There it is. That little feeling of dread. Oh, you know that feeling all too well. You felt it enough times to know it. Whenever you start thinking about going back to the dentist, it comes out of nowhere. Friends talking about their teeth? Flossing at night before bed? Wondering if your dark teeth need whitening? It all comes back to the dread.
If this sounds like you, you are definitely not alone. Many Americans suffer from dental anxiety. Why do people have such anxiety? There are many reasons, but here are a few of the more common ones. You’ll also find some ways to help beat it at our Jeffersonville, IN dental office.
- Bad experiences at another dental office: This is probably the most common reason. When you were younger, you had a bad experience at that other dental office. You could have been treated poorly by the staff. They acted like you were a problem instead of a patient. Overall, they made you feel disrespected and unimportant. Then again, the problem could have been the treatment. Dentistry should be very comfortable these days. In the past, maybe a dentist didn’t use the right amount of local anesthetic during oral surgery. Maybe he made a mistake. Either way, you were in pain. It only makes sense that you don’t want to go through that experience again.
- Feeling helpless or out of control: For some of us, it’s hard to give up control. It’s not about being a control freak. You just get worried about things over which you have no control. That’s sensible. When you go to the dentist’s office, you lie back in a chair and just stay still. Everyone else is doing the work, and you’re not allowed to join in. Even though you know Dr. Kirchner takes 10 times the required continuing education, it’s still scary to be more or less helpless.
- Not knowing what’s possible: Fear of the unknown is one of the oldest fears. Growing up, you could have been afraid of thunderstorms because you didn’t know why they made such lights and noises. School could have caused anxiety because you had no idea what it was going to be like. When you visit the dentist, you know the visit is probably going to be just fine. But … there’s still that nagging fear of what could happen. Infected teeth don’t always hurt, so maybe you’ll need a root canal or even a tooth extraction. Your jaw has been bothering you a bit. That could be nothing, or it could be a sign of TMJ disorder. What makes this all worse is how your mind spirals out of control. You imagine worst-case scenarios while waiting to hear the exam results.
- Not knowing the costs: Unless you are wildly rich, finances are something you have to take seriously. You have a mortgage payment, car payments, tuition for the kids, a roof that needs repairing, and so on. It makes sense to plan a budget. Even if it’s not super detailed, you at least have a good idea of next month’s costs. Then you go to the dentist’s office. Because you don’t know what the exam will reveal, you can’t know the costs. What if you have a cavity? What if you have five? How will you pay for all of this?
- Too long since your last visit: This is more about embarrassment than fear, but it still causes anxiety. You know that you should visit our Jeffersonville, IN dental office every six months. You need regular cleanings and exams. But your schedule is packed as it is, so finding time to visit can be tough. You miss one, then you miss two … and before you know it, it’s been years. Every time you miss an appointment, the next one gets harder to keep.
Yes, that’s a lot of dental anxiety. Now, for how to get past it all.
- Nitrous oxide: If bad experiences in the past are the most common cause, laughing gas is the most common cure. You inhale this gas through a small mask you wear over your nose. Almost as soon as you start, you will feel amazingly calm and relaxed. The fear slips away, and things that caused anxiety simply don’t anymore.
- Comfort menu: Sometimes, you can relax by being more comfortable. You can pick several items from a comfort menu for just that reason. Blankets, pillows, iPads with headphones, and more can help you stay relaxed.
- The Smile Club: At Kirchner Dental, we have a discount program available. For a small annual fee, you get 15% off treatments and free X-rays, cleanings, and exams twice per year.
No matter how anxious you are about visiting the dentist, we can help. Call us today at 812-399-3586 to schedule your next appointment.