When it comes to a fear of the dentist, 36% of the population have some type of dental anxiety, and 12% suffer from a severe fear of the dentist. Being afraid of the dentist can be inconvenient when it comes to keeping up with your oral health.
Today, your candid dentists at WhiteWing Dental in McAllen, TX, will describe what dental anxiety is, what causes it, and how you can combat it.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is the term used to describe the fear or panic that occurs in a dental setting. Dental anxiety is a common disorder that can be caused by the fear of pain. Most people develop dental anxiety after having an uncomfortable or painful experience at the dentist or after listening to “horror” stories told by others.
Symptoms of Dental Anxiety
People with dental anxiety may experience the following symptoms:
- Racing heartbeat or palpitations
- Low blood pressure and possible fainting
- Visible distress, crying, or signs of panic
- Withdrawal or using humor or aggression to mask anxiety
Who Can Be Affected By Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety can affect those of all ages. Dental anxiety experienced by children can usually be easily overcome. Adults, however, generally take a little more work when it comes to getting over their anxiety associated with the dentist.
How To Manage Dental Anxiety
The good news is that dental anxiety can be managed. It is important to let your dentist know if you experience any level of anxiety so that you allow for open discussion about what triggers your anxiety. This will let your dentist work with you towards developing a tailored treatment plan. Some coping mechanisms for dental anxiety include:
- Deep breathing
- Planning so that your dentist appointment falls on a day where there is little stress
- Watch what you eat and drink before your appointment – too much sugar and caffeine can make you jittery and contribute to your nerves
- Distraction, such as listening to music during treatment
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Visiting your dentist regularly so that you aren’t fearful of what could be wrong with your teeth after a long time without dental care
- Considering additional medication like laughing gas so that you can relax and reduce nervousness
Fortunately, dental anxiety can be managed through good communication with your dentist.
If you have a fear of the dentist, stop by WhiteWing Dental to find the best way to combat your dental anxiety.
You may not be able to control your dental anxiety on your own, but your trusted McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental will do whatever we can to make sure you are as comfortable as possible during your next visit.