Feeling anxiety or the fear of visiting the dentist is more common than you think. One in four people feel anxious about going to the dentist, and it could mean different things for each individual. Some worry about possibly experiencing pain, while for others simply the thought of having someone examine the inside of their mouths causes them to experience intense stress. While many of us can manage varying degrees of anxiety, there are those who actually have phobias, get panic-stricken and find the situation terrifying. This extreme and often unreasonable anxiety or fear is one of the main reasons people ignore pain and avoid or delay dental appointments — sometimes for years, even decades. In fact, according to a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, fear is named as the major reason for skipping or avoiding a visit to the dentist. Aside from the fear of pain associated with dental procedures and treatment, here are some common reasons why some people have dental phobia and anxiety.
Many hesitate to see a dentist because they had bad memories of their dental visits when they were young, involving crying children, strong smells and traumatic sounds from surgery and instruments. However, there has been a lot of development in dental technology over the years and although you will still observe smells and sounds, overall it is a much gentler experience with equipment usually kept out of sight and calming background music to soothe your nerves. You can find a friendly dentist Exeter for example that provides tranquil services even to the most nervous of patients.
Self-consciousness and loss of control
Some patients feel uneasy by how physically close the dentist or hygienist are to their faces, while others get embarrassed by the appearance of their teeth and sometimes even the smell of their breath. It also not uncommon for people to feel unsettled sitting in a dental chair with no control over the things being done inside their mouth.
Aside from the common fear of needles, there are those who dislike the numbing sensation you get from local anesthetics, including the usual side effects such as nausea and dizziness.
How to ease dental fear, anxiety and phobia
There are ways to overcome these stressful situations, and it starts with reducing your stress levels. Exercise helps relieve stress because it stimulates the release of endorphins, which some say produces a euphoric feeling even more powerful than that from opiate drugs like opium and morphine. Also, when you are anxious, stressed, or angry, cortisol is produced by the body causing inflammation and damage to organs. Exercising burns cortisol hence making you healthier and happier.
Maintaining good oral hygiene and eating a well-balanced diet is also beneficial in increasing your dental health and managing your anxiety. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy and developing good habits like flossing, aside from regular cleaning during dental appointments, will reduce your trips to the dentist and the need for treatment.
Finding a dentist you are comfortable with will also greatly ease your fears and anxiety. Research, look up reviews, and ask for recommendations from family and friends. Talk to your dentist about your worries. Many specialists understand their patients’ fears and have the professional experience to provide them with stress-free and pain-free treatment.
If the thought of talking or visiting a dentist terrifies you, try calling a dental helpline. Fully trained health professionals can provide you with free information and advice about a whole range of topics relating to oral health.