What do deep waters, public speaking, high places, and dentists all have in common? They are some of the most common phobias! If your dental anxiety is preventing you from accessing proper dental care, don’t worry. You are not alone. Studies show that this phobia affects up to 36% of the population.
So what is dental phobia? It’s a condition that’s worse than anxiety. Most people who suffer from this condition are entirely aware that their behaviour is irrational. Despite this, they usually only go to the dentist when forced to go from extreme pain.
Keep on reading to find out how you can conquer your fear, and achieve a healthier smile with Applewood Dental.
What is Dental Anxiety?
It doesn’t matter how old you are, a fear of the dentist can happen at any age. An uneasiness before a dental appointment is common and isn’t the same thing as dental anxiety. Those who live with dental anxiety suffer an extreme reaction to dentistry that causes them to avoid it at all costs. Extreme cases of this phobia can cause painful and frightening physical reactions in a patient.
So let’s look at what teeth anxiety feels like. Understanding a problem is the first step to fixing it.
Symptoms of Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety can affect people in a number of ways and it is important to remember that everyone is unique. No two people will react the same to their phobia. That being said, there are a few symptoms you can be on the look for if you are worried about dental phobia. These symptoms are:
- Panic attacks
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme sweating
- Heart palpitations
- Aggressive behaviour
- Feeling faint
It’s also common for sufferers to have trouble sleeping before a dental exam. Some people report feeling physically ill. In extreme cases, the phobia may require psychiatric consultation.
Does dental anxiety affect your oral health?
As many who suffer from this condition will affirm, dental anxiety can severely impact your oral health. Bad breath, gum disease, and tooth loss are all problems associated with teeth anxiety. If you only go to the dentist when you are in extreme pain, you are allowing small problems to grow into large problems. Despite often understanding that fact, those who suffer from dental anxiety struggle to go to regular appointments.
That being said, coping with dental anxiety is entirely possible. There are a few first steps you can take to begin your journey to a healthier smile.
Solutions for Teeth Anxiety
Fortunately for those who suffer from this phobia, there are many different solutions available. Whether you want to try therapy, medication, or perhaps a stress-management strategy, you have options for dealing with your dental anxiety. Check out this quick guide on some available treatments and strategies.
Bring a Friend
Sometimes the hardest part of confronting a phobia is doing it alone. If that’s the case for you, then the fix is simple! Contact your dentist about bringing a trusted person with you to your appointment. They can even hold your hand, or some other special accommodation.
Welcome to the 21st century where there is a gadget to solve every problem! Pop in a pair of bluetooth headphones and play some relaxing music during your appointment. There is even specific music that curbs anxiety, with science. Or, you could even listen to a guided breathing meditation!
While meditation isn’t a magical fix for stress and anxiety, it is helpful. For a few days at least before your appointment, set aside some time to practice your breathing. Calm your thoughts, and focus on your breath. This is a useful tool because anxiety can worsen pain. By practicing calming down before your appointment, you’re giving yourself another tool to overcome your dental phobia.
For those whose dental anxiety severely impacts their ability to cope, their are options like hypnotherapy. This therapy involves quieting the conscious mind to create a state of calmness. Then, a hypnotherapist guides your mind with the power of suggestion. With your consent, they use the power of suggestion to curb your dental phobia.
Another option for those with severe dental anxiety is conscious sedation. You simply take an oral sedative a few hours before your dental appointment. It’s not general anesthesia, so you won’t be unconscious during the appointment. This is useful for those who struggle with a racing heart or sweatiness during exams.
Don’t be afraid to ask us questions! You can learn more about Applewood Dental’s Sleep and Sedation Dentistry here.
General Anesthesia For Dental Anxiety
The process of general anesthesia is a bit involved. If you opt for general anesthesia, then you will be unconscious for your dental procedure. Sometimes anesthesia is administered at a hospital by an anesthesiologist. Dental offices can provide this care, but only with special treatment. The process can be quite expensive, so check to make sure that you’re covered by your insurance.
Talk to Your Dentist About Teeth Anxiety
The most important thing you can do to overcome your phobia is to talk to your dentist. A phobia can feel extremely isolating, and the professionals at Applewood Dental understand that. Remember, your dentist is here to help you have healthy teeth. We can explain each step slowly and clearly. We can recommend personalized techniques and strategies to cope with your dental anxiety. Once you talk with us at Applewood Dental, you will feel better knowing that our team cares about your oral health and your mental health.
We’re here to help you. Don’t wait to find out how you can have a better smile with Applewood Dental. Book your free consultation with us here.
Applewood Dental, Innisfil Ontario Cares About Your Dental Anxiety
Located in Innisfil Ontario, Applewood Dental is invested in its patients and its community. We are here to help you every step of the way, from providing you with the facts about good oral hygiene to walking you through treatment options. With proper dental care, we believe everyone can achieve a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.
In the meantime, take a look at our article on how often you should visit the dentist here.
If you’re looking for dentists in Innisfil, Ontario, we are proud to offer the best family-friendly dental services this side of the Humber Valley. Learn about our team and book your next—of many annual—appointment with us today. Call us at 705-436-5777 to book your next appointment now!