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For some of us, going to the orthodontist or dentist is as terrifying as an episode of “American Horror Story” or the latest slasher/zombie apocalypse/haunted mansion movie. In fact, according to All About Counseling, an estimated 14% of Americans get the heebie jeebies when they go in for dental appointments, with 6% of those people suffering from extreme phobia related to orthodontics and dentistry. The fear of going to the dentist, often referred to as odontophobia or dentophobia, is understandable given the sharp and shiny objects lined up next to you on the tray coupled with the whir and buzz of the machines going into your mouth. However, it is possible to overcome odontophobia. Here are a few steps you can try to make those trips to the dentist or orthodontist a lot less scary.

Establish open communication with your dentist/orthodontist.

As in most human interactions, it’s a lot easier to stomach spending an hour or more with someone when you know a little something about them. The feeling that you’re dealing with a complete stranger with his or her hands in your mouth can be awkward even if you don’t have any qualms about dental care visits. It’s important to keep in mind that your dentist or orthodontist is a person, too! If you’re a new patient, establish an open line of communication with your dental office that allows you to meet the staff, dentist/orthodontist, and grow to feel comfortable in the office environment. Consider stopping by before your actual appointment to better familiarize yourself with the culture as well as the vibe of those working at the office. At Birmingham Orthodontics, the mission is always to make the patient feel safe, comfortable, and informed. In fact, the first visit to the office is devoted entirely to giving the patient a tour, getting to know them, and giving them an opportunity to meet the orthodontist and support staff. Birmingham Orthodontics makes certain the patient is at ease with his or her prescribed course of action and is completely ready before any dental work is ever performed. Call 205-545-8104 to begin developing a relationship with your orthodontist and team of dental technicians today!

Ask away!

Once you’re in the office, the glint of the metal equipment and the mystery of the machines around you can often feel overwhelming. Feel free to inquire about the function of the items you see. Often times the fear of the unknown is what intensifies the queasy stomach sensations you may experience while at the dentist or orthodontist. The physicians and support staff at any reputable office will be more than happy to answer any questions you have about what the things around you do.

Drown out the noise.

For many people, the loud noises associated with dental visits can be unnerving. To ease the whirring and grinding you may hear, bring ear plugs. Muffling the noise can ease the nervous tension that builds when the sounds of fixing or adjusting your smile begin to feel frightening. Just be sure to let your dental care provider and their staff know that you are wearing them to avoid any confusion.

Be proactive when it comes to your dental health.

They say the best offense is a good defense, and this is completely true when it comes to your dental health. If you feel uneasy about having to visit the dentist or orthodontist, regular brushing and flossing can most certainly keep your time in that tilted chair to a minimum. Be sure to engage in a healthy dental regiment and be mindful of your teeth when it comes to eating super crunchy foods or items that contain large amounts of sugar. NEVER use your teeth to tear wrappers open (your mom was right about this one!), and keep your enamel safe by brushing in light, circular motions. To learn more about preventive strategies for a healthy smile, schedule a free consultation today.


At Birmingham Orthodontics, our mission is simple:  we create smiles.  Not only do we straighten the crooked grin, fix the bite, and adjust the jaw, we also brighten yearbooks, help young people come to like their looks, and give adults the confidence they have wanted for a long, long time.  We also believe in our staff. Our culture of continuous learning has allowed us to host monthly training sessions for each team and bring in leading industry consultants to help keep us ahead of the curve.  Contact us for a free consultation, or any questions you might have.

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