Do you feel nervous about going to the dentist? Does your anxiety cause you to delay regular check-ups? Anxiety associated with dental visits can stem from a fear of pain, fear of drills, or the possibility of embarrassment over poor dental hygiene. This nervousness, however, is completely normal! Studies have stated that 36% of the population suffers from a fear of dentists or dental anxiety.
Thankfully, there are several ways to cope with and calm your dentist anxiety. We will talk about 7 such ways here so that you can ensure your current and future oral health
Why are people afraid of the dentist?
Anxiety associated with dental visits can result from uncertainty regarding dental procedures, a prior experience that may have been unfortunate, or worry over mouth pain.
Some common reasons that people have a fear of dentists are:
- Fear of pain. Usually, when a patient has had a painful past experience, they associate going to the dentist with pain. This causes anxiety. Hearing about the negative experiences of others may also cause this fear.
- The possibility of embarrassment. Some patients may find themselves plagued with questions such as “what if the dentist judges me for not taking good care of my teeth?” or “what if the dentist discloses some bad news?” This fear of embarrassment may cause dental anxiety.
- Fear of side effects. Some people have a fear of dentists because of the possibility of side effects after treatment. These may include nausea or dizziness and can stem from anxiety based on past experiences.
- Some people may feel a loss of control while allowing the dentist to work so near to their mouth, especially since patients generally cannot see what is being done.
- A fear of needles or injections may also cause dentist anxiety. When someone fears needles, the thought of an injection in the mouth amplifies this feeling.
Ways to calm your nerves for the dentist
Though anxious feelings about dental visits and procedures are common, maintaining regular dental exams and cleanings is still necessary for oral health. Here are some ways you can calm your nerves and deal with your fear of dentists:
Remember that you are in good hands
One way to calm your dental anxiety is to trust that the dentist is a capable professional with your oral health and wellness in mind. To develop confidence, you should find a dentist that has high ratings and good customer reviews, and possibly reviews that address your fears.
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Some dentists may even specifically treat patients with dental phobia and take steps to alleviate pain and anxiety, so consider seeking a dentist with this approach.
Opencare works with professional and experienced dentists to help with your search.
Understand your insurance before you go
To avoid confusion and possible worry regarding dental costs and how much of your check-up or treatment is covered by dental insurance, talk to your insurance provider before going to the dentist appointment. This will eliminate adding financial anxiety to your pre-existing dentist anxiety.
Communicate with your dentist
Your dentist won’t be able to help you cope with your anxiety if they don’t know how you are feeling. You should share your fears with the dentist and staff, either during the appointment or before. They may be willing to give you a sedative and will surely alleviate your anxiety.
You should also ask them questions about the treatment process or ask them to talk you through the procedure. This tends to soothe patients and reduce dental anxiety.
Use headphones or watch something on your phone
Wearing headphones will block out some of the sounds that may trigger your anxiety. In addition, watching something may distract you from the tension.
Breathe in and out
Practicing deep breaths or meditation can ease your fear as it helps keep you relaxed and calm during a dental visit.
Keep regular dentist appointments
Having routine dental check-ups will prevent you from feeling anxious or uncomfortable every time you go to the dentist. These appointments are designed to address any oral health issues before they become problematic.
Ask for sedation or medication
To ease nerves, you can ask the dentist to give you nitrous oxide or sedatives. This will make for a smooth, anxiety-free procedure.
Why is it so important to visit the dentist regularly?
You need to visit a dentist near you regularly to avoid problems with oral health and hygiene, such as:
- Discolored teeth
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
Opencare dentists have been vetted and rated highly. We make sure only the top dentists are serving you. Find a dentist in your city today.
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