Reducing dental fear and anxiety

Thanks to the many advances in dentistry made over the years, most of today’s dental procedures are considered virtually painless.

Are you putting off going to the dentist because of fear? That fear can set in early. Were you ever told as a child, “If you don’t brush your teeth, you’ll have to go to the dentist”? That can definitely leave a negative impression upon children and that anxiety can carry over into adulthood.

You should also know that dentists are well trained to handle anxious patients. Discussing your fears with your dentist will help you cope with any dental fears and anxiety you may have, and he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable. You should always feel comfortable with your dentist and feel that he or she listens to you and takes your fear seriously. If not, you should find one that does.

Causes Of Dental Anxiety

Approximately 75 percent of people feel some degree of dental anxiety while visiting the dentist. Just the thought of visiting a dental might be enough to instill a deep sense of fear in some people that they will avoid dental care at all costs. Anticipating pain instills fear in many patients, which can cause them to suffer for years unnecessarily with gum infections, pain, or even broken and unappealing teeth. The first step in treating any problem is acknowledging it in the first place. Many patients who are able to overcome their fear, and successfully disassociate dentistry with pain, are surprised by just how painless and easy treatment can be.

Most people affected by dental anxiety tend to complain about horrifying experiences from a certain dentist or a previous dental procedure. Fear of pain is also avery common reason many people avoid the dentist. This fear can be from their own prior experience or from painful stories told to them by family and friends. But thankfully, advances in dentistry over the years have made most of today’s dental procedures considerably less painful or even pain-free.

Dental treatments also require physical closeness, where either the dentist or hygienist may be only a few inches away. This can make some people very uncomfortable or anxious as well. In addition, you may feel embarrassed to have a stranger look inside your mouth, especially if you’re self conscious about how your teeth look or about possible mouth odors. The dentist treats patients everyday with varying degrees of problems. Always remember that your dentist and hygienist are there to help you reach and maintain good oral health and making you feel comfortable is very important to them.

The older you are the more likely you are to have had a dental procedure when anesthesia was less effective, or not used, and when dentists focused less on patient comfort. Patient care has changed greatly over the years, and dentists now focus much more on patient comfort. Children today have very few negative dental experiences and therefore, much fewer dental problems than their grandparents or even parents had.

Easing Dental Fear

A comforting aspect might be to know how the dentist eliminates the pain. Dentistry has evolved extensively and the modern dentist can perform most procedures with little or no pain. There are several medications/products that help reduce pain. Topical anesthetic gels and dental patches used to numb gums keep patients comfortable during injections and deep cleanings. New dental tools have come a long way over the past few decades. Needles that inject numbing agents are now much thinner than those used in previous years past. For procedures such as a root canal or a wisdom tooth extraction, a local anesthetic is used. These make you insensitive to the pain. It works by blocking the nerve which is responsible for the actual feeling of pain. Also consider asking your dentist about sedation dentistry. Many dentists will offer dental care under partial or full loss of consciousness.

A good dentist should begin a visit by asking you questions about your previous dental experiences, as well as what matters most to you about your oral health and appearance of your teeth. Be honest and tell him or her about past experiences you have had, it may help you relax and also help your doctor to know the best way to treat any possible anxiety you may be having.Ask your dentist in advance what you can expect during your visit and how procedures and injections are done. This may help you to relax if you know what to expect. It may also help if you establish a sign, such as raising your hand to let your dentist know if you’re uncomfortable or need to take a break.

Remember don’t be afraid to ask questions before a procedure and make sure that your dentist makes you feel comfortable during your visit. Getting regular dental care is an important part of your oral health, so it’s well worth the effort. To truly calm your fears, it never hurts to remember that the dentist is a person who cares as much about your comfort as your teeth.


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