Are you one of the estimated 20 percent of people who find themselves avoiding the dentist unless it’s necessary, or maybe even the five to eight percent of Americans who avoid the dentist altogether? A variety of factors, such as fear of the dentist or financial issues may be to blame for this decision. Avoiding regular dental office visits, however, could lead to serious oral health diseases and could also affect your overall well-being.

Reasons You May be Avoiding the Dentist

When it comes to avoiding the dentist, a number of factors may come into play. Below are common reasons that individuals might forgo their dental visits.

  1. You’re afraid of feeling pain during a procedure. Dentists provide treatment in order to relieve you of oral health problems, including tooth and jaw-related pain. Despite this fact, many individuals still anticipate pain during their procedures.
  2. You don’t want to be unconscious during sedation. For those individuals that suffer from dental anxiety, the thought of receiving sedation can be especially stressful. Patients sometimes panic, as they anticipate numbness or fear a loss of control.
  3. You’ve had negative past dental experience. The success of your past dental visits can play a large role in whether or not you decide to return for further treatment. Anything ranging from discomfort to less-than-ideal care from your dentist could leave you hesitant to return to a dental office.
  4. You’re uncomfortable with dental tools. Some people find it difficult to relax in a dentist’s office because their fear of the dentist is triggered by the sight and sounds of dental tools. The loud buzz of a dental drill or a noisy dental suction device may induce fear, keeping you far from a dentist’s chair.
  5. You’re too embarrassed to receive dental work. When you’ve neglected your oral care over time, your mouth begins to show visible signs in the form of discoloration, tooth loss and decay, bad breath and more. This may make you hesitant to reveal your teeth to a dentist.
  6. You cannot afford the cost of treatment. You could be facing a common obstacle that many other individuals face – the inability to pay for dental services. Although avoiding the dentist may appear to be the best option, if you continue to avoid regular dental visits, your oral health will likely worsen and require more costly treatment.

6 Solutions to Your Dental Office Avoidance

The more knowledge you have about dental procedures, sedation techniques and financial options, the better. Read on to find out how to overcome your fear of going to the dentist, along with how to deal with other issues such as dental embarrassment and costly treatment.

  1. Fear of Pain. Your dentist will rely on dental sedation to provide you with relief from pain as well as relief from anxiety, with medication available in various forms that range from mild to deep sedation. For medication requiring an injection, your dentist will use a gel to numb the injection site.
  2. Fear of Sedation. Although sedation dentistry is often known as “sleep dentistry,” there are many forms of sedation medication that place you into a calm, anxiety-free state while you remain conscious and capable of communicating with your dentist. Discuss sedation techniques with your dentist in order to ensure that you have a complete understanding of the sedation method they have chosen to administer, and what to expect as it begins to take effect.
  3. Negative Past Experiences. Many dental offices put effort into creating an environment that relaxes their patients by offering office amenities such as televisions, blankets or pillows. Take advantage of these facilities as you prepare to see your dentist. Feel free to discuss your concerns and past experiences with your dentist in order to build a level of trust and understanding that will help you stop avoiding the dentist.
  4. Sight and Sounds of the Tools. Don’t allow dental tools to intimidate you. Dentists often work with the most advanced instruments in their industry, combining the use of these tools with sedation dentistry in order to provide you with easy, pain-free dental treatment.
  5. Embarrassment. Haven’t sat in a dentist chair in years? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Dentists provide care to many patients and see a wide range of dental conditions from day-to-day. They are also there to help you improve your dental state, so there is no need to feel bashful when it comes to your teeth.
  6. The Cost of Treatment. Many dental offices offer free initial consultations that allow you to meet a member of the dental team and get answers to your questions regarding treatment. As you explore your treatment and financing options, ask your dentist about payment plans.

Scheduling an appointment with an experienced dental professional is the first step in overcoming your fear of going to the dentist. You’ll improve your oral health and even increase your confidence as you develop a healthy smile through regular dental office visits and at-home care. A skilled dentist that understands the negative thoughts and emotions that are sometimes associated with a dental visit will encourage you to stop avoiding the dentist, educating you instead about the treatment process and putting you at ease.

Make your oral health a priority by visiting Hiram Center for Family Dentistry, where you’ll find a knowledgeable, caring team of dentists who understand the importance of carefully treating patients in a stress-free environment. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (770) 505-9898 to speak with a member of our staff.

We look forward to getting to know you and your family!