All You Need to Know About Dental Anxiety

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You may feel it is just a myth, but dental anxiety is real! According to a study by NCBI, a vast population is afraid to go to the dentist.

Generally, patients with dental anxiety delay going to the dentist until the pain gets unbearable, or it’s inevitable to delay the visit. But that is not a healthy solution. So, we are here to help you know more about dental anxiety so that you can overcome it and get your pain treated at the right time.

Dental Anxiety Vs. Dental Phobia

We need to get this out of the way first — they are similar concerns but very different.

Confused? Let us explain.

The feelings are the same but not the intensity. For example, in dental anxiety, a person is highly uncomfortable with the procedure or what the session would entail.

On the other hand, dental phobia is much more intense. The patient in question will have severe anxiety and, before the appointment, will be undergoing a lot of stress. Plus, they will probably lose their appetite and have trouble sleeping.

A simpler contrast that explains the two is that the person with anxiety might visit the dentist at some point in time. But the, patient with a phobia will do anything in their power to refrain from going. 

Understanding the Anxiety

The nervousness and fear of visiting the dentist have various aspects. These include:

●         Fear of the Setting

Six out of ten times, patients are intimidated by the equipment and machine in the dentist’s room. Of course, there is a reason why most patients are put under anesthesia before going to the operation theatre. The sight of equipment and surgical instruments can elevate their anxiety.

●         Fear of Needles

Trypanophobia, or as we know, needle phobia, is under-documented, but at least 10% of Americans fear needles. And this is one of the major reasons for dental anxiety where the infected person never makes it to the hospital or any such setting. 

●         Embarrassment About Dental Hygiene

Most people are embarrassed about the state of their dental hygiene, and they fear being judged. They feel embarrassed thinking the dentist would notice their level of personal hygiene after looking at the insides of gums and dental deterioration.

●         Invasion of Personal Space

To check the mouth’s condition, the dentist has to come too close to the patient. For many people, this proximity classifies as the invasion of personal space, and so they fear visiting the clinic.

Dental Anxiety and Oral Health

Dental anxiety takes over the minds, and the patients resort to delaying the visit until they are in excruciating pain.

They delay the condition for so long that it manifests into a problem that only can be dealt through comprehensive and painful procedures.

This is the irony of the situation.

Whereas if you are quick to go to the dentist on the first sign of sore, pain, or twinge in your tooth, you mostly address the problem right in the start.

Also, if you smoke or drink regularly, try to be on the safe side and visit the dentist regularly. Various lifestyle factors result in oral diseases. These factors are mainly similar to cause conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease

These diseases are the first to cause dental degradation. So look for the early signs and stay alert since oral health is linked to overall health.

Who Is Affected by Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is not associated with any age. Anyone can have a traumatic experience that may result in general anxiety. Sometimes children develop anxiety after a bad or painful experience.

All this can be avoided or addressed differently to prevent any distress. An empathetic dentist knows how to manage the situation and thus makes it a pleasant and agreeable experience for the patient.

Empathy for the Patient

Dentists are trained and understand all these predicaments. They do not enjoy the helplessness, and so they empathize with the person.

Hence, you will always find that the dentist will start talking to you about general things as soon as you enter the room. They will try to appear like an average person discussing the dental concerns bothering you.

When the dentist sense that patient is perplexed, they do not start the procedure right away. In fact, they put you at ease until you forget that you are in the chair.       

Managing Dental Anxiety with Interventions

If you are still in a fix on whether or not to pay a visit to the doctor for a dental checkup, talk to the dentist and discuss your options. The dentist will recommend some solutions depending on the severity of your case. Here are some interventions:

Warning: Discuss with your dentist if you are driving home by yourself so they would administer the dosage accordingly.

●         Relative Analgesic

This is also known as happy gas and can be used to minimize the fear. You will find hundreds of videos of people blabbering things they wouldn’t otherwise. This is because nitrous oxide helps people feel relaxed and rather happy.

The effects are seen as quickly as within a minute or two and wear off in one hour or less. The idea is to put the patient at ease and carry on with major aspects of the procedure.

●         Conscious Sedation

In this type, the dentist gives you a drip intravenously. Mostly the intervention is provided in a well-equipped setting or a hospital. Since it is partial sedation, the patient may be in a drowsy state but remains responsive.

●         General Anesthesia

This intervention is preferably carried out in a hospital setting. The patient needs to be constantly monitored and treated with caution for blood pressure, heart rate, and any allergies to anesthesia.

Intervention may make it easy for you, but it is not the solution to cope with overall anxiety. It would help to talk to the dentist and discuss your qualms and trepidations — seven out of ten times, talking to an empathic dentist helps grip the anxiety.

Take Away

Dental anxiety is real, and only the people dealing with it know how it feels. But then, some measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate the fear completely. The role of a good doctor here cannot be underestimated.

So put your worries aside, take bolder steps and get your teeth treated at the right time. The earlier you get your problems sorted, the better it is. Happy smiling!

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