How to deal with Dental Anxiety

If you suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia, you are not alone. In fact, it has been estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear (approximately 30 to 40 million people).

Dental AnxietyIf you associate with having dental anxiety, you may get uneasy prior to your appointment. You may have trouble sleeping or feel more nervous as the appointment approaches. If you suffer from actual dental phobia, you may literally fear the dentist and feel physically ill. Many people who have dental anxiety or phobia avoid the dentist altogether and as a result are often living with gum disease or constant pain from decayed or broken teeth.

Dental anxiety or phobia can be caused by different things. Often we hear patients describe a past terrifying, painful experience when they were a child or young adult—something they wish to avoid again at all costs. Even though technology has advanced tremendously to help reduce or eliminate pain at dental visits, it is difficult for people suffering from dental anxiety or phobia to rationalize this due to their past experience. Others may feel extremely embarrassed about the condition of their teeth and have anxiety about having someone examine them closely.

Instead of avoiding the dentist, there are things you can do to help with your dental anxiety or phobia. First, inform the dental office that you have dental anxiety and fill out this “Handle Me with Care” form to let the staff know what specific things bother you or what is most concerning to you. With this information, there are things they can do to help you feel more comfortable such as using a room that is more private, offering headphones for you to listen to music to help keep you calm, or giving more anesthetic if you have a lower pain threshold. In some instances, the doctor may prescribe medication prior to your visit to reduce your anxiety.

If you have been putting off going to the dentist, take the first step and make a dental appointment today. Let the staff know you have anxiety and they will do everything they can to help you feel at ease.

Source: Blog