Woman scared dental appointment

The Fear Is Real: Conquering Dental Anxiety

Applying proper oral care in our daily life is important. It may sound cliché whenever we get constant reminders to brush our teeth three times a day or visit the dentist regularly. Those gentle reminders are there for a reason.

At the end of the day, we want to have healthy teeth and fresh breath that we won’t be ashamed to show off. But for some reason, there are a lot of people who dread going to the dentist. When going to a dentist in Fort Worth, it can be a nightmare for a lot of people. It is not a drill — dentist phobia is real.

It is believed that dental anxiety affects millions of people all over the world. But it can have devastating effects among those who have this rather unconventional fear.

Sadly, some people would rather suffer in silence than going on a trip to the dentist. Worse, dental problems such as gum disease can even lead to other illnesses like diabetes and stroke.

Why some people hate their dentists

Peter Milgrom, DDS, the author of “Treating Fearful Dental Patients,” said that around 5–8 percent of Americans are afraid of dentists. Meanwhile, around 20 percent of them will go to the dentist as their last resort.

Among common reasons of dentist phobia include the following:

  • Dental traumatic experience. A man named John experienced dental trauma back when he was 9. That experience scarred him even as he reached adulthood.
    As a result, he gets “stressed out” at the thought of going to the dentist. One time, he had painful tooth decay. But instead of going to a dentist, he chose to suffer in silence.
  • Non-dental traumatic experience. Past experiences, such as sexual abuse and domestic violence, may contribute to dental phobia. Other causes may include anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress common among war veterans.
  • Lack of control. Some people feel vulnerable when they’re seated in a dental chair. It creates anxiety for most of them as a dental procedure happens.
    You cannot talk properly, and the dentist may not consider your pain threshold. In effect, it creates fear and uncertainty on the patient.

Dental fear may be challenging to overcome. But it can be the best decision if you want to keep your oral health in check. Here are some ways you can alleviate dental fear:

Man with his dentist for a dental appointment

1. Communication is key

If you feel pain during the dental procedure, let the dentist know. Otherwise, the dentist will simply continue the process. Let them know what can be done to make the patient comfortable, not one that won’t hurt. It can hurt at some point, but at least there should be some way to lessen it.

2. Distract yourself

This does not mean you distract the dentist. Rather, you do something that will let your mind off the fear and pain. Listen to music on your iPod or watch TV if the dentist room has it.

3. Practice proper breathing

It may sound cliché, but it can work. Slow and relaxed breathing can help relax your muscles and slow down your heartbeat.

4. Tag a companion along

Find someone who is willing to tag along on your dental visit. It can be a close friend, a parent, or a relative.

Dental fear is a real thing. But sometimes, you have no choice but to conquer it. At the end of the day, you want excellent oral health, and a dentist can help you achieve that.