When Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences researchers set out to identify the prevalence of dental anxiety, they found 19% of more than 300 patients surveyed had “moderate to high” levels of anxiety. The study, featured in the American Dental Hygienists Association Journal of Dental Hygiene, also found more than 8% of participants were too scared to go to recommended dental visits.
Horizon Dental Group appreciates the people behind those statistics. You are not alone; millions of other Americans can relate to this type of anxiety and, moreover, you have many allies to fight those fears. Dr. Sarah Enright, your dentist in Boise, explains how to get over your fear of the dental visit. She and Dr. Trista Pottenger emphasize you’re not “getting over your fear” alone. It takes a partnership. The onus of putting even the most anxious patients at ease falls on us – the Horizon Dental Group team.
It’s always important to be choosy when selecting your dental partner, especially if you have a history of avoiding the dentist due to fear, or if your fear is rooted in previous bad experiences at other dentist’s offices. It’s not unusual or weird for memories to rush back, blood pressure to rise, and muscles to tense up, even when driving by a dental office, or seeing a commercial featuring a dentist on television. These seemingly innocent encounters can trigger an awful memory. In fact, “previous negative dental experience” has been identified by researchers as among five common sources of anxiety, right alongside fear over what the impending dental experience will be like, the cost of treatment, gag reflex, and the potential to get “bad news.”
Below are just some of the ways Horizon Dental Group helps you create new, pleasant memories, so you or a loved one will have positive associations about dentistry and fear will be a thing of the past!
Share your concerns with us! From furnishings to how you’re greeted at the door, every aspect of our offices in The Bench and The North End has been built with your comfort in mind. That comfort also helps to breed trust. It’s critical for all patients to feel like they can be open with us, but this is a particularly important consideration when treating anxious or fearful patients. We take pride in our “four walls” and the team within those four walls; it’s a great compliment when patients say our offices feel like “home,” and that they’re “among friends.” When you feel that your dental team truly respects your needs and is sensitive to your concerns, you’re much more likely to ask the questions necessary to get the answers that put your mind at ease.
The more you know, the less you fear. People generally fear the unknown. As a practice that prioritizes patient education, Horizon Dental Group is well-equipped to fight misconceptions about dentistry with credible information. Drs. Enright and Pottenger walk you through what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. As they’ll discuss during your appointment, you should feel free to signal to the dentist or assistant, possibly by raising your hand, any time you need a break. Your dentist will assure you’re comfortable throughout the visit, by stopping to ask if you’re doing OK and responding accordingly.
Dentistry has come a long way. Like many other industries, dentistry has benefited from significant technological innovations. Advancements in dental tools and techniques minimize or eliminate the need for many of the instruments that have upset patients through the centuries. Local anesthetic numbs the area to be treated, so you don’t feel anything. Horizon Dental Group also offers sedation dentistry, which helps your fears float away. Drs. Enright or Pottenger will discuss sedative options with you. Still, other light-touch technologies and techniques are designed for utmost comfort, speedy and healthy healing, and great outcomes – preserving natural tissues.
Your past experiences and perception of dentistry are unique to you, and the team can speak with you about specific techniques to help you relax; for instance, you may benefit from deep-breathing exercises that start with easing muscle tension in the forehead, and proceed through the rest of your body, to your toes.
Call Horizon Dental Group to schedule an appointment at either The Bench location 208-301-6293 or The North End office 208-816-7324. The sooner our caring team helps you see dentistry is nothing to fear, the better your oral health and well-being will be over the long term.