A General Dentist Talks About Dental Phobia

A General Dentist Talks About Dental Phobia from Paul M. Huffaker, DMD in Centerville, UTFor patients who have been avoiding seeing a general dentist because of fear or apprehension, it may be helpful to know that they are not alone. A 2015 study published in Dental Research Journal found that 58.8% of dental patients surveyed experienced dental anxiety. For patients with severe dental phobia, there are several steps they can take to ensure a better, more relaxed experience at the dentist.

Anxiety-calming techniques

Dental anxiety and phobias can often feel crippling. If a patient is extremely anxious before seeing a general dentist, these techniques may be helpful for getting through an appointment.

Reach out beforehand

For patients with dental anxiety or dental phobia, it is a good idea to reach out to a general dentist before an appointment in order to explain their issues. Anxiety and even phobias around dental work is a familiar phenomenon to many dentists, and most can adjust their treatment plan with a patient's anxiety in mind. A dentist will often take extra care when explaining procedures to highly anxious patients, and they can also take breaks to check in and make sure the patient is not becoming overwhelmed.

Remember to breathe

This suggestion may sound obvious. In many cases, people who are anxious or acutely stressed will hold their breath or only take shallow breaths. When this happens, the brain receives less oxygen, causing even more anxiety. For patients who dread going to the dentist, just reminding themselves to take slow, deep breaths throughout the appointment may be helpful. Doing a few simple breathing exercises immediately before the visit will also help promote relaxation.

Focus on something else

Some dental offices have skylights or colorful ceiling tiles designed to give patients something pleasant to look at. If a patient's general dentist does not have an office like this, it may be wise to ask about listening to relaxing music through earbuds. If music is not an option, choosing something to focus on, such as an interesting-looking item on a countertop, can help take some of the focus off of the dental procedure itself.

Approaches for advanced phobias

Sometimes dental phobia is severe enough that regular anxiety management techniques will not work. For these patients, anti-anxiety medications, talk therapy or a combination of both may be needed. In some cases, either the general dentist or a primary care doctor may be able to prescribe a single dose of anti-anxiety medication. This medication is taken shortly before the dental appointment, and it helps the patient feel calmer without causing sedation.

For very severe dental phobias, talking with a qualified counselor or therapist can be helpful. Mental health professionals can help patients process their fears. Talk therapy may not immediately resolve the issue, but it can lessen the phobia over time.

Conclusion

Dental anxiety and phobias can make a routine visit to the general dentist feel like a terrifying situation. However, with anxiety-management techniques and the help of medical professionals, anxious patients can calmly and confidently navigate their next dental appointment.

Request an appointment or call Paul M. Huffaker, DMD at 385-249-5187 for an appointment in our Centerville office.

Recent Posts

How Regular Visits To A General Dentist Can Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Your general dentist can help you achieve optimal dental health. Routine dental checks can even improve the way you care for your teeth. Busy schedules tend to prevent you from keeping your dental appointments. Making time for dental checks can help your teeth in many ways. If you want to know how routine dental visits…

Are There Different Types Of Toothaches?

Dentists recognize many types of toothaches. Each tooth pain carries a different intensity and meaning, and each type is caused by a different dental issue. You may not know what kind of ache you have right now. Understanding it, and getting in touch with a licensed dentist to alleviate your pain, are important steps in…

When A General Dentist May Recommend A Deep Dental Cleaning

Wondering why a general dentist may recommend a deep dental cleaning? Read on to learn more. A general dentist may recommend a deep dental cleaning if the patient shows signs of a severe form of gum disease known as periodontitis. This condition can put the long-term health of the gums and jawbone in jeopardy and…

Recent Posts

How Dental Bridges Can Improve Your Smile

How Dental Bridges Can Improve Your Smile

For people who have missing teeth, dental bridges can be used to improve the appearance and restore the function of their teeth. This treatment is particularly beneficial for patients who have one or more missing front teeth.A bridge consists of crowns that are placed on both sides of the missing tooth or teeth that provide…

Cosmetic Dental Services To Repair Damaged Teeth

Cosmetic Dental Services To Repair Damaged Teeth

You might need cosmetic dental services if you have one or more damaged teeth. Your teeth are the strongest parts of your body, but they regularly have to deal with the intense forces that chewing puts upon them and constant attacks from acids made by oral bacteria. Teeth also have to deal with the forces…