Dental anxiety affects millions of people in the U.S. This anxiety can often prevent patients from getting treatments that can keep oral diseases like tooth decay and gum disease away or prevents them from getting worse. Dental phobias can be the result of previous bad experiences with dentists or it can be caused by a fear of being judged because of the condition of your teeth.
Talking to your dentist about dental anxiety
Talking to a dentist about dental anxiety is the first step towards overcoming it. Dentists accommodate patients with these fears regularly, and they can take simple steps like using less intimidating tools to make the experience more pleasant for the patient.
Dentists also have access to sedatives like nitrous oxide that can be used to keep patients relaxed during their treatments.
How dentists can help with dental anxiety
Here are some of the ways dentists can help patients to get past dental anxiety:
- Customizing the patient's treatments: Dental anxiety is one of the issues dentists often deal with and they have a variety of tricks they use to keep their patients relaxed. Once a dentist is aware of their patient's dental fears and their cause, they will take extra steps to avoid trigging these fears. For example, if the patient is terrified of loud dental tools like drills, the dentist might opt to use a laser instead.
- Teach patients relaxation techniques: Simple things like taking deep, slow breaths can help to reduce any form of anxiety. Dentists can educate patients about easy relaxation techniques they can use before and after their treatments.
- Time out signals: Dentists who are working with patients with dental anxiety often come up with a signal that the patient can use to let them know they need a break. Sitting in a dental chair and having people hovering over you can be uncomfortable for even those without dental anxiety. Knowing you can take a break whenever you wish often makes things easier.
- Dental sedatives: Dental sedatives help to keep patients with phobias relaxed at the dentist. The most common sedative used in dentistry is nitrous oxide. This is a fast-acting gas that keeps patients relaxed and happy during their treatments. Dentists also prescribe sedatives like valium that patients can take before their appointment. This can be helpful for those who deal with anxiety before they even get to the clinic. Patients who decide to explore sedation dentistry should arrange for transportation to and from the clinic.
Failing to address dental anxiety can have serious consequences. A vast majority of dental issues are a lot cheaper to treat in their early stages and they typically require less invasive treatments. Not addressing dental anxiety can lead to minor oral problems growing into major dental and overall health issues.
Take control of your fears
Call or visit our Tempe clinic to learn more about how to we can help you to get past dental anxiety.
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