Get the dental care you need.

What’s keeping you from scheduling regular checkups with your dentist? If the answer is anxiety, you’re not alone. A surprising number of people experience dental anxiety so severe, they avoid the dentist whenever possible. Unfortunately, avoiding the dentist can result in oral health issues that grow steadily worse until they become major issues that can even impact your overall health. Discovering signs of oral health concerns, such as bleeding gums or a toothache, may even make you more anxious about making an appointment. This can lead you to continue putting it off when you need it most or can significantly increase your anxiety about your upcoming appointment. It doesn’t have to be this way, however; there are ways you can overcome your dental anxiety!

At Duvall Dental Center, we want you to feel as calm and relaxed as possible throughout your appointment, so we’ll do our best to work with you to accomplish that. Here are a few facts that may help you overcome your dental anxiety.

Dental anxiety is more common than you think.

When you’re looking to improve your dental anxiety, it’s important to get off to the right start by being kind to yourself. You don’t have to be embarrassed that you’re afraid of the dentist. In fact, it’s a lot more common than you might think. A 2014 study found that, out of adults who didn’t go to the dentist regularly, 22% of them listed being afraid of the dentist as the reason. In total, it’s estimated that somewhere between 9% and 20% of Americans are afraid of the dentist, so you’re certainly not alone! Just how common this fear is can be seen in pop culture, which often depicts dentists and dentistry in a negative light. Dentists are often portrayed as either terrible at their jobs, crazed, or sadistic. Even when they’re meant to be humorous, these depictions of dentists perpetuate dental anxiety, creating an expectation that dental appointments are unpleasant or painful.

Your dentist’s job is to help you, not judge or lecture you.

Despite how dentists are often portrayed in the media, your dentist’s job is to help you maintain or regain your oral health. When you enter our office, you enter a no-judgement zone. Just like a doctor should never lecture you for getting sick, Dr. Tyler will never scold you for the condition of your teeth or gums. If he finds signs of cavities or gum disease, he will simply take steps to determine how severe the problem is and discuss your treatment options with you. Dr. Tyler will answer any questions you have to help you choose the best treatment for you and may offer advice on how to prevent future oral health issues, but he’ll never present it in a judging or stern way.

Your health is a priority to us.

Your oral and overall health are both a priority to us, and that means making sure your teeth and gums are healthy. Advanced periodontitis is not an issue that will simply go away if you ignore it for long enough. In fact, you can’t ignore it at all! While gingivitis can often be resolved at home with a thorough oral hygiene routine, periodontitis requires treatment from a dentist to remove bacteria from beneath your gumline. It will get worse over time if it’s not treated, leading to tooth loss and permanent damage to your gums. In addition to having an immediate impact on the way your teeth look or function, losing teeth also has a long-term impact on your oral health because it causes bone loss in your jaw.

Periodontitis also lets bacteria into your bloodstream, increasing your risk of serious health conditions like infections in other parts of the body, heart disease, stroke, and more. Additionally, the bacteria that cause periodontitis are actually contagious, so living with untreated gum disease affects everyone you’re close with. If you kiss them or share food and drinks with them, you’re passing potentially harmful bacteria to their mouths. Treating your periodontitis before it’s too late helps protect your health and the health of your loved ones while giving you the chance to love your smile again.

We’re experts at handling dental anxiety.

Dental anxiety is common enough that we work with patients who have varying degrees of it every day. As a result, we’ve gotten very good at navigating and easing different people’s fears to ensure everyone feels as comfortable as possible throughout their appointment. If you have dental anxiety, you should let us know when you schedule your appointment. When you arrive at our office, tell Dr. Tyler about your dental anxiety. He can talk through your fears with you and help you feel more relaxed and comfortable. You can try methods like working out hand signals to tell him you need a breather or having him explain each step of the treatment process as he performs it. We want to do our best to help you feel relaxed and safe, so we’re willing to put in the extra work to discuss your fears with you and find a workable solution.

You may not ever grow to love visiting the dentist, but the right dentist can help you leave your fear behind. Knowing you’re in an environment where you’re valued, won’t be judged for your oral health, and where your fears are taken seriously can go a long way toward relieving your dental anxiety. If you’re looking for a Duvall dentist who can help you become comfortable receiving regular dental checkups, feel free to call our office and schedule an appointment at any time. The difference you’ll see in your experience at the dentist and in your oral and overall health will be well worth it.