Wadas Dental of Munster
417 East Ridge Road, Suite A, Munster, IN 46321

Facing dental fears is healthier than avoiding trips to the dentist

Facing-dental-fears-is-healthier-than-avoiding-trips-to-the-dentist

 

It’s not uncommon for people to avoid the dentist for a common reason – fear. An estimated five to eight percent of Americans do it all the time, according to the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington. And as many as 20 percent are so anxious about stepping inside a dentist office that they delay it until they have a significant dental problem that drives them there.

Dr. Peter Milgrom, D.D.S., who directs the Washington university’s program, specializes in treating patients whose fear of seeing a dentist is particularly severe. He’s written a book about them entitled Treating Fearful Dental Patients. If there’s one thing they have in common, he told WebMD.com, it’s that as many as two-thirds blame their intense fear of dentistry on a previous bad experience they had visiting a dentist.

The center treats children as well as adults, because many people who are afraid of the dentist have been fearful of having dental work done since they were youngsters.

Whatever their experience, patients who are afraid to go to the dentist office are often apprehensive about similar things. They see ominous-looking machinery hovering over them while they are stretched back and tense in an uncomfortable position with no easy way to get away. Someone they may not know every well is sticking sharp instruments into their mouths.

But these descriptions, while true, don’t have to be negative. Patients can talk out their fears with their dentist ahead of time. They can ask to have a dental assistant explain what the overhanging machinery does. By raising their hands when they are particularly uncomfortable or scared, they can get a short break from the dental work that’s under way.

Coping strategies
Staying away from the dentist is probably the worst way to deal with such fears. Not having regular check-ups increases the chance of tooth decay and other dental problems that will only require more time in the dentist chair, more expense and possibly more discomfort.

There are a number of coping strategies that can be tried by someone to push their fears away during dental work. Light meditation techniques include breathing deeply and slowly to ease tension while focusing on something completely outside the immediate environment. Some people relax by listening to music on an iPod. Others may distract themselves by constructing a scenario in their minds, such as redesigning a room at home.

Allaying children’s fears
Parents should be careful not to pass on their fear of dental work to their children. Shielding them from this anxiety will help them accept visits to their pediatric dentist as a regular part of taking care of themselves.

It’s also important to be honest with youngsters. They may experience some discomfort, so it’s best not to promise them that nothing will hurt. But stressing the good health and cleanliness that comes from a visit to the dentist will help them see it as a positive experience.

The best dentist for a child is one who addresses the youngster in a friendly tone, possibly telling them a story or starting a conversation on their level to ease their anxiousness, states WebMD. That helps to draw attention away from the procedure and develop trust in the practitioner. Praising the child’s patience and good behavior also helps to make them comfortable with their surroundings.

There are also many children’s books available that are about a trip to the dentist, making the experience sound like it should be part of a child’s normal routine. Such books describe dentistry in ways that children will understand and can prepare them for all aspects of an upcoming visit.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
At the age of 51, Dr Cooper took away my fear of dentists! Believe it or not it was with a full upper implant procedure too! Teeth pulled, metal drilled into my head, constant visits back and forth […]
Cathy C.
Professional and excellent care
Norman J.
The staff is kind and they excel at what they do. I also like that there are Saturday appointments available. I like that they offer things to prevent cavities like fluoride treatments and advising […]
Brandy T.
Amber the dental hygienist was very polite and informed me of every step before giving care, she even discuss the next thing I could do in prevention and protecting the teeth that I have left. All […]
LYDIA E.
Excellent service from staff. The dentist and staff. explained the service in detail. I will recommend this dentist to family and friends.
Wendy D.
You are always timely and very professional.
Paulena K.
The service and staff are awesome
SCOTT D.
Great diagnostics, great treatment plan, great customer service!
Matthew M.
Amber was very good. She made me feel at ease and did a great job.
Janice M.
The whole staff was absolutely awesome
Laura D.
Really love the environment, lovely front desk staff and very gentle hygienists as well as doctors in this facility ! Shoutout to amber!
Amber P.
Always get great service with great results.
William C.
I was recommended Wadas by a friend and I was very pleased. I loved how the wait was really short and the staff were very friendly. I was thoroughly explained everything that was being done to me, […]
Karla G.
I get extremely nervous and this visit turned out to be a really good experience.
Phyllis M.
Very throurough and courteous. Maria did an awesome job cleaning my teeth!😁
Patrick K.
All personnel were kind, friendly and professional.
Sherman S.
The staff here is incredible! Very friendly and helpful! They put up with and understand my sense of humor, which is greatly appreciated when my mouth is being poked a lot.
Justin M.
Excellent treatment and service for over 40 years.
Lynn P.
Everyone is very professional and friendly. It is a peaceful atmosphere. Everyone has a smile.
Dianne A.
Everyone here is so nice and they care a lot about your health, not just getting you in and getting you out! Thanks a bunch
Holly K.
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