Dental anxiety is usually common in children due to how dentistry is portrayed on television and in movies. But in rare cases, it also happens to adults because of various reasons. If you wish to know how to deal with dental anxiety and how you can overcome this once and for all, consult your dentist.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
The reason why people are afraid of dentists varies from their past personal experiences. The fear of dental visits and the thought of being examined in the mouth often starts in childhood. Oftentimes, they gradually learn how to cope and manage it as they age, but for some people, overcoming dental phobia can be quite difficult.
Here are the most common reasons why people experience dental anxiety:
- Unpleasant experience with dental or other healthcare professionals. This could be due to improper handling of the patient and incorrect way of doing procedures causing them to feel extreme discomfort during their dental visits.
- The patient has injuries or trauma in the neck and head making it very uncomfortable for them to sit steadily for a long period of time. Dental procedures often take an hour to finish which could be unbearable for someone who is suffering from head and neck issues.
- Dental anxiety also occurs when the patient has been through an abusive incident that relates to dentistry. For example, her old dentist has taken advantage of her when she was under anesthesia or unconscious.
- The patient is diagnosed with general anxiety which basically makes them anxious about almost everything, including dentists and dental procedures.
- Fear of having their personal space invaded. Some people are not fond of having someone extremely close to them physically. Unfortunately, it is necessary for a dentist to get close to their patients for them to be able to examine their oral condition.
- Anxiety over losing control. Dental check-ups mean that you will have to sit still in a chair as the dentist does his job in examining your entire mouth. For people who are used to having control over themselves, this could cause intense uneasiness.
- Untrusty patients often experience anxiety most especially during their first visit to a specific dentist. Mostly it’s because they do not trust easily and it takes time before they fully put their faith in someone.
- Other phobias that may relate to exhibiting fear by being in a dental environment like fear of needles, fear of blood, fear of closed spaces, etc.
Signs Of Dental Anxiety
You may not be aware that you are suffering from dental anxiety. Oftentimes you just brush it off and delay your appointment without realizing the impact of it on your oral health. Listed below are the common symptoms of dental anxiety:
- Sweating during the whole dental visit.
- Fast heartbeat due to intense fear and panic.
- This rarely happens but extreme terror also leads to the client fainting.
- Obvious nervousness, can’t stay in one place to calm down.
- Acting odd, trying to conceal your fear by over laughing or crying.
If you are experiencing these signs during your dental visits, talk to your dentist immediately. They can help you feel at ease and comfortable as much as they can.
Managing Dental Anxiety
Once you inform your dentist of your anxiety, they will most probably come up with a solution to make you feel safe and secured during the treatment. Some of the things that they do to manage a patient with dental fears are:
- Induce you with nitrous oxide or also known as laughing gas. You will be inhaling this sedative to help you relax and feel uncontrollably happy, hence, the laughing gas tag.
- Gently explain the procedure and the sensation that you might feel the entire time.
- Dentists can help you by giving you permission to pause the treatment so you can relax first.
- They ask their patients from time to time if they are doing okay and if they need a break.
While your dentist is more than happy to help you manage your dental anxiety, it would still be more helpful if you start overcoming your fears by yourself. There are a few things that you can do to combat fear permanently.
- Choose a dentist who you can relate to. It’s important to find someone that can listen to your concerns and address your fears.
- Don’t go alone. When visiting your dentist, bring a trusted companion. This will make you feel more at ease.
- Talk to your dentist. You can always tell your dentist if you are feeling uncomfortable so they can make adjustments.
- Learn calming and relaxation strategies prior to your appointment. This may include listening to music, redirecting your attention to happy thoughts, or breathing techniques.
- Determine the root cause of your anxiety. By doing so, you will be able to come up with a solution to overpower your fear and defeat it stably.