DENTAL ANXIETY & DENTAL PHOBIA

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This blog really hits home for me, since I can remember, I’ve had dental anxiety. My dental anxiety as a child was severe, one of my earliest memories of going to the dentist; I was sat in the chair was prepped for fillings, and at the last second I decided to run out of the office, ran right past my mother, and just about knocked the Novocain syringe out of the dentist hand.

I struggled a lot as child to go to the dentist on a regular basis, which also carried into most of my adult life as well. Until one day I realized shortly after having my first child that I should really try to concur my fear of the dentist, so I could set a good example for my young child.

So for me, that was in deed enough motivation for me to start going to my dental provider. Now I can honestly say that I have concurred my fear of going to the dentist, and I never would’ve thought I’d be here working in a dental office or writing dental blogs.

Some studies show that up to 75% of Americans experience some level of dental related fear and about 20% avoid dental care because of their fear.

Dental anxieties and phobias present themselves in a variety of ways. Specific fears vary person to person. Dental anxiety is more of a mild to moderate general sense of worry and apprehension when thinking of that upcoming appointment, whereas, dental phobia is a much more intense experience, with an overwhelming and irrational fear of the dentist.

Causes:

  • Pain is one of the most common causes of dental anxiety/phobia in adults 24 years and older, due to see an older dental provider prior to the “pain-free” advancements in the world of dentistry.
  • Feeling of helplessness and loss of control- many people develop phobias about being in a specific situation. When you’re sat in a chair at the dentist you have a sense of helplessness because you are told to sit still, and you also can’t see what’s going on very well.
  • Embarrassment – the mouth is an intimate part of your body, people may feel ashamed to have a stranger look inside. Another trigger for someone with anxiety/phobias would be the physical closeness that your provider or hygienist has to get to you during procedures or routine cleanings.
  • Lastly having a prior negative experience at the dentist could prevent some from returning to a provider in the future or on a regular basis.

Symptoms:

  • You may feel tense or have trouble sleeping the night before you come in for routine cleaning and exam, and or dental procedure.
  • You may get increasingly nervous waiting in the waiting room.
  • You may feel a loss of control of your emotions while thinking of coming in for a dental procedure and or routine care, which in turn gets your anxiety going.
  • The thought of coming into your appointment may make you feel physically ill.
  • You may also feel a sense of panic or loss of control when dental instruments are in or around your mouth.

WE CAN HELP!

Whatever your individual level of anxiety may be our office can help. We are committed to making sure that your visit is as comfortable, quick and as easy as possible, there are a number of solutions to dental anxiety and we are here to help.

Here are a few tips to help ease your dental anxiety in our dental office:

  • Communication- informing us of your dental anxieties and phobias is a great way to start communicating to us so we can give you the quality care you need, and make your experience here pleasant.
  • Calming techniques- many patients find it helpful to practice controlled breathing or to find a distraction inside the room.
  • Listening to music- with most procedures here in our office we do allow you to bring in your own personal music with your personal headphones, to help ease your dental anxiety and or phobias.
  • Taking breaks- let us know if you would like to take a short break during your treatment by signaling with your left hand.

Oral health is important for the health of your whole body. Please don’t let fear stand in your way of great dental care! We can help you get the care you need and try and ease that dental anxiety. Call us today to schedule an appointment: Northampton family dentistry (413) 584-1722. 

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