There is no reason to be afraid of the dentist - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

There is no reason to be afraid of the dentist

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By Ryan Houston - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB)- 25% of Americans don't go to the dentist because of fear according to the American Dental Association. Whether it's the fear of needles or drills, neglecting your oral health could cost you in the long run.

More dentists are going the extra mile to help calm patients worries. At Zion's Oral Medical Center relaxation is key.

After walking through the doors, you'll hear Gospel Jazz music and see mini water falls. They've learned it's very important to make the patient feel at ease.

From scraping, to needles and even the suction tube, going to the dentist can make you uneasy. "Most people become afraid of the dentist from the past experiences," said Dentist at Zion Oral Medical Center Dr. Shootes. 

Dr. Shootes has been a dentist for more than 15 years and had to deal with scared patients. "They have this preconceived notion that the dentist is out to hurt or torture them," she said. 

What scares people the most are all the sharp objects around the room and being wide awake while the work is taking place. "We're at a disadvantage compared to someone who goes to the operating room to have surgery. They have an anesthesiologist to put them to sleep," said Dr. Shootes. 

There's two types of fear when it's time to sit in the chair Anxiety Disorder, and Dental Phobia. "Some people are afraid of the dentist that is Dental Phobia. Others have Anxiety Disorder or mental disorders and start hyperventilating," said Dr. Shootes.

However her team has put together a plan. From soothing music, to massaging and strategically placed water falls relaxation happens. "I know if I get the patient relaxed, I'm joking and talking with them. They're more than likely to come back and finish the work," she said. 

Coming back for those routine cleanings is important. If you don't, you're just opening wide to let disease in. "We often see patients that have totally neglected their mouths. And their overall health has deteriorated," said Dr. Shootes. 

Getting over the fear of the dentist is not only good for you but your health too. Once the dentist diagnosis your fear there's a couple of ways to deal with it.

For Dental phobia you may be given an Oral Sedative. But with an anxiety disorder you're prescribed a pill the day before surgery.

Not only does relaxation help the patients but the dentist as well. Dentists like to be relaxed so they can provide the best work possible.

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