This video produced by the American Dental Association and describes how common dental anxiety is. The video also provides easy steps and solutions for overcoming any fear of going to the dentist.
Did you know that up to 75% of the population admit to feeling some sort of apprehension before visiting the dentist? Unfortunately, up to 15% of the population has actually skipped going to the dentist when they had a problem solely due to their fear.
While in the moment it might not seem like a big deal to avoid going to the dentist, or the problem may not seem that severe, dental problems can lead to larger health problems down the road. Follow along as we outline some of the techniques the video employs to help patients overcome their fear of the dentist.
What causes the fear of the dentist office?
While many patients fear the pain associated with a trip to the dentist, many experts believe the fear is actually triggered by the loss of control felt in the dental chair. When the dentist is hovering over you and you lose your ability to speak, many people lose the battle and their anxieties take over. This could be triggered by previous experiences at the dentist that was painful or be brought on by an underlying anxiety disorder.
Research has also shown that humans are programmed to protect their airways—this includes the mouth and nose. This is an evolutionary response, and having a dentist in close proximity to those areas can bring out that primal fear. To alleviate this, it’s important to have a conversation with your dentist before your appointment begins. While you may feel awkward bringing up your fear with your dentist, don’t be. As dental professionals we are happy that you’re in our office, and are trained to work with you to decrease fears using the options that make you feel most comfortable.
Calming methods in the chair
After you alert your dentist of your fears, create an ongoing dialogue throughout the appointment to ensure it’s going as anticipated. Ask your dentist if you can wear noise cancelling headphones or earbuds and listen to music. This will let you avoid the noises associated with dentist that can exacerbate the fear. Finally, work out a nonverbal signal that you can give your dentist if you become panicked. This will give you comfort and put you in control of the situation.
Ask for your options
If you fear is legitimately keeping you from entering the dentist’s office, then there are medical options that may help you overcome that fear. First, ask your dentist if you are a candidate for a one-time dose of anti-anxiety medication. This can be taken an hour or so before your appointment and will help reduce your sense of anxiety.
In addition, sedition dentistry is offered in Dr. Marchbanks’ North Texas office. There are several kinds of sedition density offered, depending on the procedure you will be having. The most common type is inhaled minimum sedation. If you are looking to take the edge off, then this nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) concoction will do the trick. Patients report feeling relaxed throughout their procedure. And since this sedation wears off quickly, patients are able to drive themselves home after.
We believe that working with each of our patients and meeting them “where they’re at” allows us to form a long-lasting bond. In addition to relieving fears, sedation dentistry also allows us to complete several procedures in one visit. This minimizes the number of times a fearful patient has to come in and also allows us to provide the best care possible.
If you have anxiety or fears about visiting the dentist, then call us today.