For some people, dental appointments are routine. For others, dental anxiety makes the process a serious ordeal. Fortunately, modern dentistry is an advanced science that typically results in positive outcomes. Here are some of the myths and misconceptions people face when planning dental visits. We’ll also share a few tricks that make your worries easier to overcome.
What Are Dental Anxieties and Phobias?
Dispel dental fears based on myths with a fact-based, scientific point of view.
Experts group fears of going to the dentist into two general categories. They use the term “dental anxiety” when speaking about a normal level of fear. When fear affects functionality, dentists use the term “dental phobia.”
Dental anxiety is a normal level of concern about dental visits. Experts associate it with simple issues. Some of these are fear of pain, bad prior experiences, mistrust of injections, or worries about the side effects of anesthetic procedures.
Dental phobias occur when such fears increase to levels that make it extremely difficult for people to function. Unfortunately, phobias may prevent individuals from taking care of their teeth until it’s absolutely necessary.
Are Dental Anxieties Unrealistic?
Many of these worries reflect valid concerns. For instance, injections are typically associated with some level of discomfort. Similarly, anesthetics commonly come with side effects, such as dizziness or lasting numbness. However, when fears become so intense they affect other areas of your life, it’s important to get them under control.
Fight Fear with Understanding
One way to combat dental fears is to empower yourself with knowledge. Patients have the right to know as much as possible about why they’re undergoing different procedures and what each entails.
Learning more about their options can usually help people come to terms with the necessities of oral care. Educating yourself is also an important part of building a more trusting relationship with your dentist. Doing so can truly help to ease your fears.
Dealing with Specific Myths
It’s easy to work yourself up about anything you’re worried about. The following dental misconceptions, however, commonly seem far worse than they really are:
All Dental Procedures Hurt
It would be dishonest to say that no dental treatments cause pain. What you have to remember, however, is that the vast majority don’t and that the pain associated with letting your problems worsen is generally far more severe.
For instance, nobody likes having cavities excavated, but if you just ignore them, you’ll require extensive dental work and possibly way more painful root canals. Getting treated as early as possible may not always be comfortable, but it definitely feels better than the alternatives.
I Feel Like I’m Not in Control During Dental Visits
Some individuals feel embarrassed or helpless when they let hygienists and dental professionals into their personal space. While this is somewhat natural, it’s important to remember that you’re always in control.
Even though you likely lack the dental knowledge that your doctor or nurse possesses, you can really increase your comfort with what they’re doing by learning about it in advance.
Most dental offices are absolutely happy to share literature detailing what goes on during different procedures so that you can keep yourself informed even though you won’t be able to watch what’s happening to your teeth in real time.
I Lack Sufficient Dental Insurance
When properly managed, dental care doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a huge array of dental insurance plans that make it much easier for people to care for themselves and their families without straining their finances, and once again, staying on the ball helps reduce care costs.
The price tags associated with in-depth procedures and long-overdue corrective work are much higher than what you’ll pay for simple preventive care, so confronting your need for dental work head-on can save you massive amounts of stress down the line.
Making Trips to the Dentist Easier
Remember, dental care doesn’t have to be a pain. Even if you suffer from severe dental anxiety, you’ll find that managing your misconceptions and becoming more informed makes it much easier to make responsible decisions about your teeth.
To learn more about dental insurance and the common issues people have with planning dental visits, check out our other blogs. Or if we missed a common misconception that affects someone you know, share it in the comments below.
Read next: Best Individual Dental Insurance Plans
Dental Health: at the Forefront of Everyone’s Mind This Year
In 2015, more and more medical reports started to emerge about the importance of dental health on a person’s general health. In fact, researchers have linked poor oral hygiene to a number of health risks. These include cardiovascular conditions and problems with pregnancy.
However, scientists also released reports about genetic issues that affect oral health. Our genes, it seems, can predispose certain people to develop more plaque. This means they have a higher likelihood to develop gingivitis. These types of patients require more frequent monitoring.
Making a New Year Resolution to Prioritize Dental Health
With this increased focus on oral health, many people are making it a New Year resolution this year. Perhaps you were born with dazzling teeth. Or you may need some help in that department. Either way, regular trips to the dentist are the best way to ensure oral health.
To guarantee the year starts off on the right foot, research your dental insurance options. Dentalinsurance.com offers the right plan, at the right price, and you can get it right now.
Scheduling Regular Cleanings and Necessary Procedures Will Prevent Future Dental Health Problems
When it come to maintaining dental health, the most effective strategy is to see your dentist regularly. Although dentists recommend a cleaning every six months or so, everyone’s mouth is different. Depending upon your dental history and the condition of your teeth, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings.
There’s never been a better time to start exploring what types of dental insurance benefits are available to you. Life can toss all sorts of curve balls your way, which is why insurance will offer you some peace of mind.
Whether it’s a chipped tooth from eating corn nuts or a sudden need for a root canal, all sorts of unexpected happenings can occur when it comes to your smile. With dental insurance, you can ease the bite from any unexpected dental expenses that may come your way.
Starting the New Year off with a Sensational Smile
Your smile is one of the very first things that people notice about your physical appearance. This new year provides an excellent opportunity to review how much attention you’ve been giving to your overall physical health, especially your gums.
