Dental anxiety refers to an extreme fear of visiting the dentist and receiving dental care.
The phobia may also include other dentistry-related circumstances or concerns.
This acute fear, which can also be described as dentophobia, odontophobia, or dental phobia, may affect individuals of any age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background.
In fact, most estimates say that nearly 20% of Australians avoid the dentist due to anxiety and fear.
And what this really means, is that some patients are just plain scared to visit their Cardiff dentist’s office. And if you don’t visit our office, we can’t help you keep optimal dental health!
Dental anxiety can create a feedback loop in which not visiting the dentist leads to even more expensive and threatening conditions that actually make visiting the dentist even harder.
In these cases, bad dental health can also go on to threaten overall health, as many studies demonstrate.
Cardiff Dental has put together the following information for dental anxiety and effective fear management.
Why do some of us have dental anxiety?
Toothpaste maker, Colgate, points to the following sources of anxiety:
Pain — In a survey of people who had not seen a dentist for 12 months, 6% reported fear of pain as the main reason. The fear of pain is most common in adults 24 years and older. This may be because their early dental visits happened before many of the advances in “pain-free” dentistry.
Feelings of helplessness and loss of control —When patients are in the dental chair, they have to stay still. They may feel they can’t see what’s going on or predict what’s going to hurt. It’s common for people to feel helpless and out of control, which may trigger anxiety.
Embarrassment — The mouth is an intimate part of the body. People may feel ashamed or embarrassed to have a stranger looking inside their mouth. This may be a particular problem if they’re self-conscious about how their teeth look. Dental treatments also require physical closeness.
Negative past experiences — Anyone who has had pain or discomfort during previous dental procedures is likely to be more anxious the next time around.
Preparation is Key
Keeping good communication with your dentist can substantially reduce fears, but a little preparation can also be helpful.
Here are a few tried-and-true ways to help you stay calm from start to finish:
- Meditate or practise breathing exercises to gain composure before your visit
- Wear comfortable clothes to help you feel more at ease in the dentist’s chair
- Bring music, books and magazines to distract you before and during treatment
- Ask a friend or loved one to come with you for extra support
- Arrange a non-verbal communication system with your dentist
- Eat a high-protein, low-caffeine diet prior to your appointment
- Schedule in the early morning to cut down “over-thinking” time
- Visit your dentist often!
That last one may be hard at first, but over time, seeing your dentist will become easier through repetition.
Furthermore, frequent dentist visits can lower your chances for the more serious procedures you may have feared in the first place.
Your oral health is worth every effort – and you may be pleasantly surprised to find that dentistry has come a long way from what you remember.
Cardiff Dental and Dental Anxiety Management
To help nervous patients, we take time to listen to our patient’s concerns and explain the phases of the treatment in order to eliminate any unknowns that might cause fears.
We aim to provide patients of all ages with a pain-free, comfortable and pleasant dental experience.
That’s why we have developed unique services to make sure that you leave with a good, positive feeling after your visit with us.
Cardiff Dental is:
- A comprehensive cosmetic, implant, and family dentist
- A local family-owned and family-run dental practice
- You have the option of seeing the same dentist every time
- Available to treat painful conditions on the same day
- One of the very few dental practices that are accredited by QIP (Quality Innovative Performance) for meeting the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards
To know more about dental anxiety and effective fear management, call (02) 4954 6888 or visit us at 34B Kelton St. in Cardiff.
We look forward to seeing you soon.