Easing Orthodontic Fear

If you suffer from a fear of going to the orthodontist, you’re not alone. It’s quite common for children and adults to be fearful of trips to the orthodontist. Our hope at Melbourne Orthodontics is that we can work with you to help you overcome that fear. The last thing we want is for anyone to skip out on important treatments due to fear. Here, we supply you with some information and tips to overcome those fears.

Frequency of Orthodontic Fear

Many children are frightened of a trip to the orthodontist for a simple reason: It’s a new experience. However, fear of the orthodontist is also fairly common in adults.

Surveys conducted by the American Dental Association have found that as many as 28 percent of adults have “odontophobia” or a similar fear of the dentist. More than a third of those people haven’t been in for even a dental checkup in more than a year.

It’s very important not to skip dental or orthodontic treatments. These professionals are the most likely to identify gum disease (which has been linked to heart disease or stroke), as well as oral cancers, and other serious risks.

Reasons behind Orthodontic Fear

There are several different reasons why people are fearful of a visit to the orthodontist. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Pain — by far the most common source of odontophobia
  • Fear of new experiences — very common in children
  • Dental equipment can sound scary
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Sensitive gag reflex

Some people carry a fear of the orthodontist from childhood into adulthood. We’d like to stress to patients that if you had a bad experience at the orthodontist in the 1980s, things have changed a lot! While some orthodontic treatments can cause pain, there are some new, pain-free options that may not have been available a few years ago.

For example, Invisalign is a relatively new invention in orthodontic science. These clear, plastic aligners that fit over the teeth and work like braces have only been around since 2005. Invisalign exerts pressure on the teeth that is similar to braces, but there’s absolutely no pain involved.

How We Work With Patients to Overcome Fear

The last thing we want at Melbourne Orthodontics is to cause our patients pain, or to have them be fearful of necessary procedures. We are very sensitive to patients who have discomfort or fear of orthodontic treatments. We’ll do our best to help you overcome any fears you might have.

This starts with full disclosure during your consultation with the orthodontist. Any procedure and the steps that it will involve will be described to you. This knowledge ahead of time allows you to mentally prepare for the procedure, whether it is a tooth extraction, having braces installed, or something else.

During the procedure, your Melbourne or Indian Harbour Beach orthodontist will explain what you’re going to feel and how long that feeling will be present. The orthodontist will ask permission before proceeding with each step. If you need to take a break during a procedure, that is also an option.

How You Can Overcome Fear

If you’re fearful of an orthodontic appointment, our first piece of advice is that you don’t overthink it too much. Anxiety over a procedure tends to cause fear to build up even worse. In the end, the vast majority of patients who are fearful walking into an appointment discover that it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as they had convinced themselves it would be.

Second, talk with the orthodontist. If you let us know at Melbourne Orthodontics that you’re nervous about a procedure, we’ll do everything we can to fully explain it to you. Talking about it helps!

Finally, learn about relaxation techniques before your procedure. A series of deep breaths can calm you down and slow your heart rate. Wearing headphones during a treatment is another option that helps some people.

The most important thing is that you don’t allow a fear of the orthodontist to cause you to skip out on treatment entirely. We’re here to help you any way that we can, because this is ultimately about your health! Contact our experts at either our Melbourne or our Indian Harbour Beach location today. Talk to us about your fears or anxiety and schedule your next appointment.