Dental anxiety is a common problem that people of all ages face when visiting their dentist's office. Oftentimes, anxiety comes from fear of pain or the unknown when in regards to dental conditions or procedures. While it is relatively common to experience dental anxiety, there are a few ways that it can be dealt with.…
Overcoming Dental Anxiety for Your Oral Health
If you struggle with dental anxiety, you are not alone. Your dentist understands that many patients have a lot of fear and worry about visits to the dentist’s office. You might be afraid of pain or anxious that a treatment will be uncomfortable or ineffective. You may not even know why you feel dental anxiety. Overcoming your dental anxiety is vital for your oral health. Here are some ways you can make visiting the dentist a more positive experience.
Open up about fears
Talking to the dentist about anxiety is the first and most productive way of overcoming dental anxiety. Many people experience dental anxiety but never talk to the dentist about it. The dentist may not realize the patient is struggling. Once the patient discusses anxiety with the dentist, the dentist and staff can create a plan of action that minimizes things that could trigger the patient’s anxiety. If the dentist does not take the patient’s fears and concerns seriously, then the patient should try to look for a different dentist.
Feeling out of control
At the dentist’s office, a patient must sit still in the dental chair and allow one or more people to work inside the mouth. Often the patient cannot see what is happening. This can create a lot of anxiety because people feel like they have no control over what is going on around them. Dentists can work with patients to reduce this type of anxiety. The dentist can talk about each instrument and what is happening as it happens. Frequently showing the patient with a mirror or a diagram what the dentist is working on in the mouth can also alleviate anxiety.
Many patients feel embarrassed about anxiety and blame themselves. Dental anxiety is not silly or made-up. There are many tools that dentists can use to reassure patients. Dentists can use a steady dialogue to describe each action, and position mirrors or use diagrams. Some patients want to remain awake during a procedure, and some want to be completely asleep. The dentist can often work with the patient to find the right type of sedative or pain relief to make the patient comfortable emotionally.
Shorter visits for dental anxiety
Sometimes, shortening the length of time the dentist will work in the patient’s mouth can help. This may mean that the dentist will spread out treatment over several visits and work for shorter periods. Patients could also discuss creating a signal that would let the dentist know the patient needs a break. A raised hand would tell the dentist that the patient needs to breathe or that the patient is uncomfortable and wants to stop.
Taking charge of oral health
By talking about your dental anxiety with your dentist, you can establish a positive relationship. Your dentist will understand if you need reassurance and wants to help you feel more comfortable. When you work with the dentist to overcome your dental anxiety, you can take charge of your oral health. Ignoring your dental anxiety could become a barrier to treatment.
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