Dental anxiety is a common condition characterized by stress, fear, or general anxiety in a dental setting. Some patients have anxiety associated with certain triggers, such as drills or needles, while others experience anxiety as soon as they walk into the dentist office. Dental anxiety can be mild or severe, and oftentimes, it can delay or prevent a person from receiving the dental treatment they need. Learning how to properly manage your fear can help cleanings, exams, and other procedures become less stressful.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have ever felt stressed or anxious about going to the dentist or undergoing a procedure, you may have experienced dental anxiety. Everyone reacts differently in high-stress situations. However, if you do suffer, you may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:
- Racing heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Heart palpitations
- Visible distress
People with dental anxiety may have difficulty sleeping the night before visiting their Melbourne, Florida dentist. They may also experience mounting nervousness as they wait for their name to be called in the waiting room. In some cases, a person may feel physically ill at the mere thought of visiting a dentist. Difficulty breathing and panic may set in once seated in the treatment room.
Common Causes for Patients
Determining the root cause of dental anxiety can be challenging. In some cases, there is no specific event that triggered a fear of the dentist. Dental anxiety may be a result of fear stemming from other conditions, such as claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces) or agoraphobia (fear of being in a situation where you cannot escape).
In many cases, dental anxiety is caused by a traumatic dental experience that a person experienced in the past or during childhood. This may have been an unpleasant dentist, a painful procedure, or a similar event that resulted in trust issues. If you suffer from general anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or have had previous trauma to the neck and head, visiting the dentist may cause feelings of discomfort and nervousness.
Overcoming Dental Anxiety
There are many tips and techniques that can be useful for people that suffer from dental anxiety. How well these coping techniques work will depend on your level of apprehension. If you suffer from dental anxiety, speak with your Melbourne, FL dentist about your concerns and create a tailored treatment plan that meets your unique needs. You can also try the following tips:
- Bring a friend along. Having a person that you know and trust next to you while you undergo treatment can be a highly effective solution for minimizing your worries. Ask your friend to talk to you throughout the exam which may provide a sense of comfort.
- Be upfront about your fears. Your dentist has treated patients with dental anxiety many times before. Do not be afraid to bring up your concerns before your appointment so that your dentist can create a plan that won’t cause you undue stress.
- Consider using dental sedation. For people with more severe cases of dental anxiety, the use of dental sedation may help keep them calm and relaxed. Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” is a common option available at many dentist offices. Your dentist may also prescribe an oral sedative to take directly before your appointment.
- Try other techniques for reducing stress. Meditation, deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation have all been known to help people become more at ease. It can also be useful to find a distraction, such as music.
Contact Artistic Touch Dentistry Today for All Your Oral Needs
Visiting the dentist for a simple dental teeth cleaning can become a major struggle when you experience dental anxiety. Fortunately, our friendly and accommodating experts at Artistic Touch Dentistry can help.