If the thought of visiting the dentist makes you feel physically ill and your uneasiness only increases the closer you get to your exam, talk to us at Redlands Gentle Dental and we will help to ease your dental anxiety.
Dental anxiety is the often paralysing fear of visiting the office. In fact, many Australians do not attend regular dental appointments due to anxiety and fear surrounding the dental experience. This can have serious consequences for your dental health and general well-being.
What causes dental anxiety?
People develop dental anxieties and phobias for many different reasons, stemming from various sources. There seem to be some common underlying causes, however, and all these can lead to a strongly conditioned fear response.
Below is a list of the most common reasons for dental anxiety:
- Feelings of helplessness and loss of control: While in the dental chair, patients have to remain still, unable to see what is going on and have someone poking around in their mouth – it is easy to understand why someone would feel helpless and out of control!
- Fear of pain is a very common reason for avoiding the dentist: This fear usually stems from previously painful dental experiences or from dental horror stories told by others. Many people are also terrified of needles, especially when inserted into their mouth, so a fear of injections can also increase the general anxiety over a dental appointment.
- Negative past experiences, including pain or discomfort, are likely to make you feel more anxious the next time around. This can also include careless comments made by previous dentists or hygienists.
Another issue is the vicious cycle that arises from not visiting the dentist regularly. Even if you have a very thorough hygiene routine, by not seeing the dentist regularly you are still likely to develop dental issues and oral health concerns. If these are not treated, they will only get worse with time. This means that at one point, sooner or later, you will have to visit the dentist, perhaps as an emergency visit, and when that time comes, it is likely to be much more complex to treat than it would have been early on.
How do we help our patients suffering from dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety can be overcome. The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once we know what your fears are, we are better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable. Thanks to modern dentistry and technological advances, most of today’s dental procedures are considerably less painful than what they used to be.
At Redlands Gentle Dental Care, we are committed to making you feel comfortable, to express your concerns and we will always listen to our patients. Our compassionate team will treat you as a complete person and not just a set of teeth! Let us know you are suffering from dental anxiety and that you have not been to the dentist for a very long time. Through effective communication, we will explain everything we do and help you prepare mentally for the exam.