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Alexis Dobranowski would rather be anywhere but here. I’ve never loved going to the dentist but I think after my wisdom teeth experience which was, I guess in my late teens that’s when my fear began to compound. Her stitches broke open after the surgery meaning the work had to be redone. She also had braces for four years, permanently linking dental work and pain in her mind. About one in five people have some fear of going to the dentist, often stemming from a traumatic experience of general life anxiety says Dr. Carilynne Yarascavitch. Really the first thing patients should do is tell their dentist they are afraid and make sure they talk as specifically as they can. So are you afraid of the needle, are you afraid of the the sights, the sounds? Is it the smells? Is it the general environment? She says the more your dental team knows, the better the plan of coping can be put into action. One of the best ways to cope is to try and establish control. So either hand signals or some methods to let your dentist know when you might need a break.

Some other techniques: deep breathing can help calm you during unpleasant moments, distraction through music, podcasts or video is very effective. Asking your dental team about medications that can help sedate or relax you helps. And be realistic. Dr. Yarascavitch says despite fears, a lot of dental work is now relatively pain free. So even having root canal is mostly boring and not painful at all, it just takes a long time. In Canada, one in twenty people have a dental phobia, or an overriding fear that they can’t cope. More than half of these patients don’t get regular dental care. Dr. Yarascavitch says that can have huge health implications as small problems are missed and can turn into big ones.

Cavities, gum disease, early signs of oral cancer and other abnormalities of the mouth, neck and face are all on the radar during a dental exam. Alexis says, this is what motivates her. Realizing that it is a key to your health I think is important for me so that even though I am scared I can do it. She also found a new dentist she trusts and does her best to brush and floss properly between visits, hoping to minimize the possibility of needing any serious dental work down the road. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys. .

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