Dental anxiety is experienced by millions of people all across the world. Fears of pain, needles, going under and the dental drill is widespread. Luckily, your dentist can help you to overcome dental anxiety.
How to tell if someone has dental anxiety
If the person feels stressed, pressured, fearful or anxious when in a dental setting then the person most likely suffers from dental anxiety. Hearing about dental procedures or seeing a dentist and the equipment used, can also bring out dental anxiety.
Overcoming dental anxiety
Dental anxiety will not go away on its own. It is an issue that has to first be identified, expressed and dealt with accordingly.
The first step to overcoming dental anxiety is identifying the fear. What exactly has the person spooked? Is it the drills? The lights? The needles? Figuring out what triggers the person to get anxious will aid in figuring out how to treat it.
If the person does not already have a regular dentist, they should choose one who is friendly and welcoming. The wrong dentist will only increase fear and anxiety, especially in children. If the person already has a dentist, assess the dentist. Has the dentist been accommodating and does the dentist listen to the fears that are expressed?
The patient should then proceed to the expression of fear and dental anxiety. If the patient is uncomfortable with speaking directly to the dentist about their dental anxiety, bring a trusted friend or family member along who can be a source of comfort or even express the fear to the dentist.
The dentist should then provide acknowledgment, comfort, and assurance to the patient to ensure security.
Here are some solutions to some of the most common dental fears:
Pain: Pain is at the top of the list of reasons why some people shy away from the dentist. No matter how much pain they are already in from their bad tooth, they believe that the pain will only increase when dealt with by a dentist.
To help patients overcome this fear, the dentist may administer numbing gels or anesthetics to reduce pain. They may also engage in breathing exercises with the patient, as tensing up will only increase the sensitivity to pain.
“Going Under”: Many people are afraid of anesthesia because they fear they will not wake up. Others worry they may wake up during the procedure and be in immense pain. Some people even believe they will not be able to control their body and will suffocate or choke.
To help patients overcome this fear, dentists may educate the patient on this subject and help them to find comfort in knowing that the chances of that happening are highly unlikely.
Needles: The fear of needles is one of the most common phobias in the world today. This is usually caused by an overestimation of the amount of blood loss or the amount of pain that will be experienced.
This fear can be overcome through the use of numbing gels, taking a deep breath or even having someone hold the patient’s hand. It may be suggested that the patient does not look while needles are within the area of their mouth.
Dental drill: Having a fear of the dental drill is not uncommon and stems from the sound that the drill makes. Operations that require the use of the drill are pain-free as the area is usually numbed.
To combat this fear, the dentist may allow patients to wear earphones to listen to their favorite songs in order to calm them down and to also distract them.
No matter what the source of your dental anxiety is, your dentist can help you to overcome it. Give them a call today to make an appointment and watch your fears go away in no time!