Friday, 15 May 2015

How to Reduce Dental Anxiety

Thousands of people suffer with dental anxiety around the world. The good news is that you are not alone in your fear, but each person’s fear varies. The problem with dental anxiety is that unlike some other fears, you are completely aware of your fear, which can make visiting the dentist the most horrific experience in your life.

The biggest problem for people suffering with this anxiety is that they won’t visit the dentist until they are in complete agony. Those suffering from anxiety will ignore signs and symptoms that there is a problem with their teeth or gums, they will wait until they cannot take the pain anymore and only then, they may consider visiting the dentist moving forward.

There are a number of symptoms you can look for which can help you identify if you have a problem. One of the most common signs that you may be suffering from dental anxiety is problems sleeping the night before your dental appointment. The anticipation and fear may be so overwhelming that you find it impossible to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Another sign that you may be suffering from fear of the dentist is you get exceptionally nervous in the minutes leading up to your dental appointment. Once you enter the practice and sit in the waiting room, the fear starts to overwhelm you. Some people may even hyperventilate because they get themselves so worked up.

Some people find that after their dental appointment, they are so relieved it’s over that they start to cry. The crying is a sign of relief and is a definite sign that you suffer from dental anxiety.

The causes of this condition vary from person to person. The most common reasons result from past experiences. Some people find that they are afraid because their parents were afraid when they were children and the fear passed on to them, as they didn’t know any better.

For some people the fear of pain is so debilitating that they will wait until they can’t take the problem any longer before seeking professional help. Some people have a fear of needles and the thought of having to have an injection is too much to bear, while others fear the outcome of an anaesthetic or they don’t like the feeling of not being in control.

Dr Tariq Drabu advised that dentists are more sensitive to dental anxiety these days and work with the patient to help them manage their fear and get the treatment they deserve. A good example is patients who have a fear of needles can have gas to numb the area while being worked on, rather than subjecting them to a needle.

There are ways to manage your fears and help you relieve your anxiety when you need to visit the dentist. The first step is to discuss your fear with the dentist in person. Your dentist will be able to make note that you suffer from anxiety and work with you so you feel more comfortable and help you get the treatment you need.

You may want to learn some breathing techniques for relaxation to help you feel calmer as you wait for your appointment. Deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, concentrating on your stomach as you breath can help calm you and help you focus on something other than the treatment you are about to have done.

Whatever you do, don’t let your children see your fear. Dr Tariq Drabu advised that children of parents who fear the dentist are likely to also fear the dentist in the future

1 comment:

  1. You're right that a lot of people will put off going to the dentist until the pain is unbearable. I can't imagine the damage needing to be repaired if I waited until that point to go. I had a friend who avoided going until I insisted, and he had to have a root canal, which is probably one of the more traumatic procedures. You did make a very good point though, that most dentists want to make it a good experience for you. I think that finding a dentist that you trust is the first step to overcoming dental anxiety.