The psychology of dental anxiety and how to overcome it
When it comes to fearing dental visits, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is a common problem that affects millions of people around the world. It’s a condition that causes people to feel nervous or fearful about going to the dentist.
While it’s normal to feel a bit of apprehension before going to the dentist, dental anxiety can be so severe that it keeps people from getting the dental care they need. At JJS Dentistry, we provide a welcoming and calming environment to help ease your dental anxiety and ensure you feel safe and comfortable.
What is dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety is an intense fear or nervousness people feel when they are faced with the idea of going to the dentist. This can manifest in different ways, such as feeling physically ill, sweating, shaking, or even experiencing a panic attack. Some people even avoid going to the dentist altogether, causing them to neglect their dental care.
What causes dental anxiety?
There are many reasons why you may experience dental anxiety. However, one of the most common and unfortunate is a negative experience at the dentist’s office. For example, you may have had a dental visit at a young age where the dentist was extremely rude, or you endured a painful procedure that has left a lasting impression.
Other causes of dental anxiety include:
The fear of pain
While most (if not all) dental procedures are painless, many people fear going to the dentist because they think it will be painful. This is simply not true, and in cases where procedures may be painful, there are various sedation options available to keep you feeling comfortable and calm.
Having experienced trauma
People who have experienced trauma or abuse may develop anxiety about anything that involves physical contact, including going to the dentist. In addition, mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and PTSD can also contribute to feeling this way.
Needing personal space
At JJS Dentistry, we understand that having sharp instruments poking around in your mouth probably seems like an unpleasant situation. But our dentists are highly trained in Slow and gentle dentistry to provide the most high-quality and pain-free experience possible.
It’s common to feel ashamed or embarrassed about the state of your teeth when visiting the dentist. You might be afraid of being judged or scolded, but that is never the case with compassionate and caring dentists, such as those at our practice. Our goal is to help you achieve your perfect smile, no matter where you’re at in your oral health journey.
Having no control
Sitting in a dentist’s chair with your mouth wide open can feel very vulnerable, and the lack of control over the situation leaves some feeling concerned and anxious. This is entirely normal, but it’s important to remember that your health and safety are the top priority for dental professionals.
Overcoming dental anxiety
Fortunately, dental anxiety can be cured with a few simple steps. If you are someone who struggles with dental anxiety, these tips will help you work through your fear and receive the care you need.
1. Talk to us
If you’re anxious about going to the dentist, the first step is to talk to your dentist. Let us know what you’re feeling and why. From here, we can take steps to ensure you feel more comfortable about your appointment, such as explaining the procedure in detail or being extra gentle. Your dentist should never dismiss your concerns.
2. Practice relaxation techniques
Deep breathing, medication, and visualisation are relaxation techniques that can be very helpful in reducing anxiety. Try practising these techniques before and during your dental appointment to help you stay calm and centred.
3. Bring something with you for a distraction
Distractions such as music, audiobooks, or stress toys can help take your mind off of your anxiety and make the experience much more manageable.
4. Consider sedation dentistry
Sedation dentistry is an option for people with severe dental anxiety. This involves taking medication before the appointment to help you feel calm and relaxed during the procedure. At JJS Dentistry, we administer sedation in several forms, including oral and IV sedation, to help you feel at ease during procedures.
Visit us at JJS Dentistry for a world-class and pain-free dental experience that will transform how you view dentistry.