If you have dental anxiety, you may be surprised to find other Australians feel the same way about going to the dentist. One in seven Australian adults experiences dental anxiety, making it one of the most common anxiety disorders in the country.
When you avoid the dentist, you increase the likelihood of severe dental problems, including advanced gum disease and jaw bone deterioration. When you meet with your dentist, you can talk about how to get over dental anxiety. Your dentist can offer you strategies to help you cope with dental anxiety as you undergo your dental procedures.
What Causes Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety might stem from various experiences and fears. The following are some of the most common causes:
- Past head and neck trauma
- Previous traumatic medical experience
- Anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sensory-processing disorder
- Fear of loss of control
- Fear of invasion of personal space, especially around the mouth
How to Get Over Dental Anxiety?
To manage dental anxiety, you can choose from several coping methods. Methods like sedation dentistry can help you manage your anxiety during dental procedures.
Talk with your dentist
Begin your conversation with the dentist with your fears and anxieties that stop you from getting the care you need. If your dental anxiety stems from the fear of loss of control, ask your dentist to talk about every phase of the dental treatment with you so you can mentally prepare.
Have your dentist agree to a non-verbal signal, such as raising your pointer finger so you can take a break. When the dentist helps you understand how to get over dental anxiety, it is easier for them to offer personalised dental treatments, including sedation dentistry.
Meditation is a dependable method to help you cope with dental anxiety. You can use deep breathing techniques to help your mind and body relax.
Use visualisation to imagine yourself enjoying a more relaxed environment. Seeing yourself in a beautiful place, such as a beach, might help you relax and feel better.
You can also try deep abdominal breathing techniques to slow your heart rate and minimise your stress response. In the dentist’s chair, place your hands with the fingers pointing in on either side of your navel. Breathe in for 5 seconds, inflating your abdomen like a balloon. Exhale for 5 seconds to deflate the balloon.
Using headphones during your procedure may also help you with dental anxiety. On your preferred music streaming app, listen to new music so you can focus more on it than the dentist cleaning your teeth. Some dentists with experience helping patients with dental anxiety may even have a television in the room to help them relax.
Request sedation dentistry
If you experience severe dental anxiety, you may wish to ask your dentist about sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry puts you in a deep state of relaxation during your treatment so you can receive dental care.
At Bright Dental Group, we offer dental nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Adults and children can receive nitrous oxide, and it wears off 15 minutes after the gas flow is stopped, so you can go home on your own.
If you choose nitrous oxide, you are conscious but extremely relaxed. You can still open and close your mouth, bite down when told, rinse, and respond to your dentist.
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