Find Relief From Dental Anxiety
If the idea of visiting a dentist makes you feel nervous, you’re not alone. Over 60% of people suffer from dental fear or anxiety about receiving professional dental care, and about 12% of those individuals suffer from dental phobia called odontophobia (fear of dentists).
People with dental phobia or dental anxiety may fear anticipated pain, the sounds and smells of a dental office, or the dentist themselves. Even stress about paying for dental care services can contribute to the anxiety of a dental visit.
Dental anxiety and even extreme dental phobia can be treated, but it takes dedication and an incredible dental care team focusing on advanced comfort dentistry techniques. Mild dental sedation is another useful tool when dealing with dental anxiety.
Let’s talk about how you can tell if you have dental phobia or anxiety and how we can help.
Many people with dental anxiety experience these symptoms.
1. Feeling Physical Symptoms of Anxiety or Fear
Dental phobias cause a plethora of different physical reactions, including:
- Sweating and feeling flushed.
- Racing heartbeat or palpitations.
- Butterflies-in-the-stomach sensation.
- Shakiness or tremors.
- Shortness of breath.
- Jaw clenching or teeth grinding.
- Tension in the neck and back.
Some individuals with severe dental phobia may feel nauseated, dizzy, faint, and even appear visibly pale or ill.
2. Postponing or Skipping Dental Appointments
Dental anxiety often triggers subconscious avoidance tactics. You might not avoid dental appointments completely, but you may postpone visits frequently. Perhaps you only see a dentist once a year, or you tend to reschedule visits once or twice. If you experience a sense of relief when you rebook a visit, this is often a sure sign of some level of dental anxiety being present.
Skipping dental appointments tends to cause a cyclical reaction to anxiety or fear. By avoiding routine visits, you’re much more likely to develop tooth decay or gum disease, which in turn triggers further anxiety over the impending checkup.
3. Suffering Through Toothaches Rather than Visiting the Dentist
Sometimes avoidance tactics become so extreme that people with severe anxiety or dental phobia would rather suffer through pain than get help from a dentist. If you’ve found yourself refusing to call a dentist and, instead, trying to wait out a toothache, you may have a deep-rooted fear of dental care. Dental phobia this severe can be harmful as untreated abscesses or infections can develop into serious medical emergencies.
4. Feeling Overwhelmed by the Atmosphere or Sounds of a Dental Office
Dental anxiety can make you especially sensitive to the bright lights used during evaluations, the smell of sterile chemicals, the clink of metal tools, or the sound of a dental hand tool. Some people who also experience social anxiety may feel overwhelmed by the number of people around a busy dental office or the idea of being in close contact with strangers.
5. Ruminating on Prior Bad Experiences at a Dental Office
Humans all rely on past experiences to shape expectations of future experiences, which is often why anxiety or fear of certain situations develop. Perhaps you remember feeling scared of a dentist as a child, or you’ve had a negative experience as an adult with a judgmental dentist or feeling a jolt of pain during a procedure. If you find yourself frequently thinking about these negative experiences, it can often stoke the fire that is dental anxiety.
The dentist you choose has a big impact on your experience.
As someone with a dental phobia or general dental anxiety, there comes the point where you need outside help to overcome your fear or worry.
Speaking with a professional is a good place to start if you have a severe dental phobia holding you back from even seeing a dentist. You will also want to select a dentist and dental care team that understands dental anxiety and can guide you through your fear.
Ada Smile Place practices an approach to dental care called comfort dentistry. This means that we go above and beyond standard dental care expectations to provide a safe, accommodating, and relaxing environment for our patients. Our dentists and our team are kind, gentle, and considerate of everyone who entrusts us with the privilege of caring for their smile.
We encourage patients with dental phobia or dental anxiety to feel confident to speak up and be specific about what we can do to help them feel as comfortable as possible.
Mild sedation is a useful tool in relieving dental anxiety.
Sedation dentistry is most commonly used for patients undergoing extensive dental restorations or oral surgery, but that isn’t the only way it’s utilized at Ada Smile Place.
Our dentists can provide oral conscious sedation to patients who feel afraid and anxious about dental procedures, even for simple services like dental fillings. With mild sedation in the form of nitrous oxide gas, we can help reduce overwhelming feelings of anxiety and ease a patient into a more comfortable state of mind. Encouraging physical relaxation also comforts the mind, and gradually these positive experiences aid the patient in facing their dental anxiety in a positive, therapeutic manner.
Ada Smile Place provides several options for safe and effective sedation dentistry in Ada, OK. Nitrous oxide is a popular choice for mild to moderate dental anxiety, but we also have stronger sedation for patients with extreme anxiety or dental phobia.
Take the first step toward dental phobia recovery by booking a visit.
Come in and meet our team to get a first-hand look at how we care for patients with dental anxiety or dental phobia. Schedule a no-pressure visit today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.