How to combat dental anxiety

How to Combat Dental Anxiety

May 1, 2023

Regular visits to the dentist near you help you maintain a healthy and attractive smile. Visiting the dentist regularly also contributes to a healthy body and general well-being. However, some people miss out on the benefits of professional oral healthcare due to dental anxiety. Read on to learn what causes dental anxiety and how to combat it.

What Is Dental Anxiety, and What Causes It?

It is the fear, stress, or anxiety a person experiences when thinking about going to the dentist. Dental anxiety affects patients of all ages, causing them to avoid or delay dental visits. As a result, they suffer poor oral health and risk various general health issues.

Dental anxiety can be caused by the issues below.

  • A fear of pain caused by past painful dental experiences or stories from other people about their painful experiences.
  • Experiencing vulnerability or feeling out of control while the procedure is underway.
  • Fear of needles or injections administered by the dentist
  • Embarrassment due to bad breath or poor condition of the teeth
  • Invasion of personal space by the dental staff during treatment
  • Trust issues

Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

People with dental anxiety only experience the fear when visiting a dental office or talking about a dental treatment. Therefore, you will not notice the signs of dental anxiety the rest of the time. You can determine if someone has dental anxiety by looking for certain signs. Once you notice them, notify the dentist in Phoenix, AZ, and they will help you overcome the fear.

Someone with dental anxiety may experience heart palpitations, loss of sleep or appetite, and low blood pressure. They may show signs of panic, distress, or physical illness. In addition, the person may become withdrawn, have fainting episodes, or cry for no reason.

Tips to combat dental anxiety

  1. Communicate with your dentist

Talk to them about your fears and concerns. Let them know which part of the process makes you more anxious. In addition, ask questions concerning the upcoming treatment. Doing so will help you feel more prepared, comfortable, and at ease. The dentist will also recommend ways to help you cope with your anxiety.

  1. Practice relaxation techniques

Dental anxiety causes fear and nervousness before or during dental treatments. Fortunately, you can overcome it by using relaxation techniques to ease the nerves. You can relax by watching movies and television shows or listening to personalized calming music. Another relaxation technique involves breathing exercises before and during the process.

  1. Ask for appropriate sedation options.

Sedation dentistry is an option that helps combat dental anxiety. It is the use of medication to ease anxiety so that you can remain calm throughout the procedure. Continuous use of sedatives helps some people to overcome the phobia completely. It is because you will not remember any step of the procedure afterwards.

The dentist at the dental offices in Phoenix will administer a suitable sedative to calm you before and during your treatment. They may give you oral pills to take a few hours before treatment or administer inhaled or IV sedation. They recommend general anesthesia if you are extremely fearful.

  1. Do not go alone

Having someone familiar with a stressful situation can help calm your anxiety. So, do not go to the dental office alone. Get someone you love to accompany you. You can request permission for them to be present throughout the process. Their presence will help you relax and feel safe.

  1. Select and agree on a signal

Dental anxiety can heighten in the middle of a treatment. When this happens, you cannot talk to your dentist since they will be treating inside your mouth. Therefore, you should agree on a hand signal that will alert the dentist to pause at any time during the procedure. A commonly recognized signal is lifting your left hand.

  1. Treat yourself afterwards

Focusing on something positive during the appointment will distract and calm you. So, choose an enjoyable activity after your treatment to have something to look forward to. However, check with your dentist if the activity is suitable to avoid adverse side effects. For example, you can eat some ice cream after teeth whitening due to tooth sensitivity.

Do not allow your dental anxiety to ruin your oral health. Instead, schedule an appointment at Brookstone Dental Care. Our team understands and will help you overcome your fear of receiving dental care.

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