Few people look forward to the dental chair, but for some, that apprehension can turn in to full blown dental anxiety. This fear can stem from many things,such as the sound of the equipment, smell of the office, and anticipation of the treatment. Whatever the reason for dental anxiety, this fear causes many Americans to delay dental care– indefinitely. Though common, dental anxiety can be successfully managed so patients at Smile ATL in Atlanta can get the care they need, before avoiding care leads to additional oral health issues.
What Causes Dental Anxiety?
There are many different reasons people are fearful of going to the dentist. Sometimes, it’s a previous experience, the sound of the tools, or simply the fear of local anesthetic. There are lots of unfamiliar tools, sounds and smells in the dentist office and all of those elements can make some feel some extreme apprehension. Technically, it’s called dentophobia or odontophobia and you don’t have to have any particular dental trauma in your past to currently experience it.
Signs of dental anxiety include:
- Trouble sleeping the night or nights before a scheduled dental appointment
- Crying or feeling ill at the thought of visiting the dentist
- Uneasiness when objects are placed near your mouth
- Feeling as if it’s difficult to breathe when you get in the dentist chair
- Feeling helpless and out of control when in the dental chair
Overcoming Dental Fear
Patients that experience dental anxiety need to know that there are ways to manage that fear, and make going to the dentist a lot more comfortable, if not stress-free.
These tips and techniques are effective in reducing the anxiety associated with going to the dental office.
- Find a dentist at Smile ATL that specializes in dealing with fearful patients. Remember, dentists are healthcare professionals that have training in dealing with patients that have anxiety.
- Talk to your dentist about your fears prior to your visit. The dentist will discuss options such as medication, to help you manage your visit.
- Understand that dentistry is more sophisticated and comfortable than ever. Many patients envision scenes from westerns when they think of dentistry. Today, treatment is safe, fast, and in many cases nearly pain-free.
- Use relaxation techniques to help calm your nerves. Practice deep breathing or envision yourself on a beautiful beach.
- If the sound of drilling or suctioning makes you feel tense, listen to your favorite music to drown out the sound.
- Avoid caffeine or other stimulants the day before and day of the appointment.
- Avoid sugary foods that provide temporary energy. Instead, eat protein rich foods that produce a calming effect.
- Have friend or family go with you.
- Get to know the dentist before you appointment so you already feel comfortable. Try following them on social media or giving them a call. It’s hard to trust someone you don’t know.
These positive techniques work wonders. Give them a try for your next visit at Smile ATL in Atlanta.