Does your heart race or palms get sweaty at the thought of going to the dentist? Whether it is a mild anxiety or a paralyzing fear, you are not alone. Dental anxiety is a very real condition that affects up 15% of Americans in some form or another. Many dental practices, such as Group Health Dental, are sensitive to patients who feel uncomfortable in the dental chair. From plush patient amenities to sedation dentistry services, there are many dentists who can help you combat your fear or uneasiness at the dental office. Dental phobia or dental anxiety can stem from a variety of factors. Understanding your specific reasons for experiencing anxiety can be your first steps towards conquering your dental fear and getting the oral health care you need.
Common Causes for Dental Anxiety
Whether it is an environmental aspect that makes you squirm at the dentist or an emotional factor that cripples you in fear, it is important to find a dentist who validates your feelings and helps you through your dental appointment. Here are some common reasons why people fear their dental appointment:
- Fear of choking (gag reflux)
- Fear of diagnosis
- Fear of the drill
- Fear of embarrassment
- Fear of future dental work
- Fear of needles
- Fear of pain
- Fear of feeling powerless
What Can Help?
The good news is that there are ways your dentist can help you through your fears. The dental office may not be the cold, sterile place you envision. Many dental practices today go out of their way to make your experience as pleasant as possible. For example, Group Health Dental offers the following amenities: New Patient Gift Bags, Free Wi-Fi, Beverage Bar, Comforts of Home (Pillows and Blankets), Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, In-Operatory TV, and Noise Cancellation Headphones.
You may also ask your dentist about sedation dentistry. It can be administered during invasive procedures or just a routine dental cleaning if that is what you need. The two most common types of sedation dentistry are nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral sedation. Both of these methods allow patients to be aware of their surroundings but in a more relaxed, comfortable state.Regardless of the severity of your dental fear, it is most important that you understand the necessity in finding a way to overcome your anxiety and keep your dental appointment. Neglecting to visit your dentist can result in serious and costly long-term dental problems.