You are not alone — we’re all in this together
Recently, a study estimated that millions of people in the United States experience feelings of anxiety or fear before or during their visits to the dentist. Known as dental anxiety (or severe cases as dental phobia), it can affect both your physical and mental health.
These feelings can be so intense they lead to making appointments and then skipping them, not scheduling a checkup in the first place, or absolutely dreading an upcoming dental appointment.
So if you feel this way, it’s ok to say so. At Austin Dental, we take great pride in working with nervous patients and helping them to actually look forward to their next checkup. Yes, it is possible!
“This topic couldn’t be more timely!
I recently had a conversation with a patient about dental anxiety. He was aware of how important caring for his teeth is and felt ashamed of his smile and poor dental health. He lacked confidence in all areas of his life and attributes most of this to the embarrassment he feels towards his dental health. Even understanding the importance of caring for his mouth, he was not able to overcome his dental anxiety and had not been to a dentist in over 15 years.
After listening to his story, we helped him understand that we treat patients just like him every day. All of our dentists are residency-trained in IV conscious sedation and can help guide even the most anxious patients on their journey to healthy, happy smiles!”
– Dr. Albert Olivares, D.D.S.
Where does dental anxiety come from?
From listening to our patients, we’ve identified 4 common causes of dental anxiety:
- Bad experiences at the dentist – For many people, their dental anxiety starts in childhood after a stressful visit to the dentist. Especially old-fashioned approaches to dental care that didn’t emphasize patient comfort.
- Fear of the unknown – It’s natural to imagine the worst-case scenario, especially about your health. Many people’s dental anxiety comes from worry about what their dentist might tell them and how much it might cost to fix.
- Misinformation – So many people hear something from a friend or read something on the internet that leads to anxiety and worry.
- COVID-19 – We get it. COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind and rightly so. Check out our recent post about how we’re going above and beyond to keep our patients and team safe.
Dental anxiety and your health
- Remove sticky plaque and tartar, lowering your risk of gum disease and tooth decay
- Monitor changes in your dental health looking for signs of gum recession
- Use digital x-rays to look for small cavities and other issues that might cause big problems down the road if left undiagnosed and untreated
When you miss appointments because of dental anxiety the result might be more serious issues down the road. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!
That said, if you’ve missed appointments in the past, don’t beat yourself up. You can’t change the past, you can only make good decisions moving forward. Here at Austin Dental, we’re a judgement-free office and welcome every patient warmly, no matter how long it’s been since they last saw the dentist.
How you can overcome dental anxiety
- We’ll answer all of your questions and you’ll get our full attention during your appointment. Feeling informed and confident about your care is the first step towards developing a great relationship with a dentist you trust.
- We offer a variety of high-tech treatments that are nothing like anything you’ve seen before. For example, when you get a crown at Austin Dental, there’s no gagging on a goopy impression, no temporary crown, and no follow-up visit. That’s right: one visit, one crown! We even offer sedation options including nitrous oxide, oral sedation (prescription medications), and IV conscious sedation to help you relax during your appointment.
- We’re flexible and work with you. We don’t lecture. We listen to you and work with you to figure out the best way to help you achieve your health and cosmetic goals.
We truly believe visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be stressful and we make it happen by making sure that you feel educated, empowered, and in control throughout your visit.