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Conquer Your Dental Anxiety: Tips for a Relaxing Visit

Dental Anxiety

For many people, visiting the dentist is an occasion filled with anxiety and fear. If you count yourself among them, you’re not alone: statistics show that around 36% of people in the U.S. experience dental anxiety, while 12% experience extreme fear. Thankfully, there are steps you and your dentists can take to make receiving dental care a less anxious experience.

What is Dental Anxiety?

People who experience dental anxiety usually experience fear, anxiety, and stress while receiving dental care. Some symptoms include sweating, low blood pressure or possible fainting, racing heartbeat, and withdrawal. And often these symptoms can pop up even during the most routine dental care, resulting in sufferers sometimes avoiding the dentist all together.

Some mental health disorders can worsen the experience of dental anxiety. For example, people who live with generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, depression, or bipolar disorder, may have a more difficult time remaining calm during a dental care appointment.

Children who have a bad dental experience can usually get over their anxiety with proper care, however adults who suffer from dental anxiety will likely continue to do so throughout their lives.

Learning to Cope

Avoiding the dentist is never advisable, no matter how bad the dental anxiety you might experience. By skipping dental care you put yourself at greater risk of developing dental disease that might require more in-depth treatment, missing the early signs of mouth cancer, and other conditions that can negatively impact your overall health.

Because so many people experience anxiety, dentists and their assistants are usually well-versed in ways to help you cope. Some of the most productive ways to remain calm while receiving dental care include:

    • Talking to Your Dentist: The first and most important thing you can do is to explain to your dentist how you’re feeling. They might have helpful techniques to recommend while the two of you can discuss how to best approach your treatment.
    • Use Calming Techniques: Calming yourself while sitting in the dentist chair might include the use of a number of tools, including breathing exercises or meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and playing background music for yourself through headphones.
    • Requesting Sedation: Your dentist will likely have a couple of options for you if you feel you’ll require sedation during your visit. These might include nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, or prescription sedatives. Under extreme conditions, some people require full anesthesia, but this isn’t very common.
    • Bring a Trusted Friend: There’s no denying the power of a supportive friend or loved one. Knowing they’re sitting in the office will likely give you a boost of confidence and support as you face your dental care fears.

The most important thing to remember, though, is that many people experience dental anxiety and you are not alone. Through thoughtful planning and communication, you can make your dreaded dental care visits a little more comfortable.

Contact our office today