If going to the dentist makes you nervous and afraid, you are not alone. It is very normal to worry and feel some degree of uneasiness before a dental appointment.
But aggressive forms of dental fear and anxiety that extend beyond being mildly unsettling can lead to poor oral health. Whatever the root cause is that keeps you from attending dentist appointments should be addressed. Dental phobia is a real thing and can be conquered.
Dental phobia can leave people terrified and panic-stricken. People will usually only go to the dentist when in severe pain and are forced to do so. Working through dental anxiety can enable you to get the preventative care you may need. The fact remains that dental care is vital to your overall health.
Causes of Dental Phobia
Fear of pain
A fear that the dentist might cause you pain sometimes stems from an unpleasant dental experience or stories told by other people. The perception can affect your reality and generate excessive anxiety.
Dental care neglect
People who neglect their dental care can become embarrassed and lack confidence in their appearance.
Fear of injections and anesthesia
Many people are afraid of needles, especially when they are inserted into the mouth. If anesthesia is involved, the fear of the shot not working or that it may cause side effects, can potentially cause anxiety.
Dental exam sounds
Dental exams and procedures involve a lot of sounds such as the drill which can cause fear in some people.
Personal space invaded
Some people have issues with their personal space being invaded which is not fully understood but can cause dental anxiety.
Nearly seventy-five percent of Americans report some level of dental anxiety. Unfortunately, this fear or anxiety may cause one out of seven to avoid going to the dentist for years, or even decades.
Read also: Easing Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist
Discuss your dental anxiety with the dentist. Once your fears are addressed, your dentist will be able to work with you to determine the best way to manage your anxiety effectively. The more mentally prepared you are for what’s to come, the more comfortable you will be during dental visits.
Ways to Reduce Anxiety During a Dental Visit
Finding the right dental practice
When looking for the right dental office, ask how they help to cater to people who have dental anxiety. At Maestri Dental, we offer sedation dentistry options and a comfortable space with amenities to help our patients with dental anxiety.
To make sure you do not wait too long to see the dentist, arrive a little early and bring a book or magazine to help distract you.
Bring a friend or family
Knowing someone is waiting for you in the lobby area can make you feel more relaxed during the visit.
Find a dental care office that provides entertainment, such as televisions and a WiFi connection to help you ease the anxiety.
Create a signal
Establish a signal such as raising your hand when you become uncomfortable and want the dentist to stop, even to just catch your breath.
Plan for time off
To feel less rushed or anxious about going back to school or work, plan for enough time off or consider an end-of-the-day appointment.
The more serious the anxiety, the more problematic oral health outcomes become if dental care is ignored. This can lead to other oral and overall health conditions.
Poor oral health care is known to be linked to major health illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, premature babies, and respiratory disease. Taking care of your teeth is more than protecting the quality of your smile.
Symptoms of Dental Anxiety
- Hot flashes
- Upset stomach
- Difficulty breathing
One of the first things people will usually notice about you is your smile. But having healthy teeth is not just for looking good. Your oral health can affect your ability to taste, eat, and communicate with others.
Maestri Dental takes anxiety very seriously and will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help relieve your fears through our gentle sedation dentistry options.
You deserve to enjoy a beautiful smile and healthy life. You are in good hands with Maestri Dental.