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Dental Anxiety Is a Real Thing and the Fear Is Not Just in Your Head

Dental Anxiety Is a Real Thing and the Fear Is Not Just in Your Head

There are tips and tricks to get over your fear, but remember, it won't happen in a day.

Most people are afraid of doctors, but the fear of dentists really takes the cake, ironically. In fact, it affects around 36% of the population, according to NCBI. This, in turn, causes people to miss out on their regular dental appointments, because their fear engulfs them, and they're okay with poor dental hygiene instead of sitting down in that chair. 

Everything at a dental clinic scares them, and the thought of visiting one causes them to panic. People will only go to the dentist when they experience extreme pain, and trust me, there's nothing worse than a toothache.

Trouble sleeping before your appointment and breaking down even at the thought of visiting the dentist are all signs that the fear is real. The sound of the drill and the fear that the dentist will hurt you while working, all simply make it that difficult to get yourself to visit the medical professional. 



 

 

According to WebMD, there are several reasons that could cause dental anxiety. Here are some of them:

1. Fear of pain:

People have told and retold stories of nasty dental experiences which have been passed on and around. It could also be because of an unpleasant and painful experience you've had in your past that might make you feel afraid. But, thanks to the many advances in dentistry made over the years, most of today's dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain-free.

2. Fear of injections:

Before a procedure, a small dose of anesthesia is given to numb the area, so that the patient experiences no pain. Fear of a needle being inserted into our mouth is a valid fear. Moreover, sometimes, the anesthesia isn't administered properly and the patient begins to experience extreme discomfort. Of course, the dentist will stop and inject more numbing solutions before they continue. There's not much that can be done through all of these processes, and that's when the fear sets in deeply. 

3. The thought of being extremely vulnerable:

Given how there are another pair of hands in your mouth at a time, it's only natural for you to feel vulnerable and uncomfortable like your own personal space has been invaded. You can't talk or answer the dentist and that puts you in a spot, one that you'd rather never be in.



 

 

The good thing is that over time more and more people have become aware of such phobias. Thankfully they're considerate and compassionate towards anyone experiencing anxiety before heading over to a dentist. Here are some ways in which you can help yourself feel confident about going to the dentist:

1. Find a dentist who understands your phobia and takes it into consideration:

You are entitled to tell your doctor that you are afraid and that you would like them to be a little understanding about it. While making the appointment, ask them how they deal with patients that are scared, so you will have a better idea of what to expect when you head over for your appointment. 

2. Don't go on your first visit alone:

Having someone accompany you to your dental appointment can provide much-needed relief and work wonders. It gives you a feeling that you aren't alone in this battle, which in turn, boosts your confidence. Trust me, ask your partner or friend to tag along, even if it means they'd have to sit at the reception for a while. 



 

 

3. Schedule your next appointment before your leave: 

There's a high chance that you'll never come back for your sitting unless you make an appointment. No, it's not meant to be a flaw, that's just how fear works, and it's okay.

Finally, learn to embrace your fears and slowly work on them, it doesn't happen overnight!

Most importantly, remember you are not alone in this. 

References: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5586885/

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/easing-dental-fear-adults

Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | praetorianphoto

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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