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Dental anxiety and how to overcome it

Dental anxiety and how to overcome it

The maintenance of healthy teeth and gums depends on routine dental checkups, yet some people avoid the dentist because of dental anxiety, which is apprehension about dental visits. As many as 36% of people have dental anxiety, making it a widespread issue.Reliable Source.

Here are some strategies for dealing with dental anxiety, along with some signs and causes, so that you don’t put off appointments.

Dental anxiety is a common issue that many people experience, but there are several strategies you can try to help overcome it. Here are some suggestions:

Look for a dentist who is empathetic and gentle, or one who has experience treating patients with dental anxiety. Find a dentist who is supportive. Building trust and reducing fear can be achieved by having a consultation with the dentist beforehand and expressing your worries.

Inform the dental staff of your anxieties and phobias in a direct manner. Tell them about your past experiences and what makes you anxious in particular. This will enable them to customise your care and offer extra support when you come.

Distraction strategies: Use distraction strategies to divert your attention from your worry during dental operations. While receiving treatment, you can watch a movie or TV show with headphones, listen to soothing music, or utilise noise-canceling headphones.

Deep breathing exercises and other relaxation methods: Work on your relaxation both before and during your dentist appointment. This can aid in calming the mind and reducing anxiety. Take into account methods like guided visualisation or gradual muscle relaxation.

Options for sedation: Sedation dentistry may be an option for people with severe dental anxiety. You can unwind while having dental work done using methods including nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, or intravenous (IV) sedation. To find out if sedation is a good option for you, talk to your dentist.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Take into account getting therapy from a mental health specialist with experience treating anxiety disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can assist in identifying and challenging unfavourable beliefs and anxieties related to dental visits, which will reduce anxiety.

Supportive company: Bringing a dependable friend or family member with you might help you feel more at ease and offer emotional support throughout your dental sessions. They can reassure you and take your mind off your worries.

Symptoms of dental anxiety

How do you know if you have dental anxiety? Some people experience some level of uneasiness before a dental appointment, yet the anxiety doesn’t stop them from keeping appointments.

People living with dental anxiety, on the other hand, can experience distressing symptoms before appointments. For example:

  • heart palpitations
  • panic attacks
  • low blood pressure
  • aggressive behavior
  • extreme sweating
  • crying
  • feeling faint

Causes of dental anxiety

Common causes of dental anxiety include:

  • fear of pain
  • previous traumatic dental experiences
  • fear of loss of control
  • history of generalized anxiety disorder
  • trust issues
  • fear of needles and drilling
  • uncomfortable with an invasion of personal space
  • fear of anesthesia side effects
  • fear of anesthesia not working


Is dental anxiety a mental illness?

Both the ICD-10 classification and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV, include particular (isolated) phobias, a subtype of anxiety disorders, as a diagnosis for fear of dental treatment [9, 10].

What is fear of teeth called?

The number one dread for many people is dental phobia. Odontophobia is a real fear that can lead to serious issues for sufferers.

Is it normal to cry at the dentist?

Crying or feeling the desire to cry is extremely common when you are experiencing high levels of anxiety. Pay attention to your emotions when you are thinking about a visit to the dental office.

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