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Dental Anxiety And Easing Fears: Tips From Our Dentist

Dentophobia, also known as fear of the dentist, is a common phobia in the United States. According to the Cleveland Clinic, nearly 36% of Americans fear going to the dentist and undergoing treatment.

With this fear being so prevalent, dental practices across the country have taken extra steps to offer ease for patients trying to address their oral health needs.

Common Causes Of Dental Anxiety

Going to the dentist isn’t a pleasant treatment for many, but for those facing dental anxiety on any level it can be quite painful. The development of dentophobia can happen due to a traumatic event or as a result of other underlying fears a patient might have. Some of the main causes behind dental anxiety include:

  • Being embarrassed to go to the dentist – This could be due to poor oral hygiene that a patient has left untreated for too long.
  • Small spaces – Most patient rooms are much smaller than your typical doctor’s office. It’s also uncomfortable to have someone so close to your face and mouth for prolonged periods of time.
  • Sharp Objects Near Mouth – Dental tools can be quite sharp and are often located very close to your dental chair. It can be an intimidating experience to have someone pressing on your teeth and gums with these tools, and close to other parts of your face.
  • Irregular Positions – Laying back in a dental chair might also induce anxiety because your body cannot move or adjust comfortably. This can lead to a patient feeling trapped and anxious.
  • Bad Experiences At The Dentist – Unfortunately, not all dental care is conducted with the same level of empathy and emotional care. A patient’s anxiety can be triggered by a bad dental treatment at another office.
  • Pain – Everyone has a different tolerance when it comes to pain. There are a lot of nerve endings throughout your mouth, including the teeth and gum line. Because of this, routine dental cleaning can be particularly uncomfortable or even painful for those who are more sensitive to pain.

If you believe you face dental anxiety, you should contact the practice you’re attending to see what services they can offer ahead of time and on the day of your next dentist appointment.

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Addressing Anxieties

Unfortunately, a cure-all method that eliminates anxiety surrounding the dentist doesn’t exist, however, there are steps you can take to reduce it. Our experts have developed the following suggestions that patients can try.

  • Discuss varying levels of anxiety and fear with your dentist
  • Ask for a walk-through of the dental procedure you’ll be experiencing
  • See if sedation options are available. This can include nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation options.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy to narrow down and address anxieties
  • Develop a plan to prepare for the dentist
  • Plan to reward yourself after the dentist with some self-care

When in doubt about what to do, it’s best to contact your dental office or primary care physician to see what suggestions they have.

The Empathetic Dentist For Fearful Patients

At Reilly & Siegel Family Dental, our goal is to provide a warm, welcoming, and empathetic environment for patients of all ages. If you or a loved one is facing dental anxiety, please contact our practice to discuss options that can ease your fears.

We will do everything in our power to make sure your dental needs are taken care of in the most tranquil and comfortable way possible.

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