The most effective way to help ease dental anxiety is to talk about it with us --- once we know what your fears and triggers might be, we'll be better able to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable when you come in for treatment. For more instense cases of patient dental anxiety, we offer a range of sedation options to make your treatment as comfortable as possible.
Up to 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of dental anxiety or fear. Patients with dental anxiety may visit the dentist only when forced to do so by extreme pain.
Signs of dental anxiety may include difficulty sleeping the night before your dental visit, feeling nervous while in the waiting room, feeling physically ill at the very thought of visiting the dentist, and intense uneasiness at the thought of, or actually when, dental instruments are placed in the mouth (or suddenly feeling like it is difficult to breathe) during the dental treatment.
What Causes Dental Anxiety?
There are many reasons why some people have dental phobia and anxiety, including:
Fear of pain: Fear of pain is the most common reason for avoiding the dentist. This fear usually stems from an early dental experience that was unpleasant or painful or from dental "horror" stories told by others. Due to the many advances in dentistry made over the years, most of today's dental procedures are much less painful or even pain-free.
Fear of injections: Many patients are afraid of needles, especially when inserted into the mouth. Beyond this, others fear that the anesthesia hasn't yet taken effect or wasn't a large enough dose to eliminate any pain before the procedure begins.
Fear of anesthetic side effects: Some patients fear the potential side effects of anesthesia such as dizziness, feeling faint, or nausea. Others don't like the numbness or "fat lip" sensation associated with local anesthetics.
Feelings of helplessness and loss of control: It's common for patients to feel these emotions considering the situation---sitting in a dental chair with your mouth wide open, unable to see what's going on. We can talk you through the procedure as we go to help with this.
Embarrassment and loss of personal space: Many patients feel uncomfortable about the physical closeness of the dentist or hygienist to their face. Others may feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth or possible mouth odors.