If you feel anxious and stressed by the prospect of a visit to the dentist, you are not alone. At Glow Dental, we understand that dental anxiety can be a real problem for some patients, and it is something that we take very seriously. As well as causing stress before and during the appointment, dental anxiety can drive some people to delay visiting the dentist. This gives any problems time to worsen and ultimately leads to more detailed treatment being needed when the discomfort just can’t be ignored any longer.
Triggers For Anxiety
Even though a local anaesthetic ensures dental procedures are painless, we appreciate that nobody eagerly looks forward to having an injection and sitting through a filling or a root canal. However, there is a big difference between that feeling and the almost debilitating anxiety that some patients experience.
This condition can be brought about by many factors, ranging from a fear of needles to a bad childhood experience. Sometimes, as with other phobias, it is hard to put a finger on what is causing it – but that doesn’t make it any less real.
Here To Help You
The first step in combatting dental anxiety is to acknowledge it. Dental anxiety is a common condition that affects men and women of all ages and is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about. If you feel anxious about visiting the dentist, please tell us, and we can help. For some patients, that means taking some extra time to allow you to get to know the dentist or hygienist. For others, it might involve taking regular breaks during a dental procedure.
Make The Dentist Part of Your Routine
Having regular check-ups makes visiting the dentist a more routine activity. It also means potential problems with your teeth will be dealt with swiftly. For example, a small cavity can be repaired in 20 to 30 minutes with a filling. However, if you leave it until it is infected and causing you severe pain, a root canal taking several hours might be the only option left to save the tooth.
We have treated dozens of nervous patients. It might sound trite to say: “think about something else,” but we have found that distraction techniques can work exceptionally well. That is one of the reasons that at Glow Digital we have gone beyond the traditional pile of magazines and you can even watch your favourite movie or boxset on Netflix while you are reclining in the dentist’s chair!
Common Questions in Dental Anxiety
Studies suggest that more than a third of patients experience a degree of dental anxiety. One in eight suffer severe fear of visiting the dentist. In other words, it is a prevalent condition, and your dentist will be accustomed to treating anxious patients every day.
The most effective way to ease your anxiety is to talk about it, both to loved ones and to the dental staff. Sharing your fears brings them into the open and helps you to rationalise and manage them. Other techniques you might try include focusing on your breathing or concentrating on something entirely different, such as a TV show or some music.
If your anxiety is of an extreme nature, there are sedation options that can help you relax available that can help you relax. This is an option that you will need to discuss personally with the dentist to see whether it is appropriate for you. There might be additional considerations to bear in mind, for example, ensuring you have someone to accompany you and to drive you home. At Glow Dental, we are specifically conscious about aiding our patients to reduce their anxiety when attending our clinic. We provide our patients with professional noise-cancelling headphones that enable them to watch Netflix during their treatment, thereby reducing patient anxiety.
Dental anxiety can certainly be managed, and we have patients who were very nervous on their first visit and are now perfectly relaxed during their appointments. Talking about your fears, understanding what happens during an appointment with our doctor and exercising good oral hygiene to keep your teeth healthy will all help.
With children, the biggest fear is often of the unknown. Role-playing the visit to the dentist in advance will help to counter this. Be light-hearted about the experience, and make sure your child understands that the dentist is someone who helps them keep their smile beautiful and their teeth healthy. For small children, having a favourite toy to hold acts as both a comfort and a distraction.