We’re dentists. We’re surrounded by dentistry all day long. Dental drills, tartar scrapers, needles – these are tools that we use every single day. We’re so accustomed to the sights, sounds, and smells of a dental office that we hardly even think about it anymore.
However, every so often, we have to remind ourselves of one important fact: our patients are not!
A recent Columbia University study found that between 30 and 40 million Americans simply avoid seeing the dentist out of fear. This means that 15% of Americans are putting their oral health in jeopardy because their dental anxiety is keeping them from getting proper care.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Whether your dental anxiety began with a bad experience in your youth or built up over time, we’re confident that you can put a stop to your fears.
Dental Anxiety Turned Dental Success Story – Meet Lisa
Lisa is a 47-year-old mother of 4. By day, she’s a 3rd-grade teacher. By night, she’s a funny, caring friend who likes to spend time with her family and friends.
Everyone loves Lisa. She’s the life of every party, involved in the community, and is always there for those who need her. But for a long time, Lisa had a deep, dark secret: she hadn’t been to a dentist since she was 30!
As a teenager, Lisa had a slew of dental problems. Braces, impacted wisdom teeth, and a tooth infection had her in and out of her dentist’s office more often than she ever wanted to be. And in her 20s, she had to have a root canal done. After a few bad and unfortunately painful experiences, Lisa vowed that she would never set foot in a dental office again.
Now, Lisa made sure that each of her children visited the dentist twice per year, and even taught her 3rd-grade classes about the importance of prioritizing their oral health. She brushed her teeth twice per day, flossed nightly, and avoided candy and junk food. And from the outside, her teeth looked alright.
The Turning Point
About three months ago, Lisa began to notice discomfort in her lower jaw. Every time she ate something hot or cold, her back molar would sting. Eventually, the pain got so bad that Lisa had no choice but to make an appointment with our office.
Over the phone, Lisa informed our staff of her fear of the dentist. She described that the thought of visiting made her heart rate jump and her stomach turn. She even told us that whenever a television show featured a dental procedure, she changed the channel.
Our patient coordinator is experienced in speaking with patients who have dental-related fears. She assured Lisa that our staff would keep her concerns in mind when treating her to ensure that she remains comfortable and at ease. And while Lisa was still hesitant about coming in for an appointment, she knew that in the interest of her oral health, it was necessary.
When Lisa arrived, she was greeted with a friendly smile and a pleasant atmosphere. Our office is clean and comfortable and our staff is warm and welcoming. She filled out her forms and let our caring staff know that she had a severe case of dental anxiety so that they could take the necessary measures to make sure she felt at ease.
Once in the chair, Lisa put on some of her favorite music to take her mind off of the situation. The friendly hygienist let Lisa know what she was doing every step of the way so that there were no surprises. All the while, she continued to ask Lisa how she was feeling and let her know that they could take breaks if necessary.
Lisa had a small cavity in one of her lower molars, so our hygienist made sure to be gentle in that area to avoid causing any further pain. The exam and cleaning were so easy and painless, that by the time it was over, Lisa couldn’t even believe it! It all went so quickly!
Her view of the dentist had utterly changed. Our staff was so friendly and caring that Lisa felt comfortable in our office and didn’t even hesitate when making the appointment to get her cavity filled. She knew that we would make her feel relaxed in our office and completely informed about her procedure so that she wouldn’t be faced with any surprises.
A week later, Lisa had her cavity filled without a hitch. We gave her a tooth-colored filling, which will last a long time and look just like the surrounding natural teeth. She was so happy with her service that she even scheduled her next 6-month checkup that very same day!
No More Dental Anxiety
We’ve had many patients like Lisa here at Precision Dentistry and Implants. It’s our focus to make sure that even the most anxious of patients feels at ease when paying us a visit, so we will go out of our way to accommodate everyone. Whether that means playing music like we did for Lisa or practicing breathing exercises throughout the process, there are always steps that we take to help you combat your dental anxiety.
You shouldn’t feel like there’s no hope for you. If you suffer from a case of dental anxiety, we’re here to help. And we won’t judge. I promise.