A fear of the dentist is normal. It can even cause us to become paralyzed with fear, making it impossible to go to a dental appointment or have a necessary dental procedure performed. Almost 15 percent of Americans suffer from this fear, causing us to avoid necessary dental procedures or even routine cleanings. Unfortunately, this only puts our oral and physical health at risk.
The Relationship between Dental and Physical Health
When we suffer from a dental phobia, refusing to sit in a dental chair, we could be harming more than our teeth. Our dental health plays a direct role in our overall physical health. People that avoid going to the dentist are at high risk for excessive tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. As if that is not enough to deal with, if tooth decay, gum disease or tooth infections are left to fester; they could begin to harm our physical health. The most common and possibly the most dangerous conditions that can occur include:
· Heart disease
· Lung disease
· Severe complications to diabetes
The relationship between these diseases and our oral health lies in the amount of bacteria that is in our mouths. If we suffer from gum disease or excessive tooth decay, the bacteria could leave our mouths through our bloodstream and enter our cardiovascular system, brain and lungs, putting us at risk for serious complications.
Find the Perfect Method
There is no cut and dry answer to overcoming a dental phobia as everyone has different reasons and varying degrees to a phobia. When we suffer from a fear or phobia, it is important to try any method that is possible to overcome the fear and allow the dentist to perform a cleaning and evaluation of our oral health. The various techniques that we can use include:
· Distraction – Finding something that can distract the mind during an appointment, whether listening to our favorite music, trying a new form of music or watching TV while the procedure is completed.
· Relaxation – There are various methods of relaxation that can be practiced, both in the chair and out. Helping our bodies learn how to relax before and during our dental appointments could help to keep our bodies feeling more at ease.
· Sedation dentistry – When we simply cannot calm down, we might be a good candidate for sedation dentistry. This method makes it possible for us to be consciously sedated during the procedure, allowing it to be done with no anxiety and easy recovery at all.