Facts You Need to Know About Dental Anxiety and Phobia and How to Combat Them
Until recently, most people assumed that dental anxiety was not a serious condition and that the fear of dental visits was something only children experienced. However, this is not the case.
Many people encounter an untold amount of anxiety and fear whenever they have to go in and see our dentist. Most patients will recount quite often how having to sit in a dental chair for any dental procedure, gives them a sense of helplessness and loss of control.
While others will recount how the sound of the drill makes them get overwhelmed with so much fear that they become unsettled and uncooperative for the remainder of the dental procedure.
This overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety can be termed as dental anxiety.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is a terminology that is broadly used to describe any form of fear, anxiety, phobia, or stress experienced within a dental setting.
It can be linked to triggers such as syringes, a sound of the drill, or the cold and aseptic surroundings of a dentist’s office.
There are cases where dental anxiety magnifies and becomes so extreme to a point where a patient develops an irrational fear, and may completely avoid or cancel visits to our dentistry in Covington altogether. This scenario can be termed as dental phobia.
What Conditions May Bring About Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety can be as a result of:
- Previous traumatic experience during a dental procedure
- Depression, anxiety or post-traumatic disorder
- A traumatic history of any form of abuse
- Conditions such as claustrophobia, agoraphobia, or OCD can also lead to dental anxiety.
- A previous traumatic injury to the head and neck
- Having a feeling of helplessness and loss of control during a dental procedure
- The fear of experiencing pain
- Fearing dental equipment such as syringes and drills
- Being uncomfortable with the feeling of losing personal space during the procedure. This is because our dentist has to stand quite close to you and some people may be rattled.
- Poor self-esteem caused by dental issues such as bad breath or aesthetic issues
Having dental anxiety or dental phobia can drastically impact your oral health. This is because most patients who experience either of these conditions may be unsettled during dental procedures or even skip out on dental appointments altogether.
How Will You Know You Have Dental Anxiety or Dental Phobia?
Here are some key indications that you suffer from dental anxiety:
- If you experience sleepless nights before any dental visit
- If seeing dental equipment or the dentist makes you anxious
- Having difficulties breathing during a dental procedure
- If you look visibly distressed or anxious while in the waiting room
- Sweating and palpitations during or before the dental visit
- Fainting at the waiting room or before the procedure begins
The good news is that dental anxiety and phobia can be rectified. You do not have to let these conditions negatively impact your oral health; you can have a lengthy discussion with our dentist to find ways to combat these conditions.
How to Combat Your Dental Anxiety or Phobia
The first step towards addressing dental anxiety or phobia is by agreeing with the fact that you suffer from these conditions. You can then inform our dentist about what triggers your anxiety, and our dentist will help you customize a treatment regimen that will factor all this in.
- You can learn to use some coping techniques such as meditation, taking deep breaths, progressive muscle relaxation, or using distractions such as music during dental procedures.
- Dental phobias can be managed during dental procedures by the use of dental sedation. Our dentistry in Covington utilizes the following forms of sedation during dental procedures:
- Nitrous oxide or laughing gas. Our dentist will make you inhale this gas to keep you relaxed but awake during the procedure.
- General anesthesia. An option considered for patients who want to be fully asleep during procedures.
- Conscious sedation. This form of sedation can be administered intravenously and can cause you to drift into a light sleep during the procedure but still be responsive.
- Overcoming your fear of needles. Having a phobia of needles is one of the leading causes of dental anxiety. Our dentist can let you in on what they do during dental procedures to eradicate the pain caused injections, such as the use of numbing topical anesthesia.
- Our dentist can consider replacing practicing laser dentistry to rule out the use of a drill during a procedure. This can be applicable to patients who are mortified by the sound of a drill.
At Creative Dentistry of Covington, we believe that dental anxiety and phobia do not have to compromise your beautiful smile or overall oral health.