Treating Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia at Vero Dental Spa
Few people look forward to going to the dentist. Sometimes, these patients suffer from dental anxiety, which can cause an extreme fear of going to the dentist. If you think you might have this condition, don’t feel embarrassed about it. We see a lot of patients with dental anxiety at our practice. Our goal is to make your appointment as pain-free and comfortable as possible, which is why we offer various techniques to ease your dental anxiety.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is the fear of going to the dentist, especially if it leads to skipping or avoiding appointments. When patients are that frightened, dental anxiety is considered a phobia.
Dental phobias are intense, irrational fears of going to the dentist. Patients with this condition might put off oral healthcare for years, increasing their risks of gum disease, badly decayed teeth, dental pain, broken teeth, and even tooth loss.
It’s estimated that 9-20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fear, making dental phobia one of the most common phobias. Sometimes, the term “dental phobia” is used interchangeably with “dental anxiety.”
Dental anxiety is a less severe form of fear. Patients with dental anxiety might feel uneasy around their appointment time, but they usually still go to them. Patients with dental fear might not sleep or get physically sick waiting for their appointment. Dental anxiety, like other forms of anxiety, can be treated. Without treatment, dental phobia can get worse over time.
Causes Of Dental Anxiety & Dental Phobia
Causes of dental anxiety vary on a case-by-case basis. However, there are a few common themes in patients with dental fear.
Fear of Pain
In a recent survey, about 6% of participants said they avoided the dentist because of pain. This is usually because the patient experienced pain in dental visits in the past, before advancements in dental technology for treating pain.
Feelings of Loss of Control
Many patients develop a fear of situations in which they feel like they’re not in total control. Like a fear of flying, dental anxiety can stem from feeling out of control. During a dental cleaning or treatment, patients have to stay immobile and cannot see what’s happening in their mouth. This helplessness often creates anxiety.
Low Self-Esteem of Their Appearance
People might avoid the dentist because they’re embarrassed to have a stranger inspecting their mouth. This is more common in patients that are already self-conscious of the appearance of their teeth. The proximity of a dental hygienist’s face to yours might also be a cause of anxiety.
Previous Negative Dental Experiences
Patients that experienced extreme discomfort, failed dental treatments, or other negative experiences in the past are more likely to feel anxiety at the dentist.
Common Symptoms of Dental Fear
Every case of dental anxiety looks different, but it tends to have similar symptoms. The most common symptoms of dental phobia are the following:
- Feeling edgy or having difficulty sleeping the night before a dental visit
- Feeling progressively nervous in the waiting room before your dental visit
- When you think about going to the dentist, you feel intensely scared or feel like crying
- Seeing dental instruments or smelling a dental office makes you feel more anxious
- The thought of a dental visit makes your stomach hurt, gives you a headache, and makes you feel physically ill
- During your dental appointment, you have trouble breathing and feel panicky, especially during the treatment
Dental anxiety should not be ignored. It can cause terrifying side effects and severe dental issues. There are many ways you can go about treating your fear of the dentist.
Treatments For Dental Anxiety
The easiest way to quickly and conveniently treat your anxiety is through sedation dentistry. There are also many techniques you can explore before and during your dental appointment. Tips for overcoming fear of the dentist:
- Bring a close friend or someone you trust to the dentist with you, specifically someone without dental fear.
- Bring distractions to the dental office. You can try listening to music with headphones during your treatment, or you can find a dentist with a TV or other distractions in the treatment room.
- Use meditative relaxation techniques, like controlled breathing. Remember to take slow and controlled breaths. When panicking, it’s often an instinct to breathe too quickly, causing you to get dangerously lightheaded. Slow breathing can calm your heartbeat and make your muscles less tense.
- Make sure we know that you are experiencing dental anxiety. We offer special amenities for combating dental anxiety and sedation options at our practice, like oral sedatives or nitrous oxide.
Talk to Vero Dental Spa About Your Dental Anxiety
A pivotal way of getting over your dental fear is by discussing it with our dentists. When we’re aware of it, it’s easier to work with you to help you feel more comfortable. We want to make your dental experience as stress-free as possible, which is why we have designed our office to feel like a tropical spa with aromatherapy, stereo headphones, and more. Call Vero Dental Spa today, and get on track to better dental health.