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Prophix Blog

Taking the anxiety out of your dental visits

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Nobody really looks forward to visiting the dentist—but for many of us, it goes beyond lack of enthusiasm. Research estimates that up to 75% of American adults experience some level of dental anxiety or fear. And every year, anywhere from 9% to 15% of Americans avoid dentist visits because of it.

Some of the most common reasons we dread the dentist’s chair:

‌• Fear of loss of control. We often feel anxious in situations where we can't see what's going on, can’t help with or guide the proceedings, or can’t anticipate what's going to happen. Sitting still in a dentist’s chair can hit all of these triggers.
‌• Fear of embarrassment. Self-consciousness about your oral health condition may lead to fear of judgment or ridicule. Also, a dentist works inches away from your face, which can feel like an invasion of personal space.
‌• Fear of pain. This can spring from bad past experiences or from hearing or reading others’ “horror stories.”

One of the keys to overcoming dental fear (wherever it stems from) is good dentist-patient communication. Establish a communicative relationship with your dentist and their staff by trying the following:

‌• Share your fears. Be up-front and honest about your concerns. Ask to discuss how you could work together to address them.
‌• Come prepared. Sharing and discussing photos and records of your oral health routine (like the ones you can store on a Prophix) may empower you to feel more like a partner in the whole process from the outset.
‌• Ask for an explanation of what's happening before and during any procedure. You’ll feel more prepared and in control. Use a signal. Whenever you feel uncomfortable, agree on a gesture—like raising your hand—that you can make to tell your dentist to stop what they’re doing.