Need dental work done but scared of the dentist?
You’re not alone: according to research by The University of Adelaide, dental anxiety and fear affects approximately one in six Australian adults, with about 5% of the population suffering from dental phobia – which is when high dental anxiety significantly impacts on someone’s life.
Here’s what one person recently wrote to us at Today’s Dentistry, asking for our help:
“I’m terribly afraid of the dentist. My dental anxiety has become so bad that I haven’t gone in years. I’ve never had a traumatic experience or even a cavity. I don’t know why I get so scared.
“I’ve tried to make appointments, but I don’t show up because I freak out. I’ve taken my friends and family with me, but I can’t open my mouth when the dentist tells me to. My heart starts racing and my hands get sweaty. I can’t let them come near me.
“I’d really like help overcoming my dental anxiety, so I can go back to my normal life and not freak out when someone says the word ‘dentist’. I don’t know why I’m like this. Please help me.”
If this resonates with you, it’s important to identify your dental anxiety so you and your dentist can work through it together.
Signs you may have dental anxiety
Do any of these statements ring true for you?
- I feel anxious shortly before going to the dentist
- I avoid going to the dentist because I find the experience unpleasant or distressing
- I get nervous or edgy about upcoming dental visits
- I think that something really bad would happen to me if I were to visit a dentist
- I feel afraid or fearful when visiting the dentist
- My heart beats faster when I go to the dentist
- I delay making appointments to go to the dentist
- I often think about all the things that might go wrong prior to going to the dentist
Why is it important to identify my dental anxiety?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these statements, it’s likely you haven’t kept up your dental appointments or perhaps put it off for years. Avoiding going to the dentist means you’re more likely to:
- Have poorer dental health
- Experience dental problems that need more complex and costly treatment
- Suffer discomfort or pain, due to unaddressed issues with your teeth and gums
As a result, you can end up in a vicious cycle of dental anxiety – avoidance leads to unpleasant treatment, which reinforces your fear.
We’re here to help, not judge you
You can make an appointment without even getting in a dental chair. Simply come in to meet our dentists, see if you feel comfortable, talk about your worries and get used to our practice.