What To Do About Dental Fear And Anxiety
If youre wondering whether you should talk with your dental provider about your fears and worries, the answer is definitely yes.
If your provider knows what your fears are, he or she can better work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.
Here are some strategies to help you cope:
- Ask your dental provider to explain whats happening at every stage of the appointment or procedure so that you can mentally prepare for whats to come.
- Establish a stop signal, such as raising your hand, to let your provider know that youd like them to stop what theyre doing immediately. Use it if you become uncomfortable, want to rinse your mouth or need to catch your breath.
- If sounds are the issue, we frequently tell people to use earbuds to listen to their favorite music, Dr. Haberkamp says. Well tap them on the shoulder if we need their attention.
- If your anxiety is severe, your dentist might recommend using nitrous oxide gas or IV sedation to help calm it.
Where Does Dental Phobia Come From
Like a lot of phobias, Shane’s began with a traumatic event when he was younger.
“I went to the dentist and had to get two fillings, and I didn’t like needles,” he says.
“They started doing the procedure without the needle and the pain from that scarred me for life basically.
“That’s why I’ve never really been back to have my teeth looked at properly.”
Dr Zaks says some common reasons for dental phobias can be bad experiences as a child or teenager, absorbing other people’s fears such as your parents’, or a history of trauma.
“This can include sexual assault, domestic violence, head and neck injuries, or multiple forms of trauma together, which I often see in refugees,” she says.
“All trauma involves a loss of control, a loss of personal agency and power to change a situation. We can see it now with COVID-19.
“When we lose power, that stays with us our bodies have their own memory of traumatic experiences. If a trauma survivor feels powerless or helpless, or is in a situation where they have no control again, memories of the initial events get triggered.
“Unfortunately, the dental environment is full of triggers, and there is a big power imbalance involved.”
But our oral health report card as a nation shows we shouldn’t let our fears get the better of us.
Can A Trauma Be Overcome
For Dr Zaks, the relationship with the patient is just as important as technical expertise.
“There wasn’t any consideration for creating an emotional connection with patients in the setup of dentistry at all,” she says of
The impact that we can have is incredible, we can transform people’s lives particularly with how intimate it is and how vulnerable they are.”
Dr Zaks suggests that along with establishing a good relationship with your dentist, there are coping techniques that can be employed as needed.
- Practice deep breathing and other relaxation techniques before appointments
- Consider arranging a meet and greet visit without treatment
- Tell the staff you are nervous or scared when booking, and talk to the dentist openly about your fears and ways that things could be made easier
- Bring a trusted support person to the appointment, or a comforting object and your favourite music as distractions
- Arrange an enjoyable activity after the visit
- Ensure you stop the dentist any time you need a break, and develop a “stop” cue together
- Book the next visit straight away
- A towel or back cushion can help you breathe more easily, and a blanket over your body can be comforting
- Keep sedatives tablets, IV sedation and general anaesthetic as last resorts they all involve side effects, extra cost and are often avoidable if a strong, trusting relationship is built
Coming to the clinic helped Shane change his perspective on his fear and dentists.
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Medication To Control Anxiety
Oftentimes pain is the biggest cause of fear, and taking painkillers can kill your fears too. However, consult with the dentist to choose the right medication. In case you are suffering from severe dental anxiety ask the dentist for sedation dentistry. The benefits of sedation dentistry are many and can help you curb your phobia. But you should always consult your physician and let your dentist know about your medical history to choose the right sedative dentistry service for you.
How To Manage Dental Anxiety Or Phobia
There are many ways to help people manage dental anxiety or phobia. It is important to let the dentist know if you experience any level of dental anxiety. Open discussion around the individual triggers of anxiety can help the dentist work with you to tailor a management plan for you.
Some psychological coping techniques include:
Referral to a psychologist can be helpful too. Short, targeted therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy can be very successful.
Severe dental anxiety or phobia may require medical management with relative analgesia , anxiety relieving medication, conscious sedation or general anaesthesia.
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How We Create A Safe Environment To Combat Dental Anxiety
At Woonona Dentists. we understand that many patients cant rationalise their dental fears and anxieties so its up to us to create a place where patients feel safe enough to relax and allow us to treat them.
Some of the techniques we use include:
- Giving patients the freedom to leave if they need to. This generally doesnt happen but the knowledge that they can leave makes a big difference to the way people feel.
- Explaining exactly what to expect, how the procedure will work and what is going to happen next. Very often the fear of not knowing is a scary prospect for anxious patients and so having an expectation can make the experience much more bearable.
- IV sedation dentistry is very popular among patients who are nervous about dental procedures.
Spend Time With Friends And Family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.
One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called tend and befriend, and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response .
Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship.
Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety .
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.
Its hard to feel anxious when youre laughing. Its good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted (
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.
One way to do this may be to say no more often.
