Tips for Relieving Dental Anxiety for a Stress-Free Dental Experience

Tips for Relieving Dental Anxiety for a Stress-Free Dental Experience

Mar 08, 2023

Regular visits to a dentist near you are very crucial for one to have strong teeth and healthy gums, but this can be a bit difficult for some, especially people with dental anxiety. This problem affects approximately 36 percent of the US population, where the affected individuals tend to get extremely anxious or stressed when sitting on the dental chair.

There are few persons who actually enjoy going to their dentist’s dental clinic, but dental anxiety patients become so afraid that they cancel their visit until when their pain is unbearable. This blog explains more about the coping strategies used for dental anxiety patients.

Causes of Dental Anxiety

Below are some of the most common causes of dental phobia and dental anxiety:

  • Personal space – Some patients may find the idea of a stranger inserting instruments in their mouth uncomfortable, and this may make them anxious when on a dental chair.
  • Fear of pain – Despite most dental procedures being painless, some people still experience dental anxiety because of fear of pain. This fear is usually a result of past bad dental experiences or horror and pain stories they have heard from people.
  • Embarrassment – People with extremely decayed or damaged teeth may feel embarrassed because of their state of dental hygiene or health. This embarrassment may make one anxious about visiting the dentist or discussing their dental health.
  • Fear of needles and injections – Fear of injections is also common, especially during procedures that require oral injections. For some, the thought of the needle gives them chills, while for others, it’s that feeling that comes when the injection is given.

Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

Some of the distressing symptoms persons with dental anxiety experience before or during appointments include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Feeling faint
  • Heart palpitations
  • Extreme sweating
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Low blood pressure

The Effects Dental Anxiety Can Have on Your Oral Health

People with unaddressed dental anxiety are more likely to avoid going to the dentist’s office. This can lead to advanced dental diseases creating the need for more complex restorative procedures or emergency care. Making regular visits to your dentist for check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays facilitates early detection of oral issues, which means simpler and less-invasive procedures.

Also, since most oral diseases are preventable and lifestyle-related, you get to miss out on learning how to promote good dental care by avoiding the dentist.

7 Management Strategies for Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety affects people of various age groups. Here are coping strategies to help ease your fear of the dentist chair.

  1. Talk with your dentist.

If you have dental anxiety, communicating your concerns with our dentist in Cupertino can help make things easier. Ask questions about the procedure you are scheduled for so that you prepare yourself psychologically. Knowing what to expect makes you feel less anxious.

  1. Bring company on your first visit.

Having a friend or a relative accompany you during your dental appointment can help you feel relaxed, safe, and comfortable.

  1. Breathing exercises

Deep breathing can help you relax your mind and feel calmer during your dental visits. Shut your eyes and take a deep breath, then hold it in for a few seconds before exhaling slowly through the mouth. Do this several times.

  1. Guided imagery

Guided imagery allows you to visualize happy thoughts or funny past memories while sitting on the dentist’s chair. Being nostalgic or in a state of euphoria can help relax and calm the mind.

  1. Meditation

Sitting in the waiting area alone or on the dental chair during a dental appointment can worsen your anxiety, but a simple practice like meditation can help promote calmness and reduce stress. Once you get seated on the dental chair, close your eyes and allow all your body muscles to relax to release all the tension.

  1. Anxiety-relieving medication

If you have moderate anxiety, your dentist may prescribe short-acting anti-anxiety drugs to help calm you before your appointment. This medication is taken an hour prior to the dental visit.

  1. Conscious sedation

Conscious sedation is an option considered for people with moderate or severe anxiety. It will involve taking a sedative orally a few hours before your appointment to keep you in a relaxed but responsive state.

For more information on anxiety therapy in Cupertino, CA, visit Cupertino Family Dental.

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