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Many people get nervous about going to the dentist, you’re not alone! And don’t worry, we don’t take it personally.
Your dental anxiety could come from a fear of dentists from past experiences, or you have a significant procedure coming up or maybe you’re just worried about how your teeth are doing.
We want you to feel as comfortable as possible and this is part of the reason why Inspire Dental Group focuses on the sights, scents and smells you experience when you walk into one of our offices. Talk to us about how you’re feeling and let us know if it’s more than just the usual few nerves for you. We will do everything we can to make you comfortable.
General symptoms include:
- General feeling of nervousness
- Physical reactions when visiting a dentist such as nausea or shortness of breath
- Severe phobias
Children can also experience dental anxiety. Physical reactions and emotional distress can make trying to see the dentist with a child quite challenging.
Coping with dental anxiety
Being anxious about visiting the dentist is common and nothing to be ashamed of. We recommend talking about how you’re feeling with your dentist. Being prepared and understanding what will happen at an appointment can go a long way to helping your nerves. Read through our list of procedures on our website to get an idea of what to expect when you visit for your treatment.
We recommend regular visits to your dentist and hygienist as that can help you feel more comfortable. If you wait to visit until you are in pain or have serious dental problems, it can make your anxiety worse. If your dental anxiety is particularly severe, sedation can be an option. Talk to us and we can discuss the options with you.
Past experience at the dentist is a major cause of dental anxiety. Lots of us even say we ‘hate’ the dentist. Childhood memories are often where it starts if you had poor experiences as a kid. Built-up fear can make it hard for some people to relax during an appointment. Dentistry has changed a lot over the years, current treatments, procedures, equipment and techniques are now relatively painless and fast.
Dental anxiety in children can come more from an irrational fear or just general worries about the experience ahead. Young children haven’t been to the dentist enough to build up an experience-based concerns, but they can develop an intense fear about what will happen if you too are nervous about going to the dentist, what the surroundings will be like and what the dentist will be like.
When you book at one of our Inspire Dental Group locations and you experience dental anxiety, you want to be reassured about what’s ahead. We get that. It’s useful to have a think about what your dentist will need to know to diagnose and treat you. That way, your appointment will go as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Generally your dentist will ask you about your medical history and then thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth, gums, jaw, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose and neck. You may also need an x-ray, depending on what your dentist suspects might be the cause of your problem.
Your dentist will ask you some questions about your teeth and any pain you may have such as:
- Are you experiencing any pain?
- How severe is the pain?
- Where do you feel the pain?
- What is your normal dental routine?
- What is your diet like?
Think about your answers to these questions before your appointment. Being prepared can speed up the diagnosis.
Is Dental Anxiety Common?
Yes, it is. It may be something you’ve had since a child or it may have developed recently. People experience dental anxiety for a range of reasons. The good news is, you can manage these feelings. Talk to your dentist about how you are feeling and they will help you with some practical ways to ensure you have a good experience at your next appointment.
How can you treat dental anxiety in children?
Talk to your dentist about how your child is feeling. They will offer some helpful advice about preparing your child. They may also have some great ideas about making an appointment more comfortable for your child. At home and prior to a visit, help to get your child ready by practising deep-breathing exercises and positive affirmation. Discussing a reward for after an appointment can be another great way to help your child.
Does medication help with dental anxiety?
It is possible to have an oral sedative to help you relax for a dental appointment. Talk to your dentist about the options. If you are sedated for an appointment, you will need to bring someone with you who can drive you home afterwards. It may be that after having sedation at one or two appointments, your anxiety starts to reduce and you may feel more relaxed about visiting the dentist in the future.
Can dental anxiety be cured?
We believe that you can learn to manage your dental anxiety. Talking about how you’re feeling can help. Being prepared and understanding what goes on in an appointment or treatment can also help alleviate your nerves. Taking good care of your oral health and having regular appointments with your dentist is also a good idea.
We recommend daily healthy habits and regular visits to the dentist. For optimum oral health:
- Practice good oral hygiene habits at home including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day
- Book hygiene visits with an oral hygienist or oral health therapist twice each year
- Book routine exam and x-rays visits with your dentist once each year
We know that when you look after your oral health properly with regular preventative care, you’ll be less likely to need to see a dentist in an emergency. You’re also likely to spend less money at the dentist over time.