Dentophobia (odontophobia) or fear of dentists is real. Most of us, at some point, have felt it and dreaded the thought of visiting the dentist. The very thought of sitting on the dental chair is enough to give one anxiety. What comes as a pure inconvenience is the fear of sharp tools and pain. How common is dental anxiety? It is incredibly common. This is backed by a factual study by the American Association of Endodontists that states that more than 80% of American adults fear dentists. So much so, they avoid going to dental clinics.
Experts at A dental Care Houston enlighten you on how to curb the fear.
Why are people afraid of Dentists?
It is not the professional that scares a patient, it is the way dentists and clinics are perceived. The reasons could be-
- The drilling sound could amp up the anxiety. This leads to people imagining all sorts of scenarios to an extent of serious injuries. For instance, root canals can get worrisome for some.
- Losing control is another factor that fears people. Especially those, who like being in control. They feel vulnerable being on the chair, unaware of the procedures. So, in most cases, they have trust issues whether or not the dentist is going to do their job well. Strange, but true.
- Fear of needles and tools. This is among the major reasons behind fearing dentists. Excessive bleeding, cuts, and injuries on a sensitive body part like the mouth scare some.
- The biggest turn-off among people when it comes to dentists is the cost. Yes, dental appointments can get expensive. However, regular dental appointments cost a lot less than major procedures.
Regardless of your reason, the Houston dentist suggests you get assurance.
How do you know if you have dental anxiety?
- Low blood pressure
- Sudden fatigue or fainting feeling
- Heart palpitations
- Feeling overwhelmed/ sudden crying
- Panic attacks
Take a look at tips to heal dental anxiety.
A healthy, honest discussion is the key to dental concerns. There are a lot of underlying reasons that surface as dental anxiety. You must not ignore them. Sit with your dentist and convey all your doubts and queries. Elaborate on the issues, so that they can understand and suggest other experts as well.
There will be answers to all your questions and solutions to your fears. Dental clinics can even take the initiative to adjust some techniques for you to be comfortable.
- Bring a friend
A lot of times a patient gets anxious about seeing a new environment. Regardless of friendly, the staff is, if it is your first time, you are bound to get nervous. Make sure to bring a family member or a friend to your dental appointment. This will make you feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable. Some dentists even allow a close one of the patients to the exam room so don’t forget to enquire.
With the advancement in the medical industry, there are solutions to all sorts of conditions. Ask a medical professional to prescribe you an anxiety-relieving medication. This will ease the physical symptoms of anxiety and distress.
Medications do not limit to anxiety but also the pain due to dental procedures. Make sure to ask for an oral sedative before your dental appointment. You will have to enquire beforehand since this is not general anesthesia. This serves the purpose of anesthesia while keeping you relaxed as well.
Meditating is a great way to gradually overcome anxiety. This will eventually cure dental phobia as well. Meditation does not require a lot. All you need to do is stay calm and focus on your breathing. It will bring down stress and promote relaxation.
Meditation can be done even while you are in the waiting room. Either way, you will achieve a state of calmness. It will also help you in relaxing your muscles.
Once seated, you could try either of the two things-
- Set your eyes on an object. While you focus, relax your body and pay attention to your body parts slowly releasing the tension.
- Another way to de-stress is by closing your eyes and taking deep breaths. Start by inhaling through your nose. Next, hold it for some time and exhale through your mouth. Keep repeating till you feel better.
Nothing is better than making your fears disappear for a while. Distracting yourself through music or television is a great way to curb anxiety. Make sure to request it beforehand as some clinics might need to make arrangements.
Dental anxiety not only affects your oral health but also your mindset. It also sets off the wrong message. Conversations with the Houston dentist bring clarity. Alternative therapies ease your mind and relax your nerves. Make sure to follow all the tips above to help you through dental appointments easily.