When you started a family, you expected some resistance when it was time to take the kids to visit the dentist. Yet, they haven't given you a problem with their dental exams and cleanings. Now, however, you have a bigger problem on your hands. If your spouse is struggling with dental phobia, you should know that you are not alone. A recent survey conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation discovered that as many as 15% of Americans skip dental visits due to fear. Fortunately, you can help your spouse avoid the consequences of skipping this important part of oral hygiene by using these strategies to get them comfortable about going to the dentist.
Pinpoint the Underlying Fear
Dental phobias can usually be traced to one of several underlying fears. Sometimes, a bad experience during childhood leads to a person expecting every visit to be painful. Alternatively, your spouse may be afraid of having someone else in control of the situation. In some cases, a person is afraid of being embarrassed by having waited so long. Understanding what is driving the phobia will provide some insight into how you can help them overcome their concerns. It also gives your spouse a starting point for talking to their dentist about their concerns.
Explore Technological Advances
Family dentistry has been transformed by technology, and procedures that were once painful are hardly noticed today. For example, air abrasion provides a less-invasive alternative to drills if tooth decay is caught early. Dentists also use a variety of pain-relief methods that range from sedation to encouraging patients to bring their music players along. Encourage your spouse to do some research, and recruit your family dentist to provide more information as well.
Schedule an Initial Consultation
Once your spouse is ready to make the jump, offer to talk to the staff beforehand. Dentists are accustomed to having nervous patients, and they will be willing to meet for a visit where they can talk about the many ways they can keep your spouse comfortable. For example, they may establish a system for communicating such as having your spouse raise their hand when they want the dentist to give them a break. During this visit, your spouse can opt to just have a simple exam and follow up with treatment later.
Overcoming any fear takes understanding and patience, and knowledge about the advances in dentistry will help your spouse ease their anxiety. By working as a team with a local family dentist, such as Pine Lake Dental Group, your spouse can conquer their fear and be on their way to better oral health.