Hi. I am very afraid of going to the dentist. I’ve had a few bad experiences in the past and have basically just stopped going. I know I need to go back, but now that it’s been so long since I’ve gone, I’m afraid to even set an appointment. Do you think seeing a gentle dentist can help me?
– Cary in New York
Having anxiety about going to the dentist is not uncommon. Did you know that over 35 million Americans have some dental fear? Sometimes the sounds, smells, and lights associated with the dentist office can become triggers for fearful patients and put patients into an anxious state. Some patients are fearful of pain or have had past negative dental experiences, such as you have, and now are embarrassed to go to the dentist because of years of neglect. Because of these reasons, many dentists now offer gentle dentistry.
The goal of gentle dentistry is simple: Help people who have fear of going to the dentist feel more at ease. The comfort of the patient is the main concern. Gentle dentists want to take away the anxious feelings associated with being in the chair. One way is to significantly alter the patient’s perception of what a dentist visit looks like. For example, a gentle dentist may have a warm and friendly staff to greet you who is understanding of your needs and fears. He or she may offer relaxing music or other recreational items during your dental appointment to distract you from your anxiety. He or she will most certainly make sure that you have time to discuss your fears and ask questions about your treatments, all things that give you a reassuring dental experience and help to establish trust between you and your dental provider. These days, fearful patients even have the benefit of anesthesia with sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry gets you into a semi-conscious state where you can feel relaxed and sleepy during your dental procedure. You might even actually go to sleep during the procedure. Sometimes you’ve slept so soundly during the procedure that you wake up not even remembering that you’ve even had it.
With the latest advancements in dentistry, there are virtually no reasons to fear the dentist at all. Your dental experience can be gentle and painless, and even pleasant. Imagine going to the dentist and coming out happy about your experience, not just happy that you got it over with. And dentists can offer all sorts of amenities to help alleviate your dental fears. Remember that the gentle dentist’s mission is to make sure your visit comfortable, relaxing and anxiety-free.
This post is sponsored by Buffalo dentist Warren M. Krutchick, DDS .