There are several reasons why people do not visit their regular family dental clinic as often as they should. Some individuals are just forgetful by nature, failing to remember when their biannual check-up should roll around. Others may have the mistaken assumption that they don’t need to have their teeth checked, until they suddenly need an emergency dentist in Blackburn.
On the other hand, there is one group of people who dread going to the dentist because they experience dental fear. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the things you need to know about dental fear and how both you and your dentist in Blackburn can help overcome it.
What is dental fear?
Dental fear refers to the negative physiological, behavioural, and emotional response an individual gets when they are afraid of going to the dentist. Here are some facts that can help you understand more about dental fear:
- 1% of Australian respondents were found to have high dental fear.
- 1 in every 6 Australian adults are likely to have dental fear compared to 1 in 10 Australian children.
- Dental fear causes feelings of stress or upset during a dental procedure.
- These feelings of fear often prompt them to stay away from the dentist altogether.
- Lack of professional dental care can then lead to oral health issues, e.g. tooth decay and gum disease.
Sources of dental fear
It is generally presumed that dental fear arises out of a past traumatic experience at the dentist. For instance, you may have heard anecdotes about a friend or family member who went through a lot of pain during a dental procedure, and then never wanted to go back there ever again.
While this certainly may be true, it’s not the sole reason why most people have dental fear. In fact, there are a variety of other reasons behind the condition:
- Negative perception of dental clinics
- Visually descriptive posters of frightening oral health issues
- Giving up control by reclining in a dental chair
- Anxiety about the cost
- Fear of needles or pain
Treating dental fear
With modern dental practices now being more informed about the realities of dental fear, you just need to make sure that you go to a dentist that can understand, address, and accommodate your dental fear.
Dentists can tackle dental fear by implementing some of the following measures.
- Offer the patient as much control over the situation as possible
- Talk the patient through procedure details before or even during the procedure
- Checking in with the patient throughout the visit
- Asking for permission to continue if necessary
- Be willing to stop at the patient’s request
- Allowing the patients to take breaks if they are too overwhelmed
Tips to overcome dental fear
Once you have done your research and found yourself a dentist who understands dental fear, there are some tips that you can practise to feel a bit calmer during the visit.
- Go to the clinic with someone who can give you moral support
- Enquire if your companion can enter the treatment room with you
- Ask the dentist to keep talking to you to keep you occupied
- Stay calm by asking the dentist to play some music or bring your own if you prefer
- Try out some relaxation techniques like controlled breathing
- Communicate with your dentist openly and honestly
At Blackburn Family Dental Care, we know and understand our patients’ concerns when it comes to dental fear. Our friendly and caring team is always eager to ensure that you have a comfortable and relaxed environment at our family dental clinic, so contact us to make an enquiry today.