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Ways to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Everyone is afraid of something. From clowns and spiders to height and small spaces, there’s always one thing that even picturing makes your heart race and palms sweat. Most don’t realize that fear isn’t just for creepy critters and things that go bump in the night. 

Approximately 36% of people have dental fear or dental anxiety, with another 12% suffering from extreme dental anxiety. What’s worse is that a large portion of those individuals with dental anxiety avoid the dentist completely and risk developing serious dental conditions. 

Dental anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of and with some management strategies you can overcome your greatest fears and get the dental care you need. 

At Dental Designs of Plantation, our dentists Thomas Copulos, DDS, and John Sarris, DMD, are dedicated to supporting both your oral health and your emotional health. We even offer laser dentistry to help you feel more relaxed during many procedures you need to undergo. 

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety refers to the absolute terror and panic you may experience at the thought of visiting the dentist. You likely know that the fear is irrational but still can’t control your thoughts and feelings. 

You may not be able to sleep the night before your dental exam, feel physically ill, or begin crying at the thought of going to the dentist. You may even get uneasy when objects are placed in your mouth during your appointment. 

There are lots of reasons why you feel this way. You might have a fear of pain, injections, or potential side effects of anesthesia. It’s possible you feel uncomfortable with the dentist or hygienist invading your personal space, you’re ashamed of the condition of your teeth, or you feel helpless because you can’t see what the dentist is doing. 

No matter what’s at the core of your anxiety, we’re here to lend a sympathetic ear and work with you to conquer your fears. 

Overcoming your dental anxiety

We understand that even people without dental anxiety don’t always love coming to the dentist, but living with untreated and unmanaged dental anxiety can leave you feeling hopeless and with deteriorating oral health. Here are a few tricks you can use the next time you need to sit in the dentist’s chair:

Talk to us early

We want all of our patients to feel comfortable and calm when receiving treatment. Our dentists understand how dental anxiety can affect our patients, so we strive to keep an open line of communication. Tell us, our staff, and our hygienists about any of your anxieties. Share your bad experiences with us and ask any questions. 

We can even agree on a signal that will let us know you need a break during treatment. Let us know if you have a low pain threshold so that we can make you feel more comfortable. Have these conversations before your exam begins so we can cater to your needs. 

Our main goal is to provide you with the best care possible and we’ll do whatever it takes to get you in our chairs and feeling at ease. 

Bring a distraction

Sometimes getting through your dental exam is as easy as distracting yourself. Bring your headphones and set yourself up with a playlist, audiobook, or other soothing background noise. You might try a stress ball or other handheld object to keep your hands and mind busy as we work. 

Try some calming techniques

Positive visualization can help you relax during your exam. Picture yourself in a happy place to take the focus away from your anxiety. Employ breathing exercises or try doing a body scan to relax your muscles and relieve stress. 

Consider laser dentistry

Still feeling a bit anxious? We understand and that’s why we’re proud to offer all of our patients laser dentistry. This is a great option for patients who are uneasy about dental work because it eliminates the three biggest triggers of dental anxiety: heat, pressure, and vibration. 

Our laser dentistry technology is more accurate, less time consuming, and more effective than traditional dentistry with standards tools. We can address your cavities, treat your gum disease, and whiten your teeth in less time and with less pain and discomfort.

Dental anxiety doesn’t have to stop you from getting the care you need. If you’d like more information about overcoming dental anxiety or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to call our friendly staff to discuss your next exam or request one online.

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