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Coping With And Easing Your Fear Of The Dentist
If you’re fearful or feeling anxious about visiting your dentist you could:
- speak to your dentist and explain your feelings, you can then work together to make your visit as relaxed as possible
- pro-active breathing and relaxation techniques, these can help to calm your nerves and distract you from any procedures
- take an MP3 player and headphones with you, this will act as a distraction and drown out any noises which make you anxious
- agree with your dentist on a signal you will make if you feel overwhelmed or want the treatment to stop for any reason
- ask for the dental nurse to speak with you or sit with you during your appointment
- attend a sedation clinic if your phobia is severe
How Do I Deal With Dental Anxiety
Now that you have a basic understanding of what dental anxiety is, let us discuss what you have been waiting for tips to get rid of dental anxiety.
- Speaking your mind and heart out to a near one can be an effective way to get rid of dental anxiety. This near one can be a friend or even your dentist. Doing so will help you to get another perspective that might resolve the issue.
- Listen to music You can choose to listen to your favorite soundtracks while visiting the dental clinic. This can be a way of avoiding disturbing noises that are very common at a clinic. Moreover, listening to music is considered to be a solution for all kinds of anxiety.
- Count your breath Inhaling slowly and then exhaling for the same number of counts can help you feel relaxed. You can follow this trick while waiting for your appointment at the clinic.
- Look for a good dentist People often say that a patient can get cured if the dentist is nice to him/her. You should look for a dentist who is well-behaved and is patient enough to listen to your problems. Contact Advanced Family Dentistry if you are looking for the best dentist in Nashua, NH. The advancement in the field of modern dentistry has led to the emergence of sedation dentistry which is another way of not feeling the pain while undergoing dental treatment. Sedation dentistry has several benefits and definitely is a way of resolving dental anxiety.
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Other Options To Deal With Dental Anxiety
Dental Choice offers a variety of other options for coping with dental anxiety. These include the following.
- Application of local sedatives: In addition to sedation dentistry, we use local sedatives to help reduce any discomfort you might experience during dental procedures.
- Use of hand signals: We also understand part of dental anxiety stems from the fear of the unknown and feeling out of control. Hand signals can help. You can let the dentist know you need a break by raising your hand to signal a stop.
- Explanation of each step: We will explain each step beforehand and along the way so you know what is going on and you maintain some degree of control over the pace of the procedure.
- Use of a computer-assisted system for delivery of local anesthesia: We offer The Wand, a computer-assisted system for application of local anesthesia. Known as single-tooth anesthesia, it can freeze a single tooth. It provides dentists with guidance while they are conducting dental injections. Patients who experience this technology may find it offers more contained numbness and less pain in the area.
Discuss your dental anxiety concerns with us here at Dental Choice, and allow us to work with you to develop a treatment plan to help to put your fears to rest while allowing you to receive the dental care and treatment you need.
What Is Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is a condition in which you suffer extreme discomfort, nervousness, fear and even panic at the thought of going to the dentist. In more extreme cases, it manifests in very real symptoms.
Unfortunately, this fear or anxiety causes many people to put off going to the dentist for years, or even decades. Some people avoid seeing the dentist until:
Fear preventing you from going to the dentist for so long can lead to other oral and overall health conditions. According to the Canadian government, poor oral health links to a variety of major health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Premature babies
- Babies with low birth weight
Good dental care is also instrumental in the prevention of many other major health problems that go far beyond the strength of your teeth. You can prevent extensive damage through regular cleanings, examinations and dental checkups, along with a few minor procedures along the way. Taking care of your teeth is about so much more than protecting the integrity of your smile, and working to overcome dental anxiety so you can get the oral health care you require is critical.
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Fun Facts About Laughing Gas To Get Rid Of Dental Anxietywritten By: Dr Ankita Shah March 2020
Lets take a walk down the memory lane where your mother would have conditioned you to visit the dentist,”Honey, its going to be okay. There is nothing to be afraid of! The dentist isn’t going to give you an injection.” Well, what illusion was framed in your mind? Okay mom that means there is something out there to give me cold feet.
Nitrous oxide aka “Laughing Gas” technique popularly termed as “Conscious Sedation or Anxiolysis” has been used since more than 5 decades for alleviating pain and anxiety. Dealing with children is a completely different ball game. Dental treatments require voluntary co-operation from children to attain utmost co-operation from the child.
Look For Ways To Relax
Relax as much as possible before your appointment with your dentist in Richmond. Deep breathing and meditation are two things that you can try. Theyve been shown to improve your relaxation. You must have the right mindset to be able to control your fear. Use these techniques to help your mind relax and control your anxieties. Do not postpone the session. You wont even need to apply these techniques after some time when you feel like you are in control.
Opt For Sedation Dentistry
You can also opt for sedation dentistry to control your dental anxiety. It will help your Richmond dentist work easily, and you will be able to relax during the procedure. Consult your dental care professional before choosing the sedation dentistry treatment that best meets your dental care needs. If discomfort is the source of your dental anxiety, you can also use medicines and other pain killers.
Look For Distraction
If you suffer from persistent anxiety, distract yourself. Get permission from your Richmond dentist and relax by listening to music. You can also buy a stress ball to help you relax during the procedure. However, in certain procedures, it could be difficult to let you listen to music or watch videos
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