If you have ever dreaded going to the dentist's office, you should know that dental anxiety is a common fear for people of any age. It can cause doubt, stress and even avoidance. Finding solutions can ease stress and prepare someone for necessary dental work.
Understanding dental fear
Fear of needles, drills or any type of dental procedure can be paralyzing. It may even stop someone from attending an important dental appointment, which can compromise their oral health. Here are three common sources of these feelings:
- Past traumatic experiences or childhood memories
- Fear of becoming embarrassed or losing control
- Fear of experiencing pain
Strong feelings or phobias can be a large factor in anxiety, especially for those who have had bad experiences in the past. However, this is not something to be ashamed of. Dentists are well aware that procedures or check-ups may frighten or concern patients. For those who feel sudden fear, an accelerated heartbeat or excess sweating, it may be the starting symptoms of dental anxiety.
Recognizing fear is the first step to getting help. Many people find distractions to be useful, such as bringing a fidget spinner or other small items of comfort to focus on. Others use breathing exercises to calm the heart and mind. Thinking about a reward to come afterwards can bring courage during the appointment as well. Recognizing the fear and replacing it with the hope of a healthier mouth can be the start of better experiences in the future.
Trusting the professionals
One way to overcome dental fear is to rely on the dentist. Workers in a dental office are trained to help patients with all types of concerns. With an understanding nature and calm manner, the dentist and other specialists are like tour guides: They walk with patients every step of the way and are aware of personal concerns and needs. If the dentist's office causes anyone stress, speaking up is critical to a better experience.
Expectations of patients
With a good bedside manner, dentists are prepared to help. Dental professionals can talk through the procedure, ask questions or avoid chatting with co-workers during the appointment. The ultimate goal for dental assistants and professionals is to help patients. Communication and understanding are the foundations of this type of work.
If more help is needed, many dental offices are equipped to help soothe fears. Some offices give out prizes or stickers to relax small children, with other aids for adults. Feel free to ask what is currently available so that the next appointment will be happier and calmer. Many dental offices offer services that people find helpful, whether it is a television, music or other distractions.
For anyone who faces dental anxiety or wishes to help others overcome it, there are many solutions both at home and at the dentist's office. Dental care is important and necessary for proper oral health, so being aware of causes, symptoms and solutions for anxiety can help ready someone for their next dental procedure or check-up. With more awareness and preparation, a trip to the dentist's office can be stress-free and even enjoyable.
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