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Can Dental Anxiety Affect My Oral Health?

Dental anxiety is a common fear that no one should feel embarrassed about. Many dental offices know that dental anxiety comes with the territory, so they have provided information and options to help their patients with the transition so that they can get the treatment that they need.

Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

Symptoms of dental anxiety are not the same for everyone. It can be shown physically through sweating, increased heart rate, and shaking or psychologically with thoughts of panic, impending doom, and dread.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fear of pain: This a very common symptom and it can come from a bad past experience or from a secondhand story someone told you. This fear of pain is real. It is important to talk to your dental team about this so you can receive the necessary sedation and medication to make it a pleasant experience instead of a traumatic one.
  • Avoiding dental appointments: People with dental anxiety may avoid going to the dentist altogether. This is when dental anxiety is harming your oral health. It is normal for people with dental anxiety to push off appointments but it can lead to more problems in the future.
  • Fear of loss of control: Many people fear not having control and receiving treatment can make you feel vulnerable. Talk with your dental team so that this feeling does not go unnoticed. They might allow you to make more decisions or walk you through the treatment beforehand, so you don’t feel like you don’t have control of the situation.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you might have dental anxiety. Protect your dental health, and address these worries with a dental team sooner rather than later so they can help you overcome them and get back to treatment.

Coping Strategies for Dental Anxiety

You can work on exposure therapy, and, with a trusted dental team, slowly work your way up to dental visits. This can help decrease your anxiety to let you get the treatment you need without fear. The easiest way to come up with coping strategies is by talking with your dental team about your dental anxiety so they can help.

Many dentists offer medications such as sedation to help you relax during your appointment. Some types of sedation include oral conscious sedation, laughing gas, and general anesthesia. All of these will help you feel calm and relaxed during your dental visit. As you start to see the dentist’s office as a safe place, your dental anxiety will decrease.

You might also try breathing exercises to help your body relax. If you ever need the dentist to stop working on you so you can breathe for a few moments, don’t hesitate to ask. Your dentist is there to help you get the care you need.

Importance of Early Intervention for Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety can quickly turn into tooth decay and gum disease the longer treatment and regular dental visits are postponed, and that is why early intervention is key. This tends to be an issue in children because they are unfamiliar with the dentist and the importance of visiting the dentist often.

Dental offices understand this and work with children to use friendly language to create a welcoming experience. You can help your little one by distracting them with toys and informing them of what to expect before their appointment.

Take Control of Your Oral Health — Schedule Today!

Dental anxiety can easily affect your dental health if you let it. Meet with your dental team before your appointment to create a relationship with them. This will help you get rid of the fear of the unknown and have a safe place with the team. McCullough Dental wants to help you overcome your dental anxiety and get the treatment you need.

Call Our Office Today!

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