Dental or oral health is one of the crucial parts of a person’s well-being. Not maintaining oral health can lead to gum diseases and dental cavities, further linked to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Maintaining oral hygiene habits such as brushing, flossing, tongue cleaning, avoiding tobacco intake, limiting sugar intake, etc., can help prevent long-term dental problems and costly dental procedures.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is having the anxiety, stress, or fear of things linked to dental care. Dental anxiety can affect dental care and can result in delayed dental treatment. Any dental treatment or dental setting can trigger dental anxiety in people. When the severity of dental anxiety increases, it can be termed dental phobia.
Mental health conditions such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or a generalized anxiety disorder can increase the possibility of dental anxiety in a person.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
There are various reasons why someone experiences dental anxiety. Some of them are listed below:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or general anxiety
- Traumatic dental experience
- Head or neck injury in past
- Any traumatic experiences, including abuse
- Not having trust in people
- Fear of losing control
- The view of anyone accessing the mouth as a violation of personal space.
- Various kinds of anxiety correlated with claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces), agoraphobia (fear of places and situations that might cause feelings of entrapment or panic), or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (an obsession with cleanliness).
Symptoms of Dental Anxiety
Some of the symptoms experienced by a person suffering from dental anxiety are as follows:
- Palpitations and racing heart-beats (tachycardia)
- Heavy sweating and nervousness
- Signs of panic and stress
- Aggressive behavior to mask anxiety
- Withdrawal from the place
- Trouble sleeping when you know you have to visit the dental clinic in some time
- Panic attacks
- Anger used to hide anxiety
- Overwhelming feelings
- Low blood pressure
- It can also be triggered by thinking, seeing, or even hearing about dental instruments or dental settings.
Tips to Help Minimize Dental Anxiety
You can’t get over dental anxiety by just thinking about getting over it. It requires time and effort and the help of some well-qualified dentists to get through dental anxiety. Some of the ways to minimize dental anxiety are listed below:
1. Talking about the fears – Talking about your anxieties will help relieve some of the pressure on your mind. Dentists can help you in addressing the exact reason for this anxiety and can prepare you for dental procedures, along with considering your state of mind.
2. Asking the doctor about the process – The fear of the unknown can create nervousness. So, knowing about the whole procedure will help calm a person down.
3. Use dental sedatives – Nitrous-oxide, also known as laughing gas, can be a safe option to use as a dental sedative if the person is suffering from low-level anxiety. For people with a high anxiety level, oral anxiety-relieving sedatives (such as temazepam) can be used.
4. Bringing a friend with you – Bringing someone you feel comfortable with and who can support you during the dental visit will make you feel relaxed and calm. Inform the dental clinic prior that they will be sitting with you during the examination time.
5. Finding a caring and understanding dentist – Your anxieties are harmful to your dental health, and you need someone willing to take the responsibility of helping you deal with your anxieties pleasantly and reassuringly.
6. Have regular visits to the dentist – Fearing what could go wrong will stop you from feeling calm during your visit. Making visits to the dentist as a regular practice will make the whole process known and will help you ease your fear.
7. Other psychological techniques used to cope with dental anxiety include deep breathing, meditation, muscle relaxation, distraction, listening to calming music, hypnosis, etc.
Dental anxiety is crucial to your dental health, and it shouldn’t keep you from maintaining your dental health. You can always search ‘dental services near me’ and look for some good dental services that will help you recognize the symptoms of your dental anxiety and help you treat dental anxiety. Wynkoop is one such company that provides dental services and has the best dentist in Denver to help the patients keep up with their oral health.