Overcoming Dental Fear
Most people do not look forward to seeing their dentist. Undergoing a dental treatment is rarely if at all, considered an enjoyable experience. However, if the mere mention of a dental appointment evokes an irrational or persistent fear that makes someone deliberately skip the appointment, that person is likely to be suffering from dental anxiety.
The anxiety could even be severe enough to cause physical manifestations. Common signs of dental anxiety include nausea, sweating, fainting, hyperventilating, pounding heart, trembling and dizziness.
If you are experiencing dental anxiety – or any of those symptoms – you are not alone. Dental phobia or anxiety is not uncommon at all. However, no matter how difficult it may seem at first to shake off the fear of seeing a dentist, take heart that many people have successfully done so – and so can you.
Here are some of the ways you can explore, taking the first steps toward being completely free from dental anxiety.
Find the Root Cause
Everyone experiences anxiety in one form or another. It is actually your body’s inbuilt “alarm” alerting you to real or perceived threats. In the face of danger, it is that innate “switch” that instinctively informs your body either to fight back or flee from the situation. To understand the phobia, you would need to recognize the factors that are causing it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you fearful of the dentist because you had a bad experience with one, perhaps as a child?
- Are you embarrassed by the state of your teeth?
- Did you have a bad experience with dental needles?
If it is the fear of pain, do you know that there are minimally invasive dental techniques available that significantly reduce the pain factor? Whatever it may be, understanding the root cause of your fear is one of the most direct methods of dealing with dental anxiety.
Try Some Relaxation Techniques
Dental anxiety can greatly exaggerate the perceived pain, largely due to the undue focus the nervous patient places on every minute movement that the dentist makes. The most effective relaxation techniques are actually those that distract the patient – taking his or her mind off the procedure. Some of the popular ones include: listening to music, watching a movie, squeezing a stress ball, breathing exercise and meditation.
Meet Your Dentist Before Getting Treated
If your fear stems from a negative past experience with a dentist or doctor, it may be a good idea to get acquainted with your dentist in an informal setting prior to undergoing the treatment. Moreover, it is always a good idea to establish trust and rapport with your dentist. What better way to build trust than talking to your dentist about your fear of dental interventions and past dental experiences?
Seek Professional Help
If you’re still anxious, don’t worry. Talk to Dr Dunn at Macquarie Street Centre for potential sedation options such as sleep dentistry, IV and GA – all of which cater to nervous patients and anyone suffering from dental anxiety.
Our dental professionals are trained and experienced in the administration of sedation dentistry. Before you decide on which type works better for you, you should speak to a professional dentist to determine whether you would make a suitable candidate.
Want to overcome your dental nerves? Please contact our friendly Macquarie Street team to book a consultation. You can call our team at 02 9247 1394.