When you have dental fear, phobia or anxiety, enduring dental issues in the time of COVID -19 makes it worse. The lock down has made some of us agoraphobic and mysophobic i.e. fearful of becoming infected by the virus.
We need new coping skills for the lock down caused stress. Reemerging into something resembling normal life becomes more difficult by the contradictory and confusing state of our present world. Having existing dental fears increases the challenge of coping well.
Teledentistry has been helpful, but only to a degree during the lock down. Eventually dental concerns have to be addressed in the dental chair. Stress related bruxing, grinding and clenching, has increased during the last 5 months. The result has been an increase of cracked and broken teeth. Deep cavities, severe gum disease and abscessed teeth need in person care. These can’t be handled virtually.
So how do you overcome your fears? Knowledge empowers you!
Wikipedia has a nice summary about dental fear, anxiety and phobia. Current available treatments and help are covered. Two of the most important take away messages are that it’s a large ‘club’ (you’re not alone) and what can be learned can be unlearned. The same can be said of the stress caused by the virus.
Peoples’ fear ranges from butterflies-in-the –stomach to being a diagnosed mental health issue. The nature and cause of the fear will determine the best way of dealing with it. Many times it can be handled by the dentist and their teams. The more complex the issues the more there may be a need for dental specialists or mental health professionals to assist in the care process.
The first task for you is to understand your enemy – the fear, not the dentist. A source of information is the internet, but not always good information. It’s “buyer beware!”
Below is a list of good quality web sites about dental fear and its mastery. Some of the pages are for the public and some for the professional. All are excellent sources of knowledge.
If you are a DIY type and are looking for “how to” help, look no further, their listed resources are extensive. These excellent sources of information, strategies, treatment information, forums and resources are a good starting point for you and your dentist.
If you visit your dentist infrequently or only when you are in dire straits, arrange to talk to them to explain your concerns. We dentists may feel unloved and unwanted, but we really do want to help!
Remember Oral Wellness, Whole Health is even more important today!
To have a face to face discussion firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time for a virtual discussion with Dr. Filo.