For many people, a trip to the dentist is no big deal. However, for those with dental anxiety, a routine dental appointment can be highly stress-inducing. Dental anxiety is a condition characterized by extreme nervousness or anxiety that often builds before a dental appointment and may occur during the session.
According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene, high dental anxiety was present in 19 percent of the sampled population. Dental anxiety can vary in severity, with 8.4 percent of respondents revealing to have missed a dental appointment due to dental anxiety.
It’s important for patients who experience dental anxiety to understand that there are ways to manage their condition before it affects their oral health. Learn more about dental anxiety and how to achieve stress-free dental appointments when visiting your dentist in Clermont FL.
Understanding Dental Anxiety
It’s quite common for people to feel slightly nervous or anxious when visiting the dentist. However, dental anxiety is a more serious condition that causes a patient to develop a deep-seated fear of the dentist. Anxiety about seeing your dentist in Clermont may stem from a variety of causes, such as:
- History of negative experiences at the dentist
- Fear of pain
- Embarrassment about your oral health
- Fear of injections or anesthesia
- Fear of being scolded for neglecting your oral health
Consequences of Avoiding the Dentist
While skipping your dental appointment may not have consequences in the short term, it could affect your long-term health. Even if you practice good oral hygiene at home, it is essential to undergo regular professional cleanings. Local dentists are trained to identify the early signs of tooth decay and other issues that could result in more serious health conditions if left untreated, such as tooth loss, gum disease, and oral infections.
Tips for a Stress-Free Dental Visit
If you suffer from dental anxiety, know that there are effective ways to manage your condition to avoid missed appointments.
1. Communicate Your Unease
One of the best ways to manage your dental anxiety is to communicate your concerns to your dentist. Your dentist may not realize that you have anxiety, especially if it’s your first visit to a Clermont dental office. Your dentist will take steps to make you feel more at ease, such as explaining each step of the procedure.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to the brain and helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps create a state of calmness. Practice deep breathing before and during your dental visit to help calm your nerves and reduce your stress. Only focus on your breathing as you take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
3. Use Distractions
Staying distracted throughout your dental appointment can help it pass by quicker. If the sound of the drill makes you nervous, consider wearing headphones during your appointment and listening to calming music. Having something in your hands can also keep your mind occupied, such as a stress ball or fidget toy.
4. Bring Along a Support Person
Having a friend or family member that you love and trust by your side can help diminish your dental fear and anxiety. Ask your support person to talk to you before and during your appointment, even if you’re unable to respond. Your support person could talk about an upcoming vacation, tell you a funny story, or just be there to make you feel at ease.
5. Try Meditation
Many people who experience dental anxiety find success with meditation. Meditation involves deliberately focusing your attention to develop feelings of calmness and heightened energy. Start by meditating at home and try different types of meditation to see which works best for you. In addition to improving your dental visits, regular meditation can offer long-term health benefits, such as increased self-awareness and tolerance.
Schedule an Appointment
At Hancock Village Dental, patients receive comprehensive dental care in a personal and genuine environment. Schedule an appointment today to learn how our Clermont family dentistry practice can help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.