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Overcoming Dental Anxiety – Top Tips To Help You Relax At The Dentist

We often come across people who are so afraid of going to the dentist’s office that they would rather bear the agony of a toothache than seek dental treatment. If you are also one of these people, then you’re not alone. Research shows that over 36% of the global population suffers from some form of dental anxiety, while another 12% suffer from extreme dental phobia. However, the good news is that dental anxiety and phobia can be easily managed

In this blog, we will understand what dental anxiety is and offer various tips that can help you overcome your fears. So, continue reading and learn effective methods to overcome dental phobia

What Is Dental Anxiety, And How Many Ways Can One Reduce It?

Dental anxiety refers to the feeling of uneasiness when visiting the dentist’s office. Dental anxiety can range from mere nervousness to a full-blown phobia of dental treatment. In some cases, the fear of treatment is general, meaning that the patient is unaware of their specific fear but would simply avoid visiting the dentist. Others have specific phobias, like the fear of needles, the fear of the sound of the drill, or a previous bad experience. 

Why Are Many People Afraid Of Going To The Dentist?

You would be amazed to find how many people fear dental treatment. According to an estimate, around 53% of Britishers have some form of dental phobia. So, it’s quite a common problem these days. But fortunately, there are solutions available to overcome this issue, thanks to modern dentistry and cognitive behavioural therapy. 

How Do You Talk To Your Dentist About Dental Anxiety?

Living with the fear of dental treatment is not an option. By avoiding dental checkup appointments, you are not only putting your oral health in danger, but also your physical well-being and, most importantly, your smile and self-confidence. 

So, the best thing to do is to face it head-on. When you visit your dentist’s office before they start your treatment, tell them about your fears and apprehensions. You should be very specific about your concerns. This way, your dentist can avoid things that make you uncomfortable during treatment. For example, if you have had a previous bad experience, or if you’re scared of the sound of the dental drill, your dentist may consider performing your treatment under conscious sedation, whereby you won’t remember anything about the procedure but would be able to respond to the dentist’s instructions. Similarly, you may also distract yourself by watching a movie or listening to your favourite music during treatment. 

How Do You Combat Nerves Before Visiting The Dentist?

Unfortunately, many people find it challenging to muster up the courage to visit their dentist. If you are in the same situation, there are a few things that can help reduce your anxiety. First, you may ask your dentist to prescribe you an oral medication that will reduce your anxiety before you visit them. Secondly, you can ask the dental office staff to ensure you don’t have to wait very long in the waiting area. Finally, be open about your apprehensions and fears with the dental team so they can take good care of you during your visit. 

How To Find A Dentist Who Will Help You Keep Calm?

Dentists are trained in dental schools to look after extremely anxious or apprehensive patients. However, these days, many dentists are now undertaking additional training solely based on alleviating the fear of treatment in patients and helping them relax. If you are looking for a dentist who can help you overcome your fear of treatment, look for one who has extensive experience in treating such patients and has undergone additional specialisation such as cognitive behavioural therapy courses or is certified to perform treatment under sedation. 

How To Deal With Anxiety Regarding Daily Oral And Dental Care?

Some patients find it challenging to perform daily oral hygiene tasks such as brushing and flossing due to dental anxiety. For these patients, the best way to overcome their worries is to brush their teeth or floss when they feel most comfortable. Furthermore, they can enjoy listening to soothing music while they brush their teeth to reduce their anxiety. Finally, they may consider brushing their teeth with their family or a loved one to distract themselves from their dental anxiety. 

How Do Dentists Cope With Patients That Are Anxious Or Phobic?

Dentists have several tools under their belts to treat anxious patients. Some of these include:

  • Understanding the specific nature of a patient’s phobia and avoiding that during treatment 
  • Avoiding sudden moves during treatment that may frighten the patient 
  • Before performing any procedure, letting the patient know about it so that they feel in control 
  • Performing treatment under conscious sedation 
  • Using cognitive behavioural therapy

Do Doctors And Dentists Hate To See Anxious Patients?

All dentists are trained in dental schools to treat anxious or frightened patients. Although anxious patients require more time and care from the dentist, this absolutely does not mean that dentists hate afraid or apprehensive patients. Instead, they love to treat such patients and help them overcome their fears. So, if you also suffer from dental anxiety, don’t worry, your dentist loves you!

If you are looking for a gentle-dental practice in Oxford, the Smile Practice is your best option. You don’t even have to visit us for a consultation! Simply request a free video consultation appointment and discuss your dental issues with our experienced dentists in the comfort of your own home! So, book an appointment today and say goodbye to your dental worries!

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I am dropping a note to say thanks for all the work you have done for me, I am aware that I am not the easiest of patients. Your patience and explanations whilst work is underway was very much appreciated. The bridge work is really outstanding, here’s hoping I need nothing more than routine checks for some time.
- Mr R G
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