For oral health, a regular dental check-up is essential. Many of us have a phobia of going to a dentist. Even the thought of a dental appointment makes us nervous and gives us goosebumps. This can be dental anxiety or even phobia. There can be a number of reasons behind this nervousness. Many times, it is the fear of the unknown that causes dental anxiety. For example: What will be the outcome of dental sitting? How much pain it will cause? How much it will cost? etc.
Well, every dentist wants his/her patient to be relaxed. Your dentist is not only capable of taking care of your gums and teeth but can also handle your fear, nervousness, and other emotions associated with it. Avoiding a dentist would not solve anything. In fact, it might harm your oral health.
In this article, we will discuss various causes and methods to overcome dental anxiety.
- What is dental anxiety?
The feeling of stress, fear, or anxiety towards a dentist or in a dental setting is known as dental anxiety.
- What causes dental anxiety?
Some of the common reasons that can cause dental distress in an individual are:
Bad past experience
Many times, the experience of a previous dental setting causes dental anxiety. If the earlier experience was disturbing, then the chances of the patient getting stressed or nervous before the dental appointment are quite high. An extensively charged medical bill, insensitive behavior of the dentist, or annoying assistant might be a reason that has resulted in dental anxiety. Well, it happens. But just because you had one bad experience doesn’t mean that every dental check-up would end in the same way. You can either talk to the dental team about your past experience or go to a new dental clinic.
Fear of pain
One of the most common reasons behind dental anxiety is the fear of pain - fear of needles, a bad experience, or even the stories about dental sittings of other patients. Thanks to technology, most of the dental procedures are either painless or cause very little pain.
Fear of injections
Fear of injection is quite common. People who have this fear feel anxious, stressed, or nervous before going to a dentist or during the dental setting. In addition to this, they might fear that the dose of anesthesia was not sufficient or worse - it just did not work.
Another thing that can trigger dental anxiety in some patients is the physical closeness with the dentist during the sitting. What the dentist will say about your oral hygiene, bad breath, or even the compromised state of your mouth can also make you feel anxious. Just remember, you are not the first patient. A dentist’s job is all about looking into the mouth of the patients. Hence no need to be ashamed of anything.
- Ways to overcome your dental anxiety:
Overcoming your dental anxiety is very important. The best way to fight your fear is by speaking up. Talk to your dentist. Tell him/her about your worries and fears. Your dentist is the best person who can make you comfortable, suggest sedation dentistry or help you in fighting your fears associated with dental sittings.
Other ways to overcome dental anxiety are:
- We know it’s easier said than done. But, try to move your focus away from your dental procedure.
- Use headphones and listen to your favorite song. To distract their patients, many dentists have televisions in their clinic.
- Squeezing a stress ball or playing with a fidget spinner is another way to fight stress.
- Use your imagination. Think about happy moments of your life or imagine yourself at your favorite holiday destination.
Avoid negative thoughts
If you are already under stress during your dental sitting, negative thoughts can act as a fuel and might increase your anxiety and stress level. Hence, try to avoid negative thoughts. Try thinking about the benefits you will get out of your dental sitting, the importance of oral hygiene, etc.
Listen to some good music
Various studies have shown that listening to music helps reduce stress and anxiety levels. Let the dentist do his/her job. Meanwhile, you listen to your favorite album or some soothing music. If your dentist has a television in the clinic, you can even ask them to turn on a good music channel.
Focus on breathing regularly and slowly during dental procedures
Breathing exercises have proved to be very helpful in reducing dental anxiety. Continue breathing in for four seconds and then hold your breath for one to two seconds. Then breathe out slowly for four seconds. Try focusing on your breaths. This will take your mind off the situation at hand and you will feel more relaxed and calm.
Choose a low-stress appointment time
Try taking an appointment at a time when you are likely to be more relaxed. Hence, taking an early morning or a Saturday appointment might be an excellent idea.
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