How Your General Dentist Can Help You With Your Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety can strike weeks before your next appointment. As a result, people with dental phobias often experience feelings of dread whenever the thought of having to go to a dentist creeps into their heads. As a result, people with the condition typically make up excuses to avoid going to the clinic to avoid having to deal with their fears.
Avoiding making dental appointments only makes things worse for these people since oral problems do not magically disappear on their own. Instead, they need treatment to improve. Unfortunately, failing to do this often leads to the initial problem becoming worse. As a result, the person has to get more treatments, and they have higher dental bills. Lastly, they end up dealing with more pain and discomfort than they would have had to deal with if they had gone to a dentist earlier.
Understanding dental anxiety
Dental anxiety is a feeling of fear, apprehension, or nervousness about going to the dentist. There are varying degrees of dental phobias. Some people only experience minor uneasiness when it is time to go to the dentist, while others become panic-stricken at the thought of going to the dentist. Many things can cause this; past negative experiences with dentists, having a sensitive gag reflex, or not knowing what to expect during treatment.
Generally speaking, the more extreme a person's dental anxiety is, the less likely they will show up at a dental clinic.
For people with extreme dental fears, only excruciating pain and discomfort forces them to get the necessary treatments. Unfortunately, these people wait until the last minute possible to get the necessary treatments, so their teeth and soft tissues often become severely damaged. As a result, these people might feel forced to cover up their teeth or smile less often to hide their deteriorating teeth. This habit can negatively impact a person's self-esteem as well as their personal and professional lives.
How a dentist can help with dental anxiety
Dentists can help with dental anxiety by educating their patients about ways to cope with their feelings of dread and their options regarding sedatives and the treatment process. Sedation dentistry is a branch of dentistry that focuses on managing dental phobias. The type of sedatives used often varies based on the severity of the patient's phobias. The levels of sedation used to manage dental anxiety include:
- Minimal sedation: This involves sedatives that allow the patient to remain conscious while the dentist works.
- Moderate sedation: This uses sedatives that might leave the patient coming in and out of consciousness. The patient might slur their speech while under the influence of these drugs, but they can be easily woken up if they fall asleep.
- Deep sedation: Patients are usually unconscious during treatments that involve deep sedatives, but it does not take much to wake them up.
- General anesthesia: Patients are fully unconscious when general anesthesia is administered. This option is used as a last resort for dental phobias, and the necessary treatments typically need to be done in a hospital setting.
The dentist can also help lessen the fear of going to the office by educating the patient on what to expect. For example, the dentist should explain what they are going to do, why they are going to do it, and how long it will take. They should also discuss the benefits that may come from having the procedure done so that there is no confusion about the patient's expectations regarding the treatment process or procedure.
If there are questions or concerns before their appointment, the patient can call the dental office and request to speak with the dentist or an expert team member. In addition to calling in to go over specific procedure steps, the dental office's website should give information on services and procedures they provide to at least help the patient have a general knowledge and form questions during their consultation.
Take control of your dental anxiety
If you are one of the millions of people who experience dental anxiety, do not hesitate to ask a dentist and their team for help. The entire dental office will strive to take steps to lower your stress level and lessen the impact on your overall health. At Sierra Dental Group, we take many steps to ensure our patients are comfortable and at ease during their visits with us. In addition, we can ensure that our patients are educated on their specific treatment process through our website and have an open line of communication with our knowledgeable and caring team members. To learn more about how we can help you through dental anxiety or to schedule an appointment at our Fontana office, call us at (909) 327-4308
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Anxiety in Fontana, CA.
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