"How to Stop Worrying and Love Your Smile"
Do you feel anxious about going to the dentist? Does your heart race and your hands break out into a cold sweat just thinking about it? Do you dread losing your teeth, but dread going to a dentist even more?
You're not alone. Lots of people are anxious about visiting the dentist. It's estimated that at least 50% of the general population avoid going to the dentist on a regular basis. That's shocking - half our population are Dental Avoiders.
In other words, lots of people say, "I hate the dentist!"
It’s not actually dentists that people hate. It’s not even the stuff we do. The part that people can't stand is all the anxiety they feel before and during dental treatment. That's what leaves them covered in sweat and feeling completely drained afterwards.
Some people will toss and turn all night before a dental appointment, unable to sleep properly. Others struggle to even pick up the phone to call. What starts off as a mild anxiety can grow to a full blown phobia.
Dental fear is a hidden phobia that no one wants to talk about.
Like many people, you may be embarrassed to admit your fear of dentists and even more afraid to confront them. Chances are you've silently carried this burden for years. You dread having a painful crisis that will finally force you to go, and yet you've avoided dental care to the point of feeling too embarrassed to call.
The barrier to picking up the phone and making that first call can seem insurmountable.
What if you could have a fresh start on a healthy beautiful smile? No blame, no shame, no guilt. What if you could enjoy your dental experience in complete comfort and have no memory of it afterwards? Read on to learn more about Sedation Dentistry.
What's Your Anxiety Level?
People come to us in various stages of distress.
High anxiety is like that feeling you would have before bungee jumping for the first time. That’s the “HOLY CRAP!” stage. Not a good feeling.
Before long, most people transition quickly to “This isn’t so bad” and on to “This is easy for me now.” Eventually, some people make it all the way to “I love these people!” They become vocal advocates for Royal York Dental and proudly sing our praises from the rooftops. (see Rave Reviews)
Some people don’t easily make the transition by themselves. Some remain stuck back in that “HOLY CRAP!” stage. That’s where Sedation Dentistry comes in.
We can temporarily remove anxiety to help people get through their dental treatment. Their anxiety might diminish in time. Meanwhile, we use Sedation Dentistry to help them get back to good health.
Anxiety is what we feel in response to our internal alarm system. This system is meant to alert us to danger, threat or potential pain, and to stimulate us into taking appropriate action.
Anxiety can be a healthy, protective emotional response. The problem is when our internal alarm remains stuck on high alert. Or when the alarm starts turning on for non-threatening reasons - such as riding in an elevator.
The things is, our emotions are a "quick and dirty" system designed for our ancient ancestors' survival in extremely harsh conditions. Quick is essential when faced with a life-threatening danger. Every day it was kill-or-be-killed.
Fast responses are good, but that's exactly why our emotional system is "dirty." Emotions are quick powerful, but not precise. If you've ever raised a teenager, you can relate to how messy emotions can be.
Anxiety is a saboteur. We can do our best at providing you a comfortable experience, but the internal drama created by anxiety will spoil it all.
Anxiety is an amplifier. When you're anxious, your threshold for pain is much lower. You become hyper-sensitive to every sensation of touch, sight, sound and smell. Any sensation of pain is amplified. People who are anxious tend to experience more pain during and after their treatment.
Anxiety is exhausting. A high-alert response is meant to only last moments. Dental appointments can seem like forever when you're anxious, and the anticipation that something will hurt can tense up your entire body. Afterwards, you can be left feeling completely drained.
Sedation Dentistry can eliminate all your anxiety. It allows you to relax both your mind and your body and focus on feeling peaceful rather than anxious. Your apprehension and sensitivity to pain all melt away. Your dental experience that was once a nightmare, becomes a pleasant dream. The hours seem like minutes and recovery is a breeze.
Dental anxiety often stems from negative childhood experiences. Young children are very vulnerable and an intense dental experience can create a long-lasting emotional imprint.
This imprinting is a normal protection response, and these imprints have incredible staying power. Once imprinted, your alarm system will kick in any time you're in a similar situation - even decades later. These flashbacks can bring a flood of negative emotions.
Dental offices are a common place for emotional imprinting. Even though our lives are comparatively comfortable and free of danger, we're still hardwired with the same emotional mechanisms that served our ancestors. Those mechanisms can kick in and leave you overwhelmed by anxiety.
"Some people have high anxiety and some are chronic worriers." suggests Dr. Joe Bulger. "People get stuck replaying disasters scenarios in an endless loop. Even if the scenarios are only in their imagination, the constant state of anxiety is harmful. Your body reacts to the stress in the same way whether the scenario is real or only imagined. The continual flood of stress hormones wears down your immune system. You literally worry yourself sick."
There are lots of reasons for anxiety. Fear of the unknown can play a big part, along with the expectation of negative outcomes like pain, embarrassment, receiving bad news, and the possibility of high fees.
