Dental anxiety causes rapid heart rate, sweats, and heavy breathing when you think about visiting your dentist? If yes, you may be experiencing dental anxiety, and you’re not alone.
Hundreds of Americans avoid seeing the dentist each year because of this fear. The National Center for Biotechnology Information estimates that 3 to 16 percent of adults experience dental fear and anxiety. This phobia forms from a wide variety of experiences and factors. Regardless of the cause of it, the importance of seeing a dentist is still necessary and vital for your oral health.
What Causes Dental Anxiety?
Still, people continue to make painful associations with seeing a dentist. They fear the following:
- Anesthesia won’t mask the pain
- They will experience side effects to the anesthesia
- The shot itself will hurt
- They will lose a tooth due to the force of dental work
- The dentist’s hand will slip
- Dentists will over-diagnose
How Can I Overcome Dental Anxiety?
There’s a high correlation between people who experience dental phobia and those with poor dental health. If your nervousness is preventing you from seeing a dentist regularly, it’s time you looked into methods for managing dental anxiety.
Managing dental anxiety could be as simple as sharing this fear with your dentist. After expressing this fear with them, your dentist will be more aware of how their actions may be adding to your anxiety and therefore do their best to relax you. Different ways dentists do this includes sharing what they’ll be doing in detail with their anxious patients, allowing you to hold a mirror, or assigning signals for when you’re uncomfortable.
If you don’t think speaking to your dentist will help your fear, other methods patients have found successful include: