Being afraid of the dentist is a common occurrence in Australia, but it doesn’t have to stop you from getting the treatment you need.
Around 16% of Australia’s population is afraid of the dentist. This fear is usually the result of a bad childhood experience, or horror stories heard from friends and family.
Of those who do suffer from a fear of the dentist, most are between 40 and 65, while those over 80 are less likely to be afraid of the dentist.
Dental fear is a legitimate concern for many patients and the reason their dental visits only happen when the pain is unbearable.
The problem with not visiting the dentist
Dental health problems which are left to fester become much worse. In some cases what could have been treated with a filling, can sometimes result in the need for root canal therapy or extraction. The pain from a swollen tooth or infected gum can be quite severe and require very strong painkillers to manage.
What is the best thing for patients who are afraid of the dentist to do?
Modern dentistry is more patient-friendly than ever before. Treatments are less invasive, and methods of administering anaesthetics are more streamlined and less uncomfortable.
But for many people, it’s not about what dentistry’s like now. For them, it was that bad experience they had 10 years ago. Or that one time the dentist made a mistake and accidently caused a lot of pain. It’s these experiences which tend to make people afraid of the dentist.
For those who are afraid of the dentist, the best thing to do is tell your dentist. One of the best ways dentists can help you if you are afraid is to empathise, listen without judging and try to understand how you feel. If this is how the conversation is started, then the dentist has a better chance of helping you receive the dental care you need.
If nothing else: try this
For many patients, it’s a struggle just make an appointment because it’s committing to cause of action they’re terrified of. What we recommend you do is book an appointment with us just to have a chat and suss out our dental practice. This visit doesn’t have to involve any dentistry – all it will be is a conversation between you and one of our dentists to see how we can help you.
At Redlands Gentle Dental Care, our aim is to help patients receive the care they deserve and need. We will look after you in a friendly, non-judgemental way to help you get the dental care that suits you.