Routine dental checkups are essential for keeping healthy teeth and gums. However, dental anxiety, or fear about dental appointments, prevents some people from seeing the dentist. One in every three people experiences anxiety about dentist appointments. Therefore, it is important to know how dental anxiety affects your oral health and the solutions to overcome it. You can also consult your dentist about dental anxiety treatments.
What is dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety occurs when you are uneasy or concerned about an upcoming dental visit. Dental anxiety gets triggered by things like needles, drills, or the dental environment in general. However, if the notion of a dental cleaning or operation causes you anxiety, this might indicate dental phobia. Moreover, people with a dental phobia will do anything to avoid going to the dentist, possibly only going if they are in excruciating pain.
Symptoms of dental anxiety
Signs of dental anxiety include:
- Difficulty in sleeping the night before a dental visit.
- Nervousness worsens in the dentist’s waiting area.
- Arriving at the dentist’s office but was denied entry.
- Crying or feeling physically nauseous at the notion of going to the dentist.
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme sweating
- Panic attacks
Causes of dental anxiety
A painful previous experience: Dental phobia is common among children. It can result from an earlier bad or painful dental experience or stories from others of bad dental experiences. However, with the significant breakthroughs in dentistry achieved over the years, most dental operations now involve far less discomfort, if any.
Fear of needles: Many people are terrified of needles in dental operations. Similarly, others are concerned that the anesthetic will not work on them or will not kick in before the surgery begins.
Loss of control: Many individuals feel uneasy about the dentist or hygienist operating so close to their face. Others may feel self-conscious or out of control when sitting in a dentist’s chair with their mouth open, unable to see what’s happening.
How dental anxiety affects your oral health?
A dentist may discover cavities and other oral health issues early during frequent dental checkups. Missing dental appointments can result in bleeding gums, loose teeth, and foul breath. Moreover, a lack of professional cleanings increases the risk of gum disease and other problems.
Dental anxiety treatments
People of all ages might suffer from dental anxiety. Here are some coping methods to help you overcome your worries and get back into the dental chair.
- Talk to your dentist: Don’t be afraid to express your worries about treatment to your dentist. Your dentist will take steps to make the process go more smoothly. Most importantly, they can walk you through each process from beginning to end so you know what to anticipate.
- Anxiety-relieving medication: Some dentists may give a short-acting anti-anxiety drug to reduce anxiety before an appointment. However, your dentist will tell you to take the pill at least one hour before your appointment.
- Oral sedation: oral sedation is a treatment option for moderate to severe anxiety. Because this is not general anesthesia, you will not be unconscious during the procedure. Furthermore, you’ll be aware and responsive, yet in a very calm condition.
- Breathing exercises: Deep breathing exercises might help you relax your thoughts and feel calmer. Furthermore, these activities might help you relax during your dental treatments.
Dental anxiety affects both children and adults, but it is manageable if you have frequent checkups. Nevertheless, speaking with your dentist about various strategies can help you feel more at ease. Furthermore, watching TV or having a friend may help you relax and get through sessions with less stress.
This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition