How to Cope with Dental Anxiety

There are several myths that people assume when it comes to dental health. One of the most common myths is “if nothing is hurting, nothing is wrong,” when in fact, many dental problems will not cause pain until more advanced stages of dental disease. Waiting until something hurts to fix it typically leads to more costly and time consuming treatments. Your oral health is a very important component of your overall health, making your dental checkup something that should never be avoided.

There are multiple reasons people avoid going to the dentist, but one of the most common reasons is dental anxiety.

The Importance of a Dental Checkup

In order to keep your teeth and gums healthy, dental checkups are absolutely necessary. Typically during the dental check up, a dental professional will perform a thorough exam, including an oral cancer screening, to catch any potential issues as early as possible. They will also remove any plaque and calculus as well as polish your teeth. Fluoride can be used to help protect your enamel. X-rays are usually taken to catch any cavities between your teeth and to look for other issues that are not visible to a visual exam.. These procedures can overwhelm people with anxiety. They may have a fear that the dentist will judge their teeth, or they may be uncomfortable with the dentist crowding their personal space with foreign dental tools. So, what makes people afraid of the dentist?

What is Dental Anxiety?

Many adults only visit the dentists after several years of not receiving any dental care. Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center reports that 30 to 40 million Americans avoid the dentist due to fear. In another study by VeryWell Mind, the most common fears that nearly 75% of adults in the U.S. experience with regards to a dental visit include:

  • The Dentist
  • Pain in Mouth
  • Gagging or Numbness Anesthetic
  • Needles/ Shots
  • Drilling Sounds and Smells

Other reasons for someone having dental anxiety could include being self-conscious of their teeth, previous negative experiences at the dentist, and more. However, it is important to remember that the dentist and dental hygienists will always have your best interest in mind before proceeding on any dental work, with your permission, of course.

Ways to Cope with Dental Anxiety

If you are struggling with anxiety before or during an appointment, here are a few things that you can do to ease this stress:

Talk with Your Dentist

If you are feeling anxious, talk with your dentist and dental team as it will help them to do all they can to make you feel more at ease.

Breathe

Some people tend to hold their breath when they are feeling nervous, so focus on your breathing. Count your breaths when inhaling and exhaling.

Create a Distraction

If the noise of the drill bothers you, bring a pair of headphones to listen to your favorite music, or catch up on your favorite Netflix series. Or if you are someone who fidgets with their hands when nervous, use a stress ball or another related item.

Medications

In some cases, medication can be helpful. Prescription anxiety medications, such as valium, can sometimes be prescribed for your visits, and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be used to help alleviate anxiety.

How Bumgardner Family Dental Can Better Assist You

At Bumgardner Family Dental, we are constantly learning how to better provide for our patients. Our mission is to provide high-quality dental care to our patients while building meaningful and honest relationships with them in a comfortable environment. Dental professionals are there to help your smile reach its full potential and alleviate any pain that needs to be addressed. 

Developing a comfortable relationship with your dentist and staff will allow you and/or your family to feel relaxed and at ease upon arrival. We provide patients the same care we provide our family and friends because when you come to Bumgardner Family Dental, you become part of our family.

About Bumgardner Family Dental

Located in Carencro, Louisiana, Bumgardner Family Dental provides multiple dental services, such as general, cosmetic, restorative, and pediatric dentistry. The mission of Bumgardner Family Dental is to help you create a smile that will last a lifetime. For inquiries about our TMJ services, additional dental services, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.