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Overcoming Dental Anxiety and Fear: Tips And Strategies

June 05, 2023 - by Dr. Alina Panjwani (guest writer) - in Community, Health

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Dental anxiety is common among all age groups. But oral health is also an important aspect of our overall health. Dental anxiety is also termed odontophobia. This can result in ignorance of dental health resulting in decayed teeth and severe pain. In this article, we will discuss a few techniques to overcome dental anxiety.

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety is a feeling of apprehension or unease experienced with dental procedures. The anxious patient can feel muscle tightness, frequent urination, racing heartbeat, low blood pressure, sweating of the palm, forehead, or upper lip. 

There can be many reasons for dental anxiety:

  • Previous negative or traumatic experience  
  • Fear of embarrassment: It can also be due to the negative emotion of shame of a bad smell    
  • Fear of dental tools: Anxiety can also be triggered by needles, drills, or dental setting
  • Fear of being confined in the dental chair   
  • People with depression or mental health also experience dental phobia.

How dental anxiety can affect your overall health?

People who don’t go for a regular dental check-up can build up their teeth pain and spread decay to adjacent teeth. A person’s quality of life is also impacted. They lose the confidence to socialize due to bad breath. In addition to dental health, there are chances of health issues such as dementia, diabetes, and heart-related diseases.

Tips and strategies to overcome dental anxiety and fear

Dental anxiety can be overcome by open-ended communication with the dentist about the fear. So that the dentist can help you have a positive dental care experience. 

  • The first step to overcoming dental anxiety is finding the source of fear.
  • Communication is the key: Inform your dentist openly about your fear so he or she is ready with a backup plan to overcome your anxiety during the procedure.
  • Distraction: Listening to calming music and deep breathing relaxation techniques can keep anxiety under control. Keep your hand busy with a stress ball, fidget, or other objects to distract yourself.
  • Allowing breaks during longer dental procedures.
  • Meditation also benefits people from unnecessary overwhelming thoughts.
  • Relaxation techniques like breathing therapies and repeating positive phrases to oneself can prevent dental phobia.
  • Moral assistance from friends and family members can provide support to overcome fear. The presence of family or friends provides the patient with strength, support, and a sense of security.
  • Fear of pain: Topical numbing agents, a sedative, or general anaesthesia for more compressive treatment.
  • Taking prescribed short-acting antianxiety medication can also relieve anxiety. It needs to be taken 30 mins prior the appointment.
  • Regularly attending oral health check-ups can help reduce discomfort and fear associated with dental visits

The key to overcoming dental anxiety is to find the finest dentist near you. There were times when dental visits were scary, but with the advancement of dental equipment, dental visits are now short and quick with minimal pain.

At Dalal Dental Care, we work with many patients with dental anxiety to assist in a stress-free comfortable experience. It’s our prime priority to make your visit pleasant and help you every step of the way. But if you have concerns, give us a call at 925-660-7676, and we can explain everything.

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Dr. Alina Panjwani (guest writer)


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