A certain extent of apprehension is normal before going to the dentist, or any doctor for that matter. However, if your anxiety affects your oral health and prevents you from going to the dentist, you may be experiencing dental fear, anxiety, or phobia. Current estimates reveal that between 5-8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear. Meanwhile, 20% are anxious to the point that they will only seek dental treatment only when necessary.
What Triggers Dental Anxiety or Phobia?
· Loss of control
o Some patients feel like they’re losing control when they lie on a dental chair and find it overwhelming when a dentist hover above their heads and probe inside their mouths. They typically associate the feeling with helplessness or being trapped.
o Most people dread going to the dentist out of fear of pain, especially those who have a low pain threshold.
o Some patients feel ashamed or embarrassed when dentists look inside their mouths and examine their gums and teeth. Discomfort can also result from the little distance between a patient and dentist during treatment.
· Past Experience
o Most people develop dental fears due to a bad experience in the past. If a previous treatment was painful or resulted in complications, a patient may develop trepidations about going to the dentist again.
How To Overcome Your Dental Anxiety or Phobia
· Know your Fears
o To better understand your feelings and address them, you need to come into terms with your anxiety or fear of going to the dentist. Write your fears down, so that you can talk about them better.
· Sedation Dentistry
o A very safe and viable option at Ridgetop Dental Group. We offer different types of sedation to help you feel completely relaxed and calm during your dental work.
· Relaxation Exercises
o Help you stay calm during treatment. One of the ways you can relax is through controlled breathing, which involves taking a big breath and letting it out very slowly. This will help relax your muscle and slow your heartbeat.
· Reward Yourself
o Once you overcome your dental fear or make milestones like finishing a particular dental treatment, reward yourself. Buy something nice or do something fun like going on a weekend getaway. Doing so will help you relate dental visits with fun activities.
Schedule A Dental Implant Consultation
If you are experiencing dental anxiety and would like to explore solutions, visit our team at Ridgetop Dental Group in Reston, VA. To schedule an appointment, call us or request an appointment online.