What Is Dental Anxiety?
An estimated 9% to 15% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety and fear. Those with dental anxiety usually feel a sense of uneasiness when they go to the dentist. They usually have unfounded worries or fears.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
People with dental anxiety develop it for many reasons. Some of those reasons are:
- Pain: Some people who have not seen a dentist in the year have said it was because of a fear of pain. This fear is most common in adults 24 years of age or older.
- Feelings of Helplessness and Loss of Control: With some people when they are in a dental chair they have to sit still. With them not being able to see what is going on or know if they are going to get hurt. It is not uncommon for them to feel helpless or out of control and this can trigger anxiety.
- Embarrassment: People might feel ashamed or embarrassed when a stranger is looking inside their mouth. This could be a problem if the person is self-conscious about how their teeth look. When at the dentist it usually requires physical closeness and this can make people anxious or uncomfortable.
- Negative Past Experiences: Often when someone has had a negative dental visit in the past, they are more likely to be more anxious to see the dentist again.
Ways to Self-Soothe Before Your Next Visit
If you have a dental visit coming up and are feeling anxious there are a few things you can do to help self-soothe to curb your anxiety.
- It helps to share your fears. If your dentist and dental staff know that you are feeling anxious, they will work with you to make your appointment as easy as possible.
- Make sure you are breathing regularly and slowly during your visits. At times when someone is feeling nervous or anxious, they tend to hold their breath. Doing this decreases the oxygen levels and will further increase your anxiety.
- Listening to music. If your dentist will allow taking along something to listen to and some earbuds.
- It is good to watch what you eat. Avoid eating or drinking anything with caffeine before your visit. It is good to eat foods that are high in protein, they produce a calming effect.
- Use hand signals to help communicate with your dentist. This will help to empower yourself during your visit because when you start to feel uncomfortable, you will be able to signal to the dentist what is going on.
- When choosing the time for your appointment, it is best to choose a time that will lessen the chance for you to feel rushed or under pressure.
- Check the reviews on the dentist you are thinking about visiting. If you have friends or family that have seen that particular dentist, ask them what they thought and how the visit went.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
In some cases when the anxiety gets to be too much for the patient, the dentist may offer a form of sedation. With sedation, the dentist will use a form of medication to help the patient through their visit. There are different levels of sedation that are used. They include:
- Minimal Sedation- With this form, you are still awake, but you are relaxed.
- Moderate Sedation- You may not remember much of your procedure and have trouble with slurring your words when you speak.
- Deep Sedation- Although you are on the edge of sleep, you are still able to be awakened.
- General Anesthesia- With general anesthesia you are completely asleep.
Don't Let Anxiety Get in the Way of Your Next Dental Visit
The dental practice of Rush Creek Dentistry is understanding when it comes to dental anxiety. They will work with you to help your next visit go smoothly and comfortably.