Do you or your children have fears or anxieties about seeing a dentist? You know that dental care is essential to keeping you healthy, yet you still avoid going. You’re not alone; around 22% of Canadians avoid the dentist due to anxiety.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Put simply, dental anxiety is “fear related to seeking or receiving dental care.” Many people don’t particularly like to go to the dentist, but they’re not necessarily afraid to go. Dental anxiety, meanwhile, steps into the category of fear.
Most people who suffer with dental anxiety tend to avoid the dentist all together. This avoidance of dental visits often results in a higher incidence of cavities, which can then turn into missing teeth or more complex dental problems. This can leave you with feelings of inferiority and shame and cause further avoidance of dental care.
You don’t necessarily have to have had a bad experience for your anxiety to still be overcoming. A lot of people are more anxious about what may happen, than what has happened.
How to Manage Dental Anxiety
Managing your dental anxiety can be a lifetime struggle for some people. Here are some of our top tips to help you feel more comfortable when visiting the dentist:
- Identify your fear. Once you know exactly what you’re fearful about, you can start working towards a solution.
- Build a good relationship with your dentist or hygienist. The more trust you have with them the more comfortable you will be at each appointment.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for sedation if you think it may help.
- Learn about mindfulness, meditation and breathing techniques. There are many apps available that can help you with this.
- Listen to music that relaxes you during appointments, or talk with your dentist or hygienist if you don’t like the silence or sounds.
- Ask one of our staff for a blanket to help you feel comfortable, our office offers weighted blankets as well.
- Find out if you qualify for a service animal to help manage your anxiety, Sherwood Dental is a service animal friendly office.
- Look into the benefits of CBD oil, some studies suggest this may help calm some anxieties (blog post to come on this).
Dental anxiety is a complex issue that can take a lot of patience and practice to manage. The most important thing you can do is try to keep on top of your regular visits. In fact, seeing your dentist regularly can actually make the entire process – from making an appointment to sailing through it – easier on many levels.
If you do suffer with dental anxiety give us a call, and we can sit down and talk to you about the options we have at Sherwood Dental. We will walk you through your options from oral sedation to nitrous (laughing gas) or both. Bring a list of questions you may have so that we may address all your concerns. Depending on your needs we may suggest a referral to one of our trusted IV sedation centers. Sometimes just meeting our friendly team, touring our calm environment and understanding ALL your options is enough to get you through something you have been very stressed about.
We look forward to working with you to help understand what your concerns are and how we can help.