What is dental anxiety and how to deal with it
If you fear going to the dentist, you are not alone. About 1 in 5 people have some fear of going to the dentist. Anxiety can be associated with certain triggers like needles, drills and sounds of the tools and even the smell of the dental practice room. Experiencing dental anxiety is one of the most common reasons for people to avoid their dental care appointments, which can lead to huge health implications. If small problems are missed they can turn into big ones. However, the good thing is, there are various ways to deal with this issue and we will make helpful suggestions below.
What causes dental anxiety?
There are a few reasons why some people have dental anxiety. Some of the most common are;
Fear of pain; Fear of pain is a very common reason for avoiding dental work. It usually arises from an early unpleasant experience or horror stories told by other people. Despite fear, lots of dental work is relatively pain free or very minimal these days.
Fear of injections; Just the sight of an injections might frighten some people, especially when inserted into their mouth. If someone has had unpleasant experiences with injections in the past, then the fear will remain.
The feeling of loss of control; Us humans like to control what is happening around us. The fact that one is seated at the dental office with their mouth wide open might make someone think that they are not in control of what is happening to them which could be overwhelming. Fear of dentists arises not so much from the experience of pain as from the loss of control that patients experience in the dentist's chair, says Ellen Rodino, PhD, a psychologist in Santa Monica, Calif., who has studied dental fear. "You're lying prone, a dentist is hovering above you, and he's putting you in a situation where you can hardly talk or respond. That creates a lot of anxiety for some people because they don't feel in control."
How to deal with dental anxiety?
Share your anxiety with the dentist
Tell the dentist about your fears so they are aware of your anxiety in advance. In this way, the dentist can better accommodate and make you feel comfortable. Ask questions about possible procedures if you have any in your mind to alleviate any fear. Moreover, let your dentist know if you experience any pain during the procedure just by a simple hand signal and let them know that you need a break if you want to.
Try relaxation techniques
It is possible to slow your heartbeat and relax your muscles by controlled breathing. Take a big breath, hold it and let it out slowly. You can also try counting your breaths which will distract you from what is happening around you.
Seek distraction while sitting in the dentist's chair. Listen to your own music with headphones on not the ones you have heard a lot before, so you will be more interested in it. Or even a podcast to make you forget your surroundings.