It is estimated that nearly 75% of the American population fear going to the dentist. Around 5 to 10% of them experience dental phobia. Therefore, dental anxiety or fear is quite common, but taking a few steps will help you manage it.
If you avoid going to the dentist even when you are in extreme pain or have trouble sleeping the night before your dentist appointment, you probably have a dental phobia. Arlington dentists can help you overcome your fear by answering your queries and taking extra precautions to ensure that you do not feel any pain.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is a fear of going to the dentist or being in a dental setting in general. Things like needles, drills and the idea of dental treatment or surgery often cause extreme fear in some people. Sometimes, this fear can cause you to delay or avoid going to the dentist and worsen your dental disease. When the fear becomes severe and irrational, it is often termed dental phobia or dentophobia.
Symptoms of Dentophobia
People with dental anxiety or phobia may experience the following.
- Trouble sleeping the night before the appointment
- Feeling physically ill at the thought of going to the dentist
- Intense uneasiness and difficulty to breath
- Low blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Hot flashes
- Upset stomach
What Causes Dental Fear?
Dentophobia can be divided into various categories.
- Fear of pain.
Fear of pain often emerges from a negative experience that was unpleasant or painful. However, advances in the dental industry have made dental procedures nearly painless now.
- Fear of sounds and smells.
Many people’s fears are associated with the various kinds of sounds and smell in a dentist’s office—for example, the sound of a drill.
- Fear of injections.
The idea of a needle being inserted inside gums can be terrifying for some.
- Fear of anesthesia not working.
Often people fear that the anesthesia given by the doctor may not work, and they may experience excruciating pain during the treatment.
- Numbness or gagging.
People who have experienced difficulty breathing or choking fear the idea of their mouth being numbed with anesthesia.
How To Manage Your Dental Anxiety
- Try talking to your dentist and telling them about your fear. They can take better care to help you with your condition.
- Agree on a “stop” signal. If you experience pain or anxiety during the procedure, make the hand gesture so that your dentist knows when to stop.
- If music helps you stay calm, try listening to music during the treatment.
- Carry a small mirror and hold it in front of your face to see the procedure being done. Often, not knowing what is happening can make people nervous.
- If nothing helps, sedation can be used to put you to sleep.