Dental anxiety is a very real phenomenon. Approximately 20 percent of adults in the United States avoid seeking dental treatment due to fear or anxiety. This fear can keep people from getting routine or urgent dental care, which can cause further damage to teeth and gums.
Dental anxiety is a fear of the dentist, and it can cause people to procrastinate scheduling regular dental checkups, putting their dental health at risk.
Dental anxiety can feel overwhelming and exhausting. It can also limit your quality of life. But you don’t have to let fear keep you from maintaining your oral health. Try these five tips to overcome dental anxiety.
Don’t stay silent. Let your dentist know how you feel. Your dentist wants to help you. Let them know about your fears so they can tailor treatment to help you overcome your dental anxiety.
If your anxiety is so severe that you cannot even receive dental care, you may need to undergo conscious sedation. We offer several sedation dentistry options. Nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation are all available. Each has its own benefits, so we encourage you to talk to your dentist about which one may be right for you. With conscious sedation, you will be awake and able to respond to verbal instructions from your dentist. You may also choose to be put under general anesthesia, which will put you completely to sleep, and you will not be able to wake up until the effects of the anesthesia wear off.
There are many relaxation techniques you can try. Most are easy to learn, and you can even practice them at home. Deep breathing, visualization, and meditation are three of the most common relaxation techniques.
If you have triggers that may bring up your anxiety, eliminate them when they come around. If you know that being in the dental chair makes you anxious, tell your dentist that. They can work to keep you comfortable during your treatment.
When you are nervous or anxious, shallow breathing is very common. When this happens, your oxygen intake is limited. This may make you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or even more anxious. Take a deep breath in through the nose and exhale through the mouth. This can help slow your heart rate, help you relax, and ease your anxiety.
Visit us at Paradise Family Dental, 4900 Paradise Way, Suite 104, West Richland, WA 99353, to learn more about our dental procedures. Call us at (509) 581-0626 to book an appointment.