Your Dentist Can Help You Overcome Dental Anxiety

If you have a phobia of the dentist or dental anxiety, you’re not alone. Thousands of us suffer from dental anxiety and worry about not only going to the dentist but actually fear the dentist themselves. It’s a serious situation that is harmful to oral and overall health.

While some people are able to cope with their dental anxiety, those who have severe phobias may be so scared they’ll do anything to avoid their dental appointments…so much to the point that ducking the dentist and avoiding their appointments almost becomes the norm.

Here’s why missing dentist appointments due to dental anxiety (or any other reason) is a problem…

    • Gum disease due to plaque buildup and tartar (which can only be removed professionally) is the number one reason for tooth loss.
    • Unchecked decay and compromised fillings (they do wear out!) can bring unnecessary pain.
    • Untreated jaw joint pain can decrease the quality of your life.
    • Tooth decay never goes away – it just gets worse, eventually resulting in tooth loss.
    • Oral health is directly linked to overall health, and can negatively affect your heart, lungs, pancreas, brain, kidneys, bones, and more!

It is our goal to work with you by…

    • acknowledging your dental anxiety
    • giving you effective coping tools
    • ensuring you get the care you need and want.

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety refers to fear or anxiousness that results due to past experiences, hearing challenging stories that other people have experienced, fear of needles, fear of doctors, the sounds of dentistry, etc. Many seemingly simple things can trigger it … knowing an appointment is upcoming, knowing your restoration needs some attention, even just driving to the dentist.

Here are some signs and symptoms of dental anxiety:

    • avoidance of necessary dental care
    • increased respiration
    • sweating
    • racing heartbeat (tachycardia) or heart palpitations
    • low blood pressure and possible fainting (syncope)
    • visible distress, crying, or signs of panic
    • use of humor or aggression to mask it.

Fear should not prevent you from keeping your teeth and gums healthy. The most important thing you can do to conquer your fear is to talk about it with us at High Point Dental. It’s our job to help you protect, restore, and maintain your overall oral health.

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Here are five tips you can use to overcome dental anxiety.

  1. Ask questions. Most people fear the unknown. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to inquire about any dental-related question. The more you ask us, your dentist in Mississauga, the more you’ll be informed as a patient. Understanding dentistry more and knowing what we can do to help you is one of the most effective ways to alleviate anxiety. If you do suffer, let us know! If you share your fears or tell us about bad experiences in the past, we will understand you more and ensure your treatment plan addresses them. We can also change the way we describe your treatments, the pace of your care – and more! We can recommend helpful coping strategies for anxiety too!
  1. Cut back on the caffeine on the day of your appointment. Because caffeine is a stimulant, not a relaxant, it will keep you recharged and mentally alert, which can amp up your dental anxiety. One trick is to eat a protein snack before you come to your appointment. This will help stabilize your blood sugar and reduce your apprehension.
  1. Tune out with tunes. If the sounds of dentistry bother you and are the cause of your dental anxiety, bring headphones so that you can listen to your own favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks.
  1. Occupy your hands. Fidget spinners and stress balls are a great way to relieve your dental anxiety.
  1. Establish a “pause signal.” Sometimes just having a little break can go a long way in alleviating anxiety. We can establish a hand signal you can use to communicate when you’re ready for a break. We are patient with our patients – including you! Do it when you feel the anxiety is too much or when you feel any level of discomfort. We’ll adjust our care to make you feel much better.

There are also a number of life stressors that may give you dental anxiety, such as:

  1. Appointment availability. If you have a family or work late and require evening and weekend appointments, we will do our best to accommodate your busy life. We know taking time off work can be stressful, so we always do our best to work around your schedule.
  1. Dental insurance. If you receive benefits from your employer and you’re concerned about how much is covered, we’ll be happy to help you decipher your coverage so that you’ll know about financing well in advance. We’re always as flexible as possible too! Talk to us about your needs.

As your dentist in Mississauga, everyone here at High Point Dental welcomes you to come in for a consultation or discussion. Call us at (905) 625-5751. We can answer any questions you may have and set up a treatment plan that not only addresses your oral health but alleviates your dental anxiety.