What is dental phobia?
Dental phobia is the abnormal fear of seeking dental care. Approximately 50% of the American population does not seek regular dental care. An estimated 9-15% of all Americans avoid the dentist due to anxiety and fear. In other words, 30-40 million people are so afraid of the dental treatment that they avoid it all together.
Avoiding dental care can have serious ramifications. Chronically infected gums and teeth can affect you medically and compromise your ability to chew and digest food. Without healthy teeth and gums, your speech can be affected as well.
Self-confidence may be compromised for people who are insecure about their breath and smile. This can lead to serious limitations in both social and business environments.
So, what can I do about my dental fear?
The first thing to realize is that help is available. Dr. Michael Mayers has the expertise and training in the effective treatment of dental phobias and anxiety. He uses a number of successful and proven approaches to combat dental phobia. Dental phobia is a problem that must be addressed, just like a cavity or missing tooth needs to be treated.
Dr. Mayers philosophy is that fear is a learned behavior which, therefore, can be unlearned. By utilizing a patient-centered approach towards behavior modification, Dr. Mayers can treat you, the patient, as a whole person.
The aim in treating dental anxiety and phobia is positive behavioral change.
Dr. Mayers utilizes systemic desensitization, a controlled form of exposure therapy, that gradually breaks down those pervasive fears associated with the dental environment. Gradual exposure to the dental process in a welcoming, relaxing and understanding environment is the best way to alleviate your fears and anxiety. This is not a "we cater to cowards" atmosphere. Dental phobia requires treatment in the same way gum disease or tooth decay needs treatment.
Treatment involves the following procedures:
Explanation a clarification of any and all procedures. If you have questions about a particular procedure, Dr. Mayers will answer it. Patients are encouraged to ask questions. There are no suprises. Relaxation techniques. It is impossible to be relaxes and anxious at the same time. You will be taught to relax in the presence of stimuli that normally induces the phobia. Through this exposure, your fears will be eased.
A successful patient is someone who returns for scheduled maintenance visits after their initial treatment is complete. Treatment for patients with a fear of dentistry has had a success rate of approximately 90%! Addressing the patient as a whole person is the focus to our approach to your complete care and the key to your success.