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Adult Dental Care…Will That Be Shaken or Stirred?

Posted on May 17, 2011 | in Dental Anxiety, Dental Humor | by

We have all sorts of reason for not keeping up with our dental appointments; the excuses range from our dog ate our appointment card to we didn’t get the reminder message sent in triplicate to our mobile phone, email, Facebook wall, Twitter profile, and personal satellite downlink. Time is always at a premium and we don’t need to be hit over the head with it, right?

But sometimes the reason for ignoring our dental appointments is something totally different. For a lot of people fear is often the main reason for ignoring their teeth, and their dentist. Overcoming those fears proves challenging for both the patient and the dental office. The end result a lot of the time is missed dental appointments and poor oral health, but how can we work together to ensure optimal oral health and minimal dental anxiety?

A dentist in Texas may have found the answer…in beer and wine.

What is it about going to the dentist that has us acting like grade schoolers armed with an array of excuses at the ready?

Time management issues aside, if we ignore the proper care of our teeth and gums we could not only be doing irreparable harm to our movie star smiles, we could be endangering our overall health as well.

Is it just convenience, are we really too busy to ignore our teeth and gums or is it something else entirely?

According to dentalfearcentral.org, dental anxiety is a reaction to an unknown danger. Anxiety is extremely common, and most people experience some degree of dental anxiety especially if they’re about to have something done which they’ve never experienced before. Basically, it’s a fear of the unknown.

While dental anxiety is quite common, dental phobia is a more serious concern. Dental phobia is the serious, often paralyzing fear of seeking dental care. It has been reliably reported that 50% of the American population does not seek regular dental care. An estimated 9-15% of all Americans avoid much-needed dental care due to anxiety and fear surrounding the experience. This translates to some 30 – 40 million people so afraid of dental treatment that they avoid it altogether. (http://www.floss.com/fh_men_phobia)

If you know someone that is fearful of the dentist but could sure use a smile tune-up, don’t just ignore it anymore. Help them out and share some knowledge. Let them know it’s not really as bad as they think, but more importantly arm them with information to overcome their fears.

Deep breathing relaxation techniques can help anxious dental patients relax, and easy listening on the iPod to splendiferous aromatherapy can transform a dental appointment into a spa treatment for your teeth. Even for the most serious dental phobia, conscious and IV sedation dentistry methods have also become more popular as the dental world continually develops new ways to treat those dental phobic patients.

Communication and education are often the best prescription for dealing with dental anxiety. But how about the borderline dental anxiety sufferer, is there anything out there to possibly ease the pain and maybe take the edge off a bit?

Turns out a dentist in Texas has developed an entirely new pre-treatment regime for his anxious dental patients…he offers them a beer or a glass of wine before their appointment. Click here to see the local news story from WLBZ and see what all the buzz is about…then tell us what you think.

Would a beer or glass of wine improve your ‘dental experience?’

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of DentalPatientNews.com, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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