I went to the dentist for the first time in years. Yes, I know I’m supposed to go every year, but it’s scary for me. Something about being in that chair with all these sharp metal things coming at me just makes my heart rate go through the roof and then I start hyperventilating. The dentist I saw became annoyed with me. I really do want to start taking care of my teeth, but I need a dentist who would be willing to stop when I start freaking out. Do they exist?
I’m very sorry the dentist was so impatient with you. He is obviously not the best dentist for people in your situation. You’re certainly not alone in your fear of the dentist. Many patients struggle with that. It’s highly commendable that despite your fears, you desire to do what’s right for your body. To me, that doesn’t make you a coward. That makes you brave.
To put your mind at ease, there are dentists who are very good with fearful patients. They’re patient. They explain everything they’re doing. They’re even willing to pause while you collect yourself. To find them, you’ll just do an internet search with terms like “Cater to Cowards Dentist” or “Sedation Dentist”.
In fact, if you haven’t tried sedation dentistry, you may want to, at least when you’re first getting back into regular dental care. Often, when patients first come back to the dentist after many years they’re discouraged with the amount of work their teeth need. Sedation dentistry allows you to do a lot more work in one sitting, and you can sleep while you get it done.
The sedation isn’t like what you get at a hospital with surgery. It doesn’t force you to sleep. Instead, it completely relaxes you and gives you a pain-free experience. You’re still able to move and communicate with the dentist if you desire to. Though most patients are so relaxed they prefer just to nap while the dentist works. It’s up to you.
The key is finding a dentist who you feel has a gentle and kind chairside manner. One you’d be comfortable working with in the long term.
I just want to reiterate how fantastic it is you’re taking these steps. Way too many patients who struggle with dental anxiety wait until they have a dental emergency to go. By then, it can cost them a tooth. That’s much more painful (and expensive) than going in for regular care.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Ashley Price.