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Dental Anxiety

If you suffer from dental anxiety, you’re not alone. An estimated 15% of Americans report that they have some level of dental anxiety. People of all ages have dental anxiety; it’s not limited to any particular age group. It’s only human to feel fear about certain things. Unfortunately, when fear prevents you from getting the professional dental help you need, the problem is compounded. Learn more about dental anxiety along with some tips to get around it.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is the fear of going to the dentist. This fear leads to a strong sense of unease and discomfort, before and during the appointment. In many cases, experience has shown that the dental anxiety is baseless; the person may intellectually understand that the fear is unreasonable, but they still may feel afraid.

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

The primary reason that dental anxiety exists is because humans have a natural fear of the unknown. A patient may be worried about what the dentist is going to “do” to him. Other times, a patient may worry about what the dentist may find when her mouth is  examined. In both cases, regular dental appointments can go a long way toward easing this fear of the unknown. The more often you go to the dentist, the less anxiety you’ll feel.

Other forms of dental anxiety exist, too. A patient may be afraid of unusual sounds, like the drill a dentist uses. Or she might be afraid of needles, or of relinquishing control. Others may feel fear over shame or embarrassment. In cases like this, being in the compassionate care of professional, expert dental professionals can be of great value.

Signs of Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety can result in treatment avoidance, sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, feelings of panic, desire to flee, dizziness, nausea, crying and more. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and not be ashamed of them. As mentioned, you’re not alone. Many people feel the same way as you and they have received help through some of the following methods.

Ways to Alleviate Dental Anxiety

Proven ways to alleviate dental anxiety include:

  • asking to be given topical numbing medication
  • asking for light, general anesthesia during treatment
  • being given general anesthesia during more invasive dental treatment, like oral surgery
  • practicing meditation during treatment
  • using over-the-counter analgesics before your appointment
  • having the dental professionals sit down and explain beforehand exactly what they will be doing
  • having the dentist ask permission before moving on to next steps in treatment
These are all ways that patients have found relief from dental anxiety in hundreds of thousands of cases. You may find other ways to alleviate your dental anxiety. You should also talk to your dental professionals about your anxiety so they understand your sensitivity to the treatments.

Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is a safe place to get oral surgery. We have highly experienced, board-certified oral surgeons who are thoroughly trained in the administration of anesthetics. At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, you can put your dental anxiety to rest. You’re safe in our experienced care. Contact us today to book your appointment.


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