Easing the Anxiety of Going to the Dentist
It’s not uncommon to feel some sort of anxiety prior to your visit to the dentist. Even if the appointment is just for a routine cleaning, millions of people every year report feelings of uneasiness in the days and hours leading up to their dentist appointment. Studies show that up to 20% of Americans actually avoid seeing their dentist because these feelings become so intense. Once you have the information, dental anxiety can be an easy issue to recognize and treat to make biannual appointments less nerve-racking.
“How do I know if I’m experiencing dental anxiety?”
You may already experience some of the symptoms of dental anxiety before your appointments without giving it a name. Some of the most common symptoms are increased nervousness on your way to your appointment, in the waiting room, or during your actual procedures. Whether you’re worried about the potential pain involved in your procedure, about a loss of control, or about being surrounded so closely by your dental team, these all contribute to apprehension associated with a dental visit.
It’s more than just anxiety.
In some cases, uneasiness over seeing your dentist can be more complicated than just dental anxiety-the classification escalates to dental phobia when the nervousness transitions to feelings of intense dread or terror. Dental phobia isn’t something that should be taken lightly, especially because many times it leads to skipping the dentist all together. Neglecting this aspect of your healthcare can lead to lifelong health problems that develop and go untreated. Just like annual physicals are important for prevention of chronic illnesses, regular trips to the dentist are critical in maintaining healthy teeth. If your uneasiness goes further than just anxiety, you might consider discussing your options with a psychologist before giving the dentist another go.
Dental visits with anxiety are still possible!
Especially if you recognize that you experience these nerves before, during, and/or after your dental appointment, it’s much easier for your dentist to work with you. Anything from giving you a blanket to help your physical comfort to prescribing you a drug that helps you relax are options you can discuss with your dentist. No matter what remedy you choose to help ease your nerves, what you’re feeling isn’t something to be ashamed of. Speaking with your dentist or another unbiased health professional is key to keeping your health on track.