A lot of people suffer from dental anxiety, a condition where the patient experiences stress before/during an appointment with a dentist. Dental anxiety is common. Symptoms include having trouble falling asleep the night before; growing nervousness in the waiting room; sudden physical illness and panicking in the dentist’s chair.
There are several reasons why you could have dental anxiety. Some common reasons are:
- A negative dental experience in the past.
- Fear of losing tooth/teeth.
- A fear of dental pain in certain treatments.
- A fear of loss of control in the dental clinic during the treatment.
- A fear of dental instruments put inside your mouth.
- The smell of the clinical environment.
- A fear of facing embarrassment from the condition of your teeth and gums.
No matter what reasons are associated with your dental anxiety, there are some ways to deal with this fear and stress.
- Have a Talk at the Dental Clinic
If you’re worried, the best way to overcome it is to talk with the dental practice directly. Visit the dental office and share your concern at the reception. Many dental clinics and dentists specialize in handling and treating patients suffering from dental anxiety. The person at the reception will be able to guide you. Ask if you can fix an appointment with the dentist just to talk about your concerns and the treatment options before going through the treatment procedures. Take your time to become comfortable with your dentist before you feel confident enough to go through the dental treatments. Once your dentist knows about your anxiety and fears, he/she will help you overcome them conveniently. So, trust your dentist!
- Bring a Friend Along
Consider bringing a friend to accompany you. Whether your friend keeps you busy in conversation or simply encourages you to overcome your fears, having a friend beside you always helps. A lot of dental clinics and dentists encourage this.
- Listen to Music or Play Games
When you have dental anxiety, the thought of your name being called or the sound of drills while you’re in the waiting room is incredible stressful. To avoid this, carry your iPod and headphones and listen to your favourite songs. Close your eyes and concentrate on the songs. If you’re not a music person, you can play your favourite games on your mobile or tablet and keep your mind busy.
- Consider Dental Sedation
If you’re stressed about potential pain, don’t hesitate to share your concern with your dentist. Ask if s/he’ll allow oral sedatives for your treatment. Your dentist will understand your state of mind and suggest accordingly if your anxiety is reaching the point of phobia. There are several forms of sedatives that’ll help keep you in a state of tranquility. You’ll stay awake, but remain calm as your reasoning power will be temporarily diminished by the sedative. In more severe cases, your dentist may suggest using anesthesia. However, dental sedation or anesthesia will only help your current situation. It won’t help you overcome your dental anxiety permanently.
- Bring Something to Hold On
Bring a hand grip or stress relief stone/ball that you can hold during the treatment. Whenever you get nervous, squeeze it and keep yourself from freaking out in the middle of the dental procedure.
Remember, it’s important to cope with dental anxiety because the more you delay visiting a dentist, the more serious your dental problems could become. Serious dental problems can also be detrimental to your overall health. Various studies have established the link between gum diseases and heart attacks, diabetes, etc. Never avoid regular dental checkups. Overcome your dental anxiety instead!