Root Cause of Fear: The Dentist or Lack of Dental Insurance

By: Donna Pleis


Dental Fears

Going to the dentist isn’t normally on anyone’s top-ten list of favorite things to do. But while many of us are a bit nervous at the thought of a dental appointment, millions of people go without necessary dental treatment because of an intense fear of the dentist. Dr. Peter Milgrom, dentist and author of Treating Fearful Dental Patients, estimates that 5% to 8% of Americans never see a dentist due to fear, and excessive anxiety keeps about 20 % from going to the dentist, unless they are in extreme discomfort.

These fears and dental phobias are often the result of unpleasant or painful experiences in the past. But if the high cost of dental work has ever hit your pocketbook, you know that not having dental insurance can also be a painful experience and one that keeps you from getting the dental treatment you need for healthy teeth and gums.

Conquering Dental Phobias

Due to advances in dentistry, dental visits are more tolerable and pain-free than they ever were in the past. And today, dentists are not only more sensitive to the fears of their patients, they are trained in special techniques to make visits less scary and much more pleasant. So, if you’ve been apprehensive about  making that long over-due dental appointment, here are a few strategies that can help make facing your fears easier.

  • Communicate your fears and concerns with your dentist during a consultation appointment.
  • Ease into treatment by scheduling nonthreatening procedures, like examinations and cleanings, before more complicated treatment.
  • Ask your dentist about anesthesia options and sedation dentistry.
  • Try a distraction technique, such as wearing headphones and listening to your favorite music.
  • Learn relaxation routines, like deep breathing or imagining yourself sunbathing on your favorite beach.

Conquering Out-of-Pocket Expenses

After conquering your fear of dentists, the high cost of dentistry could cause your next bout of anxiety. Dental expenses can skyrocket, especially when needing services like root canal treatment, gum surgery or tooth replacements. And even with a dental insurance plan, yearly plan maximums, excluded services, deductibles, and copayments can leave you with substantial out-of-pocket costs.

Not seeing a dentist isn’t a sound solution to this agonizing dilemma, given that little problems can turn into bigger and more expensive problems. That said, the best answer may be a dental discount plan. Dentists, who participate with the plan, discount their usual fees anywhere from 5% to 50%, depending on the procedure.  Not only does a dental discount plan save you money when you are without insurance, it helps reduce out-of-pocket expenses even if you are covered by a traditional dental plan.

You don’t have to let your dental health suffer because of a dental phobia or the lack of  dental insurance. To access a plan that makes dental treatment more affordable, click on the link to the right for a Confident® dental discount plan through Careington®. And any of the Careington® network dentists will be happy to work with you in conquering your dental fears.