dentist; dental fear

Why Do Many People Have Dental Fear and Anxiety?

We all have felt the fear of being in the dental chair at one point. As an adult, maybe you’re still reluctant and afraid to see the dentist for a much-needed dental check-up. You’re not alone in this struggle. According to Stats Canada, about 40 percent of Canadians avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety.


We identify this generalized fear of the dentist as dental fear or dental anxiety. But, for some people who experience extreme symptoms, they call it dentist phobia, dentophobia, or odontophobia.


The thing is that dental fear is not necessarily an “exaggerated” or “unfounded” fear as others may tell you. 


It’s not usually due to fear of physical pain. Fortunately, modern dentistry is usually pretty painless. With the right dentist, the right approach to the dental patient, and the right technique, dental visits can be pleasant.  


Unfortunately, dental phobia likely comes from a bad interaction with a dentist in their past trips to the dental clinic. Perhaps it’s the way they perceive the dentist’s attitude. Or, maybe, it’s the lack of individual care they felt while feeling helpless in the dental chair. 


Intimidating Environment

We think one of the biggest reasons why people have dental fear is the fear of being judged. Patients avoid the fear of being shamed and pressured to do things they don’t necessarily want to do. 


It sure doesn’t help your dental fear when your dentist shows up with an unfriendly voice and threatening body language. Nobody wants to hear a lecture about maintaining oral health. A good dentist motivates and uplifts you, rather than making you feel guilty for your dental phobia.


Your dentist should be a trusted friend and advisor for your unique dental care needs and priorities. The important part of giving dental treatment involves making sure you feel relaxed and reassured at all times. You should also be able to take a breather. 


Loss of Control

For a person with dental anxiety, being in the dental chair means completely giving up control and personal space. You will obviously feel panic and intense fear when your dentist begins the procedure in a not-so-safe and unpleasant environment. 


To help you overcome dental anxiety, your dentist should be able to walk you through the steps. They must give you extra emotional support before and at any point during the dental procedure. Perhaps some good distractions, like small talks with the dentist and a relaxing ambiance, would help ease dental phobia


Additionally, any dental patient can feel more in control if they are encouraged to communicate and receive their unique dental needs and priorities at their own pace. 


Salespitch Rather Than Genuine Care

Every visit to the dentist shouldn’t be another sales pitch to do something you don’t want to do, don’t understand, or can’t afford. This is why you need a dentist who is a good listener too. Ideally, this would be a dental professional who can engage you in honest conversations about your needs. 


To sum up, it is your right to find a good dentist who can help you with your dental fear. You shouldn’t feel lectured, shamed, or judged. Rather, you should actually look forward to the next visit. 


Remember, you are there to receive the most value, personalized care, convenience, and fun. But, also, you want to receive treatment using the best technology available in dentistry today. 


In Ancaster, Our Dentists Listen to Your Needs

Here at Smiling Dental, we are more focused on your goals — not ours. We will work together to give you the smile that will make you happy for many years to come. Let’s talk about your unique dental needs and priorities when you visit us at our dental offices in Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, and Stoney Creek. 

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