Do you suffer from fear of going to the dentist? Maybe when you were younger you had a bad experience that was painful. Remembering past pain is one of the reasons for present anxiety when it comes to visiting a dental clinic. At Pearlee Dental, we want you to know some ways to overcome these fears and stay on the road to a healthy smile and good oral care.
Dental anxiety may have many causes. However, the results of this fear may affect the physical health and comfort of a person. Knowing more about the causes and ways to overcome this phobia may be helpful to you and your family members.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Anxiety in general is fear that is caused by stress. Stressing about everyday situations is often common and can even be a motivating factor in solving problems. On the other hand, dental anxiety can prevent you from solving a problem, mainly one in your mouth and teeth. Going to the dentist is something that is put off and put off, resulting in a dental emergency and an unpleasant toothache or gum problems.
Emergency dental in Ottawa is a service we provide; however, we want you to visit us
before it becomes an emergency.
Putting off preventative care, when gums and teeth are concerned, may result in more serious problems. Gum disease can affect other parts of the body. It may cause an infection, that studies have shown, may lead to stroke, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.
Some patients have issues with fear itself; visiting the dentist only compounds the issue. Victims of PTSD from war, childhood abuse or domestic violence may not want to visit the dentist, since fear may be a strong part of their life.
The lack of control that may go with a visit to the dentist is real for many patients. They are lying down with a dentist hovering above. You can’t talk, which creates anxiety and a loss of control.
What are Some Symptoms of Dental Anxiety?
You may experience one or more of these symptoms when thinking about a dental visit:
- Hot flashes
- Upset stomach
- Increased heart rate or palpitations
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty sleeping before a dental exam
- And more
These fears may be all in your head, but anxiety is a real issue. Stay calm during your visit. Read more about some hints for dealing with the distress of a dental exam or procedure.
Becoming More Assertive About Pain
Rather than have the dentist tell them something doesn’t hurt, it would be better for the dentist and patient to talk about how they can be comfortable during a procedure. Not all patients have the same pain threshold, so talking to your dentist lets them know about your needs.
A discussion with the dentist beforehand may help quell your fear. Some dentists will talk to patients in their office, rather than in the dental chair. Sitting in a pleasant office may help soothe some of the anxiety felt by a patient.
One dentist in a scenic area of California had the dental chair facing a window. Outside of that window was a bird feeder that attracted squirrels. The activity of the squirrel show was an amazing distraction for the patient getting the dental work done.
On the other hand, another dentist tries to distract patients with a TV overhead. However, the television is tuned to home makeover shows. Watching the tearing down of walls and banging on nails may not be the best distraction for dental anxiety. A TV, with a pleasant channel selection, may be a good source of distraction.
You Can Take Charge of the Fear
Anticipation is a large part of not wanting to visit the dentist. Anticipating pain is often the reason that appointments are not made. A root canal brings up the feeling of dread. In reality, pain has happened beforehand, and the actual procedure relieves the pain. The experience of severe pain with a toothache is what gives the root canal its bad name.
Some Things a Patient Can Do
If visiting a dentist for the first time, bring a trusted friend of relative. They should have no fear of a dentist, otherwise they will not be the person to take with you. If possible, ask the dentist if they can sit with you.
You may not have busy squirrels to watch, but bringing something to distract you is important. Bring your favorite music on headphones. In fact, a new CD may be more exciting and may be more of a distraction, as it captures your interest.
Learn about the options available with a discussion with the dentist. Some of the sedatives include the following:
- Nitrous oxide, called “laughing gas”
- Local anesthetic
- Oral sedatives
- Intravenous sedation
Learn how to do relaxation techniques, such as controlled breathing. Try taking a deep breath, holding it and then letting it out slowly. Done repeatedly, it can slow your heartbeat and relax your your muscles. Muscle relaxation can also be done by relaxing and tensing muscle groups.
Perhaps the idea of the dentist is just too much. Instead, you might want to visit a clinical psychologist for a therapeutic approach to dental anxiety. A direct therapeutic approach may involve introducing a patient to the feared object, such as a needle, in a controlled and gradual approach.
CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been used successfully to treat the negative thoughts and feelings associated with this phobia. You may also find support online with a forum for those who have extreme dental fear.
Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself
According to Harvard Health, the best way to deal with dental fear is by going to the dentist regularly, so that major problems and issues are taken care of before they become painful.
Don’t let odontophobia, fear of the dentist, keep you from getting the treatment and examination that you need. As an experienced holistic dentist in Ottawa, we can provide the right treatment for you. Explore our blog and know what questions you may want to ask the dentist.
Your treatment will be customized to your needs and concerns; we value your health and you, the patient, are our focus. After an examination and interview, we will develop a customized approach to your treatment. Contact our Baseline dental centre for an appointment to get started.