No one is born being afraid of the dentist. You may have had a bad dental experience, or you were told a dental horror story from a relative. Such information might make you want to avoid treatment, which, unfortunately, doesn’t allow you to realise that things can be better. There are many reasons why people are afraid of getting an oral checkup, and to show you that you’re not alone in feeling this way, we’ve compiled 8 of the most common reasons why people avoid the dentist.
8. The smell of the clinic.
A dental practice has to be kept sanitary at all time, and the cleaning products used at the dentist can have a distinct smell that can give people anxiety.
7. Dental drill.
The sound of a dental drill can sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to some people. Combined with the suction tube used to remove excess water and saliva, the whole experience can be a little overwhelming to some.
6. Choking or gagging.
Dental visits often involve lots of water which has a tendency to trickle down the back of your throat, making you feel like you’re going to gag. People with a strong gag reflex often avoid going to the dentist for fear that they may choke. If you ever feel like you need the dentist to stop, it is important to not feel guilty about asking them to stop – they want you to be as comfortable as possible.
5. Loss of control.
While at the dentist you need to put your complete trust in them, which can be a difficult thing to do. You may feel that you’re in a position where you can’t see what’s happening and you have no control over what’s being done. Again, if you wish to stop, just indicate to the dentist and they will stop immediately.
4. Embarrassment from having unsightly teeth.
Many people avoid the dentists because they’re embarrassed about the look of their teeth. You can be sure that your dentist has seen much worse teeth than yours. Avoiding the dentist due to embarrassment will only allow more time for dental problems to get worse – a simple cavity needing a filling can become a root canal if it is left untreated for too long.
3. Bad childhood experience.
A bad dental experience as a child can develop into a fear of dentists for life. Parents will often use the “if you eat that candy your teeth will rot and the dentist will use a big needle on you!” line to discourage kids from eating too much sugar. And it works! But it does instil in kids that going to the dentist is always an unpleasant experience, so once that child reaches adulthood they have this deep-seeded fear in them.
2. Fear of pain.
The thought of possibly feeling pain during a dental visit is usually worse than the pain itself, this is often the case when people who are anxious work themselves up into a panic. Getting an injection is never a pleasant process, but you can ask your dentist to use a numbing gel on your gums before treatment commences so you won’t feel the needle. After that, you won’t feel a thing!
1. Fear of the cost.
Let’s face it – a lot of people avoid going to the dentist because they’re worried about the cost associated with a visit. “It’s too expensive” or “I have to wait until I have a bit more money” are phrases we hear often. This isn’t such a big deal for those who have relatively healthy teeth and need only minor treatments – but for those who need extensive dental work, the cost to have their teeth fixed is almost always one of the reasons why they keep putting off visiting us. We understand; we have been there too. Which is why we offer dental payment plans so you can get back on track with small, easy-to-manage payments that will allow you to get the treatment you need sooner rather than later. And with a free, no-obligation initial consult for new patients, there has never been a more affordable time to come visit us.
In the end, it’s in everyone’s interest to find ways to overcome dental fear and make dental treatment a calm and safe experience. It’s helpful for many people who are fearful to know that they are not alone, and that help is available. If you have been afraid for a long time you may have difficulty believing that, but even people with a long-standing fear can be helped. And we’d love to help you.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, we encourage you to discuss these matters with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.