Fear of the dentist or dental anxiety keeps millions of Americans from receiving proper preventive care. As a result, minor toothaches can develop into serious infections, such as gum disease and tooth loss. Then there’s also the issue of orthodontics, specifically of braces, which some people try to Do-it-Yourself, reasoning out costs and other issues pertaining to the orthodontists.
But despite anxiety being a valid psychological issue, it still shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid the dentist. Likewise, financial concerns shouldn’t be a reason to resort to DIY orthodontic solutions. Simply put, there is nothing at all worth risking our oral health for.
That said, here are the reasons behind dental anxiety and DIY braces, and the danger they pose:
Causes of Dental Anxiety
Peter Milgrom, DDS, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of “Treating Fearful Dental Patients,” estimates that between 5% and 8% of Americans fear dentists, and 20% are possibly too anxious that they’d only visit the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary.
About two-thirds of Milgrom’s patients stated that bad experience from the dentist’s office caused their fear, and another third named side effects from dental procedures. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and other traumas may also fear dentists.
Psychologist Ellen Rodino, PhD, states that dental anxiety stems not so much from the pain, but from the lack of control. With patients lying down on their backs and a dentist hovering above them, anxiety floods in, because patients can hardly talk, respond, and feel in control.
The lack of control in the dentist’s office can be connected to the reasons people resort to DIY braces. Aside from the costs of legitimate orthodontic appliances, users of DIY braces may feel more in charge of their oral issues, since the instruments can be bought online and no dental appointment will be needed, thus they won’t be hearing any diagnosis, which could be what they fear the most.
Dangers of Avoiding the Dentist
Gum disease, tooth decay, stains, and other health problems have higher chances of occurring when you avoid the dentist. Even if you brush your teeth daily, preventive care remains necessary, because bacteria joining food particles become plaque that causes decay, and possibly bad breath.
When untreated, tooth decay may develop into gum disease or gingivitis, causing swelling and bleeding. Stains, meanwhile, are obtained from drinking coffee, tea, and wine, and from smoking, resulting in an unattractive smile.
Health problems that may result from lack of oral care include oral cancers, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and kidney failure, all of which a dentist can detect from your teeth and gums.
Dangers of DIY Braces
Only an orthodontist can move your teeth. Doing it yourself damages your gums, teeth, roots, and bones. The rubber bands in DIY braces actually impede blood flow to your gums, leaving them susceptible to irritation and infection.
How to Overcome Fear of Dentists
Orthodontists have been issuing warnings about DIY braces. With regards to the cost, treating teeth damaged from DIY braces or any other neglected oral condition will be more expensive, hence it’s much safer and practical to visit a dentist right away instead of self-diagnosing. Affordable dental and orthodontic procedures are also available, so Americans must consider them, too, before their oral problems get any worse.
Powerful and marketing is also key. Orthodontists may use effective orthodontist SEO techniques so they can provide professional recommendations to people looking for teeth alignment solutions. Their high ranks in search engine results pages will drive people away from DIY and other misinforming websites.
To treat your dental anxiety, choose dentists who cater specifically to patients with this condition. When you’re under the care of the right professional, you’ll gradually overcome all your fears and realize the importance of your oral health, and you’ll never return to your dangerous ways again.