How to overcome dental anxiety
Dental anxiety is a common and all too real experience for some people. The form that anxiety takes usually depends on the age of the patient. A lot of older people have bad memories of their experience at the dentist when they were younger. Back then, anaesthetics weren’t as effective so their childhood dental experiences were unpleasant. When you’ve been hurt and frightened at a young age, it’s
often surprisingly difficult to get past those embedded emotions.
Children tend to have a general social anxiety around the dentist. It’s often transmitted by their parents. When parents tell their kids that they need to be brave, the kids naturally wonder why. They may not understand exactly what’s about to happen but they’ve been told that it’s scary and they pick up on the nervousness of their parents. The fear gets transmitted from parent to child.
Admittedly, the first time anyone turns up at a dental surgery, it’s a slightly intimidating environment. The staff are nice and there can be soft music and candles but eventually you’re taken to the big chair in the middle of a room. There are bright lights, people wearing masks and gloves, and the dentist gets right in your personal space. You’re also lying down which can be a very vulnerable position.
The best and most effective way to overcome dental anxiety is to visit your dentist regularly. Find a practitioner with whom you are comfortable and can learn to trust. The anxiety may never completely disappear but the more often you’re in that environment, the easier it will become. You will soon learn that it’s not as bad as you might expect or remember. In this situation, knowledge is power.
Why regular visits help
The other advantage of regular visits is that small problems are sorted before they turn into big problems. These visits tend to be more pleasant as we are either telling you that everything’s fine or dealing with some small issue that is a lot less traumatic than if it was a big problem. If you do have to undergo a procedure, even something as simple as a filling, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality of modern anaesthetics. Time and again, patients get to the end of their appointment and say, ‘That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t feel a thing.’ At the beginning, they are anxious and worked up but the actuality of the procedure is never as bad as expected.
How to be well prepared
Another thing that can help is to schedule a morning appointment so you’re not worrying about it all day. There are also breathing exercises that the dentist can show you. Regulating your breathing helps control your emotions and makes a dental appointment much less stressful.
If a patient suffers from crippling anxiety, there are some medications that can help. Anxiolytics can be prescribed to help calm down and quell this fear of dentists. We suggest that it’s taken the night before, so the patient gets a good night’s sleep. A second dose can be taken about an hour before the appointment and it’s a good idea to have someone to bring them to the surgery.
If you are anxious about coming to see the dentist, have a look at some of the dental practitioners that we have working at plaza dental and choose who you think may be best for you! To make an appointment please call on 4942 3272.