Dental anxiety is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Dental Phobia performed a recent study revealing that ‘53% of the UK population suffers from fear or anxiety when visiting the dentist.’ So, if you find yourself among these statistics, know that you’re not alone in this struggle.
A fear of the dentist can manifest in various forms. For some, it’s a mild uneasiness, while for others, it can be a paralysing fear. Regardless of its intensity, dental anxiety can significantly impact your oral health, often leading to the avoidance of essential dental care, which is a huge concern for us dentists.
The good news is that various approaches and forms of support are available to help erase dental anxiety and make your trips to the dentist more manageable and less daunting.
At Cliftonville Dental, we want what’s best for our patients and always personalise our care to provide additional support for those who feel nervous while in the dentist’s chair.
Please continue reading this blog post to explore some effective anxiety-management tips and learn more about the support that we can provide to help you overcome dental anxiety and maintain a healthy smile.
1) Choose the Right Dentist
One of the first steps in erasing dental anxiety is finding the right dentist who understands your fears and is willing to work with you to create a comfortable experience. Look for a dentist who specialises in treating anxious patients or has experience dealing with dental anxiety. You can often find this information under their bio page on the website.
Research really is your best friend in these situations. To discover if a dental practice provides support for dental anxiety, consider visiting their website and looking for a dedicated page addressing nervous patients. This page often details the extra assistance they offer, including techniques like sedation. Alternatively, you can reach out to your local dentist’s reception team and inquire directly about the support available for patients with dental anxiety.
Should you decide to schedule a consultation with a new dentist, discuss your concerns openly with them. A compassionate and understanding dental professional can make a world of difference in easing your anxiety.
2) Communicate Your Fears
Effective communication is key to overcoming dental anxiety. Don’t hesitate to voice your concerns to your dentist and their team. Share your fears, past experiences and any triggers that may worsen your anxiety. By being honest and transparent about your feelings, you can work together to develop a personalised treatment plan that accommodates your needs.
3) Gradual Exposure
If your dental anxiety is severe, consider taking small steps to gradually expose yourself to the dental environment. Start with consultation visits, such as getting to know the dental office, meeting the staff and discussing your fears without any treatment involved. This gradual approach can help desensitise you to the anxiety-inducing aspects of dental care, making routine check-ups and future dental visits more manageable and less intimidating.
Regular check-ups are crucial for maintaining your oral health, and by gradually acclimatising yourself to the dental setting, we can ensure that you receive the necessary care to preserve your smile.
4) Relaxation Techniques
Blend relaxation techniques into your dental visits to help manage anxiety. Deep breathing exercises, visualisation and mindfulness can all effectively calm your nerves. Some dental offices even offer amenities like soothing music or TV shows to distract and relax patients during treatment. We also provide non-invasive acupressure techniques to help you relax.
5) Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry is a viable option for patients seeking extra support beyond mindfulness techniques. Regardless of the severity of your dental anxiety, sedation is accessible to all our patients following a medical assessment.
We provide two types of sedation:
- Inhalation Sedation: This method, akin to ‘gas and air,’ involves inhaling a sedative through a gentle nasal mask. While you remain conscious and responsive, a soothing sensation of warmth and relaxation will envelop you throughout the procedure.
- Intravenous Sedation (Conscious Sedation): Administered through an IV line from the back of the hand. This technique induces a state of deep relaxation and calmness while you’re still awake and responsive.
6) Bring a Supportive Friend or Family Member
Having a trusted friend or family member accompany you to your dental appointments can provide emotional support and comfort. They can hold your hand, offer reassurance and help distract you from your anxiety.
7) Dental Phobia Support Groups
Joining a dental phobia support group can connect you with others who share similar fears. Sharing experiences, coping strategies and success stories can be incredibly empowering and reassuring. These groups often provide a safe space to discuss your concerns and receive valuable advice.
To explore success stories and engage with a supportive community in combating dental anxiety, we recommend checking out Dental Fear Central’s forum. Here, you can read about other people’s journeys and pose questions to the group for insights and guidance.
8) Behavioural Therapy
Consider seeking out a therapist or counsellor who specialises in treating dental anxiety. Behavioural therapy techniques can help you identify and address the root causes of your fears, allowing you to develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Dental anxiety should not stand in the way of your oral health. With the right support, strategies and a compassionate dental team, you can overcome your fears and erase dental anxiety from your life. Remember that taking proactive steps to address your anxiety is a vital investment in your overall well-being and the longevity of your beautiful smile.
Don’t let fear hold you back from maintaining optimal oral health – you’ve got the tools and support to conquer it!
If you’d like to explore the dental anxiety support offered at Cliftonville Dental in Northampton or if you’re interested in becoming a part of our practice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our welcoming reception team today. You can reach us at 01604 604545. We look forward to hearing from you!