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4 Reasons People Dread Dental Visits — And How To Beat Them

A trip to the dentist’s office will never be like going to a party. You won’t think about how great it will be days beforehand. It should be more like going to the gym. Sure, it can be a little difficult fitting it into your tight schedule, but you feel good having gotten it done. For some people, dental visits are things to fear and worry about. Such dental anxiety can make you skip needed care, which only makes things worse. Here are four reasons why people have dental anxiety and how you can beat them.

1. You’ve heard horror stories in shows or from friends. Stories can be powerful. Imagine a new Chinese restaurant opened down the road. You love Chinese food and plan on going there this weekend. But then you hear a story from a friend who went there. The food was bland, the staff was rude, and she swears she saw a roach. You’re done. Even though you know your experience could be completely different, you don’t want to risk it.

If you heard a story about a bad dental experience from a friend, it’s more-or-less the same thing. If a friend says their root canal was incredibly painful, you are not going to want that treatment even if you know it’s painless and can save a tooth. The same is true if you saw a TV show or read a book with a bad scene involving dentistry. You might start to worry about all dental offices, just from that one story. That can keep you from visiting our Rochester, MN dental office even though the problem wasn’t with us.

The solution: Talk to us and learn how we are different. For example, you can learn how modern root canals are no more painful than getting a cavity filled. With local anesthesia, you’ll likely not feel anything. Explain to us what stories you heard or watched, and we can explain why that’s not going to happen here at Northwest Dental Group. If you are still concerned, you can always go with sedation options such as nitrous oxide.

2. You’re the one who had a bad experience with another dental office. When you are the one telling the story, anxiety can be harder to overcome. There could be several versions of this. The staff at that other office might have treated you coldly, unconcerned about anything except your money. It could more serious, such as not receiving the correct amount of local anesthetic before a tooth was extracted. Regardless of the source, they’re all real. And they make it harder to get the dental care you deserve.

The solution: Ask for oral or IV sedation. Yes, you can talk to us about your concerns. This gives us a chance to address them. But if you had a painful experience in the past, talking is less likely to help. This is exactly the kind of scenario where dental sedation works. Oral sedation is a pill you take prior to your visit. IV sedation is anesthesia delivered intravenously. Both will deliver a powerful relaxing effect to get rid of any fears or anxiety. You will probably be asleep through it all.

3. You feel nervous and even helpless since you’re sitting passively in a chair. It can be difficult to give up control. If you’re a parent, for example, you’re used to being in charge at home to some degree. You’re the one making the dental appointments, after all. When you visit the dentist, you’re out of your element. You sit back in a comfortable chair and wait while people do things to your teeth and gums. That can make you feel helpless and nervous.

The solution: Ask for nitrous oxide. Otherwise known as laughing gas, this dental sedation option is great. It works almost immediately and goes away when you stop inhaling it. The gas induces a relaxed, comfortable feeling that can help you get past any feelings of nervousness or helplessness. Nitrous oxide is conscious sedation, so you will stay awake. You’ll just be happy and relaxed.

4. You’re embarrassed because it’s been way too long since your last dental exam. For some patients, getting to those twice-yearly dental visits is tough. You might miss one because you forgot or had such a bad schedule that week. That’s understandable. But some people then start obsessing about that missed visit. They’re worried they might get a lecture, so they skip their next appointment. By then, their teeth are probably starting to look bad. That’s even more embarrassing. It’s a tough cycle to break.

The solution: Understand that we will not lecture you. The main goal of our Rochester, MN dental office is to help you. That means focusing on what’s important: your dental health. Of course, we want you to make all of your appointments. Regular cleanings and exams help you. But lecturing you has no point. We know missed appointments happen and that doesn’t mean you’re failing. When you come into our office for your visit, our whole team will be solely focused on improving your smile and health. That’s it.

If you are ready to beat dental anxiety and get the care you need, call us today at 507-216-6252.