Nearly 1 out of every 5 individuals fears the dentist more than snakes, spiders, or heights according to a recent British Medical Journal survey (i). Alarmingly, that survey also indicates that the 1,000 respondents polled fear the dentist up to 10 times more than any other medical professional. This is disheartening for Miami dental professionals, indicating that as many as 1 in 5 Miami residents may be avoiding regular cleanings and other procedures. With the tooth decay and gum disease on the rise, holistic dentistry practitioners are beginning to ask: How can we help patients overcome the fear and anxiety associated with seeing a health professional?
Assure a Smile has prepared this exclusive Miami Dentist Blog article to help patients overcome the fear and anxiety that typically builds in anticipation of upcoming medical appointments.
Preface: The Importance of Acknowledging and Dealing with Anxiety
First, it is important to recognize that anxiety is a perfectly normal and healthy reaction to an environmental stressor. It arises when we perceive a situation with uncertainty, fear, worry, or dread. From an instinctual perspective, anxiety keeps us from making foolish and poorly calculated decisions. For example, anxiety may make us think twice about approaching a snarling grizzly bear!
However, we cannot allow anxiety to deter our actions.
In the practical sense, it is normal to feel uneasy or fearful when we have a medical appointment scheduled in the future. This reaction must be acknowledged and dealt with, however, so we may continually seek the supervision of a health professional to continually monitor our health.
Coping with Anxiety: The Weeks Before Your Appointment
Patients may use the following tips to acknowledge and control the anxiety that may loom in the weeks or months preceding a dental appointment:
1. Acknowledge that anxiety exists.
As discussed, anxiety is a normal reaction to environmental stressors that leave us feeling troubled, uncertain, or fearful. Identify this feeling, and assure yourself that it is common. Engage a few family members, friends, or coworkers in a friendly conversation about oral health and dental visits. Nearly 20% of all individuals fear the dentist, so you are surely not alone!
2. Brush & Floss regularly.
Brushing and flossing regularly is critical in maintaining sound oral health, regardless of whether you have an appointment in the near future. However, consciously brushing and flossing with added care may help you feel more confident in the weeks just before your dental appointment. What’s more, brushing and flossing with extra care will ensure your teeth and gums are well prepared for your appointment. This may reduce the time spent in the dental chair, making for a faster and more pleasant experience overall.
3. Drink lots of water.
Drinking plenty of water is good for a variety of reasons. In terms of oral health, drinking water helps to rinse food particles away from the teeth and gums so they may be swallowed more easily. This prevents food particles, especially starches, from attaching themselves to the teeth and causing plaque, bacteria, and eventually decay. Like regular brushing and flossing, drinking plenty of water may reduce the anxiety that precedes a dental appointment by making you feel more confident in your overall health.
Further Reading on the Miami Dentist Blog
Miami residents may find the following articles helpful in identifying and disarming anxiety resulting from the fear of doctors, dentists, and other environmental stressors:
Miami Dentistry News: Snakes, Spiders, and Dentists, Oh My!: Did you know that people are almost 10 times more fearful of a dental visit than they are of an ordinary health physical? In this article, you will learn that medical fears are common and not something of which you should be ashamed.
Holistic Dentistry News: Cognitive Therapy Helps Patients Overcome Dental Fears: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is now helping patients overcome their fear of doctors, dentists, and medical appointments in general. This article is a must-read for those who feel that anxiety and fear significantly inhibit their decision making process.
Stress Free Dentistry at Assure a Smile
Assure a Smile has been a leading Miami holistic dentistry practice for more than 20 years. Our team of professionals is committed to deliver only the highest quality of service. At Assure a Smile, we go to great lengths to ensure your visit is a comfortable and pleasant experience!
Miami residents are encouraged to schedule an appointment with Assure a Smile online, or call or friendly front desk directly at 305-274-0047!