Do you feel worried or anxious about undergoing dental treatments? If so, you’re not alone; as many as 80% of Americans share your sentiments. What’s more, 5% to 14% of people in the US experience intense dental anxiety (DA).
In any case, DA can make you choose to avoid seeing a local dentist. However, that can lead to more oral healthcare problems, such as tooth decay.
The good news is that several strategies can help make you feel less anxious about seeing a dentist. We’ve listed them below, so be sure to read on.
Tell the Dentist You Have Dental Anxiety
Researchers say that uncertainty can magnify one’s perception of threat. According to them, that’s the fear of the unknown at work.
That fear can also apply to dental patients, such as those getting treatment for the first time. After all, if they don’t know how the procedure goes, they can end up imagining that it’s excruciating.
If that describes how you feel, it’s vital to tell your chosen dental practitioner about it. That way, the oral healthcare specialist can explain the procedure step by step.
By better understanding your treatment, you can then know what to expect. That knowledge, in turn, may help you feel less anxious about the procedure you need to undergo.
Have Someone Accompany You
Having someone you trust to be with you in a dentist’s office may help make you feel more relaxed. You may not be able to talk with them, but their presence alone can soothe your frayed nerves.
So, when setting your dental appointment, ask the dentist if you can bring a relative or a friend with you.
Consider Sedation Dentistry
Studies found that dental anxiety can stem from previous negative dental experiences. An example is having had a painful tooth filling or extraction.
Unfortunately, those experiences can be enough to traumatize anyone. It can be even worse for children, as a single bad experience can haunt them to adulthood. That’s why parents need to choose the best pediatric dentists for their little ones right off the bat.
In any case, if you’ve had a bad dental experience, knowing what to expect from a future procedure alone may not help. However, it’s still best to inform the dentist about your DA. That way, they can determine if you’re a good candidate for sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry involves using sedatives ranging from topical anesthetics to general anesthesia. These medications all help make dental treatments less painful or even painless.
Take Anti-Anxiety Medication
Aside from sedatives, dentists can also prescribe anti-anxiety medications for patients with DA. In most cases, these are short-acting prescription drugs that help relieve anxiety. If you have moderate DA, your dentist may ask you to take one of these medicines an hour before your appointment.
Don’t Let Dental Anxiety Ruin Your Oral Health
Remember: dental anxiety often forces people to delay or avoid seeing the dentist. So, it’s not surprising that these patients tend to have more decayed and missing teeth.
So, if you have DA yourself, it’s best to follow our tips on coping with your condition. That way, you can feel less anxious about seeing the dentist.
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