Dental Anxiety Treatment
Do you avoid going to the dentist even though you know you should? Anxiety could be the cause, but there’s no need to be ashamed. 75% of people are at least a little anxious about dental visits, and 10 – 15% of them are so terrified that they never go for treatment at all, often suffering unnecessarily through infections and tooth decay.
Why are people afraid?
There’s no mystery. People fear dentists when they have had negative experiences in the dentist’s chair. They are afraid of repeating these experiences, and so shy away from getting treatment. This can impact heavily on self-esteem when teeth begin to show signs of neglect, but the fear also grows as they realize that extensive dental work will be called for. What’s the best treatment for dental anxiety?
Positive experiences cancel out negative ones
A lot of people are ashamed to mention their dental anxiety to a dentist, but dentists are well aware of the phenomenon, and a really good dentist such as Dr. Mostashiri will be able to handle both your anxiety, and your much-needed dental treatment.
Here’s what you should do:
- When you go to see your dentist for a checkup, or even before that, tell him or her about your anxiety problem. Your dentist may change the treatment approach slightly to accommodate for your anxiety.
- Give your dentist (and your teeth) a chance by following up on the recommended treatment program. Ask friends and family to help you keep your appointment, or promise yourself a treat that you only get if you have your dental work done.
- Develop a trusting relationship with your dentist is important. Dentists understand this, and will try to establish a rapport. If you feel uncomfortable with a dentist, try another one, until you can find one you feel relaxed and comfortable with.
Here’s what your dentist does:
Dentists know that the only way to overcome dental anxiety is to give their patients positive experiences, or at least, ones they walk away from thinking “Oh, that wasn’t as bad as I had feared!” As a result, dentist who understands dental anxiety will ask you exactly what you fear: is it the injections? Does the drill frighten you? Have you had painful experiences in the past?
Your dentist will emphasize that you have control over what happens to your teeth. If you don’t feel ready for a procedure, you can take your time preparing your mind for it. You can even decide not to have it all and opt for an alternative. For example, if root canal treatments terrify you, you can opt for an extraction and have bridgework or an implant instead.
If you are prone to panic attacks, your dentist might recommend that you use anti-anxiety medication. This is seldom needed, as most people soon find that the fear of dental appointments is worse than the dental appointment itself and become less anxious as a result.
Painless dentistry is a reality
One of the commonest reasons to feel anxious about going to a dentist is the fear of pain. However, dentistry has advanced to the point where it should be uncomfortable at worst rather than being painful. Painless dentistry is a reality, and the best treatment for dental anxiety is finding a good dentist and building a relationship in which you feel safe and in control.