Dental anxiety is a term used to describe many types of dental fears and worries. Most people experience some level of dental anxiety when they visit the dentist, especially if they are having something they’ve never had done before.
Dentists have a lot of experience in dealing with people who are anxious or phobic. It’s important to let your dentist know if you are anxious about dental treatment as they can help you feel as comfortable as possible.
The causes of dental fears are most often caused by bad experiences at a dental practice. Hearing other people’s frightening stories can have a similar effect.
For some people, fear of the dentist is a mild explanation for how they feel. These people may have dental phobia, which can prevent them from having even regular check-ups. A person with a dental phobia will avoid dental care at all costs until severe pain or a major problem gives them no choice. It’s difficult to define dental phobia because dental fear may feel just as frightening as a real phobia. Lots of people view themselves as having a phobia when they in fact have fear. Dental Phobia is used for any feeling of dread at the thought of dentists or even anything related to dentistry.
There are a few things patients can try in order to make their dental experience a bit more bearable.
• Relaxation techniques
- Deep breathing
- Progressive relaxation (relaxing each muscle consciously from the toes to the head)
• Bring an iPod
- Having something else to concentrate on may help you relax and pay less attention to what is going on in the dental chair
• Don’t arrive too early
- Nobody likes late patients but coming to your dental appointment too early just means more time in the waiting room. Show up exactly on time to limit the time spent in the waiting area
Overcoming a fear of the dentist can be difficult however; developing a trust with your dentist will help make those fears eventually evaporate.
Ian, the Mosman dentist. Dentist Mosman.