According to recent statistics, approximately 15 percent of Americans suffer from dental anxiety. Dental anxiety, also called dental fear, is a very real condition. While dental anxiety has kept many patients from getting the dental care they need and deserve, it is extremely important that these sufferers know today’s solutions. In fact, a large majority of dentists across the United States now offer sedation dentistry on their menu of services. To accommodate anxious patients even more, there are many dental offices that have created their office environment to feel more like a home or spa than a sterile dental office.
Dental anxiety can affect both children and adults. It can also present itself in varying degrees. While one patient may only have sweaty palms and a racing heart before getting a dental filling, another patient may have a paralyzing fear of a simple dental cleaning. What causes dental anxiety? There are a variety of reasons, including these common culprits below:
- A fear of pain is quite common among patients with dental anxiety, especially if the upcoming appointment involves a more invasive procedure like a root canal or dental implants. However, it is important to know that the advancements of sedation dentistry can make any procedure comfortable and painless.
- The “Unknown”
- This is more common in children who don’t know what to expect during their dental procedure. Lying in the dental chair with someone working inside your mouth can also create a feeling of no control. Carefully guiding a patient through a procedure on the front end can greatly reduce this type of anxiety feeling.
- Needles or Sharp Dental Instruments
- Always let your dentist know if you are apprehensive about which tools are being used in your mouth. You can even ask to hold the instruments first. As far as dental needles, advanced techniques and technology can now deliver pain-free dental injections.
- Gag Reflex
- Are you prone to gagging? A sensitive gag reflex can create significant anxiety in the dental chair. Sedation dentistry can be used to relax you enough so that your reflex calms down too.
- Noises, Sounds and Smells
- It is common for patients to associate certain senses with going to the dentist. Maybe it is the loud sound of a dental drill or the smell of latex. Voice your concerns, as you may simply need headphones with your favorite music, a warm scented towel or other spa-like accommodations to recreate a positive dental experience.
- Poor Dental Experience as Child
- If you suffer from dental phobia and can’t quite place your finger on the reason, try to recall your dental visits as a child. Were they traumatic? It is very common for adults to fear the dentist due to a past experience in their youth.
At Park South Dentistry, we are here to redefine the way you feel about going to the dentist. Not only do we offer a variety of sedation dentistry options, but we also work hard to create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for patients of all ages. If going to the dentist gives you an unsettled feeling in your stomach or makes your heart race, please let us know. We have ways to help you get the dental care you deserve!