Dental anxiety is a situation where one is afraid of dental treatment or visiting a dentist. Many people experience this type of anxiety more than they care to admit. It is important to note that dental anxiety does not necessarily imply phobia. There is a very big difference between fear and phobia – the latter is an extreme and unreasonable fear. On a scale of 1 to 10, how anxious does a visit to the dentist make you? The answer to this question is the key to overcoming your dental anxiety because it enables you to identify the most suitable way of dealing with that fear.
Dental anxiety compromises the dental health of many people by causing them to avoid treatment for as long as it takes. Such people only seek treatment when they’ve run out of options. In most cases, the damage is irreversible. Your dental health is extremely important. If neglected, it can make your life unbearable. That is why it is critical that you don’t let your anxiety take the better part of you. Instead, deal with it head-on – and the best way to solve this problem is to find out what is causing the anxiety.
Why are you anxious?
There are many factors that contribute to dental anxiety. Since these factors are unique to individual experiences, it is important that you take time to understand your anxiety and identify what fuels it. Here are some factors that cause dental anxiety in most people:
- Intolerance to pain
If you are scared of feeling pain, you are likely to experience dental anxiety. The fear of pain may be fueled by the experiences you have had in the past. Your own painful experiences or other people’s experiences with pain can result in dental anxiety. Examine yourself to see whether your inability to tolerate pain could be the source of your anxiety.
Fear of needles
The fear of needles is not unique, most people hate injections. If you are one of them, the thought of a needle inside your mouth can be agonizing. This thought quickly becomes a greater fear that injections might not numb you before treatment begins.
- Fear of losing control
The dentist’s chair is the main cause of this. The treatment chair puts you in a defenseless position where the dentist is in charge. Leaning back on a chair where you can’t see what the doctor is doing in your mouth means you are not in control. On the dental seat, you only have one choice – to trust the dentist. This is not an easy thing to do, hence the anxiety.
- Poor dental hygiene
If you are embarrassed by your dental hygiene, you are likely to experience dental anxiety. As human beings, it is natural to be self-conscious of the impression we make. When getting dental treatment the doctor works very close to your face. This can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are not confident about the condition of your mouth. If your mouth smells or you feel that your teeth are ugly, you can begin to wonder what the dentist will think of you – that can make you very anxious.
Signs of dental anxiety
Some common signs of dental anxiety include:
- Difficulty falling asleep ahead of your dental visit
- Loss of energy and feeling when you think of your visit to the dentist
- Getting emotional, even crying at the thought of seeing a dentist
- Feeling terrified by dental tools
- Being uneasy as you wait for your turn to see the dentist
Tips for dealing with dental anxiety
If you experience dental anxiety, there are several ways you can deal with it. Though these ways differ in nature and intensity, they can go a long way in making your visits to the dentist more comfortable. Here are some things you can do to relieve anxiety ahead of the next dental visit:
- Pick a professional dentist
When deciding on which Dentist Brisbane to visit you, opt for one that upholds professionalism. Go for a dentist who can listen and reason with you. Ideally, a dentist should make you feel comfortable throughout the treatment process. He or she should not judge or make you feel uncomfortable in any way. There is a social need in every person to fit in society and not feel any less about their shortcomings. We all want to express ourselves and not feel bad about it. Your interaction with a dentist can fuel or reduce dental anxiety. A professional dentist is reasonable and humane. Such a dentist can help you overcome your anxiety.
- Talk about your fears
Talking about the fears you have about going through a dental procedure can help relieve your fears significantly. Each time you share about your fear of needles, pain or any other concerns you may have, your anxiety level reduces. During your session with the dentist, inform him or her about your fear and have a conversation on how to best handle your concerns.
- Have someone accompany you to the dentist
Whether you are visiting a dentist for a routine check-up or a dental procedure, have someone go with you. By doing this, you will not feel like you are going through dental treatment alone. This feeling goes a long way in reducing your fears and boosting your confidence.
- Ask your dentist questions
As you undergo dental treatment, it is your right to know and understand everything that the dentist will be doing to you before he or she initiates the treatment process. As such, ask the dentist any questions you might have. Also, ensure that you are comfortable with the treatment procedure. Together with your dentist, agree on a flexible process that will accommodate both your needs. This will help reduce your tension while maintaining the quality of treatment.