Being Afraid Of Seeing A Dentist Can Lead To Major Expenses.

Posted on Sep 17, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you are afraid of going to a dentist, you’re one of over 70% of American adults with the same issue. Some people suffer from such fear that it keeps them from having a healthy, confident smile.

While it’s important for people to feel good about smiling (which motivates them to smile more often), research also shows that smiling can improve mood, self-esteem, and self-confidence.

Yet, having a fear of dentistry can interfere with one’s ability to achieve and maintain a smile they feel good about. As a periodontal specialist, I frequently see patients who have developed periodontal (gum) disease or lost natural teeth because dental fears prevented them from receiving regular care.

It’s a vicious cycle. Delaying or avoiding regular dental care allows tartar (or calculus) to build up on teeth. This can lead to problems such as cavities and gum disease. When treatment for these problems is postponed, the complexity of the treatment needed increases. And thus, so do the costs.

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the unique concerns that people have when it comes to dental care. While many adults suffer from dental fear because of an unpleasant experience in their past, some can’t recall what originally caused their fears. Others have unexplained reactions to certain smells or sounds often encountered in a dental office.

Regardless of the source of one’s fear of dentistry, we understand that these fears are essentially uncontrollable. People can’t just ‘let them go.’ And, for many individuals, perceived pain can be just as real as actual pain. This is why we offer a number of comfort options, including oral and I.V. Sedation (also known as ‘twilight sleep’).

These sedatives are helpful for patients before and throughout treatment. While helping the patient to relax, both erase most (if not all) memory of the procedure afterward. For those who are facing lengthy procedures, sedation also enables patients to easily combine several appointments so treatment can be completed in just one or two visits. Our advanced technology also helps to reduce treatment time while providing an exceptional level of comfort.

Keep in mind that it’s not just your smile that suffers when your oral health doesn’t receive adequate upkeep. Research has shown that your overall health is intricately connected to your oral health. This is because the potent bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissues. Once bloodborne, it can trigger inflammatory reactions that have been associated with a long list of serious health problems. These include heart disease, preterm babies, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers (including pancreatic cancer), and impotency.

When dental care is administered with a gentle touch and skilled hands, pain should never be part of the experience. In our office, my entire team takes much pride in the words of praise that come from patients who once had an intense fear of dentistry, yet are now comfortable and relaxed throughout their appointments.

If you’ve avoided dental care due to fear, call 828-274-9440 to schedule an examination. And remember – a problem with your oral health now will only become more severe over time without treatment. Let’s help you form new, positive impressions when it comes to dental care!

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