis and sedation. We have found that Oral Conscious Sedation helps patients who ask for extra care. In addition, we also use nitrous oxide to make patients relax.
Dentists will recommend medications to help calm you if your situation calls for it.
It may help just to discuss these options. Many of our patients who suffer from dental anxiety are are able to move forward with treatment without using extra medical or sedation help.
Modern Treatment Options
Dentistry has come a long way in the past 20 years. Today we offer a high-tech approach to minimizing anxiety. This helps us work more efficiently, thus reducing time in the dental chair.
We are able to complete most treatments in the office, often in one day appointments. Our new CEREC PrimeScan technology gives a very accurate scan in a short time. This eliminates gooey impression materials and saves time.
We are amazed at the realistic teeth we create using CEREC single visit crown technology.
Electric hand pieces do not sound or feel like drills. You will not feel the pressure that older equipment caused.
Even injections are relatively painless. Our patients often don’t know when the dentist gave them a shot.
Modern dentists recognize your mind/body/mouth connection. We take a comprehensive approach to dental health and your overall health. Our dentists and staff are able to treat you in a personalized way based on your overall health.
I love it when patients tell me they actually enjoy visiting the dentist. They sometimes have to remind me of the fear that used to haunt them. I truly believe that everyone can overcome dental anxiety.Dr. Bill Cranford
What if I Just Can’t Make a Dental Appointment?
Dental anxiety is often not based on reality, but it is still real to the person who has fears. Review the underlying causes and solutions above.
If you still struggle, visit Cranford Dental at 1721 Ebenezer Road in Rock Hill, SC. Contact us online or through Facebook or Instagram @CranfordDental if you have questions.
Come sit in our relaxing reception area. Tour our office. Visit with our staff.
You will enjoy experiencing modern, comfortable dentistry.
We will happily share our expertise in dealing with dental anxiety with you.
We would love to welcome you to Cranford Dental.