There’s a long-standing misconception that visiting the dentist is a terrifying process. It usually stems from childhood fears that stick with us into adulthood, and this leads lots of people to neglect their dental health as a result.
The good news is that dentists are not only aware of the stigma placed on their profession, but are also eager to change how they’re perceived.
A number of solutions are being used to deal with dental anxiety in patients, so let’s look at a few examples to put your mind at rest if you’ve got an appointment on the horizon.
Fear is founded on ignorance, and it’s possible to be scared of the unknown if you’re a non-expert in any subject.
Dentists are counteracting this by improving their communication skills and focusing not just one diagnosing and treating issues with their teeth, but also explaining what’s going on in greater depth.
This also means ensuring that patients are asked about their state of mind throughout a visit, and avoiding it feeling like a more rigid relationship.
Another reason that people avoid the dentist is because of anxiety over the cost of treatment. Dentists don’t need to lower their fees, but rather provide patients with options for reducing the expense of regular check-ups as well as more complex work.
Sites like Dentalinsurance.com are ideal for this, since dental insurance plans from different providers can be compared with ease, and dentists themselves can make recommendations if they see fit.
If we feel powerless, then our anxieties can be amplified. This is never more true than in a medical treatment scenario, where it’s possible for practitioners to be a bit too forceful and controlling.
When sat in the dentist’s chair, this used to manifest itself as being instructed on every step. Modern techniques involve changing the power dynamic and instead allowing the patient to have more input.
For example, giving patients signals they can use to request that the procedure is paused, without relying on them being able to speak at the time, can calm jangling nerves significantly.
The more you focus on what’s happening during a dental appointment, the more traumatic it can be. It’s not just the sensations going on in your mouth, but also the sounds that come with it.
Today, dentists will often give patients the go-ahead to bring and use headphones so that they can listen to therapeutic music or a favorite podcast, keeping them distracted.
It’s also not unusual for dentists to set up monitors which play content that the patient can watch so that their mind is elsewhere.
Sure, small talk is still an option in this scenario, but it’s less helpful if a patient’s mouth is otherwise occupied.
The cold, clinical feel of healthcare facilities is enough to send shivers up the spines of lots of patients, and yet dentists have more leeway to create spaces that are warmer and more inviting.
From altering the décor to be cozy and friendly, to adjusting the lighting so that it is soft and natural in tone rather than overly bright, even minor changes to the environment make a big difference.
Patients of course need to meet dentists halfway, and if you don’t get dental work done at the recommended intervals, then all the improvements to the experience in the world won’t be enough to reduce anxiety levels. As such, making proactive bookings and being honest with your dentist about your fears is a must.