Do you have an intense fear of the dentist? Does just thinking about going to the dentist make you feel apprehension and pain? You might be one of the 20% of Americans suffering from dental phobia or anxiety. In this article, we will talk about the causes of dental fears and exactly what to do about it.
There are many reasons why someone might feel uneasy around the dentist’s chair. Some common reasons might include:
- Fear of painful dental procedures
- Fear of dental injections
- A previously traumatic or painful experience
- Feeling helpless or not in control
- Embarrassment about the root cause of needing treatment
Symptoms of dental phobia and unease will vary from patient to patient, but some traits include:
- Irrational or extreme fear before a dental appointment
- Difficulty sleeping before an appointment
- Feeling physically ill
- Crying or feeling intense uneasiness around dentists and dental treatments
Patients who are afraid of going to the dentist’s office will avoid going to the dentist altogether. This leads patients to neglect their oral health, which can create issues with the gums and teeth, such as dental decay and gum disease.
If you feel anxious about dental care, then here’s some good news–dentists want to help people overcome their fear. These are some ways a dentist can help their fearful patients:
Numbing gel: Fearful patients may benefit greatly from numbing gels, because they help to dull the pain usually felt during a dental routine.
IV sedation: Extremely fearful dental patients benefit from intravenous (IV) sedation because it works very quickly. This method of sedation also allows the dentist to easily control the amount of sedative in your system.
Oral sedation: Many patients choose to receive oral sedation. Oral sedatives are prescription pills that a patient takes just before their dental visit. The pill helps to encourage relaxation while in the dentist’s chair. If you receive oral sedation, you will need to make arrangements for someone to drive you home after your visit.
Nitrous oxide: This gas, also known as laughing gas, has been used in dentistry since the 18th century. The gas gets its nickname because people feel happy, relaxed, and giggly while under its influence. A dentist will keep the gas flowing steadily until they are finished with the dental work. Afterward, people are free to drive home after the effects have fully worn off.
A good dentist will treat people warmly and calmly to help promote relaxation. However, people who are experiencing dental anxiety can do self-soothing exercises, such as:
Breathing exercises or meditation: Simply breathing in for 4 seconds and then releasing the breath for 4 seconds can help to slow the heart rate and regulate breathing.
Happy distractions: Listening to calming music or watching your favorite TV show are good ways to take your mind off of the treatment room and procedure.
The best way to address your fears is to talk to your dentist. If you tell them that you are prone to anxiety, then they will do everything they can to give you a better experience in their dental office.
Are you avoiding dental visits and neglecting your dental health? At Winter Dental, our caring dental team will treat you like a family member. We want you to have a pleasant experience on your first visit, so feel free to tell us how we can make you more comfortable in the dental chair. Call (303) 424-4567 or visit our website to meet our caring dentists today.