By: Ashleigh (with help from WebMD and the ADA website...and Dr. Jones, of course!)
You open up your email inbox and you see an email from your dentist. It is a reminder for your upcoming appointment. Do you:
A. Quickly confirm that you are excited and can't wait for your dental cleaning.
B. Reschedule it because you have more important things to do, like dusting all the baseboards in your house.
C. Trick question...you don't have an upcoming dental appointment because the word "dentist" sends a cold shiver down your spine.
Did you answer B or C? If so, you probably have a bit of dental anxiety or even a dental phobia. You are not alone! It is estimated that 9-20% of Americans experience some dental fear and avoid the dentist because of it.
Dental phobia is more serious than anxiety. Those that have dental phobia usually will avoid the dentist until forced because of pain.
Dental Phobia Signs:
Trouble sleeping the night before the dental exam
Feelings of nervousness that escalate while in the dental office waiting room
Crying or feeling physically ill at the thought of visiting a dentist
Intense uneasiness at the thought of, or actually when, objects are placed in your mouth at a dental appointment
Fear of pain
Fear of anesthetic (numbing) injections or fear that anesthetic will not work
Fear of anesthetic side effects
Feelings of helplessness and loss of control
Embarrassment and loss of personal space
Traumatic past dental experiences
If you have dental fear and phobia it is important to talk with your dentist and hygienist about your dental anxiety. It is normal and quite common and you should not be embarrassed or ashamed to discuss these feelings. Ask for the provider to explain what is happening at every stage of the procedure. At our office, Dr. Jones explains procedures thoroughly and takes time to answer your questions so that you feel a little more in control of what is happening and why. Dr. Jones and the hygienists tell patients to signal them with a simple hand raise if you need them to stop for whatever reason. Whether you are uncomfortable, need to rinse your mouth or just need to take a minute to breathe, just raise your hand and the doctor or hygienist will stop immediately. We feel very confident that we are able to care for our most anxious patients successfully, and ensure that we achieve stable, healthy smiles. The more you feel like you have taken control over your oral health with safe and positive experiences, the easier it will be to come to each appointment.
Below is a 2012 review from a patient that has a high level of dental anxiety and fear:
"I have waited many years to seek out a dentist due to fear and previous bad experiences. Sought out Dr. Jones via the web, wanting a small woman run practice. I have had two appointments in the last month and while their is much work ahead, I feel very confident that I am with the right practice! Everyone is friendly, knowledgeable, professional and strives to make the visit as painless as possible. Dr. Jones personally discusses treatment options with you and encourages mutual agreement before moving forward. While I'm not looking forward to the road ahead, I'm happy Dr. Jones and her staff are driving the bus!"
Two years later this patient was nice enough to submit another review:
"As I have posted before, I Do Not Like Going to the dentist...period! I've been seeing the great Team at Dr. Jone's office for almost 2 years, including having some major restorative work done. Everyone is friendly, professional and caring; trying very hard to make the experience as enjoyable and pain free as possible. I would recommend her practice to anybody having the same "phobia" I used to have."
We applaud you taking the first step...calling the office to make your dental appointment. If you would like to meet with Dr. Jones to see if our office would be a good fit, we offer 30 minute complimentary first exams. Many new patients use this time to "interview" us to see if we meet their needs and see if we are compatible with their needs. We encourage anyone with dental fear to talk to Dr. Jones or anyone on our team. We look forward to seeing you!
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Ali Jones, D.D.S. - Dentist