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Tackling Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a very real and common fear that can range from mild nervousness about visiting our office to a paralyzing fear even at the thought of dentistry or teeth. Many things can trigger dental fear, from a bad experience in the past to associations with the sounds and smell of the dental office. Some form of dental “apprehension” is normal, as most of us worry about our teeth, their appearance, and having to pay for dental care. However, when it goes from apprehension to fear, you are suffering from dental anxiety. Dental anxiety is something that we work hard to help you overcome, and at Arbutus North Dental Centre, we try to offer as many options for you as possible to ensure that you can get the treatment you need, and be as comfortable as possible while doing so.

Why do I have dental anxiety?
First of all, keep in mind that you are not alone in this. An estimated 15 percent of patients suffer from some form of dental-related fears. Although most of us can book a dental appointment without any association to fear, for those of you who are suffering from fear, your worries can be caused by a number of things including:

1. Fear of pain

Everyone is afraid of pain, but when you are afraid to schedule a dental appointment out of fear it will hurt you can rest assured that we can help. At Arbutus North Dental Centre, we provide as many ways to ensure you are completely comfortable during your appointments, whether it is a simple cleaning or some form of restorative treatment. We have access to many forms of sedation to keep you relaxed during your appointment. Some may think that sedation dentistry sounds scare, but we offer many options to help find the one that suits your needs.

2. Fear of needles

This is a common fear even for those who do not have a general fear of dentists. However, we can overcome this problem by using nitrous oxide to keep you calm so you won’t even notice the needle is being used before we begin your treatment. We also ensure all of our patients that our staff is well trained and experienced, so you can trust us in taking good care of you.

3. Past experience

We often get patients coming to us in search of a dentist that they can feel comfortable with. With past traumas or negative previous experiences, we understand that many may be afraid to come to our office. These experiences can vary from bad service at the front desk to discomfort during a past dental appointment. You might even have had a dentist you just didn’t like due to their manner. Regardless of what bad experience you had, our office is different. Your number one goal should be finding a dentist that makes you feel comfortable and treats you with respect. We encourage our patients to feel comfortable asking us questions about the things that cause concern. Hopefully, our answers can provide some relief.

4. Trust issues

As with above, past issues with a dental office and its business operations can cause trust issues. You might feel you have been mistreated or taken advantage of by a dentist who might have over-billed you. Finding the right fit for your dental needs is very important. We do our best to ensure that there are no surprises with your visit, whether it is related to treatment or with billing, we believe in transparency with our patients.

5. Helplessness

Some people’s anxiety is caused because they feel helpless during their treatment. You might feel nervous because you can’t communicate and therefore not be able to tell us if you feel pain or discomfort. All of these anxieties can be alleviated when we know how you are feeling. Let your Vancouver Dentist know at your first appointment about these fears and we will listen to your concerns. We build partnerships between our staff and our patients, we take your trust in us very seriously and want you to feel like we listen and understand your problems.

6. Embarrassment

In some cases, patients who have avoided the dentist for years might know they have issues with their teeth and feel embarrassed about the appearance of their teeth or poor oral health. You should never feel embarrassed when dealing with your dental team as they understand all the potential issues that can arise and are there to provide the care you need to get your dental health back on track. If you feel that your insecurities are holding you back, we want to remind you that our goal at the end of the day is always to help you achieve a healthier and happier smile. No issue is too small or large for us to treat. We look forward to helping you on your journey to creating a positive outlook on your oral health.

7. Financial stress

This can happen if you do not have dental benefits, are carrying debt, or both you might be worried about the cost of your treatment. There are many different options to make paying for your dental care easy to manage financially. Our receptionist would be more than happy to carefully go over your options with you and work together to figure out a plan.

How can dentists help?
It is part of our job to provide the dental care and services required for optimum dental health. That means that we will address every concern you have from pain to appearance and issues with our office to financial challenges. Arbutus North Vancouver will take every precaution to ensure you are treated in a manner that works for you and should optimize your experience by providing comfort, professionalism, and special arrangements to accommodate any personal needs.

What if I am still afraid?
If you are still afraid after having a very personal conversation with us about all of your concerns, you can consider speaking to a mental health professional who can assess your fears. They can provide a number of techniques to help you manage and even overcome your anxiety, so you are not deprived of the dental care you require for optimum health.