How To Overcome Dental Anxiety

Do you have dental anxiety? If you do, you are not alone. According to an adult dental health survey published in The British Dental Journal, dental anxiety is estimated to affect around 36% of the population. This fear and anxiety can lead to avoidance of dental care, which can lead to poor oral health.

This is then compounded by feelings of embarrassment, shame, and the likelihood that when a patient does attend after a long period of neglect they will require invasive treatments which has the possibility of reinforcing dental fear and further avoidance. This vicious cycle even has a name: the model of Berggren. This model has been studied because of the prevalence of dental anxiety that persists even today.

Everyone has their reasons for the root cause of their fear, yet here are some common reasons:

  • Fear the dentist will cause you pain
  • Fear of needles, especially in your mouth
  • Hearing the sound of the drills
  • Traumatic experiences in childhood

While these are all valid reasons for avoiding the dentist, the repercussions might not be worth it as inadequate levels of oral hygiene can lead to these various problems:

  • Tartar and plaque buildup
  • Gum disease
  • Cavities
  • Infections
  • Tooth loss
  • Bad breath

Whatever your fears are for going to the dentist, eventually you will have to overcome this obstacle or pay the price in teeth and a beautiful smile. However, just because you might be terrified, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to mitigate that fear. Here are some helpful tips to help assuage your fears.

This image shows our Tigard Dentist, Dr. Henderson helping a patient overcome their dental anxiety.

Dental Anxiety Tips

Indeed, this might seem like a no-brainer, however, communication is crucial when it comes to dental anxiety. Find a practice that is transparent on how they deal with anxiety and fears. A good way to find this out is simply by checking a dental practice’s website or calling the front desk and asking about how the office helps people with dental anxiety.

  • Amenities

A dental office that offers amenities like music, a warm blanket, or television is a great indicator that they take dental fear seriously.

  • Bring someone you trust to your first visit

Everything’s better with company. Bring someone you trust to wait for you in the lobby.

  • Speak up

Having the ability to speak up about your anxiety can make the difference between a fearful visit and a positive experience. Don’t be afraid to share your hesitancy. The right dentist will understand, will not judge, and will take every step to bridge the gap from terrifying to pleasant or at the very least, tolerable.

  • Use signals

Establishing a signal like raising your hand can alert the dentist that you need a break.

You’re more likely to follow-up on your cleanings if you book your appointment before you leave the office. Although the next cleaning might be six months away, setting up your next appointment guarantees you won’t forget and reduces the chances of avoiding the dentist.

Whatever your reasons are for avoiding the dentist, neglecting your oral health can have serious consequences. At The Smile Lounge in Tigard, we take every step to make your visit as pain-free and pleasant as possible. We value your input and we take your concerns very seriously. If you suffer from dental anxiety, we’re here to help. Contact us today to book your appointment in Tigard, and be assured you will feel comfortable and relaxed throughout your appointment.

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