How To Conquer Dental Anxiety As An Adult

When we talk about dental anxiety we often talk about children. It is an extremely common thing for a kid to be afraid of the dentist or just plain nervous. But one thing that might not get talked about enough, is how many people carry that into adulthood. Dental anxiety, especially anxiety that formed as a child can be a stopping block in the way of getting really important dental services. When adults are asked why they aren’t routinely going to the dentist some of the common reasons are built around dental anxiety or fears about what will happen now that it has been potentially years since their last appointment. In this article, we will discuss methods to overcome dental anxiety as an adult. If you live in the Lisbon, Maine area, and need a dentist, please give us a call. 

What Causes Dental Anxiety For Adults?

There are many causes of dental anxiety. First and foremost, most apprehension around medical practces begins in youth for a variety of reasons. Some kids pick up on dental anxiety from their own parents or older siblings. Some people have a bad experience with a dentist as kids where either they felt uncomfortable with their dental care or they had a procedure where they experienced discomfort. But with many fears and anxieties, one commonality is that it is often anticipatory. You might be less afraid of the actual procedures & treatments than of the unknown element. Many adults will say that after having skipped the dentist for multiple years, they are now worried that if they go they are going to find out that something is wrong. That element of the unknown keeps them in a place where they don’t want to go and find out. Of course, this is a bit recursive in nature. Going to the dentist is usually preventative. The longer we avoid medical care, the more likely problems are to either arise or worsen. But there is this perceived safety in not knowing. 

Is It Normal To Be Afraid of the Dentist as An Adult?

Absolutely. Another common problem with dental anxiety is that many people feel that it is embarrassing. Many people feel like dental anxiety is something only for kids or a sign of immaturity, but it just isn’t. It is normal to want to avoid situations that are negative. If you had a bad experience as a kid, or just the dental office you went to growing up made you anxious, it is completely normal to carry that to adulthood. A common problem is that as a kid, your parents forced you to go to the dentist regardless of how you felt, but now as an adult, you have the freedom to not go. And while that might be nice at first, this can lead to some serious problems. 

If I Haven't Seen A Dentist In Years, What Should I Do?

If the two things keeping you from the dentist are a general feeling of anxiety and the unknown element of having not been in years, here’s what you should do. Find the right dentist. It is equally important that you find a dentist that provides high quality care and works with your payment options as it is to find a dentist that makes you feel comfortable as an adult. You don’t want a dentist that is going to make you feel judged for your oral habits, guilty for your lack of visits, or passive-aggressive. You want a judgment-free dental office, where the team is kind, understanding, and most importantly, encouraging. There are many dental offices out there that provide encouragement and are understanding towards patients that might be apprehensive. While that doesn’t mean they are going to avoid telling you about cavities or root canals that you will need, they can make the experience better by avoiding things like shame, guilt trips, etc.  

How Do I Pick The Right Dentist?

The best way to find the right dentist is to use a few different tools. As a kid your parents likely picked a local dentist for you. As an adult that might not live near that initial practice, you need to consider talking to your coworkers to see where they go in the area, this is also beneficial if you get dental insurance through your job, and check online reviews to see what people say. Focus specifically on what is said about the dental offices over the actual rating. If you find stories about beneficial visits with caring people, that is a good sign.

Judgment Free Dentistry in Lisbon Maine

If you are looking for a great place for your family to get dental treatments, give us a call. We provide amazing dental services as well as a judgement free dental experience. 

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