For many people, those six-month dental checkups are viewed as a chore, a hassle to be endured for healthy teeth. For others, the mere idea of the dentist creates feelings of anxiety and fear. Some people rationalize that fear, while others allow it to overwhelm them. In severe cases, people let dental anxiety keep them from their regular checkups, and minor issues grow into large problems. Dental anxiety is common and dangerous.
General dental exams are vital to your oral health. Cavities and gingivitis cause more than pain; they can lead to eventual tooth loss. Tooth loss in turn leads to bone loss in the jaw, costing you not only money but beautiful aesthetics. If you unknowingly have oral cancer, your dentist at your general dental exam is the most likely person to detect it, but first you have to go to your exam. Avoiding the dentist can end up costing you a lot.
Common Reasons for Dental Anxiety
- Pain is probably one of the most common reasons for dental anxiety in adults 24 years and older. It is most likely because dental visits from when they were children didn’t have the same “pain-free” advancements that they have today. People don’t realize that there is modern technology that can help ease dental pain.
- Loss of control is a problem for many adults. You can often feel trapped when you are in the dental chair. You cannot see what they doctor is doing, you cannot anticipate the next move, and you cannot predict what may cause you pain. Feeling helpless can definitely contribute to dental anxiety.
- Embarrassment can keep people from seeking dental treatments. A dental exam is fairly intimate. There is the close physical proximity between you, the doctors, and the staff. Plus, many people are self-conscious about their teeth, especially if they have bad teeth. You may feel like you’re being judged, even though fixing your teeth is the whole reason you are at the dentist.
- Negative past experiences can color the way you view the dentist and are probably the reason you have any of the aforementioned fears. There are cases, however, where it was the treatment received from the staff that created dental anxiety. Not liking your current dentist and his/her staff will make it so you don’t wish to follow up on your dental exams.
Tips for Relieving Dental Anxiety
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single way to cure you of your dental anxiety. Sometimes, the best you can hope for is to be able to control it or reduce the fear-induced side effects. You can take control of your anxiety and learn to cope with it. Some helpful tips include:
- Research new dental technologies. There may be a few new advances in dental technologies that help reduce the pain that can be associated with a dental exam. Understanding what is available to you can help you feel more confident and secure going into your appointment. It may also open your eyes to the fact that your procedure doesn’t have to be painful.
- Communicate during your exam if your biggest anxiety trigger is control. Asking your doctor to explain each step before he or she performs it can help reduce some of your tension since you can know what you expect. Also, be honest with your doctor about how you are feeling during your exam. If you are in pain, express it. If you need a moment to collect yourself, ask for it. It should be the doctor’s number one priority to ensure that you have a good experience.
- Avoid foods with caffeine and sugar. These will only succeed in making you jittery and increasing your feelings of anxiety. Plus, that sugar is bad for your teeth anyway.
- Understand that you aren’t alone. Dental anxiety is very common, and your doctor sees many patients with anxieties similar to your own. If your fear stems from a bad experience, think about what made it bad. Was it very painful? Express that to your doctor. Did the staff treat you poorly? Find a new doctor. Insurances can be restrictive, but there’s nothing that relieves anxiety like knowing you are being taken care of by a quality doctor.
Dr. Fiss’ Practice
At Dr. Fiss’ Chicago practice, he and his staff understand that dental procedures can cause increased feelings of anxiety. It is their goal to provide you with the most pleasant and highest quality care possible. His office is designed to be a soothing and inviting atmosphere to help put patients at ease even while in the waiting room. He utilizes photos, models, and videos to educate his patients about the dental procedures he will be performing. Understanding what is about to be done helps put people at ease. For patients who simply desire a distraction, Dr. Fiss’s office is equipped with televisions and headphones to entertain you and block out noise. For patients with high levels of anxiety, Dr. Fiss offers nitrous, which helps patients relax during procedures.
Nothing compares to a compassionate dentist. If you experience dental anxiety, schedule your consultation with Dr. Fiss today. He and his friendly staff are here to help ease any fears you may have. Contact our office today by calling (312) 951-5230, or fill out our online contact form here for more information.Read More