Dental Tips – Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist

Are you afraid of the dentist? Do you consider cancelling your appointment days before, or not showing up at all? Do you feel helpless and uncomfortable in the cleaning chair? If you are, you aren’t alone. Over 75% of Americans experience dental phobia to some degree, 10% are extremely terrified and reluctant to get a dental checkup. That’s a lot of people! In this article, we want to go over why people fear the dentist, and steps you can take to make your visit to the dentist a lot easier on your mind.

Why Do People Fear the Dentist?

There are quite a lot of reasons why people develop a bad taste for dentist in their mouths. From harsh dentist personalities, to injury, to terrible experiences, all of these can affect someone starting at a really young age. Most anxieties start at childhood, when as young kids we are learning about the world. Our body and mind are learning about the dangers in the world. Accidents such as a pick scraping against the gum accidentally or an immense pain when getting a cavity filled at an early age will reinforce the fear of the dentist. Dig into the worst feelings you have personally. They feel terrible don’t they? So why would you go to the dentist when you can just avoid it entirely?

Others don’t go to the dentist because they feel like they’re not in control. Having someone you just met and don’t really know too much about be in full control of what’s going on in your mouth is a terrifying ordeal. Feelings of anxiety are often why people reschedule their dentist appointment or skip out on it entirely.

Interesting Fact: Humans have an uncanny desire to protect open air passages. We are naturally self-conscious to open up our mouths and exposed to vulnerabilities.

We conducted a study, and examined a couple interesting facts about those who have dental phobia. There are some people that choose to eat only soft foods instead of harder foods to avoid chipping a tooth and have to go to the dentist. Others reported dreaming about dentist experiences, and dread sleeping for fear of having these nightmares again.

People who have bad cases of dental phobia suffer years on end from toothaches, gum disease, and poor dental hygiene. Avoiding the dentist is much more than what is sounds like. It’s something that can affect your entire identity, who you are, what you value.

A dentist visit is a lot like going on a rollercoaster. Lots of people that go to amusement parks find out they have acrophobia, and can’t go on the same rides as their family and friends. They wonder, “Why can’t I just get on and have fun like everyone else?” Rollercoasters have their dangers, but those dangers are minimal, they’re put into consideration when its drawn out and constructed. It’s built to maximize the safety of everyone. Dentist are just like rollercoasters. We look scary at first, but in the end you’ll walk out with a smile on your face and feeling better about your wellbeing.

Dentist are not bad people. We aren’t here to rip out your teeth and laugh hysterically. We are here to give you the best oral care and treatment available. If you have a fear of the dentist, check out our tips below you can use to feel more comfortable during your dentist visits.

5 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

Talk to your dentist! A universal rule to follow is to always express your concerns and needs. Your dentist isn’t a telepathic, he cannot read your thoughts. By expressing your worries, your dentist will be able to adjust his practice and his approach to your appointment, so you feel more comfortable and in control of the situation while being treated.

Establish a ‘stop’ signal. Pushing yourself is one thing, but sometimes you will not be able to make it through an entire appointment without feeling a wave of nausea or discomfort envelop you. It’s a great idea to work with your dentist and create a stop signal. Doing so gives you the luxury to stop the procedure if you feel uncomfortable or just need a break and fresh air.

Ask Questions! In order to get comfortable with your dentist, you got to be able to trust them. Your dentist should be able to answer all the questions that you have from them, from simple tasks to taking care of your teeth, to explaining in detail every step of a more complicated procedure.

Visit the dentist regularly. This is the complete opposite tip you want to read, but it’s a great one. In order to counter any bad thoughts or experiences about the dentist, you got to have a positive outlook on the visit, and just have a good time. You’ll see your dental phobia progressively fade away with each positive reinforced dental visit. It’s a tall task to go in regularly, but doing so will benefit you the most.

Relax! It’s important that you take the time to relax and clear your mind before a dental visit. If you are looking to reduce your fear of the dentist, this is the right approach. When you are scheduling a dentist appointment, set it for morning hours. It’s best to schedule for the morning, that way the stress that accrues during the rest of the day doesn’t scare you away from coming into your dental appointment.

By practicing and utilizing these tips when going to the dentist, you’ll find going to the dentist much more approachable than ever before. You want to leave the dentist feeling awesome, not frightened half to death.

How to Find a Qualified Canadian Dentist

If you are looking for a Dentist in Canada, there are several things you need to consider. First off you need to compare different dentists, so that you know when you have found the best one. The best way to compare dentists is to look at individual pros and cons of each, and also to make sure that each one is adequately qualified for any and all operations that you may have done with them.

Any dentist that you use should have a degree in dentistry, most likely sourced from one of the ten approved dental schools in Canada: the University of Toronto, Dalhousie, British Columbia, Western Ontario, Laval, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, Montreal and McGill. Obviously they could have obtained degrees from elsewhere, but the overall accreditation should be the same as that given by those universities.

The overall DDS degree is the one which most dentists will have, although being a Doctor of Dental Medicine is appropriate as well. If you want to find out which dentists have accreditation and extra qualifications to work more specialist procedures, you should make sure that they have qualifications from the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, the RCDC. The main examination that they should have passed is the National Dental Specialty Exam, the NDSE.

To know that you are going for only the most professional and efficient of dentists, look out for a Fellowship in the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, as this shows extra quality on their part. There is also accreditation which may be had between dentists of New Zealand and Canada, which allows them to work in either country.

