Dental Anxiety & Fear of Dentists Questions and Answers
Many people have dental anxiety; this can sometimes keep them from receiving the care they need. This situation is highly problematic for the condition of your teeth and your overall health. At Great Smiles Family Dentist, we can help! Call us today or request an appointment online! We serve patients from Toledo OH, Oregon OH, Ottawa Hills OH, Moline OH, Woodhurst OH, Harbor View OH and Shoreland OH.
Dental Anxiety & Fear of Dentists Q & A
While no one necessarily enjoys going to the dentist, some can feel soul-gripping anxiety when stepping foot inside their dental clinic. If you experience this, we want you to know that we completely empathize with you as much as possible and respect your concerns at Great Smiles Family Dentistry. Our entire team of dental professionals and friendly administrative staff are highly sensitive and considerate of anyone who suffers from dental anxiety. As such, we are willing to make any necessary adjustments or accommodations to help make your experience at our clinic more comfortable!
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is characterized by uncontrollable fear, nervousness, and stress associated with visiting a dental clinic. In some cases, a person with dental anxiety can even become panic-stricken with the thought of getting dental work completed. As such, this condition affects individuals in varying degrees, with some experiencing uncomforting but not extreme symptoms, while others can experience debilitating dental anxiety. You may suffer from dental anxiety if you experience any of the following when visiting a dental clinic:
- Excessive sweating
- Low blood pressure or feeling faint
- Obvious signs of distress, such as crying, trembling, or rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Using aggression or humor to mask intense anxiety or discomfort associated with dental procedures
How common is dental anxiety?
If you suffer from dental anxiety, you are assuredly not the only one! According to a national study, approximately one-third of Americans suffer from dental anxiety, and one-third of those suffer from extreme dental anxiety. However, it is important to find help, not only for your oral health but also for your overall well-being! Fortunately, there are specialists who can provide excellent support and treatment for whatever is causing your dental anxiety so that you can feel more at peace.
What causes dental anxiety?
There are several reasons that an individual could suffer from dental anxiety, such as underlying anxiety disorders, previous traumatic experiences, whether dental-related or otherwise, and various phobias and conditions. The following is a list of possible causes of dental anxiety:
- Anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Feeling as though the mouth is a personal area and that dental work is an invasion of your personal space
- Inability to trust others or extreme fear of losing control
- Phobias such as agoraphobia, which is the fear of being unable to escape a space or situation, or claustrophobia, which is the fear of being in closed spaces
- Previous traumatic dental or medical experience, or other traumatic experiences, such as a traumatic injury to the head or neck, car accident, or physical or sexual abuse
How can the dentist help with dental anxiety?
While it may seem counterintuitive that a dentist could help with your dental anxiety, there are ways that our dentists at Great Smiles Family Dentistry can make your visit to our clinic less anxiety-inducing and more relaxing and enjoyable to experience. If you require dental work but suffer from dental anxiety, the first thing to do is inform your doctor and dentist of your fears and any known prior traumas or experiences that have caused your dental anxiety. This knowledge will help your dentist be sensitive to your anxiety and fear regarding dental work whenever you come to them for dental work. Moreover, they can prescribe anxiety-relieving medications to help you relax. You can also receive dental work under conscious sedation or general anesthesia so that you are not awake during the procedure.
Of course, these options are yours to choose from and are there for you should you decide to receive dental work. While we always recommend that you receive whatever dental work you need, it is 100 percent your choice! We want you to know that we will be highly empathetic and sensitive to your condition should you come to us for dental work.