Whether you lack the money for dental insurance, you’ve had bad experiences in the past, or you feel embarrassed about your teeth there are many reasons why people don’t make regular dental visits. Lack of routine checkups and bad dental hygiene are common factors in many of the dental issues most struggle with, and the medical help dentists can provide could alleviate those problems.
However, dental anxiety is another reason why people don’t make dental visits, and it’s likely more common than you think. To discover the issues behind this condition, let’s examine dental anxiety, its causes and symptoms, and how it can be treated.
If you live in Chevy Chase Maryland, and you’re struggling to cope with issues related to dental anxiety, the medical team at Supertooth® Dental Group works hard to make the experiences as welcoming and painless as possible.
Defining dental anxiety
This is the term for a psychological reaction to dental visits, often leading to complete avoidance due to various fears that distort the reality of the experience and create more anxiety about going. This is a lesser form of other phobias about dental visits, including dentophobia. The prevalence of this problem is global, with dental anxiety affecting about 15% of people and the more problematic forms causing problems for about 12% and 3% for moderate and severe cases.
A person with dental anxiety can have problems with the sights, sounds, and other aspects of the experience and fear of the pain related to possible procedures that all work to make you avoid visits. Mild cases mean you may have these problems but go anyway, but severe cases mean avoiding them at all costs.
Common causes and symptoms
This anxiety can arise from several factors, such as previous unpleasant experiences that color your perception of the whole business of dental care and personal traumatic experiences outside of dentists altogether that create trust issues. It can also result from other conditions with similar triggers (also known as comorbidities), such as depression, other anxieties, mood disorders, and other psychiatric conditions.
If you’re dealing with this form of anxiety, you will likely experience symptoms like sweating, increased heartbeat, decreased blood pressure, panic, fainting, or a complete withdrawal from the situation. You may even try to play the whole thing off with humor to hide your fears.
Methods of treatment
You can find yourself struggling with dental anxiety at any age, and if you’re trying to cope here are some things you can do:
- Communicate your concerns: this can be difficult, but relating your concerns to loved ones as well as your dentist can help you find a solution
- Relaxation exercises: mediation, guided imagery, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises can all help to keep you calm when you have to visit the dentist
- Positive reinforcement: this can come in the form of friends and family you bring with you, which can keep you from focusing on negative thoughts
- Distractions: finding something to occupy your thoughts while dental work is being done is a technique that can make the whole process go easier.
- Medications: everything from analgesics for pain relief to sedatives to help you relax or render you unconscious while work is being done can help
Dental anxiety feels real and can make dental visits difficult, but we can help ease the problems so you can take care of your teeth. Make an appointment with the team at Supertooth Dental Group today to get dental care in a relaxed, comfortable environment.