Overall examinations are overseen by the NDEB, the National Dental Examining Board of Canada, so this should be referred to when looking into different qualifications that dentists should have, while extra accreditation is seen by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada. Dentists must be certified on both state and federal level.

It is the Royal College of Dentists of Canada who will ensure that dentists have relevant qualifications to practice specialist procedures in dentistry, and a M.Sc. or PhD is required.

There is also provincial regulation which you can look into as well, as this is required for different provinces to look into dentists as a whole, to ensure they are working as they should. There are codes of practice to be followed, and general expectations of professionalism within the workplace, so any dentist should follow these specific rules as well.

Overall any dentist you choose should be professional, and if their qualifications are not immediate then they should not be against sharing them with you – after all it is only the smart thing to do to check the individual qualifications of each practicing dentist, especially if you are looking into having specialist work done.

If you are unsure of any dentist then look around and see what competing dentists in your area offer. Compare qualifications between dentists, and if you are ever unsure of whether or not a dentist is professionally qualified enough to do work on you, then you should go to any of the accreditation boards mentioned to be certain. It is always a wise move to check if you are ever unsure, so do not waste time to take a look and see, especially if you are booked to have certain procedures done with a particular specific dentist already.

Once you have checked on qualifications, you should also consider looking on a more practical level – even if a dentist is well qualified, it does not guarantee that they are the best in their field, and so take a look around at independent review sites. This is the best way to tell whether or not a dentist is as good as they make out, as you are not relying exclusively on their website and what they say.

You should also consider talking to friends and family about who they use – there is no shame in taking your time to try and find the best long term dentist, this is an important matter to get right, as you would not want anything to go wrong in any operation involving your teeth and gums.

However overall when looking for a Canadian dentist, keep in mind the qualifications that have been mentioned here, whilst using common sense. If the dentist is friendly and has generally positive feedback from independent sources, then it is likely that you can start to use them, but make sure that you are happy with them.

Three Tips to Help You Choose a Great Family Dentist

Your dentist is more than just the person the person who cleans your teeth. Your dentist is an important partner in your family’s healthcare team. A good dentist can help you prevent dental problems, spot oral cancers, and help improve your overall health by keeping your teeth and gums healthy. That’s why it’s important to find a good family dentist.

While it’s true that the term “good” can be subjective, there are objective measures by which one can assess a potential family dentist. Use these three tips, along with your own personal criteria for a good family dentist, to find your family’s next healthcare partner.

Three Tips for Assessing a Family Dentist

1. What are the dentist’s credentials and experience?

Dentists in the United States must graduate from an accredited dental school and pass both written and practical exams. Ask what credentials the dentist has or look on his website to examine his credentials. Also note whether or not all the dentists in the practice, if it’s an office with multiple dentists, have the same level of experience and credentials. It’s also important for dentists to continue their education after graduation. Like any healthcare field, new discoveries are being made all the time. Your family dentist should be keeping up with them.

Ask questions when you call the office. Do you need a dentist who treats children and teens as well as adults? Make sure you ask, because there are some family dentists who prefer not to work with very young children; they may only accept school age children and older as patients, and refer younger children to a pediatric dentist.

Do your children need braces as well as routine care? Some family dental offices offer braces as well as cleanings, fillings, and other routine services. This can be a great time saver for a busy family.

What about people who suffer from dental phobias and fears? There are some dentists who welcome patients with phobias and fears and offer special services such as sedation dentistry, movie or music to distract patients, nitrous oxide and other services to help them feel relaxed. If you need these services, don’t be afraid to ask before you make your appointment! A good dentist wants you to feel comfortable during your visit, and his office staff should welcome your questions.

2. What’s the office like?

When you call the office, is the receptionist rude and rushed or pleasant and helpful? Is he patient when answering questions or curt? Can he or she answer all your questions regarding appointment times, services, insurance and payments?

You can tell a lot about an office by the person staffing the front desk. That person plays an important role in any professional setting, but most of all in a medical or dental office. If the front office person is rude or condescending, you may be too intimidated to ask for what you need — not a good situation if you have a dental emergency.

Some family dentists offer a free initial appointment, and such an appointment can help you assess the office. Does the dentist use the latest equipment? A state of the art office means a dentist who cares about learning and using the latest techniques, tools and equipment for his patients’ comfort and convenience.

Lastly, is the office conveniently located? You’re going to be more likely to keep appointments if the office is convenient to your home, school or workplace.

3. How does the dentist’s office fit your family’s needs?

Each family is different. You may have very young children at home, or perhaps children plus an aging parent living with you. It may be helpful to create a checklist of your needs such as:

  • Pediatric dentistry – for my baby and preschooler
  • Orthodontics for my young teenager
  • General dental care for myself, my spouse
  • Dentures and a handicapped accessible office for my mom who lives with us

Another point you may wish to check is the availability of multiple appointments during one time slot. An office with several dentists may be able to accommodate a request for all of your family’s appointments during on time slot. That can be a great convenience.

Finding a Great Family Dentist

You can find a great family dentist by asking friends, family or neighbors for recommendations. An online search for local dentists can lead you to some great potential dentists to research, and provide you with an easy and convenient way to find out more information about their practices by visiting their websites.

Whatever you do, though, take your time, and choose your family dentist carefully. A good dentist is a pleasure to visit, a professional who will take care of your family’s dental needs with confidence and skill. A great family dentist becomes an integral member of your healthcare team, a trusted resource to keep everyone smiling and healthy.