11 Nov Overcoming Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is quite common among Americans. According to reliable sources, dental anxiety affects about 36 per cent of the population; It is caused either due to an unpleasant experience with a dentist or other fears.
However, rather than avoid going to the dentist entirely because of your fear, you should be focused on finding the right dentist and fixing your dental anxiety. In addition, you can ask for recommendations from your friends or colleagues and ask how they cope with dental stress if they suffer from it. Still, here are some causes and solutions to dental anxiety.
Fear Of Loss Of Control
Patients often have to lean back with their mouths wide open, unable to see what’s happening in a dentist’s office; this can cause a feeling of helplessness or loss of control and hence, dental anxiety in most patients. Fortunately, talking to your dentist before the procedure and having your doctor explain the whole process to you can help you feel more relaxed.
Fear Of Pain
One of the most common reasons for dental anxiety is fear of pain caused by a traumatic dental experience or tales of pain from others. Thus, even though most dental procedures are painless, informing your dentist about your fear of pain will help them choose the right treatment for you.
Many patients fear going to the dental clinic because they fear the embarrassment they might feel about their tooth’s appearance or feel self-conscious about possible mouth odour. Fortunately, experienced dentists are trained to deal with all sorts of dental issues. So, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed if you have the right dentist.
How To Overcome Dental Anxiety
Overcoming dental anxiety might be difficult but avoiding dental visits puts you at risk of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. So, here are some ways to cope with dental stress.
Relaxation and Meditation
Meditation is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety. It involves remaining calm for some time using techniques such as focus or mindfulness. You can meditate before and during your appointment.
Thus, once you are seated in your dentist’s office and begin to feel anxious before your appointment, take some time to close your eyes and focus on releasing tension in your entire body. You could try other relaxation techniques such as deep, controlled breathing, meditation, or stretches. Also, you could ask your dentist for appropriate sedation techniques to help you relax if you have extreme dental phobia.
Let Your Dentist Know
Informing your dentist about your anxiety makes a huge difference because they can only take steps to make the process easier and give you personalized care if you speak up about your fears. Thus, don’t hesitate to communicate with your dentist about your concerns.
Ask questions about the process and recommendations for feeling more comfortable during the appointment. While it is normal that you might feel embarrassed about your pain tolerance or anxiety, understand that your dentist has had many similar experiences and knows the right way to help you.
Bring A Friend Or Distraction
Having a close friend or family around during your appointment can help you feel safer and more comfortable. Ask your dentist if you may be accompanied into the exam room by your friend. If yes, the person may talk to you during your appointment to help you feel calm even if you can’t speak to this person.
You could also bring along other sources of distraction that could help you take your mind off your anxiety during your appointment, such as listening to music through your headphones or occupying your hands with a stress ball. Some dental offices even have television; you could ask your dentist to switch it on.
These are medications used to reduce pain. Dentists usually use nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to relieve pain and minimize moderate anxiety. Typically, you can find analgesia over the counter, but they are also used during dental appointments.
Laughing gas is a colourless and odourless gas breathed in before or during the appointment. The medication is safe and effective for managing anxiety, so check with your dental insurance provider to confirm if they cover nitrous oxide.