how to overcome dental anxiety

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Some people fear their dental appointments. Dental anxiety can get so bad that some people won’t even have their teeth examined no matter how bad it gets. The thought of visiting a dentist can be terrifying for them.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is an extremely strong and unreasonable fear of dentists and dental procedures. The anxiety can get so intense that some people would put off any form of dental care for years and put up with all kinds of infections, pain, or damaged teeth just so they can avoid going to the dentist.

Curiously enough, dental anxiety is fairly common. Over 30 to 40 million Americans avoid visiting the dentist because of their unfounded worries, anxieties, and fear. Not surprisingly, they stand at a higher risk of suffering from gum disease and other types of oral infections.

Causes of Dental Anxiety

People develop anxieties for different reasons. Some people may have experienced pain during an early dental visit that caused them to fear going back to the dentist. Worrying about the cost of a dental procedure can also prevent people from visiting the dentist.

People can also develop phobia when they feel helpless, out of control, or embarrassed. Not knowing if a procedure would hurt or how much it would hurt can trigger anxiety. Embarrassment can also cause anxiety. Not everyone is comfortable with having a stranger looking into their mouth.

Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

If the thought of visiting your dentist fills you with terror, then you are most likely suffering from dental anxiety. However, here are the symptoms of dental anxiety:

  • Trouble sleeping before the dental appointment
  • Increasing nervousness as the appointment looms
  • Feeling like crying when you think of your dental appointment
  • Feeling physically ill with the thought of visiting the dentist
  • Difficulty breathing when objects are placed inside your mouth

Tips to Overcome Dental Anxiety

If you suffer from any of these symptoms of dental anxiety, here are some tips to help you overcome your fears:

Know the cause of your fear.

Once you know what’s causing your fear, you will be able to work towards finding a solution to this fear.

Bring someone with you to your dental appointment.

Get a family member or a friend to come with you. It is comforting to have a familiar face around. This can help reduce your fears and anxiety.

Ask what to expect from your treatment. 

Knowing what to expect can help assuage your fears. Ask your dentist to provide expectations and step-by-step insights in regards to your dental treatment. Knowing can help provide emotional relief.

Ask to be sedated.

If you feel like you cannot go through the procedure because of your debilitating fear and anxiety, you can ask your dentist to sedate you throughout the entire procedure if possible.

Choose the best dentist

Choose a dentist who understands what you are going through and who would minimize or eliminate your fears and anxieties. A good dentist will listen and acknowledge your fears. Get recommendations from families and friends, or do online research. 

Dental anxiety can cause huge problems for you and your oral health, so make sure to find a dentist who could help you find a solution to help you overcome your fears. Contact us if you have questions on how we can help you deal with your fears and anxieties.