Don’t Let Dental Fear Keep You From A Healthy Smile

Posted on Jul 09, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontist, I see a large number of adults who have developed periodontal (gum) disease. Yet, it never surprises me when I meet a new patient who has arrived because their problems stemmed from avoiding dental care due to fear.

While fear of dentistry affects an estimated 75% of the U.S. adult population, nearly 10% are categorized as “dental phobics.” These are adults who have such a severe level of dental fear that they avoid going to a dentist until it’s no longer a choice, but a dire necessity.

Most often, we discover this fear has resulted from a traumatic dental experience in the past. Over the years, I’ve heard some appalling tales. Many felt ‘pinned down’ in a treatment chair while a dentist worked on them even though they were in pain. Some say it’s the noises and smells that conjure up a perception of pain even before anything is done.

A few have shared that they feel unable to breath during dental treatment. Because breathing through the nose is necessary during many procedures, this causes some to feel ‘suffocated.’

A comfort option that has helped many to overcome their fear is Oral Sedation. This is a pill that is swallowed at home so they are relaxed by the time they arrive at our office. This helps them to walk in without the anxiety they would typically experience. By the time we begin treatment, they are totally relaxed and often snooze in and out while in the chair.

This typically erases most memory of the procedure afterward. It also allows us to apply numbing medications without the patient being aware of having injections at all.

Once patients have Oral Sedation, they often return and feel they no longer need this type of relaxation. In most cases, when a foundation of trust has been formed, they relax on their own. Until that time, however, we move at a pace that is best for each individual.

If you’re ready to “take that step” to a healthier, more attractive smile, let’s begin with a consultation. This will take place in our Consultation Room, which is a relaxed setting away from the clinical side of the office. From there, you can decide how you’d like to proceed. Call (828) 274-9440 to speak with one of our friendly staff members.

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