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Tips for Coping with Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is more common in adults than many care to admit. It’s embarrassing and seen as childish to be afraid of the dentist Spokane Valley, but many people are. If only secretly. As much as one in five American adults admit to avoiding the dentists because it gives them more anxiety than they can handle. The more extreme form of dental anxiety, dental phobia, is a crippling fear that is uncontrollable and irrational. As a result, many of those too afraid of the dentist, avoid visits until they are forced to by a severe toothache or infection.

 adult dental anixety

Identify Why You’re Afraid of the Dentist

There are several reasons for dental anxiety. Most people will say they’re afraid of pain, but then all normal human beings are afraid of pain. It’s not a desirable state. On a deeper level, there are those who are afraid of sitting on the dentist’s chair because it makes them feel helpless and out of control. Other’s feel embarrassed and don’t like their personal space invaded when a dentist or hygienist touches their mouth. Whatever your real reason, it is important to address them in order to address the source of your anxiety and fear.

Find a Dentist You Like

Depending on where you live, this could be very difficult. If you are limited for choice of dentists, you’ll have to put up with your dentist no matter their bedside manners just to have decent oral health. But if you are spoilt for choice, for instance you live in a large city with tons of options, then do the leg work and shop for a dentist practice you like. If you enjoy your dentist visits on a personal level, really does make a difference to your anxiety and general attitude to visiting the dentist.

Do Your Research

Knowing what’s going on and who is touching your mouth can reduce anxiety because it gives you more control. You can ask your dentist or his staff to explain what’s going on and how your treatment will proceed. It will take a patient dentist to do this for you, because explaining takes time and they have other patients. So find a dental practice that is more relaxed, and a dentist with enough staff to address your concerns. Resist the feeling that you are being a bother, otherwise you will never get over your anxiety and will continue to avoid the dentist.

Admit to Your Fears

This works for any kind of fear, but is especially helpful for dental anxiety when you come clean with your dentist. It requires a great amount of trust to have a stranger look into your mouth and have their hand in there too, so don’t be shy about saying that you’re nervous. Your dentist can probably tell, anyway. An experienced dentist will know how to approach an anxious patient, it’s vital to their practice and to your care. Also, admitting to your fears, is very much like announcing the elephant in the room. Everybody knows the elephant is there, but it would be a great relief if all concerned just acknowledged it.


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Dr. Josh Chocran

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