Let’s face it. Not everyone is as excited to go to a dental office as I am. The fear and anxiety of an upcoming dental visit may range from dread and a sleepless night right before the visit to a complete avoidance of dental treatments. Dental anxiety and phobia is further exacerbated when a patient has to come in due to dental pain.
Half of adults of America have a moderate levels of dental fears, with 5-10% avoiding the dentist completely. Only 4 out of 10 adults in Canada have seen a dental hygienist since March 2020.
Patients not only avoid dental treatments. Many avoid preventative dentistry like teeth cleaning that keeps them away from dental emergencies and painful dental visits. Since preventative dentistry is mostly provided by dental hygienists in a typical dental office, many avoid getting their teeth cleaned, sealants placed, fluoride applied.
Let’s get down to our business at Floss Bosses of drilling down on dental fears.
What are the potential causes of dental fear?
- dental sounds
- dental smells
- lack of trust
Dental Sounds and Smells
Floss Bosses, a dental hygiene clinic was created to alleviate some of those fears directly by being different from a dental office. There is no dentist on site. There are no drilling sounds filling up the rooms. There are no anxious, fearful or in pain patients. This environment already decreases the stress level.
The treatments are tailored to each individual needs. Whether it is the anxiety factor or emotional one, the clinicians are here to make your appointments stress free as much as possible. Dental hygienists at Floss Bosses do try to make the appointments as least invasive. If possible, we use topical anaesthetic to numb your gums rather than a needle.
Lack of trust
We work with you to build your trust in us. Without trust and relationship, we cannot help you to excel at helping your oral and systemic health needs. We believe in full and open dialog between the clinician and the patient about their fears, expectations and needs.
Avoidance of preventative dental hygiene treatments like teeth cleaning and demineralization treatments, may lead to unnecessary dental pain, costly dental treatments, start and progression of bad breath, cavities and gum disease.
Addressed early, gum disease isn’t as costly and painful to treat. At an early stage, it can be addressed with non-surgical treatments sometimes only requiring topical anaesthetic, teeth cleaning and laser treatments. All this is at a fraction of the cost of surgical treatment.
The same applies to cavities. Did you know cavities take years to develop? Found at an early stage of demineralization or incipient cavity, a cavity can be fixed with remineralization treatments, fluoride varnishes and hydroxyapatite toothpaste. This can be achieved within a short 3 month period.
Why wait for dental disease to progress so far that it:
- costs too much
- it’s painful to treat
- permanent damage is done to teeth and gums
- causes dental anxiety
Once gum disease and cavities set in, overall health is affected as well. Neglect of gum disease may lead to effects on cardiovascular health, Alzheimer’s, risk of stroke, pre-mature birth and diabetes, self esteem and even employability is affected.
At Floss Bosses, we mitigate dental fear. If you do have dental anxiety, we expose you slowly to the environment. We perform treatments you are comfortable with and build on trust. We found gradual desensitization and slow exposure to treatments have been the most effective way to minimize fear. We also strive to openly communicate and educate on each step of the treatment to alleviate the unknown.
Here are some coping strategies we suggest:
- Bring your own music: although our music is relaxing and calming, each individual is different and needs different styles of music to find their zen
- You are in charge of the suction, Mr. Slurpy. At any time, if you need a brake, you simply raise Mr. Slurpy. We stop when you need us to.
- Positive thinking. We recommend that before you see a dental hygienist at Floss Bosses, you focus on the positive like “my gums and my body are going to be healthier when I’m done” or “my teeth will be less sensitive” rather than “it’s going to hurt” or ” I hate dental offices”. By eliminating and replacing negative thoughts, it shifts the focus from fear to hopefulness.
- We recommend not talk to friends or family with phobia or dental anxiety before your visit. Anxiety spreads like wild fire. If unattended, even the least anxious person maybe become fearful. We recommend anxious parents do not prepare their child for the child’s upcoming dental visit, especially their first one. Children that have not experienced dentistry, may not have anxiety the way experienced adults do. Sometimes a message like “don’t worry, it’s not going to hurt” may cause a lot of damage.
- The best one yet: Even if you have to be referred out to get unpleasant dental work done, you come back to Floss Bosses, your safe heaven.
Together, we got this!