Fear keeps millions of people from obtaining the dental treatment they need and the gorgeous smiles they deserve. Without proper care, your oral health will deteriorate. Even if you don’t notice any problems, issues like gum disease and cavities can develop with relatively mild symptoms. Understanding dental anxiety and how to deal with it can help you protect your oral health and attractive smile.
Dental fear usually falls into three categories:
- Distress about the unknown, dental anxiety is fairly common. Many people feel nervous about procedures they have never experienced.
- Anxiety over a known danger is classified as dental fear. Previous pain or negative experiences often lead patients to experience dental fear.
- With dental phobia, people may feel ill just thinking about visiting the dentist. Dental phobia is the most intense level of dental fear and often causes patients to avoid the dentist unless an emergency arises.
To deal with dental anxiety, experts offer several tips, such as:
- Open the lines of communication with your dentist. Explain your concerns and ask questions so that you feel comfortable with treatment plans. Share your fears so that the dentist and team will know how you feel and can offer additional reassurances.
- Bring a comfort item. Children who feel nervous may bring a stuffed animal or favorite toy. Adults may find that wearing favorite pajamas or other comfy clothes will help them calm down.
- Try relaxation exercise. Deep breathing or yoga before your visit may decrease your stress and help you get through the appointment.
- Ask about sedation options such as laughing gas, oral conscious sedation, or IV sedation, which can allow you to enter a totally peaceful state during the procedure.
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