If you have dental anxiety or phobias, you may put off going to the dentist because you’re afraid. In the long run, this can lead to oral health problems that are expensive and require prolonged treatment. It’s important to learn common causes of dental anxiety and how to manage it, so you can take care of your oral health.
Common Causes of Dental Anxiety
Everyone’s anxiety is different. Many people are anxious to go to the dentist when they have:
- Traumatic experience with dentists or doctors
- Mental health considerations such as generalized anxiety, depression, PTSD, or OCD
- Trust issues
- Head or neck injuries
- Boundaries around touch or personal space
- Specific phobias, such as claustrophobia or agoraphobia
Chances are, you know if you have dental anxiety.
Symptoms of dental fear or phobia are helpful to know so you can recognize them in others. If you are putting off, rescheduling, or showing up late to the dentist as a habit, you might have a fear of the dentist. If you find yourself sweating, shaking, or experiencing heart palpitations, you are likely afraid of the dentist. Other symptoms that suggest a fear of the dentist are crying, panic attacks, or fainting before or during your appointment.
Best Ways to Manage Dental Anxiety
If you are putting off dental anxiety, ask yourself if you’d rather learn proactive ways of managing your anxiety so you can get the care you need. There are many ways to work with dental anxiety. The good news is that you can adjust to your fear of the dentist and you will find that it lessens over time.
Many people find it helpful to work with a therapist while they are addressing phobias and fears. A therapist can be a safe space for you to talk about this fear and work through it, so you don’t feel alone. It can also be helpful to bring a friend or family member with you to dental appointments.
For mild cases of dental anxiety, distraction can be a good technique. You might try listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook while you are in the dentist’s chair.
Meditation techniques or deep breathing can help as well. Meditation calms the nervous system, which can shut down the anxiety loop. Specific forms of meditation include mindfulness meditation, guided imagery meditation, and mantra meditation. If one doesn’t work for you, try another type of meditation.
If you’ve tried these techniques, and it’s still too stressful to visit the dentist, consider sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry relaxes you, so you can get the care you need without experiencing significant distress.
Tampa Sedation Dentistry
At Weninger Dentistry, we offer both oral and IV sedation dentistry to help our patients relax and take care of their teeth.
If you would like to make an appointment for sedation dentistry or learn more about our treatment options for patients with dental anxiety, we are here for you. Contact us today.