Overcoming & Treating Dental Anxiety with Our Dentists
We all know that feeling when you hear the phrase ‘you need to go to the dentist’; it’s one of fear and anxiety for many people, more commonly known as Dental anxiety. There are other versions of the same issues that you may have come across, such as dental phobia or odontophobia. It is certainly a common condition in which a person experiences a significant level of fear or apprehension when it comes to visiting the dentist. Sometimes animals develop the same fear when you take them to visit a dentist; this ‘fear’ can be felt throughout the animal kingdom.
In the case of dental anxiety, the fear itself prevents a person from seeking possible dental care, which often leads to the neglect and deterioration of their oral health. Hopefully, by reading through this article, you will be able to identify the causes, symptoms, and what treatment options for there are to treat dental anxiety.
Why People Are Anxious When They Visit the Dentist?
Various factors, including past traumatic experiences at the dentist, fear of pain, fear of needles, and a general fear of the unknown, can cause dental anxiety. Negative experiences at the dentist during childhood can also contribute to the development of dental anxiety in adulthood. Some people may be genetically predisposed to anxiety disorders, which can also contribute to dental anxiety.
What Symptoms Do Dentists Look Out For?
The symptoms of dental anxiety can vary from person to person, but they may include the following:
- Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- A feeling of panic or dread
- Treatment of Dental Anxiety
The treatment of dental anxiety will depend on the severity of the anxiety. In mild cases, simply educating the patient about the dental procedures and providing reassurance may be sufficient. In more severe cases, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, visualisation and guided imagery, may be used. There are specific medications that can benefit certain patients, perhaps relaxing them in the same way that nitrous oxide (laughing gas) helps them relax.
How to Prevent or Subdue the Level of Dental Anxiety
The best way to prevent dental anxiety is to establish good oral health habits and to see the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. If you are one of those individuals who hears the word ‘dentists’ and all of a sudden you find that there are hairs standing out at the back of your neck then it’s important to tell your dentist this, they will have a pain management plan and use relaxing methods.
Schedule an Appointment Today
We offer same-day visits and late opening hours that work around your schedule. Do you get anxious when you think about visiting the dentist? Contact our team today to discuss your anxiety issues. We’re providers with Medibank, HCF and MDF. You can claim your health fund rebate on the spot with our HICAPS machine.
* Any invasive or surgical procedure may carry risks. Before moving forward, it is recommended that you seek a second opinion from an appropriately licensed medical professional.
FAQ Common Questions about Dental Anxiety
Can Dental Anxiety be Cured?
Dental anxiety can be managed, but it may not be completely curable. The best way to manage dental anxiety is to address the underlying cause and to use treatment options, such as relaxation techniques and medication, to reduce stress.
Can Dental Anxiety be Treated Without Medication?
Yes, dental anxiety can be treated without medication. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualisation and guided imagery can effectively reduce your anxiety levels. In addition, discussing your fears and concerns with your dentist and developing a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs can also help to reduce dental anxiety.
Can Dental Anxiety be Passed on to Children?
Children can develop dental anxiety if they observe a parent or caregiver who has dental anxiety. It is essential to be mindful of your dental anxiety and try to minimise its expression around children. Additionally, parents can help to prevent dental anxiety in children by establishing good oral health habits, encouraging regular dental check-ups, and discussing dental procedures with the child calmly and reassuringly.
Is it normal to feel anxious about going to the Dentist?
Feeling anxious about going to the dentist is normal, but dental phobia or severe anxiety is not typical. Your heart rate can certainly increase as well as your blood pressure when you visit a dentist, which is normal reactions when receiving medical treatment. But if you find that thinking about dental treatment leads you to break out in cold sweats then that is a cause for concern.
How does Brighton Dental Suite Treat Anxious Patients?
At Brighton Dental Suite, we have been able to help our anxious patients manage their dental anxiety through various methods. These include:
- Provide open communication with patients to learn about their fears and concerns
- Teach patients deep breathing and relaxation techniques
- Use distraction techniques such as calming music or television
- Provide gradual exposure with shorter appointments or non-invasive treatment to build trust
- Discuss sedation options available to help with their anxiety
- Bringing a supportive family or friend to their appointment for emotional support.
Can I request to be sedated during dental procedures at Brighton Dental Suite?
Yes, you can request to be sedated during dental procedures. There are different options for sedation, including oral sedation, inhaled sedation (laughing gas), and IV sedation. When you visit your dentists, it would be helpful to tell them that you are anxious. Our team at Brighton Dental Suite will then discuss your options with your dentist and determine which type of sedation is best for you.
In conclusion, dental anxiety is one of many general dental conditions that can prevent people from seeking the dental care they need. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and being aware of the treatment options for dental anxiety you will find that you can take suitable steps to overcome the fear of the dentist. By establishing good oral health habits, communicating with your dentist and using relaxation techniques or medication, it is possible to reduce dental anxiety and maintain a healthy smile.