If you are one of the many people who battle with dental anxiety, this article is for you. The term refers to an unusual fear of going to the dentist. It can be caused by a variety of things, including bad experiences at the dentist's clinic in the past.
Dental anxiety tends to lead to a person developing severe dental issues, since they find every excuse possible to avoid going to appointments. As a result, dental problems that develop do not get the treatment they need until the damage is severe, and it leads to unbearable pain that forces them to go to the dentist. Common reasons why people develop dental phobias include:
- A fear of needles
- Fear of the equipment used by dentists like powerful drills
- Fear of pain
- Fear of what the dentist might think of the condition of their teeth
Dealing with dental anxiety
Here are some simple ways patients can cope with their dental anxiety:
1. Find the right dentist
It is important to choose a dentist that has experience dealing with patients with dental phobias. The dentist should be willing to listen to the patient's concerns and give tips on how to manage their fears. Depending on the severity of the patient's anxiety, the dentist can provide sedatives like:
- Valium: It can be used to help patients relax prior to their scheduled dental visits. The patient takes this at home a couple of hours before their appointment
- Nitrous oxide: This is typically delivered with a nose mask, and it keeps patients relaxed during their treatments. Popularly known as laughing gas, it is one of the most commonly used sedatives for people with dental phobias thanks to its fast-acting nature and how quickly it wears off
- IV sedatives: These sedatives are administered intravenously
2. Identify the phobias
Figuring out what one's dental phobias are makes it easier to manage them. Once the fear is identified, the dentist can begin to build up the patient's confidence. There are also extra steps that can be taken to manage certain phobias once they have been identified. For example, a dentist can help a patient to get past the fear of needles by using a topical numbing cream. It is applied to the areas that will be injected so the patient does not feel the needle piercing their soft tissues.
3. Take someone along
People with dental phobias can benefit from taking a friend or family member with them to their dental appointments as they battle their fears. That person can provide moral support and help to ease their fears. They will also come in handy when the treatment is over since the patient might not be in a condition to drive themselves home.
4. Talk to the dentist about the details of each treatment
Knowing what to expect makes trips to the dentist a lot easier. Patients can ask the dentist to warn them about sensations they might experience during treatments. Many dental procedures do not cause any pain.
We are here to help
Do not let dental anxiety prevent you from getting the treatments you need. Stop by our Canton clinic to learn more about how we can help you to overcome your fears.
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