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What is Dental Anxiety & Phobia?

June 7, 2018

Scared man in dental chair with dentist and team members above himDental anxiety or phobia is a condition that makes just visiting a dental office extremely stressful. Many patients experience some mild phobia or anxiety leading up to an office visit, but those with moderate to severe anxiety or phobia may not even be able to visit the dentist at all. In fact, 30 to 40 million adults in the US suffer from some dental anxiety that prevents them from regularly visiting the dentist. If this sounds like something you can relate to, finding the right dentist is key to your comfort. A safe, friendly atmosphere is essential, and you may even want to ask about dental sedation options.

How Dentists Can Help

The main way your dentist can help you deal with anxiety or phobia is by listening. Many patients hesitate to ask for help or let their dental team members know what they’re dealing with. Good dentists will be happy to talk to you about fears you’re experiencing and provide attentive services focused on keeping you safe and comfortable. Another way that dentists can help anxious patients is by providing dental sedation solutions. Offices can offer a variety of sedative solutions, but to help those patients with anxiety or phobia, mild nitrous oxide sedation may be the ideal option. Nitrous oxide is fast acting, and it can be easily adjusted throughout your treatment to keep you feeling relaxed. Most importantly, this sedative wears off quickly, so you can go right back to your daily routine.

What You Can Do

Your dentist and dental team will be happy to help you with kind, attentive care and dental sedation when necessary. However, there are some steps you can take to make the visit easier and begin to manage stress before your visit, including:

  1. Let your dentist/dental team know about your fears before you even visit the office. Clearly communicate your concerns, and if you have severe dental phobia or anxiety, ask what the dentist and team can do to accommodate you. You should also tell the dentist or a team member right away anytime you feel fearful or anxious during your visit.
  2. Try to plan for a stress free visit at home. Brush and floss as directed to avoid the need for advanced treatments that can increase your anxiety. In the days or weeks leading up to your visit, try to build positive expectations. Avoid fixating on worst case scenarios. Remember, you and your dental team have communicated, and they want to help you feel safe and comfortable.
  3. Talk to a doctor or psychologist about anxiety. In some cases, fear of visiting the dentist is rooted in a deeper struggle with generalized anxieties that may need to be treated before you can truly conquer your fears.

Meet the Region Dental Team

At Region Dental, our team is dedicated to going the extra mile to provide safe, comfortable dental care for every patient. If you experience dental phobia or anxiety, please let our team know when you call to schedule an appointment in our La Porte dentistry practice. If you’ve experienced severe anxiety during a past dental appointment, we may want to begin with just a consultation. This visit won’t include treatment. It’s simply an opportunity for our team to talk with you, allow you to ask questions, and plan to make your treatment experiences as stress and pain free as possible. In addition to this personalized treatment planning and dedication to stress free dentistry, we also offer mild nitrous oxide sedation to help improve your comfort and ensure relaxation throughout your time in our office.

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