Dental anxiety is a serious problem when it prevents you from getting proper dental care and prevention. Avoiding the dentist leads to tooth decay and the risk of suffering from pain and infections. Fortunately, there are methods for dealing with anxiety that can help make a dental visit more tolerable. Here are some things that may help.
Tell Your Dentist About Your Fears
Your dental procedure will be easier to carry out if you're in a relaxed state, so your dentist also wants you to manage your fears. One way to do this is to let your dentist know the exact fears you have that trigger your anxiety. They differ for everyone, so don't assume your dentist automatically knows how to put you at ease. You may have a fear of needles, or the smell in a dentist's office might send you into a panic.
You may associate the sound of a dental drill with pain and have an overwhelming urge to flee when you hear it. You might also fear side effects of the anesthetic or worry about how the procedure might affect your health. Once your dentist understands your fears, then he or she will be more able to help you overcome them.
Try Solutions That Might Help
If you panic at the sight of needles, your dentist may suggest using nitrous oxide to relax you and provide a numbing effect that makes the injection tolerable. Keeping the needle out of your line of view may help too. If sounds in the dental office bother you, consider wearing noise-canceling headphones or ear buds so you can listen to an audio book or music during the procedure.
Listening to an audio book or podcast can also occupy your mind so you aren't as focused on the dental work. You may need to consider a form of sedation dentistry if your anxiety is bad enough. You'll receive oral or IV sedation that keeps you awake but relaxed so you can tolerate the dental procedure much easier.
Get Professional Help
If your dental anxiety keeps you from getting the dental work you need to stay healthy, then you may need to see a therapist for help. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll need to undergo lengthy sessions, but you may need to identify your triggers and learn new ways to deal with them.
You may have been hurt or frightened by dental work as a young child or learned to fear the dentist from a parent with a dental phobia. A therapist can use treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help you overcome your anxiety quickly so you can get the treatment you need.
Part of overcoming dental anxiety is finding a dentist you trust and like. Make an appointment for an evaluation so the dentist can examine your teeth while you decide if you are comfortable with the dentist and the office surroundings. By having care when you need it, and routine cleanings, you will prevent the need for more extensive care later due to infections and decay. Visit a dentist office like Sun Dental to learn more.