Many of us are worried before visiting the dentist, and dental phobia is common.
But giving in to dental phobia can harm your oral health, smile, and general health; mainly if it causes you to delay or avoid regular visits to Deer Park Dental Surgery.
A twice-yearly checkup (and often a clean) is one of the best things you can do for oral health.
Sadly, patients with dental phobia often avoid or skip these essential dental visits, and over time this takes a toll on their dental and overall health.
To understand dental phobia and how to beat it, Deer Park Dental Surgery has put together the following information.
Is dental anxiety common?
Yes. A study by the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health at Adelaide University showed that as many as one in six Australian adults and 10 per cent of children suffer from high levels of dental fear.
So, if you suffer dental anxiety, you should know that you do not suffer it alone.
What causes dental anxiety?
Here are a few common reasons:
Pain: One study showed that for patients who hadn’t visited a dentist in a year, 6% identified fear of pain as the primary reason.
Helplessness and loss of control: When patients are in the dental chair, they can’t move and don’t have control.
Embarrassment: The mouth is a very personal space. People may be embarrassed or ashamed to have a stranger looking inside their mouth.
This may be a more significant problem if they’re self-conscious about how their teeth and gums look. Dental treatments also require close body contact, which makes some people nervous.
Bad previous experiences: Pain or discomfort during previous dental procedures is likely to cause more anxiety at subsequent visits, which can then lead to even more discomfort.
Symptoms of Dental Anxiety
- Trouble sleeping before a dental exam
- Nervousness that escalates in the waiting room
- Feeling physically ill or crying at the thought of visiting the dentist
- Intense uneasiness at the idea of, or actually when, objects are placed in your mouth during the dental treatment or sudden difficulty breathing
Fortunately, there are ways to get people with dental anxiety to the dentist and treated!
Overcoming Mild Dental Anxiety
Mild dental anxiety is nervousness and discomfort, as opposed to terror and panic. It can be treated in several ways.
Talking to your dentist is the first step to conquering dental fears. Explain your anxiety and be sure your dentist is aware of it and has a strategy for dealing with it.
Controlled breathing can help you avoid a lot of discomfort and anxiety.
The most straightforward breathing technique is to inhale and exhale through your nose for a count of three for each inhalation and exhalation.
This technique can also help overcome the breathing issues some of us feel when things are in our mouth.
Use relaxation techniques. Bring music into your appointment, ask to have your favourite radio station on, or have the nurse chat to you about something.
If you like the feeling of control, ask the dentist or nurse to explain the progress of your treatment as it happens.
Different distraction and relaxation techniques work for different people so experiment to find something that will work for you.
Overcoming Severe Dental Anxiety
Sometimes the steps above don’t work because severe dental anxiety is more of a psychological phobia that is less due to nerves and more due to irrational fears. You can overcome severe dental anxiety in a few ways.
You can receive counselling for your phobia to find the root of it and work through it.
Dental anxiety is so common that there are a large number of support networks for people who suffer from it.
Sedation can be a solution to the problem, giving you a better chance of revisiting the dentist!
Different types of sedation are available. The simplest is oral sedation, which comes in the form of a tablet. You will still be aware of what is happening around you, but you will also be more relaxed and drowsy.
If none of this works, you might choose intravenous sedation. This is an injection, however, so if you have a fear of needles, it may not be the right choice!
With intravenous sedation, you will be awake but in a deeply relaxed state. You may not even remember what happened!
Finally, you might talk about sleep-dentistry to treat your anxiety! Ask your Deer Park dentist for a recommendation that is best for your particular case.
The Deer Park Dental Surgery Difference
Deer Park Dental Surgery delivers outstanding patient care and customer service to the growing community in Deer Park and its surrounds.
Our location is strategic as we are located in a busy medical centre in Brimbank Shopping Centre. We are also open on Saturdays, which caters to your family needs.
Parking is hassle-free.
GAP FREE for New Patients
Comprehensive Check Up, Clean & X-rays (if needed)
(with any health insurance)
At Deer Park Dental Surgery, our goal is to make quality dental care affordable. To find out more, call us on (03) 9360 4417 or visit us at T097a Brimbank Shopping Centre Neale Road in Deer Park.