I'M ANXIOUS ABOUT VISITING THE DENTIST. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO?
CONQUERING DENTAL ANXIETY
Do you delay or avoid visiting the dentist? Do you dread the thought of undergoing simple dental procedures? If so, you could be suffering from dental anxiety.
Dental anxiety is a fundamental obstacle that stands in the way of achieving and maintaining optimal oral health. Dental phobics are known to avoid or postpone dental appointments, even when they are experiencing pain. While the majority of them are apprehensive about the perceived pain associated with a dental check-up and processes, some avoid the dentist because they are ashamed of the condition of their teeth. Whatever the reason, it does not change the fact that postponing a dental appointment or oral examination can have serious consequences. In this article, we will examine the factors that may contribute to dental anxiety and discuss actions and measures you may use to overcome them.
In light of modern dentistry, introducing a host of minimally invasive techniques, dental anxiety based on the fear of painful procedures are generally unfounded. Dwelling on the perceived pain, however, will often only serve to magnify the anxiety.
FOR THE ANXIOUS DENTAL PATIENT
Regular visits to the dentist remain one of the best shields against dental ailments like decays and gum diseases. Maintaining regular dental check-ups help to ensure that your dental health is maintained and is checked for any warning signs that may require immediate attention. If a dental problem is detected at an early stage, the dentist can usually fix them using a variety of pain-free techniques. By avoiding the dentist, you risk aggravating the problem until it becomes too painful to ignore, which may eventually require more complex and involved treatments – perhaps even surgery. A routine dental check-up once every six months can significantly reduce the likelihood of painful dental problems or the need for complex procedures that would deal with them.
It is important for you to speak openly with the dentist about your dental fears and even negative dental experiences. It is important to remember that a dentist may be a professional working in a serious environment, but behind their dental mask, he or she is also a human being who will try to empathise with your fears and apprehensions.
If pain is the source of your anxiety, you may also consider the use of dental sedatives. A range of different sedation dentistry may be administered to maintain and assure comfort during treatment, including the use of breathing masks (sedation gas) and intra-venous administration (IV sedation). Although these types of sedation are also known as sleep dentistry, the sedation is so mild that patients usually remain awake and can effectively communicate with dentists throughout the procedures.
It is never too late to deal with your dental anxiety. The best thing you can do is discuss your fears openly with your dentist or hygienist. If you have an existing dental issue, a qualified dentist will be able to advice you on the best treatment options available. Overcome your anxiety may help promote a broad, healthy smile.