Does the thought of going to the dentist make you feel anxious or a have a sense of dread? Don’t feel bad or embarrassed because you are not alone! Dental anxiety is a real feeling and ~36% of the population suffer from it. It is characterized by feelings of stress when having to go to a dentist appointment or being in the treatment room. While dental anxiety is considered to be less mild compared to dental fear or an actual dental phobia, it is still no fun.
In fact, many people who suffer from dental anxiety either procrastinate going to see their dentist or even worse, just don’t go at all. Not going to the dentist results in unhealthy consequences such as cavities which can be very painful if left untreated, and gum disease which leads to tooth decay and loss of teeth. Also, many people do not realize that bad oral health can increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
While many people suffer from dental anxiety, it is not always for the same reason. Here are some common reasons that cause people to feel anxious about going to the visit the dentist.
· Fear of pain or injections
· Fear of anesthetics side effects such as dizziness or nausea
· Feelings of helplessness or loss of control
· Embarrassment or self consciousness about the appearance of your teeth
So if you suffer from any of the above feelings that result in anxiety, what are some things you can do to help overcome these fears?
· The BEST thing you can do is to talk to your dentist and let them know your fears and concerns. By understanding your anxiety, your dentist and their team are in a much better position to help make you more comfortable.
· Putting in ear phones and listening to music or a podcast can also be helpful in distracting you while you are sitting in the waiting room or even in the dental chair.
· Ask your dentist to explain what’s happening at every stage.
· Establish a signal, such as raising your hand, whenever you are uncomfortable, need to rinse your mouth, or just catch your breath.
Going to the dentist does not have to be stressful. Your oral health is extremely important to your overall health. Here at Oakdale Family Dentistry, we want you to be comfortable and not stressed when you come see us. Let us know if you have any of the above fears or concerns, so we can help you.