How Can You Win The Battle Against Dental Anxiety?

Posted by on Nov 6, 2020 in Dental | 0 comments

How Can You Win The Battle Against Dental Anxiety?

Dental visits could be frightening to some people. Others even develop dental anxiety which usually ends up in a delayed, or worse, canceled dental appointment. Dental phobia can be related to the fear of needles, procedures, or the whole dental setting. If you wish to visit a clinic that would understand your dental frustrations, you may explore


Understanding Dental Anxiety

According to studies, over 60% of the worldwide population suffers from dental phobia and about 4% have never even visited a dental clinic. So don’t worry because you are not alone in this battle. Being scared of injections, dental tools, and the feeling of not being in control for quite some time could be bothersome. Doctors can offer nitrous oxide, also known as the laughing gas to help you relax and calm down. In order for you to combat dental anxiety, you must first know if you are really suffering from it.

Below are the signs and symptoms of dental phobia:

  • crying, panicking, nervousness
  • rapid heartbeat or experiencing palpitations
  • fainting
  • sweating
  • withdrawal, getting aggressive
  • difficulty in sleeping at night before dental schedule
  • feeling physically ill

scared patientDue to extreme fear, some patients don’t even attempt on showing up to their dental appointments. This is a very serious matter to discuss as it can worsen their dental condition, most especially if they have periodontal disease.


Possible Causes OF Dental Anxiety

The reason why people suffer from dental phobia heavily relies on their personal experiences or trauma. Sometimes, their fear is at the maximum level that it interferes with the purpose of the laughing gas. Listed below are the most common reasons why dental anxiety takes place:

  • a traumatic encounter with dental procedures or other health care drills
  • recent trauma to the neck and head
  • abuse and other fearsome experiences
  • PTSD or general anxiety
  • when the person feels uncomfortable when the dentist is touching their mouth as they see it as a private body part
  • the fear of not being in control
  • untrusting patient
  • fear of not being able to move, escape or leave
  • the patient is scared of tight spaces
  • OCD or the severe need to establish thorough cleanliness

Children, in general, are afraid of dentists, this is most likely because they have fewer experiences in a health care facility. However, they can recover from the fear with support and care from their guardians. Having an understanding dentist would greatly help as well. On the other hand, dental phobia in adults is harder to handle as the fear has already developed for a long period of time.


How To Deal With Dental Phobia

Just like any other anxieties, dental phobia can be managed as well. With the right professional help and support from loved ones, people who are suffering from this condition can eventually get through the fear of visiting a dental clinic. It is important that you share your sentiment with your dentist so that they can help you feel better during the whole dental procedure.

Here are a few things that you can do to defeat your anxiety:

  1. Practice your breathing pattern, inhale a larger amount of oxygen, and exhale your worries away right after.
  2. Learn how to meditate, this will help you calm your mind and think of the good things instead of the negative thoughts.listening to music
  3. Use some distraction, let the sound of tv, radio, or color of the paintings on the wall be your principal focus.
  4. Visualize happy thoughts, think of the things that soothe your mind, and let it run through your head during the whole dental drill.
  5. Try to relax your tensed muscles, simply breathe in and hold it in for 4-8 seconds while putting tension on the muscles, lastly, exhale, and abruptly release the tension in your body.
  6. Get professional help, psychologists can help you overcome your fear by doing therapies and understanding the root cause of your anxiety.

Because of the severity of the anxiety, some of these techniques might not be enough for you to battle against your phobia. Medication for dental anxiety is being used as well to calm the patient and successfully accomplish dental treatment.


Dental Anxiety Medication

Some dentists offer nitrous oxide, a chemical compound that is considered a harmless and efficient way to provide comfortability to the patient. This laughing gas is composed of different elements that can eliminate anxiety.

Nitrous oxide works by reducing your anxiety while taking away the feeling of fear. It also helps the patient feel less pain so that the procedure won’t be as painful as they expected it to be. It’s not called “laughing gas” for no reason, upon administration, you will feel light-headed, happier, and a little giddy.

Effects of Nitrous Oxide

  • it prevents oxygen from reaching the brain causing chuckles, hence, the laughing gas nickname
  • mild hallucinations
  • confusion
  • muscle pain or feeling numb
  • severe headache
  • slight dizziness
  • feelings of paranoia

This chemical can stay in your system for a short or long period of time depending on the amount of nitrous oxide that you inhaled. Your body size and the foods you’ve eaten prior to and after inhaling the laughing gas can affect its elongated effectivity. Oftentimes, nitrous oxide is taken with other drugs, making the effect somewhat unpredictable.

Some people are not comfortable in feeling giddy and confused, that is why alternative medications are proposed such as:

  • Oral anxiolytic tablets. Anti-anxiety drugs can be given to the patient 1 hour before the dental procedure. Unlike laughing gas, these drugs do not give a giggly sensation, instead, it decreases anxiety and fear. Anxiolytic tablets include diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, alprazolam, and lorazepam.
  • Sedation via a drip. If receiving shots is not one of your main fears, then conscious sedation is a good option as well. This technique is used to help the patient relax by giving medication through IV. You will feel relaxed and calm right after the medication and you might even fall half asleep during the procedure.
  • Anesthesia. Anesthetics are commonly given to people who are about to undergo major surgeries. If the root cause of your anxiety is the fear of feeling pain, anesthesia can help you feel less or no pain at all. It can be classified into three different categories such as;
    Local anesthesia (numbs small body parts), Regional anesthesia (blocks pain in a larger part of the body), and General Anesthesia (makes the patient unconscious and unaware of the operation)

Whether you chose the laughing gas, anti-anxiety tablets, sedation, or anesthesia, all of these alternatives will help you feel more comfortable in being in a dental clinic setting.


Things to Remember

Your anxiety can also be lessened if you are well prepared for your dental appointment. Before visiting your dentist, it is important that you are aware of the procedures and treatments that you are about to receive. You can do this by:

  1. Understanding your pre-operative instructions. Medical professionals often give out instructions to follow before the scheduled operation or surgery. This will inform you about the medications or anesthesia that you will be using.prepared dental patient
  2. Never go alone. Ask someone to accompany you during and after the procedure. The laughing gas and other anti-anxiety medications may leave you confused and unfit to drive or travel on your own.
  3. Calm yourself and avoid getting exposed to things that scare you. Your anxiety will only grow if you keep on feeding negative thoughts in your head. Try to listen to music that calms your mind.
  4. Get enough sleep. Depriving yourself of sleep will only make things worse for you. Avoid overthinking and find a way to sleep like a baby before your dental appointment.
  5. Do your research. If your pre-op instructions include specific names of the medication that will be used, hop on to your computer and check its pros and cons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *