Overcoming Dental Phobia and Anxiety

Closeup portrait young terrified girl woman scared at dentist visit, siting in chair, covering her mouth, doesn't want dental procedure, drilling, tooth extraction, isolated clinic office background

Most people go to their dentist twice a year for a dental cleaning. There really isn’t much to the procedure. The hygienist simply scrapes away plaque that may have adhered to the surface of the teeth before it can create any damage. After numerous visits, most are able to overcome the apprehension in having a cleaning done, but what about the ‘ifs.’

What if they find a cavity or a chipped tooth? What if an extraction is necessary? Only a clean bill of health will restore a phobic to a state of relaxation that prior to that was just a phony persona put on for everyone’s benefit. Those who have an anxiety problem to begin with, find that entering a dental office only makes the fear intensify. It has been said that about 25 percent of the people getting dental work done suffer from anxiety and phobia but that number only represents those that readily admit their problem.

Anxiety Causes

If we chose to be totally honest with ourselves and our dentists the first thing we would realize is that we are not alone. Fear and anxiety has plenty of company in a waiting room and despite our outward signs of calm our dentist is well aware of our misgivings. The hand that clenches the dental chair is a dead give away. Here are some of the reasons most people are so apprehensive.

• The sound of the drills
• Fear of needles
• Lack of insurance to cover the cost of the work
• Confinement to the dental chair
• Previous bad experiences
• Any procedure that could cause choking or gagging

Knowing the reasons behind the fear will sometimes help while at other times it does little to alleviate the apprehension. One of things everyone can do to reduce the fear is to practice good at home dental care. The more often we brush, floss, and rinse at home, the more apt we are to get a clean bill of health from the hygienist. Nothing can take the place of regularly brushing, flossing, and rinsing at least twice a day. To do so will keep dental disease and cavities at bay.

Learning To Keep Anxiety at Bay

There are numerous things a person can do to get a grip on dental phobias and fears. Not all of them will work for everyone but they will go a long way in alleviating fear. If you haven’t tried them yet you have nothing to lose and plenty to gain.\

• Find a dentist that you feel at ease with
• Talk to your dentist about any fears that you may have
• Use earphones to drown out the sounds of dental drills
• If these don’t work for you, express your desire for sedation

Keep in mind that dentistry has evolved into a pain free science. Even the administration of Novocain has been lessened to a tolerable degree. It is the good experience that will aid in relinquishing our fears. For those that have tried every trick in the book, and still find themselves bordering on panic, have a visit with your family physician and there may be a medication he or she can give you to calm those fears.

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