Many people — both children and adults — are scared to go to the dentist, even for a simple and straightforward service like a routine checkup and teeth cleaning. For some people, the anxiety stems from a fear of dental tools or the thought of having to undergo a painful procedure. For others, the smell of chemicals or even the simple act of sitting in the lobby is enough to make them avoid the dentist.
Being scared of the dentist is fairly common and nothing to be ashamed about, but it can lead to oral health problems down the road if you’re too nervous or scared to get dental care when you need it.
At Haider Family Dentistry in Salem, Oregon, Dr. Jeremy Haider and our dental team offer general and cosmetic dentistry services in a relaxed and safe environment that takes your needs into consideration at every appointment.
What’s behind dental fears and anxiety?
Approximately 36% of people have some degree of dental fear and anxiety, and 12% identify their fear as “extreme.” So what makes some people more scared to go to the dentist than others?
For some people, a past experience with dental trauma, especially in childhood, is enough to scar them for life — although having a bad experience at the dentist’s office as an adult can do the trick, too. Other common causes of dental fear include:
- Fear of needles or other dental tools
- Sensitivity to certain smells or materials
- Sensitivity to touch or pressure
- Discomfort with or lack of trust in your dentist
- Fear of a specific dental procedure like a root canal or extraction
- Embarrassment over a cosmetic or oral health issue
In some cases, a direct cause for dental fear can be difficult to pinpoint, or it might be a combination of different things.
What you can do if you’re too scared to go to the dentist
This might sound counterintuitive, but the best thing you can do to overcome your fear of going to the dentist is to go to the dentist.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that most people get a checkup and teeth cleaning every six months to support good oral health and lower your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. By going to the dentist for preventive care, you’re lowering your chances of needing more complex dental work that might require anesthesia or the use of more invasive tools and procedures.
Talk to your dentist
If it’s been awhile since your last appointment, discuss your concerns and any oral health problems you’re experiencing with your dentist ahead of time to come up with a treatment plan before your appointment. Dr. Haider and our compassionate team do what it takes to help alleviate your fears.
Don’t let dental fears and anxiety hold you back from a beautiful smile and healthy teeth and gums. For more information, contact Haider Family Dentistry today to learn more about our services and to schedule a visit. If picking up the phone to make an appointment fills you with dread, you can also request an appointment online.