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Tips To Cope With Dental Anxiety

Going to the dentist is a widespread cause of anxiety for many people. Up to a quarter of the population experiences some form of dental related anxiety. Dental anxiety can be mild to severe and be caused by various factors such as fear of procedures, needles, aversion to sounds at the dentist, fear of the unknown, health-related anxiety, etc.

Also, a person’s mouth is a very personal area, and it may bring a feeling of discomfort to have it checked. If you experience a form of dental anxiety, you are not alone, and there are many ways to help reduce and even alleviate the stress you experience. 

Sometimes, dental anxiety keeps a person from visiting the dentist. What may have been a simple procedure, or a simple dental cleaning, ends up being more extensive and invasive, contributing to further dental anxiety. This will lead to more dental-related issues and cause minor problems to become significant problems, such as leading to gum disease, cavities and infections. Avoiding a trip to the dentist can cause pain, discomfort, trouble with biting and chewing, self-esteem issues and can even be detrimental to overall health and oral health is linked to body health. 

Listed below are some common symptoms of dental anxiety. These symptoms are experienced at the thought of a trip to the dentist or when visiting the dentist. Your dentist will monitor you for any of these symptoms during your appointment, and it is essential to let your dentist know if you experience dental anxiety.

  • Hot flashes
  • Feeling of uneasiness 
  • Feeling faint 
  • Withdrawal 
  • Sweating 
  • Palpitations 
  • Hyperventilating or difficulty breathing 
  • Crying 
  • Difficulty sleeping the night before 

Dental anxiety, like general anxiety, is very personal and can have many causes that may be difficult to pinpoint. Some common causes of dental anxiety could be past negative experiences, fear of pain, fear of loss of control, trust issues, etc. There may also be a genetic link that predisposes a person to experience some forms of anxiety. If you are aware of what may trigger your stress, it is essential to share this with your dentist so they can help take measures to combat it. 

Tips for Your Dental Anxiety

First and foremost, be sure to get yourself to the dentist. By attending routine oral care appointments, your oral hygiene will stay in top shape, and the likelihood of requiring extensive dental treatment is very low.

Talk with your dentist and dental hygienist about your dental anxiety. Never be embarrassed to share your worries and concerns. As stated above, dental anxiety is common. In other words, try to trust your dentist! If your oral care provider knows how you feel, they can better help you cope with the anxiety.

Your dentist can prescribe something before the appointment to help calm you down or provide nitrous oxide during the appointment in certain situations. Your dental office may also have equipment and tools to help you relax, such as calming music, stress balls, blankets and aromatherapy. There is also medication as an option for dental anxiety. 

If you are experiencing dental anxiety, please get in touch with us today to come in for an appointment. We can discuss options and find a treatment plan that works best for you. 

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