It happens to all of us: we have a dental appointment coming up and we start getting nervous even though it may just be for regular teeth cleaning. But there are some patients who have severe dental anxiety and dental fear. This is called Dentophobia or Odontophobia. There are also associated phobias such as Algophobia (fear of pain) and Trypanophobia (fear of needles), and even Aphenphosmphobia (fear of being touched). Below, we’ll discuss possible reasons these occur and what people can do to calm their nerves before going to the dentist.
You’re not going to overcome dental anxiety overnight, and that’s okay. But there are definitely things that both you and your dentist can do to work together to alleviate anxiety or dental fears.
What Is Dentophobia?
Simply put, Dentophobia is a fear of going to the dentist and it can affect people of all ages. This can be brought on by a few different things:
5 Dental Anxiety Tips
1. Let Your Dentist Office Know
2. Ask About Sedation Dentistry Options
Because dental offices are used to treating patients with dental anxiety, many now offer different sedation methods to help reduce anxiety and make patients feel more comfortable no matter the dental procedure they’re receiving. For example, nitrous oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, is a popular choice for both children and adult patients. The odorless gas will be supplied through a mask during your treatment, but you’ll still be awake and be able to answer questions and communicate your concerns. But, you’ll feel much more relaxed, less anxious, and even giddy.
Some dentists also use oral sedatives that are taken before your appointment is set to begin. Your dentist will give you a pill while you sit in the waiting room for it to kick in. You’ll still be awake and be able to answer questions but feel much more relaxed and ready to tackle your dental appointments with ease!
Both of these methods are referred to as conscious sedation, but there are sleep dentistry options available where you are completely asleep during your appointment, like general anesthesia. However, not all dental offices may offer this if they do not always have a dedicated anesthesiologist on their dental team.
3. Try Meditating
4. Bring Moral Support
5. Ask To Take Breaks
Don't Let Your Fear Of The Dentist Affect Your Oral Health
There Are Options Available For You Even If You Have Dental Anxiety
Your dentist has treated many patients with dental anxiety and they know how to handle your situation professionally and comfortably. Severe anxiety can obviously make it very hard to even make a dental appointment in the first place, but just know that there are various treatment options available to experience less anxiety and stress during your appointment. Your dentist likely offers sedation dentistry and can alter your treatment plan to include ways to help you feel more confident and stress-free for future dental visits.