What is Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is a term used to describe fear, anxiety or stress in a dental setting. Being scared to visit the dentist can result in delaying or avoiding dental treatment.
Dental anxiety can be associated with certain triggers such as needles, drills or the dental setting in general.
When dental anxiety is severe and results in irrational fear and complete avoidance of going to the dentist, it can be classified as a dental phobia.
Some mental health conditions including generalized anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, or a previous history of head and neck trauma can increase the risk of a person experiencing dental anxiety. This is according to https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
According to https://www.webmd.com/oral-health -Dental phobia is a more serious condition than anxiety. It leaves people panic-stricken and terrified. People with dental phobia have an awareness that the fear is totally irrational, but are unable to do much about it. They exhibit classic avoidance behavior; that is, they will do everything possible to avoid going to the dentist. People with dental phobia usually go to the dentist only when forced to do so by extreme pain. Pathological anxiety or phobia may require psychiatric consultation in some case.
Signs and symptoms of dental anxiety
People with dental anxiety may experience:
- racing heartbeat
- low blood pressure and possible fainting
- visible distress, crying or signs of panic
- withdrawal, or using humor or aggression to mask anxiety
Some anxious patients will routinely miss dental appointments, and may find it difficult to undergo dental treatment regardless of whether it is simple or complex.
What Causes Dental Phobia and Anxiety?
There are many reasons why some people have dental phobia and anxiety. Some of the common reasons include:
- Fear of pain. Fear of pain is a very common reason for avoiding the dentist. This fear usually stems from an early dental experience that was unpleasant or painful or from dental “pain and horror” stories told by others. Thanks to the many advances in dentistry made over the years, most of today’s dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain-free.
- Fear of injections or fear the injection won’t work. Many people are terrified of needles, especially when inserted into their mouth. Beyond this fear, others fear that the anesthesia hasn’t yet taken effect or wasn’t a large enough dose to eliminate any pain before the dental procedure begins.
- Fear of anesthetic side effects. Some people fear the potential side effects of anesthesia such as dizziness, feeling faint, or nausea. Others don’t like the numbness or “fat lip” associated with local anesthetics.
- Feelings of helplessness and loss of control. It’s common for people to feel these emotions considering the situation — sitting in a dental chair with your mouth wide open, unable to see what’s going on.
- Embarrassment and loss of personal space. Many people feel uncomfortable about the physical closeness of the dentist or hygienist to their face. Others may feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth or possible mouth odors.
Easing Dental Anxiety in Adults
The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable. If your dentist doesn’t take your fear seriously, find another dentist.
If lack of control is one of your main stressors, actively participating in a discussion with your dentist about your treatment can ease your tension. Ask your dentist to explain what’s happening at every stage of the procedure. This way you can mentally prepare for what’s to come. Another helpful strategy is to establish a signal — such as raising your hand — when you want the dentist to immediately stop. Use this signal whenever you are uncomfortable or simply need to catch your breath.
Our Doctors at Emerald Dental are very much aware you could be suffering from anxiety and therefore from professional experience they know how to ease your fears. Talk to the Doctors before any procedure, they certainly have dealt with so many patients like you and would definitely have ways of easing your pain.
Keep in mind that if a fear of the dentist keeps you from seeking treatment, your oral health may deteriorate over time.
Experience Tender, Loving, Care at our facility.