How do I Overcome Dental Anxiety?

Christina Edwards

A fear of dentists, dental phobia, or dental anxiety often stems from negative dental experiences and can prevent an individual from undergoing necessary dental procedures. Whether it is a routine procedure, like a simple cleaning, or a more serious procedure, like a cavity filling, avoiding the dentist could possibly lead to expensive or painful problems down the road. To overcome dental anxiety, finding the right dentist, who can work to help you overcome your fears, is important.

Finding a good dentist can help people overcome their fears.
Finding a good dentist can help people overcome their fears.

Many times, all it takes to overcome dental anxiety is finding the right dentist. References from friends or family member can be very beneficial, but ultimately, choosing a dentist depends on you. If you aren't comfortable with him, it could possibly make your fears worse rather than better. He should be understanding of your fears, caring, and patient.

Sedation is an option for those with severe dental anxiety.
Sedation is an option for those with severe dental anxiety.

When trying to overcome dental anxiety, the first one or two dental appointments with your new dentist should not involve any type of dental procedures. The first appointment especially should give you a chance to meet him and explain your fears. He can then explain any possible procedures that may need to be done and what to expect during them. At the end of the appointment, he should answer any questions that you may have.

Some dentist offices employ anesthesiologists, and use conscious sedation on anxious patients.
Some dentist offices employ anesthesiologists, and use conscious sedation on anxious patients.

After the initial meet-and-greet appointments, you may then be ready for a dental exam. During this procedure, the dentist will examine your teeth and mouth. He may then recommend possible procedures, which can include a cleaning or taking care of a problem tooth. At this point, most dentists will thoroughly explain each procedure in detail. By understanding what will happen, most patients typically feel less nervous and are ready to proceed with the procedure in the next appointment.

Performing a dental procedure on a patient with a dental anxiety requires a certain amount of patience and finesse. One way that dentists can help a frightened patient is by explaining each step of the process. This includes the tools used, what he is doing, and any sensations that can be expected.

While hearing about what is going to happen may work for some patients, it might terrify others. If you are one of these people, some type of a distraction may help you through your visits to the dentist. Most dentists will not object to their patients bringing in a CD player or other personal music device. Virtual reality glasses may also be available to patients, which prevent them from seeing or hearing what is happening.

Sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry is also an option for individuals with severe dental anxiety. Sedatives can be administered orally or intravenously. Nitrous oxide gas is more commonly known as laughing gas. This common dental sedative is inhaled and makes most people feel calm and sleepy, as well as euphoric.

Ways to overcome a fear of dental work include talking over worries with a dentist before a procedure.
Ways to overcome a fear of dental work include talking over worries with a dentist before a procedure.

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