One of the biggest challenges of the pandemic is finding the right balance. We want to exercise judicious caution while still trying to live our lives close to normal. One of the biggest problems in this context is figuring out when to seek preventive and routine care. For dental health, people should still be getting regular checkups, because it is safe to do so, and it can help people avoid dental problems and health emergencies later on.
While many people are still getting their routine dental care, we know that many are not. Even though we are following the recommended safety protocols, some patients still worry and are not getting their regular dental checkups. Now a new study confirms that avoiding preventive care is linked to symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
Fortunately, at our office, we are experienced in dealing with dental anxiety. If you know you need dental care, but are having a hard time scheduling or keeping your appointment, sedation dentistry might be able to help.
Anxiety Symptoms Common
For this study, researchers looked at data from the Household Pulse Survey, conducted by the US Census Bureau. This survey of over 73,000 US adults seeks to collect data on the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. They found that people who experienced four common symptoms of anxiety or depression were more than twice as likely to avoid getting medical care, even if they needed medical attention.
In the study, 41% of people delayed medical care in June, and nearly a third avoided needed medical care.
Of course, anxiety symptoms were very common, with 65% of people reporting that they were nervous or anxious, and 56% saying they weren’t able to stop worrying. In addition, 53% said they had little interest in doing things and 52% reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless.
Researchers said doctors should help people work through their anxiety so that they can get needed care. They said that doctors should proactively take steps to help patients get through these problems.
They also noted that remote care for these symptoms, sometimes called teletherapy or telepsychiatry, can be very effective.
We Can Help You Get Past Anxiety
If you find that anxiety is keeping you from getting dental care, let us reassure you: it is safe to visit the dentist during the pandemic. We have decades of experience in providing safe care while avoiding disease transmission. Dental offices never shut down because of transmission risk, but, rather, to preserve protective equipment that was in short supply and to offer emergency dental care to reduce the burden on emergency departments. We can talk to you about our safety measures and how they help to minimize risk.
However, we understand from long experience that anxiety doesn’t always respond to reason. We have been helping people overcome their dental anxiety for years, and we can help those who have only recently started to experience anxiety. Whether you’re looking for a calming, gentle dentist, or feel you need sedation dentistry, we know how to help you overcome your anxiety.