WHAT MAKES A DENTAL VISIT a feared chore? Why do thoughts of reclining plastic chairs, tiny handheld mirrors, and vacuums the size of a straw give some people the chills?
Setting aside the high pitched, nails-on-chalkboard-sound one hears during a cleaning, what else worries people?
If you have any of these feelings, you aren’t alone. Research shows that 10-20% of people avoid the dentist because of fear or anxiety, and 5-10% of people have an actual “dental phobia”—meaning they’ll avoid a visit to the dentist at just about any cost. Some people who have extreme dental anxiety have good reasons. Sometimes it has come from a previous negative experience with a procedure or with a dentist. In other cases, some people just don’t like the feeling of being so close to the dentist, or the lack of control they feel while they’re lying in the chair.
WebMD talks about some ways to help this kind of anxiety. From their article, one of the basic ways to help is to tell Dr. Brei, or a team member, about your fears. Remember that with 75% of us having some level of fear, it’s common. Dr. Brei didn’t become a dentist to scare people—he became a dentist because he wants to help people.
So, if you hate tight spaces, or you don’t like not understanding what we’re doing in your mouth, it’s OK to let us know. In fact, we WANT you to tell us. It helps us help you.
We can’t bring you extra peanuts when you push a call button, but we’ll gladly explain each dental tool before we use it, and give you extra time to swish more often. And although we can’t promise miracles, we can even try to stop asking you questions while you have something in your mouth!