If you’re like most people, then it’s probably time to step up your game. Dental health can fall by the wayside sometimes, which is why it’s important to take action immediately.
As the months pass by, it becomes easier to let your dental health slip by for some more time. Before you know it, another year will have passed by. Studies have shown that the most effective way to tackle a goal is to take some kind of action as soon as possible.
Whether it’s talking to a friend about their insurance or getting online and looking up dental offices near you, resolve to take at least one small step towards finally putting your dental health in order.
Read next: The Oral Hygiene – Bad Breath Connection
The state of your oral health is an indicator of various conditions and personal choices. Stained enamel could indicate
personal habits such as smoking and drinking copious amounts of tea or coffee. Misaligned teeth may point to a nail biting habit while bad breath may reflect poor dental hygiene and the presence of other illnesses. Dental professionals are trained to look for these symptoms and counsel patients to consider altering their lifestyle choices for the sake of their dental health.
Stress Affects Oral Health
Dental professionals are charged with providing care and addressing the issues that patients may have regarding the condition of their teeth, gums and mouth. While many dental problems are due to lifestyle choices and inadequate care, some serious conditions are related to emotional strain. Dental insurance may not explicitly mention emotional factors, but your oral conditions may be symptomatic of these issues.
• Bruxism – This condition involves grinding the teeth, clenching the jaws or a combination of the two. The condition may be caused by factors, such as sleep problems, uneven bite or missing molars or incisors, but bruxism may also be traced to emotional pressures. Grinding could be also be part of nervous tics. Symptoms of bruxism include worn out enamel, flattened dental tips, increased sensitivity in the mouth and indentations in the tongue.
• Temporomandibular Disorders – This set of conditions affect movement of the joints of the jaw, causing pain and stiffness all the way to the neck. Chronic stress may lead to TMD or aggravate a pre-existing condition.
• Periodontal Disease – Emotional factors may contribute to development of gum diseases in adults. Researchers found that patients who reported problems related to problems with personal relationships, jobs and financial situations in the last 12 months developed gum diseases with the severity of the condition increasing with the level of stress. Gum disease may become difficult to resolve once it sets in. This is one of the reasons that dental insurance providers strongly recommend twice a year cleaning and prophylaxis if needed.
• Canker Sores – These oral sores are not contagious, but they could cause pain and discomfort. It may be due to biting the lining of your cheeks or other trauma caused by vigorous oral care. A report in “General Dentistry” discussed how canker sores in students seemed to increase in students while school was in session, but declined during school breaks.
The Dentist as Emotional Counselor
Your dentist is not typically the health care provider you would see for emotional issues, but it is clear that anxiety and other emotional issues may affect your oral health and worsen existing problems. Aside from trauma to the mouth due to biting, grinding and scrubbing, oral care may fall by the wayside when you are under constant emotional pressure.
Dental insurance providers recommend preventive care that includes dental visits, cleaning and some oral health-related counseling. Your annual or bi-annual visits will give your dentist an opportunity to detect changes in your dental health that may be due to emotional pressures. While dentists may not be able to address the emotional aspects directly, they can make sure that your dental health issues are dealt with effectively.
Sharp pain in your mouth is a sure sign that you need to see a dentist, but it is not always a reliable indicator of trouble. Regular checkups offer the best way to avoid the discomfort that often occurs when your dentist’s office is closed. Preventing deterioration of your teeth protects the health of your mouth and prevents problems like these:
• Bleeding Gums
Painless but nonetheless a serious condition, bleeding gums can mean that you have gingivitis or periodontal disease. Plaque turns into hardened tartar and can cause the loss of bone that supports your teeth. Dental cleaning twice a year gives your dentist a chance to assess and correct gum disease in its early stages.
• Bad Breath
Leaving particles of food in your teeth after a meal creates temporary bad breath, a simple condition that brushing and flossing corrects. However, bad breath may also mean that you have gum disease. Without adequate saliva to remove food particles, dry mouth allows them to create offensive odors. Dentists can prescribe effective treatment.
• Tooth Decay
Only the common cold is more prevalent in the United States than tooth decay. Sticky plaque forms on your teeth and allows acids to attack your tooth enamel. Eating healthy food in addition to brushing and flossing twice daily can prevent it, but correcting it requires dental care. The primary cause of toothaches, it can produce intense pain as it progresses.
• Jaw Pain
Misaligned joints and muscles in your jaw can cause serious pain. Diagnosing the condition may reveal sinus issues, problems with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) or evidence of teeth grinding.
Tiny cracks that are invisible to you are obvious to your dentist. The solid surface of your teeth or crowns prevents bacteria from invading and creating an infection. Painful toothaches can occur when you ignore surface cracks, but your dentist can easily repair them.
Examination of your mouth by a dentist can reveal factors about your overall health that medical doctors may miss. Dental hygienists use high-tech equipment to clean your teeth and give them a sparkling appearance. Visiting your dentist twice each year is a small investment in teeth that can last a lifetime with proper care. An hour or two at your dental office every six months helps ensure the health of your teeth and gums.