It’s natural to feel somewhat uneasy or apprehensive when visiting the dentist, especially if you’re about to undergo a procedure you’ve never had before. But some people experience anxiety so intense that it prevents them from seeking the dental care they need. They may avoid visiting the dentist until pain or discomfort is unbearable. If this sounds familiar to you, read on as Dr. Klym offers tips for managing dental anxiety so you can get the care you need.
What is Dental Anxiety?
A fear of visiting the dentist can range in severity from dental anxiety to dental phobia. Dental anxiety is typically characterized by an enhanced feeling of worry or unease about visiting the dentist and is often associated with undergoing a treatment for the first time. Dental phobia, in comparison, is a more intense fear or feeling of dread. People with dental phobia often express that they are panic-stricken at the thought of visiting the dentist and they may do anything they can to avoid it.
Although everyone is different, dental anxiety is commonly triggered by:
- Remembering past bad experiences at a dental office
- Feeling loss of control
- Apprehension of pain and a fear of needles
- Feeling embarrassment, often about neglected dental care
Tips to Overcome Dental Anxiety
- Find the Right Dentist – The most important thing you can do is to find the right dentist who understands your anxiety and will work with you to help manage it. Look for a dentist who specializes in treating patients with dental anxiety and start by giving them a call to make sure you’re comfortable with them.
- Acknowledge Your Fears and Discuss Them with Your Dentist – Recognizing your fears and discussing them with your dentist can help you understand how to address them. Establishing this foundation of communication with your dentist will help you feel more comfortable regarding any issues
- Understand Your Treatments – Being well informed about what to expect during your appointment can help alleviate your fears. Do your own research before your visit and ask your dentist or hygienist to explain what is involved so you are prepared
- Arrive Early and Bring Someone With You – Plan on arriving at your appointment early so you don’t add the stress of being late and you have the time to relax before your treatment begins. It’s also helpful to bring someone with you who you trust and who can give you the support you need. Whether this is a friend or a family member, make sure they don’t experience dental anxiety themselves.
- Practice Relaxation Techniques – Visualizing yourself in a peaceful and safe environment and practicing deep breathing exercises can help you stay calm and ease your anxiety.
- Employ Distractions – Listen to your favorite music through headphones to block out the sounds of the dental office during your treatment. Or take advantage of the flat-screen televisions in each of our treatment rooms, for a pleasant diversion during your appointment.
- Try Sedation Dentistry – Sedation can help you remain relaxed and reduce the anxiety you experience throughout your visit. IV (intravenous) sedation, as offered by Dr. Klym, offers a deep level of sedation that can allow you to nearly sleep through your procedure. Many patients who undergo IV sedation leave their appointment with little to no memory of the details.
Contact Northwood Dental
We give special attention to our patients who suffer from dental anxiety. Our goal is to provide our patients with what they need and we always have your overall comfort in mind. We’ll help you in any way we can so you can get the dental care you deserve. Contact Northwood Dental today to learn more about how we can help you overcome your dental anxiety.