Dealing with FEAR at the dentist!

By Dr. Shakila Angadi

I am here to help, despite looking like this!

I am here to help, despite looking like this!

Teeth are an incredibly important organ that we use every day.  And yet, many patients don't seek regular dental care until they have a problem or pain.  Not only is it dangerous (an infected tooth can lead to an unplanned emergency room visit and life-threatening conditions) but avoiding the dentist can be more traumatic in the long run because these teeth that have not been properly cared for.  So what keeps people away?  Throughout the years, I have found most that avoid the dentist stay away because they are embarrassed, have had a traumatic dental experience or finances.  Let's delve into some of these!

Embarrassment.  I have  patients that have their mouth covered when they walk in, are afraid to smile and are afraid to be judged.  Let me tell you, the dentist is the LAST person to judge!  We are trained to look into that mouth and gauge and solve many problems, including how to enhance and fix your smile so you can be comfortable again!  I love our Smile Questionnaire, because it lets me really find out what part of their smile a patient is self-conscious about, and from there,  we can make a plan to fix it!

Traumatic Experiences.  Many patients (myself included) have had the unfortunate experience of not being "numb" enough during a dental procedure.  There are also some that "fear the needle."  Let me tell you....these needles are TINY compared to what is used to draw blood!  Needle size (gauge) has really shrank over the years, so the old memory of the "pinch"  is dissipating.  Topical anesthetics are still widely used to reduce the tiny sting and modern dental anesthetics are formulated to work faster and more effective than everbefore.  I have studied various techniques to reduce the discomfort, and in fact, most of my fearful patients tell me after getting numb that it was not as bad as they thought it would be!

Finances.  Now I'm not going to go into too much of this, as my staff and office manager are much better at explaining fees and insurances.  However, I do know and understands trends of teeth very well.  It is guaranteed that a smaller filling/ procedure will ALWAYS be less expensive than the cost of a larger procedure or removing the tooth.  The cost of replacing a tooth is nearly 3x the cost of fixing it!  So it makes the most sense to see your dentist regularly, fix "smaller" issues as they arise, and pocket the savings for something fun!!!  Who's with me??

Don't let fear of the dentist keep you away.  We want to be a  part of your health care team and only have your best interests at heart to do that.  Check out the rest of our site to learn more about our practice and don't forget to join our conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!