Dental phobia or dental anxiety affects at least 75% of the adult population in the United States. Most people can live with having some anxiety about going to the dentist but for others, the visit can be quite terrifying. Having fear or anxiety about going to the dentist is not something to be ashamed of, in fact it is extremely common.
There are many causes of dental anxiety including:
- Fear of pain
- Negative past experiences
- Feeling of helplessness without having control
Although both can be very stressful, dental anxiety and dental phobia are two very different conditions. While a person with dental anxiety will have a sense of uneasiness when it is time for their appointment, their worries and fear will often be exaggerated. Dental phobia is a more serious condition in which the individual may never visit a dentist and the result could lead to gum disease, dental decay, and early tooth loss.
Here are a few recommendations for managing dental anxiety:
For many people, dental phobia means living with pain for far too long.
- Communicate with your dental team. The sign of a good dentist/patient relationship starts with communication and trust. Discuss your anxieties before a treatment or procedure to help put your mind at ease.
- Focus on your breathing during your appointment. Maintain regularity and breathe slowly. If you start to feel uncomfortable, we want you to understand that you have the ability to stop the procedure for a break.
- Avoid caffeine entirely before your appointment.
- Choose a convenient time for your appointment so that you will not feel rushed or have any additional pressure.
- If the sound of drilling makes you uncomfortable, bring music and headphones with you.
Many people who suffer from dental phobia haven’t been to the dentist in years. They may be ignoring the pain their teeth have been causing them and have a substantial amount of dental work that needs to be done. For these patients, we suggest sedation dentistry. Using safe and effective sedation methods, patients are completely relaxed during their dental procedure and often have no memory of their appointment afterward. For more information on sedation dentistry and its benefits, click here. If you would like to book an appointment or speak to our staff, call our office at (603) 716-9812.