Does a routine trip to the dentist make you want to hide under the bed? Dental anxiety is a well-documented phenomenon in which a person experiences intense anxiety at the prospect of going to the dentist. The condition may involve shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, and panic. While it’s perfectly normal to be nervous about the dentist, if you experience these more severe symptoms before and during your dental visit, you may have a case of dental anxiety.
What Causes Dental Anxiety?
At its root, fear is the number one contributor to dental anxiety. Fear of pain at the dentist is one of the top reasons people get nervous about a dental visit. Our teeth and mouths are sensitive, and the idea of another person prodding around our gums with metal tools is nerve-wracking to say the least. Other people may experience claustrophobia while remaining in the dental chair surrounded by equipment. You may have had a bad experience with a previous dentist or been shamed for your oral health care or habits.
Because fear is a common component of dental anxiety, a good dental visit should be founded on trust. Visiting the dentist puts us in a state of physical (and often emotional) vulnerability. It’s very typical to feel nervous, but when that fear becomes difficult to manage or acutely uncomfortable, you may want to start looking into how to stay calm at the dentist.
How To Get Over Dental Anxiety
If you have dental anxiety, you might be wondering how to relax in a dentist chair when the time comes for your next routine checkup. The first step in getting over dental anxiety is to talk to your dentist about your concerns. Because dental anxiety is such a common phenomenon, your dentist will have practice working with nervous patients to make sure your comfort is a priority. Your dentist can give you lots of breaks throughout your visit or break up your treatment into multiple shorter sessions.
Being open with your dentist is only half the battle. There are also a few tips and tricks you can use both at home and in the dentist’s office to assuage your anxiety. Using distractions, like listening to music or a podcast during your dental treatment, is a great way to relax. You might also want to try meditation or guided breathing to help physically reduce your anxiety.
Get Help With Dental Anxiety
If you feel panicked at every dental visit, there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Over a third of the population reports suffering from dental anxiety, and 12 percent of people experience extreme dental fear. Even dental technicians are not immune: 30 percent of dental students report suffering from dental anxiety themselves!
Overcoming a fear of the dentist takes time and effort, but it’s worth the reward of a calm and easy dental visit. The most important thing is finding a dentist you trust to take good care of you during your appointment. At Pinnacle Dental Associates, our number one priority is ensuring our patients have a safe and comfortable visit. If you’re interested in chatting about how we can customize your experience to suit your needs, give us a call.