Common dental anxiety causes and some simple fixes.
Dental anxiety is more common than you may think, but you can’t let it compromise your health!
There are some ways to combat your anxiety and have a pleasant experience in the dentist’s chair.
Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways. Some people become agitated, some avoid dental appointments, and in extreme cases, people have been known to never visit a dentist. Because of anxiety, people will often put off having dental treatment and suffer for years with toothaches, infections, and poor oral appearance.
Here are some of the most common causes for dental anxiety and some easy solutions to try so you will be more comfortable at your next visit to the dentist.
- Fear of the Unknown – A lot of anxiety can come from not knowing what to expect. The best way to ease your apprehensions is to ask! As simple as it may sound all you need to do is ask your doctor what will happen. Request a meeting with the dentist before your appointment. This will give you a chance to talk with them about what will happen during your appointment and discuss your worries. It will also help you to not think of your doctor as an ominous person looming over you in the dentist chair. Knowing the dentist as a person and what the procedure will be like can greatly reduce your level of anxiety.
- Upset by Sounds of a Dentist’s Office – Many people with anxiety are upset by loud noises. A dentist’s office can be full of noise that is upsetting to people. The suction of water being removed, the beeps and whirring sounds of an x-ray machine, the scraping of dental tools, and worst of all the sound of a drill. But, you aren’t required to listen! Dealing with these noises can be as simple as wearing earplugs or putting on noise cancelling headphones with soothing music playing. Make sure you warn your dentist so they will be able to get your attention, but there is no rule saying you can’t zone out and relax in the dental chair.
- Scary Dental Equipment – Speaking of those noises, they can be made by dental tools. When most people think of instruments of torture, they probably envision rusty dental tools. The reality is something quite different. If the tools intimidate you, ask to see them. Ask questions about what each tool does. There are constantly significant advances in dental tools and techniques. The more you are prepared for ahead of time, the less intimidating these dental instruments will seem.
- Worrying about being Uncomfortable – Some people’s anxiety stems from being uncomfortable while in the dental chair. A more common fear is not having the ability to breathe through the nose while the dentist works in your mouth. This can usually be alleviated by wearing a breathing strip, designed to help with snoring, across the bridge of your nose. If you are worried about a sensitive gag reflex when being prepared for x-rays, speak to the technician. There are generally alternatives that they can try so you can avoid gagging. Another source of anxiety is the fear of back pain in the reclining position of the dental chair. Ask your dentist or technician for a less reclined position. We also have pillows on site that can be placed behind the neck to relieve discomfort in that area. If the bright light bothers you, bring in a pair of sunglasses. Many patients enjoy using these to cancel out bright light and help them to relax.
Your visit to the dentist will be easier for you and your doctor if you are comfortable and able to relax. The most effective thing you can do in order to alleviate your dental anxiety is work on your overall anxiety. The most important thing for you as a patient is to find out where and how you feel most comfortable at the dentist’s office. Our staff would be happy to talk to you about your options and in the case of extreme anxiety, we will even refer you to a sedation dentist who will be able to best accommodate your needs.
If you have more questions or concerns and are wanting to get back on the road to dental health, contact us at the office of Dr. Stanislav and Dr. Kristy Dye by calling 931-648-0232 or sending us a message.