Dentistry is invasive and the potential for discomfort during any procedure is very real. On top of all that, your mouth is an extremely sensitive part of your body.
With all that, you could say anxiety is a perfectly NORMAL response to the prospect of going to the dentist. Especially when you haven't been in a long while and you're going to a new office for the first time.
Are you trapped feeling anxious about
Anxiety is a signal to do something. Like the adrenaline-based fight or flight response, there are two basic responses, preparation and avoidance.
Preparation involves taking steps to ensure a positive outcome. You're on high alert and remain extra vigilante as you proceed forward to face your challenge.
Avoidance means simply staying away from whatever has triggered your anxiety. If you're afraid of heights, you avoid activities like rock climbing, bungee jumping, hang-gliding and skydiving. If it's snakes, spiders or bees, you don't go near them.
Avoidance can work, but the price to pay is failing to ever master your fears. Untamed fears can gradually grow and can start creeping into other areas of your life.
For dental care, avoidance is a bad strategy. Two things will happen that are both harmful. Your anxiety will grow and your health will suffer.
"Avoiding the dentist can be devastating." states Dr. Joe Bulger. "You remain stuck on a Path of Pain and the only time you force yourself to go is when the pain finally outweighs your fears. The consequences of avoidance can be severe and unpleasant.
"Dental problems are progressive. Eventually , much worse things tend to happen. Over time, your anxiety just keeps building as your health suffers more and more.
"We help people break out of this Avoidance Trap. It's amazing how fast we can turn things around. The secret antidote is trust. Much of anxiety's power is based on illusion, and once you can start feeling that trust, the anxiety vanishes like a mirage. For those with high anxiety, trust alone isn't enough. Sedation Dentistry is a magic bullet that ends the cycle of pain and avoidance."
Need TLC for your smile?
During your appointment, there are two key events happening. The first is the actual dental visit - all the dental stuff and activity going on around you. The second is your internal response to everything that happens.
Our job as dentists is to effectively handle both of those events - your dental treatment and your internal state of being.
As dental professionals, we see ourselves as noble, heroic relievers of pain. But that anxious voice inside your head could be caught up in an entirely different "movie" scenario.
We need to be ever-sensitive to your comfort and needs, otherwise we could end up reading only from our script instead of yours. We could be thinking the movie is going to be a light-hearted, feel-good story. Meanwhile you’re experiencing everything as a tense, nerve-wracking drama.
Such disconnect is unacceptable for healthcare providers. You could be stuck replaying your worst moments, imagining nightmare scenarios and anxiously anticipating a lightning bolt of pain.
Here's the thing, YOUR version of the script is the only one that counts. It's our job to help make your dental visit a pleasant experience. Without all the anxiety and drama.
Our goal is to help you flow through your appointment with ease and comfort while feeling totally relaxed. We want to create an office environment and orchestrate an experience
that's as pleasant as possible for you.
Experience dentistry without fear
People often show up at our door for the first time with some level of anxiety. Sometimes they've had to overcome huge psychological barriers just to make that first phone call and walk through the front door of our office.
That's totally understandable. Especially if they haven't been to a dentist in a while.
Helping a friend...
We've helped lots of people get over their anxiety about going to the dentist.
I was surprised when my good friend Dr. Stelios Nikolakakis (my optometrist) confessed his deep dark secret... his lifelong fear of dentists.
“Walking through the front door the first time made me feel like that traumatized child of the past. I was fortunate enough to be heard and understood by the team at Royal York Dental to help me overcome my fear. I am proud to say that I have tamed my fear of the dentist and no longer feel hypocritical promoting health care in my practice without truly living by example in all aspects of my personal health.”
We're good at helping people overcome their anxiety about dentists. We're good at getting people off that path of crisis, stress and pain onto a path of health, comfort and ease.
What we provide is leadership - we serve as Trusted Advisors and lead people away from chaos and pain towards health and a brighter dental future.
If you're feeling anxious about the dentist, Sedation Dentistry can make a profound difference. Sedation can help you relax and make your dental visits much more comfortable for you.
Once you get over that first few hurdles, you might find going to the dentist will be much easier than you ever thought possible.
We'll help you get back on track at a pace that's comfortable to you.
Relaxing gentle dentistry
Trust is a powerful antidote to any fear or worry you may have. The more you can trust us, the less anxious you'll feel. That's the foundation of everything we do.
High trust, the kind that allows you to relax and feel safe in our hands has to be earned and deserved. Be assured, we'll keep striving to earn and deserve your trust, every step of the way.
Dr. Joe Bulger states, "Over the years, I’ve encountered many people that come to us feeling uncertain and distressed. I’ve seen the worry etched on their faces and the tension in their demeanor.
"I’ve also seen it all melt away with a wave of relief when they finally felt they could let go of their concerns about dental care. They could relax, knowing that help was always within easy reach, and that they were now in good hands."
Call our New Patient Hotline 416-231-0550 to take care of your smile.