What Is Dental Anxiety and How Do You Stop It?

What Is Dental Anxiety?

It is a heightened fear and phobia for dental work or dentists. Anxiety usually points to a general uneasiness during dental procedures. However, some patients suffer from phobias, which point to intense fear or dread that can cripple patients from seeking dental treatments in general dentistry in Arizona.

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

There is no specific factor that causes dental anxiety. Usually, dental anxiety results from a combination of various situations, including mental and physical ones. The common factors that can result in dental anxiety are:

  1. Pain – patients who detest painful situations or have a low pain tolerance can have dental anxiety.
  2. Bad past experiences – some patients have endured past traumatic dental experiences, which shape their perspectives of dental care in the present.
  3. Mental conditions – like panic disorder, depression, and chronic anxiety. If you have a pre-existing mental problem, you can also suffer from dental anxiety. Besides, patients with certain disorders like autism spectrum disorder can suffer from dental anxiety.
  4. Phobias – irrational fears about certain things involved in dentistry. Some of the things you can have phobias about are:
  1. Needles
  2. Dentists
  3. Losing control – situations that can make a patient out of control can be a trigger for patients.
  4. Sounds and noises during dental work

How Do Dentists Stop Dental Anxiety?

At Arizona Family Dentistry, we have a few strategies that help us deal with patients with dental anxiety. The main one is sedation dentistry. It entails using sedatives to calm the brain and relax the body. Sedatives allow your body to calm down during treatments. It works through two major approaches:

  1. Retrograde amnesia – is a temporary amnesia that occurs after sedation. It comprises loss of memory access to the events that occurred during your treatment. It is a great way to prohibit your Brian from forming new memories in dentistry that can worsen your dental anxiety and phobia.
  2. Pain-free procedures – when under sedation, you will not experience any pain during your treatment. Besides, dentists employ local anesthesia alongside sedation dentistry. The anesthesia will numb your mouth, so you don’t feel any pain during the treatment.

Which Sedative is The Best for Patients with Dental Anxiety?

Many dentists prefer administering inhaled sedation before treatments. It entails inhaling laughing gas through a face mask. It is a preferable solution for the following reasons:

  1. It is a safe way to sedate patients regardless of age.
  2. No needles are necessary for this type of sedation.
  3. The dentist has optimal control over the level of sedation. It is possible by heightening or lowering oxygen levels during your treatment.
  4. You can drive yourself home after treatment – the sedative wears off quickly when you inhale more oxygen.

However, your dentist will opt for intravenous sedation that administers the medicine through your veins if you need emergency dental care. It works quickly as it delivers the medicine straight to your bloodstream. Fortunately, you can liaise with your dentist beforehand to find the one that works better. It is why you must inform your dentist about your phobia or anxiety, so (s)he can employ relevant measures when treating you.

Other Ways to Overcome Dental Anxiety

The dentist will do all (s)he can to offer proper care while accounting for your dental anxiety. However, you must also be intentional in improving your dental experience. Some of the ways to manage dental anxiety are:

  1. Don’t visit the dentist alone – it helps to have a familiar face around you when you start feeling anxious.
  2. Learn about your treatment in advance – you can liaise with your dentist for information about the procedure. The more you know, the more likely you will feel in control of your oral health. It can help you relax.
  3. Bring distractions to the dental office – you can listen to music or podcast during your treatment. It keeps your mind busy with other things, so you don’t over-analyze the dental procedure.
  4. Find a friendly dentist – you need a dental expert who knows enough about dental anxiety and takes the necessary measures to care for you. With such a dentist, you can agree on a sign beforehand that will let your dentist know when to stop and take a break so you can relax.
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