Unfortunately, many people, adults and children alike, fear oral health professionals, causing them to avoid receiving necessary dental work. This fear, called dentophobia, is more commonly associated with dentistry but is also present in orthodontic patients. Dentophobia can stem from fear of the unknown, pain, needles, doctors, or touching. Others can trace their anxiety to a traumatic experience or parental influence as a learned fear. At Coppe & Sears, we are passionate about oral healthcare and want everyone in Lexington and the surrounding areas to get the treatment they need. To make treatment possible for those with dentophobia, we want to provide some tips for handling dental anxiety at the orthodontist.
What Is An Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is an oral healthcare professional specializing in diagnosing, preventing, and treating misalignments in the teeth and jaw. After attending dental school, orthodontists continue their education for three years to gain knowledge and experience in moving teeth and influencing bone growth for functional, flattering results.
Why Do I Need To See One?
Orthodontists offer treatments for patients of all ages that can help improve your ability to eat, breathe, communicate, and perform oral hygiene more easily. By enhancing your smile and bite, orthodontic care can significantly improve your quality of life.
How Can I Overcome My Dental Anxiety?
Fortunately, there are a few ways to address this fear and help you attend critical procedures and checkups! While we can’t promise these tips will remove your phobia altogether, they can help you remain calm so you get the care you need. Let’s check them out!
Honesty Is The Best Policy
When you schedule or check in for your appointment, please be honest with us about the anxiety you or your child might be feeling. Honesty allows us to properly prepare for the appointment so you can have the best experience possible. Our entire team is trained to handle patients who experience anxiety, and advance notice permits us time to ensure you have specific team members or anything available that might be calming to you.
Attend The Appointment With Comfort In Mind
For years, distraction has been a go-to way of dealing with anxiety, and it’s no surprise why — it works! Taking your mind off the triggering event or moment can help you work through your fear and maintain a level of calmness during a frightening situation. We strongly encourage all anxious patients to consider bringing items to their appointment that bring comfort or act as a distraction.
Popular items are stress balls to squeeze or fidget toys to play with. Depending on the nature of the appointment, you or your child can wear headphones.
Other comfort items you or your child can bring include a small stuffed animal, a soft hoodie, or a favorite book! These can remind you that you are not alone or be a reward when the visit is over.
Sometimes, no matter how much you try to remain calm, being somewhere or undergoing a procedure that frightens you can be overwhelming, and a break might be needed. Please don’t hesitate to ask for one! We encourage you and your child to speak up during the appointment if there are any severe feelings of stress, anxiety, or discomfort.
Breaks can give you time to recenter and relax by using any of the above methods or other techniques, such as counting the floor or ceiling tiles (another mindfulness trick)!
Remember, we want the whole family to feel confident and comfortable in our chairs! Suppose visits to Coppe & Sears Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics are unpleasant. In that case, you or your loved one will continue to associate the orthodontist with scary things, which could prevent the start or completion of essential care. We are always happy to give patients a moment to relax. If our team is informed about possible dental phobia, we can offer breaks during the appointment when it is most optimal or if we notice that you look unwell.
Coppe & Sears Is Always Here To Help!
Overcoming a dentophobia is not easy, and who you work with can really affect the process and outcome of leaving the phobia behind you! At Coppe & Sears, we understand entirely having a fear of the orthodontist. After all, it’s a new experience, and you might not know what to expect at the appointment or be fearful of what we might recommend for treatment. Though we cannot promise your anxiety will disappear, we firmly believe that if you take proper steps and attend your appointments, your fear will begin to fade, and you will attain the treatment you need or want. For more information about orthodontics or to discover what our office does to help anxious patients, please contact our Lexington office! Coppe & Sears operates on a strict “No Judgment” policy, so you can feel comfortable and confident coming to us no matter the situation.