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If a loved one is skipping routine dental checkups or living with a painful oral health problem, it may be a sign that they have dental anxiety. It’s important to support them and encourage them to go to the dentist. Recognizing and identifying their fear is the first step to helping them overcome their fear.
It’s important to understand your loved one’s perceived stubbornness or laziness to make an appointment may stem from anxiety.
If your loved one does one, some, or many of the following things before an appointment, they are all common signs of dental fear:
Do you know the last time your loved one went to the dentist? If it’s been more than two years, there’s probably something other than inconvenience keeping them from making an appointment. It’s generally recommended that you visit the dentist twice a year for exams and cleanings.
Avoiding the dentist can make dental anxiety worse while also making your oral and overall health worse. For example, if a loved one has a toothache that goes untreated, it may eventually lead to an infection which will need more invasive treatment. That means avoiding the dentist in the first place may lead to a more traumatic (and more expensive) experience in the long run.
Encouraging your loved one to go to preventative dental checkups will improve their oral health and keep them from having an unnecessarily bad experience.
Once you identify a fear of the dentist in someone you care about, it’s important to discuss it with them and find ways to support them.
You can suggest these 3 ways to ease fear to help them take control of their dental experience:
Or you can even be that friend that goes along to the visit for support.
*Updated April 2023