In this article Dr. Jesse Chai shares: How your fear of the dentist might be holding you back from your best life.
When I was young I watched a lot of wrestling. I grew up watching Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and my personal favourite Ricky Steamboat. Although we all know it is a show now with the winners and losers predetermined, and the wrestlers acting out their gimmick for the audience, but when I was growing up, the cat wasn’t out of the bag yet and it seemed real.
In 1990 a new wrestler debuted called The Undertaker. He was big and menacing and frankly scared the crap out of me. He would roll his eyes to the back of his head in his wrestling matches, he had eerie music he walked to the ring with, he had a freakishly ghouly manager Paul Bearer, he could walk on the top rope which was unheard of from a guy that was close to 7 foot tall, and he would even growl “REST IN PEACE”. Scarily enough 29 years later he is still wrestling on occasion and really is not that scary of a guy at all. I finally got a chance to meet him recently and we talked briefly about his recent injury where he was dropped on his head and neck. He was in a fair bit of pain but didn’t want to disappoint his fans and was actually quite a nice guy.
So I got to thinking, I know for years this guy scared me when he first debuted, but he was actually a nice guy. I know a lot of people are afraid of the dentist too. Now me, I don’t think I’m that intimidating. I’m not that big, and I’m almost always in a good mood. But apparently the issue is either fear and anxiety of what might happen, or memories of what did happen.
Sometimes I get kids coming to the office already crying and they’ve never been to the dentist. This is because kids and people in general, fear what they don’t understand, and that includes new experiences – fear of dentist is holding them back. Maybe they were told something bad was going to happen, or maybe they had bad experiences elsewhere, like at the doctor’s getting immunizations. Maybe that’s just their personality (I’ve been told that by a few parents). I’ve also been told horror stories of what happened to patient’s in the past, like not being properly numbed for a procedure and the dentist didn’t care and proceeded anyway, or that the dentist stood on their chest to take their teeth out, or their previous dentist was just mean, or some other bad experience. I can completely understand based on that history where the anxiety comes from. I just want you to know that we can help.
The scary thing is when you don’t see a dentist regularly, bad things do happen. Teeth can start to develop cavities, and because early cavities do not usually hurt, they can get bigger without you knowing it. All of sudden you have a large hole in your mouth you didn’t know was developing and a giant toothache that now needs major treatment to get you out of pain. All of this could have been prevented with regular dental visits.
Even scarier, your gums can start to bleed which can lead to Periodontitis which is an infection of the gums and bones supporting your teeth. This can not only lead to tooth loss, but has been linked to several life threatening diseases including Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke, Certain cancers, Liver Disease, Kidney Disease, and Alzheimers. What is even scarier you are 4 times more likely to have a heart attack and 2 times more likely to have a stroke. If you are pregnant, it can affect your unborn child as periodontal disease can lead to low birth weight and premature babies, and in at least one documented case fetal death. It’s that dangerous. So if your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you cannot afford to let fear and anxiety stand in your way of getting proper care.
We help patients with fear of dentist and anxiety about their dental care daily. You are not alone. Most patients, when they see how kind, nurturing, caring and understanding my team is, they start to shed their anxiety and over time going to the dentist is no longer a problem. Some patients need extra help and we do offer multiple solutions like Laughing gas, (also known as Nitrous Oxide), Oral Conscious Sedation, IV Conscious sedation and General Anesthesia.
Whether you just need a caring ear to talk about your Dental Anxiety and concerns, or you need the miracle of Sedation Dentistry to help you through those tougher procedures, we have you covered. If you have a little bit or even a lot of Anxiety about Dentistry, but want to have a beautiful smile again, we can help. I know it is scary facing your demons, and coming to grips with your anxiety with dentistry, but with over 20 years of helping patients, and looking at people’s mouths after years of not going to the dentist, it is way scarier when you don’t.
If you have Anxiety (and fear the dentist) about getting the Dental help you need give us a call today to get the care you deserve.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Dentist Dr. Jesse Chai
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