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Dental anxiety keeps many patients from seeking routine preventive care or from getting help for major problems. If you are overcome by dread every time you need to see a dentist, chances are you have dental anxiety. While this can be scary, it is something you can work through and ensure your dental health is taken care of.

How common is Dental Anxiety?

Studies show that over one-third of patients are afraid of the dentist. Out of the 36% that have dental anxiety, 12% have an extreme fear of dentists. So if you experience dental anxiety, you’re not alone in this.

Why Do You Feel Anxious?

There are a couple of reasons why you might feel anxious about going to the dentist. Knowing about these reasons can help you and your dentist work together to create a comfortable and safe space to make your smile healthy.

Negative dental experiences

If you have had a painful or embarrassing experience in the dentist’s chair, it’s understandable that you might feel traumatized or fear repeats of these experiences in future visits. While children may have a goldfish memory and be able to bounce back quickly, these experiences can be more challenging to move past as an adult.

Fear of potential diagnosis

If you are in severe pain or have looked up your symptoms online, you may be imagining the worst. Many people may be afraid to go to the dentist because they do not want to confirm their symptoms or face the fact that their condition might be worse than they thought.

Fear of painful procedures

No one likes pain, and if you are in pain, you may also fear that the dental procedure you need to undergo might be more painful. Similarly, most dental procedures require follow-up visits, and if the first procedure was painful, patients would be afraid of going for the follow-up visits.

Luckily, there are various medications and techniques your dentist can use, either alone or in combination, to limit future pain. By solving underlying issues and preventing chronic pain, they are able to make your next dental visit a comfortable experience. In fact, many patients feel relief after the procedure, just knowing that any discomfort is a sign of healing rather than a chronic issue.

Financial worries

Some dental procedures can be costly. If one is not using insurance to alleviate these costs, they will have to shoulder the burden of the whole procedure. Whenever patients think about this, they get anxious over what the doctors will recommend as a treatment plan.

How to Ease Dental Anxiety

With all these issues, it is no surprise that many people neglect their oral health, leading to a myriad of issues. To help deal with the anxiety, here are a couple of things you can do.

  1. Go to a dentist who specializes in anxious patients. These dentists will know how to deal with anxiety and can help you stay calm the entire time.
  2. Schedule a consultation. Before you go in for your procedure, schedule a consultation with the dentist. Dentists are happy to answer any questions you might have, and this will help reduce your anxiety. If they are not willing to sit down with you and answer your questions, you should seek a new provider.
  3. Ask for sedation. If the procedure takes a long time, you can ask to be put under. You might not be sedated for all the procedures, so find out which ones allow for sedation. It will ensure you stay calm. You can also ask for dental anxiety medication.
  4. Talk about finances. Before you get started on the procedure, ensure you take time to talk about the cost of the procedures and whether the clinic has a payment plan.
  5. Find a distraction. You can listen to a podcast or read a book to keep you occupied in the waiting room. Many dentists allow patients to listen to music or watch TV during appointments or procedures, so you can request that as well.

Dental anxiety can happen to anyone, so there is no need to be embarrassed about it. All you need to do is get a doctor who is conversant with dental anxiety, as they will help you through it. At Today’s Dental, our compassionate staff members understand why patients fear dental care. We use a variety of strategies to help patients feel calm and confident. Contact us to learn more about our services.