Even after decades of research, improvements in technique, and huge developments in painless dentistry, a fear of the dentist is still one of the most common anxieties among adults today. We know that, and it doesn’t bother us in a personal way… But what does bother us is the idea that someone might be putting off a trip to the dentist because of that fear.
Fear And Delay: Closely Linked
Research recently published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene has directly linked fear of the dentist with the delay between appointments. A group of 140 adults was surveyed, giving them a rating of fear associated with the dentist, and asking them to self-report on how long they had been delaying an appointment.
To the surprise of nobody involved, the delay of appointments was almost directly tied to the level of fear displayed on the survey.
So why is this important? Isn’t this common sense?
Delayed Dentist Appointments Won’t Help
The next piece of common sense should be just as obvious. Delaying a dentist appointment can make any existing problems worse. Even if you have nothing wrong with your teeth, delaying the dentist appointment only removes you from a sphere of health that is in place to protect you and your smile.
How To Conquer Your Fear of the Dentist
It has been said that all fear is a fear of the unknown. When we don’t know what to expect, our imagination takes over and easily comes up with the worst case scenario. Not only is this normal, it’s natural. Our imagination does this to protect us from taking risks that could potentially harm us. Leaping into a pool of water is very scary when we don’t know how deep the water is.
To fight our fears we have to be assured of what we are getting into. Coming into the Dentist’s Office to check things out can be a great first step. Meet your dentist. Meet the dental hygienists. Ask questions! Your first dentist appointment does not even have to take place in the dentist’s chair, and no one has to open their mouth too wide.
Let us know about your anxieties, and we will do everything we can to help you feel more at ease. It won’t happen right away, but with patience, you can look back and laugh at the days when you used to delay making your regular appointment for the dentist.