Understanding Your Dental Anxiety

Many people avoid going to the dentist at any cost because of their dental anxiety. This issue is a serious one since it often leads to serious oral issues down the road. Those who have a fear of dentists often find themselves feeling nervous and stressed out when it is time to head to the dentist. That discomfort is what leads them to come up with every imaginable excuse to avoid treatments.

People with dental phobia are at an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, these people end up spending a lot more than they should at the dentist since they do not go in until a serious complication has developed and the person is dealing with unbearable pain.

Having an unhealthy set of teeth can also lead to low self-esteem, insecurity, and an increased risk of major health issues like strokes, diabetes, and heart disease.

According to the American Association of Endodontists, about 80 percent of adults in the U.S. have a fear of dentists. About half of these adults admit to missing dental appointment because of this anxiety.

Not surprisingly, the biggest fear most people have is for needing invasive procedures that require oral surgery.

What causes dental anxiety?

There are many reasons why a person might end up with a fear of dentists. Some of these include:

  • Low pain tolerance
  • Fear of not being in control
  • Being embarrassed by the way his/her teeth look
  • Negative experiences at the dentist's clinic
  • Having dealt with abuse including physical or sexual abuse
  • Past experiences with negligent dental professionals
  • Learned behavior from family members
  • Fear of injections
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Budget restraints

Dealing with dental phobia

There are many behavioral and psychological methods that can be used to address dental anxiety. This includes:

  • Talking to others with dental phobia and finding a support group
  • Identifying fears and communicating them to a dentist
  • Finding a dentist that has experience in dealing with fearful patients
  • Consuming fewer sugars and more proteins before appointments – this has a calming effect
  • Using relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises
  • Getting to appointments on time so there are no feelings of being rushed or stressed

There are also a handful of sedatives that are often used by dentists to help keep patients calm and relaxed during appointments. The most popular sedative used to address dental phobia is nitrous oxide.

This is a fast-acting gas that is administered using a gas mask that covers the patient's nose. The quantity of the gas being delivered can be controlled by the dentist throughout the treatment. Nitrous oxide is commonly used for all types of treatments from simple cleanings to root canals. It is a great way to relax patients who are afraid of needles or those who have a hard time sitting still for a couple of hours.

One of the biggest benefits of using nitrous oxide for sedation is the fact its effects wear of within minutes. That means the patient is fine to drive home after the procedure.

Ready to get over your dental anxiety and improve your oral health? Schedule a consultation with one of our dentists today!

Request an appointment in our Visalia dentist office here: https://www.dentistofvisalia.com.

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