I’m Afraid of the Dentist, What Can I Do?

dental anxiety

For certain individuals, visiting the dentist is a routine task that is approached with ease and minimal concern. However, for others, the thought of visiting the dentist can provoke feelings of anxiety, which in turn prevents them from seeing their dentist to address oral health concerns. If anxiety prevents you from visiting the dentist, it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to overcome your fears. Please continue reading to learn how dental anxiety can affect your oral health and how our general & cosmetic dentistry/dentists located in Basking Ridge & Morristown, NJ, can help guide you through different treatment options that may be right for you. 

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety, or phobia, is the fear of a dental setting. According to research, between 9% and 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of their anxiety. Dental anxiety is a severe condition that leaves individuals terrified of visiting the dentist, even if they are suffering from an oral health issue. Dental anxiety typically stems from the fear of pain, injections, anesthetic side effects, embarrassment, loss of control, and loss of personal space.

It’s crucial to understand that avoiding the dentist can result in serious oral health issues that worsen over time. Regular dental check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays help prevent dental disease and help dentists find any problems early on so that they don’t require invasive treatments.

What Are the Best Ways to Cope With My Fears?

The key to coping with dental anxiety is discussing your fears and concerns with your dentist so that they can take the necessary steps to make you feel more comfortable. They will also be able to work with you to determine the best treatment option to reduce your anxiety. Having an open dialogue about your dental anxiety will allow the dentist to tailor a management plan for you. If you experience dental anxiety, the following psychological coping techniques may help you make do with the situation:

  • Deep breathing
  • Mediation
  • Distractions (such as watching something on your phone or listening to music/podcasts)
  • Muscle relaxation exercises
  • Hypnosis or cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Establishing a signal to stop during the treatment for a break
  • Using a weighted blanket
  • Use a stress relief ball that can be squeezed in your hands to release tension during the procedure.
  • Bring a friend or family member to the appointment

Ultimately, dental anxiety can negatively impact your oral health. If you’re afraid of the dentist, it’s critical to take immediate action to conquer your fears. Talking with your dentist and explaining precisely what makes you nervous about your visit will enable them to make safe recommendations.

Even if you’re not in pain, you must visit your dentist to prevent painful experiences and more complex and costly procedures in the future. Schedule an appointment with the seasoned dental team at Dental Associates of Basking Ridge today to discuss your needs.

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