Best Ways to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Best Ways to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Despite dental anxiety frequently occurring in people of all ages and the immense stress that it can cause, it doesn’t need to inhibit your ability to seek the dental care that you need. Read on in this blog from Acacia Dental Care to learn more about dental anxiety and what you can do about it.

What Is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is a feeling of intense fear or distress when going to the dentist. Severe dental anxiety can cause dental avoidance, where patients who need restorative treatment for active tooth decay, an infection, or to relieve pain may completely avoid the dentist because of the anticipation of anxiety.

Experiencing dental anxiety is completely normal and common. It’s one of the biggest reasons that people avoid going to regular dental appointments. The fear of the dentist can be caused by different things for different people. 

Some may have claustrophobia or not like people invading their personal space while others may have a phobia of needles and dental tools. Most people who are afraid of the dentist associate the dentist with pain or discomfort. 

If you have bad breath or unhealthy teeth, then it may also be a source of embarrassment. There can be a feeling of a loss of control when sitting in the dental chair as someone is working on your mouth. 

Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

If you experience the following symptoms when going to the dentist or in anticipation of going to the dentist, then you likely have dental anxiety:

  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Intense fear
  • Withdrawing or using humor to hide anxiety
  • Emotional outbursts or signs of distress
  • Intentional avoidance of the dentist
  • Low blood pressure/fainting
  • Difficulty sleeping or focusing before a dental appointment

Tips for Coping With Dental Anxiety

The good news is that if you have dental anxiety, things can get better. You can get the dental treatment you need without experiencing debilitating stress and anxiety. The first thing you should do is acknowledge that you have dental anxiety. Naming the problem is half the battle.

You should also contact your dentist and inform them of your dental anxiety. Dental practices are more than happy to accommodate patients with dental anxiety, which is a common phenomenon that they deal with daily. 

You should practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and relaxing all of the muscles in your body. The age-old adage to “think happy thoughts” can also be helpful. It’s known as guided imagery and is based on the idea that nostalgia promotes happiness and stress relief. 

Another useful tool is to use distraction, whether it be listening to music, watching a TV show, or listening to your favorite podcast, this can take you out of the mindset of being in a stressful and scary environment by placing your focus elsewhere.

How Dentists Can Help

A dentist will work with you to create an environment that accommodates your needs and makes you feel comfortable. Many treatment rooms are equipped with wall-mounted TVs and come with amenities like noise-canceling headphones. 

If you inform your dentist that you have dental anxiety, they may also allow you to bring your items from home that make you feel more comfortable or distract you.

If you would like someone to accompany you, especially if a child wants their parent to be there during their appointment so they feel less alone, this can be arranged.

Expert Dental Anxiety Relief At Acacia Dental Care, LLC

If you’re nervous about an upcoming dental appointment and would like to know if you’re a good candidate for dental sedation, contact us at Acacia Dental Care today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brookes.

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$120 New Patient Special

If you’re ready to get started at Acacia Dental Care, we make it easy. Schedule today, and you’ll pay just $120 for our new patient special. There are no hidden fees or additional costs to worry about. Your new patient appointment includes:

  • Teeth cleaning
  • Oral exam
  • X-rays

*New patients only. Not valid with insurance. Not valid in cases of periodontal disease.

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