Fear of the dentist is extremely common, but very few people understand that it can turn into full blown anxiety. Here’s how to overcome dental anxiety, what things you need to know, and what all you can do to prepare yourself.
Almost everyone feels some dental anxiety during their life, from mild apprehension to full-blown fear. Fear of the dentists can keep people from getting the dental care they need, which can be challenging to overcome.
However, you can manage your dental stress and get the care you need with a little effort. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Fear of sitting in the dental chair is a condition characterized by feelings of fear, apprehension, and dread about dental care. Symptoms of dental anxiety may include sweating, increased heart rate, nausea, and dizziness.
Some people with dental anxiety may experience a full-blown panic attack. Dental anxiety can lead to avoiding dental appointments and necessary treatments, leading to poorer oral health.
Dental anxiety is relatively common, affecting 36 percent of people. It is more common in women than men and peaks during young adulthood. However, children and older adults can also experience dental anxiety.
Symptoms Of Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is a very real thing, and it can manifest itself in several ways. If you’re feeling anxious about going to the dentist, you might experience some of the following symptoms:
- A feeling of dread or foreboding
- A racing heart
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to talk to your dentist so they can help put you at ease. There are several ways to manage dental anxiety, and your dentist will be able to help you find the best solution for your needs.
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Causes Of Dental Anxiety
There are many different reasons why people may experience dental anxiety. For some, it may be due to a previous bad experience at the dentist. Others may feel anxious about the potential pain associated with dental procedures.
Still, others may be afraid of the unknown, or may fear the loss of control when sitting in a dental office. Whatever the cause, dental anxiety can be a natural barrier to getting the dental care you need.
Here are some of the most common reasons why people avoid the dentist office:
Fear of pain
Many people worry that dental procedures will be painful. While it is true that some procedures can cause discomfort, modern dentistry has come a long way in minimizing pain. Most dental procedures are relatively pain-free with today’s technology and anesthesia options.
Fear of needles
Many people who experience fear of dental practice are afraid of needles. Irrational fears such as these can be hard to combat.
There may be alternatives that can be used in place of traditional injections. If you are worried about needles, discuss this with your dentist beforehand. Some people might have had a bad dental experience which may be causing them to fear dental treatments.
Fear of the unknown
For some people, simply not knowing what to expect from the situation at the dentist can cause anxiety. If you are worried about what will happen during your appointment, talk to your dentist ahead of time. They will be happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
Fear of embarrassment
Some people worry they will feel embarrassed or self-conscious during their dental appointments. If this is a concern for you, let your dentist know. They will make every effort to make you feel comfortable and will not judge you based on your dental health.
Fear of the dentist
Some people have a fear of the dentist. This may be due to a bad experience in the past or a general feeling of uneasiness around dental professionals.
If this is the case, many resources are available to help you overcome your fear. Your dentist can refer you to a therapist who specializes in treating dental anxiety, or you can look for resources online or in books.
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How Can Dental Anxiety Affect Your Oral Hygiene?
Dental anxiety is very common, affecting up to one in three people. It can have a significant impact on your oral health and your overall well-being.
If you experience dental anxiety, you may avoid going to the dentist. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which can be painful and challenging to treat. Anxiety in patients can also make it harder to manage other health conditions, such as diabetes.
Simple Tricks for Overcoming Fear of Dental Treatment
Fear of dental treatment is one of the most common phobias in America.
There are several reasons why people may feel anxious about visiting the dentist. For some, it may be a fear of pain or needles. Others may have had a bad experience that left them scared or nervous.
Whatever the reason, dental fears can be a real barrier to getting the dental care you need. If you’re someone who experiences dental anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help ease your fears and make your next visit to the dentist more comfortable.
Here Are Four Simple Tricks For Overcoming Dental Anxiety:
1. Talk to your dentist
The first step to overcoming fear of dentists is communicating your concerns to your dentist. Many dentists are happy to help put their patients at ease and take extra care to ensure you’re comfortable during your appointment.
2. Listen to calming music during your appointment.
Calming music during your dental appointment can help you relax and feel more comfortable. Ask your dentist if you can bring a portable music player or use their headphones to listen to soothing music while they work.
3. Use relaxation techniques.
Several relaxation techniques can help manage dental anxiety. Deep breathing, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation are effective ways to help you stay calm during your appointment.
4. Ask for sedation dentistry.
Your dental appointment does not necessarily have to be a painful experience. If your dental anxiety is severe, you may want to ask your dentist about sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry involves using nitrous oxide or oral sedatives to help you relax during your appointment. There are various types of sedation available, so be sure to talk to your dentist about which treatment options would be best for you.
Overcoming anxiety disorders can be a challenge, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. If you’re anxious about an upcoming dental appointment, you can also consider taking therapy sessions to reduce your fear.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How can I calm my dental nerves?
There are a few things you can do to calm your dental nerves:
Try to relax and take slow, deep breaths.
Focus on something else in the room and distract yourself from the procedure.
Ask the dentist or hygienist to stop if you need a break.
Tell yourself that it will be over soon and that you can handle it.
How do dentists stop panic attacks?
There are a few different ways dentists can help stop panic attacks. One of the most common is by providing relaxation techniques or sedation dentistry. This can help calm the person during a panic attack and make it less likely that they will experience one in the future.
Another way dentists can help is by treating any underlying dental conditions that may trigger panic attacks. For example, if someone has a fear of needles, their dentist may be able to provide them with numbing gel or a local anesthetic to help them feel more relaxed during treatment.
Should I be embarrassed of the dentist?
You might wonder if you should feel embarrassed when seeing the dentist. After all, they look into your mouth and see all of your teeth. However, there is no need to feel ashamed! The dentist is there to help you keep your teeth healthy and clean. So don’t be afraid to ask them any questions you might have about your oral health.
Being anxious about a dental appointment is extremely common, and nothing to be ashamed of. If you are feeling nervous, or have been avoiding an appointment, know that this behavior can be extremely bad for your oral hygiene.
There are many things that you can do to avoid this anxiety, and we have outlined some of them in the article above. Thank you for reading, and we hope we were able to help you with your fear of the dentist chair.