The Truth About Dental Anxiety

man experiencing dental anxiety in wichita ks

Studies suggest that as many as 75% of Americans experience dental anxiety. While the doctors at Wichita Family Dental want you to be comfortable throughout your appointment, we understand that there are many reasons people fear the dentist. Some patients have had negative experiences in the past. Others anticipate the pain or dislike needles. Still, others are embarrassed about the condition of their teeth.

Whatever your reason, Wichita Family Dental has a trusted record of easing dental anxiety and providing our patients with a comforting approach to their individual and unique oral healthcare needs. Do you experience dental anxiety? Read on.

Common Signs of Dental Anxiety:

  • Sweating
  • Hyperventilating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Queasiness or upset stomach
  • Low blood pressure and/or fainting

What Happens When You Avoid the Dentist?

woman experiencing toothache in parkWhile dental anxiety can seem insurmountable, avoiding the dentist will have serious consequences. Putting off regular cleanings and exams can lead to bad breath, cavities and tooth decay, gum disease, chipped, broken, or cracked teeth, infection, severe pain, and tooth loss. In addition, research suggests gum disease is linked to heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.

Fortunately, the doctors and staff at Wichita Family Dental treat patients with dental anxiety every day. They are trained to act with compassion and understanding and there are many safe and comfortable techniques that can help you reduce your stress while getting the care you need. If you feel anxious about visiting the dentist, here are 10 tips for staying calm:

10 Tips for Managing Your Dental Anxiety

  1. Find the right dentist.

    Take the time to research dentists in your area before making your first appointment. Read reviews and choose a dentist that caters to people with dental anxiety. Ask them to make a note of your fears when you book your first appointment.

  2. Give yourself plenty of time.

    Don’t add to your stress by rushing to get to your appointment on time. Check the directions before you leave. Jot down familiar landmarks; office buildings can be difficult to navigate. Arrive early. Bring a book or a magazine to keep you occupied while you wait.

  3. Bring a buddy.

    man meditating to relax

    Ask a close friend or family member to come with you. Having the support of a loved one will help you to relax. They can also hold you accountable for keeping your appointment.

  4. Be honest.

    Tell us about your fears. Dental anxiety is very common and most dentists have a lot of experience with patients just like you. They will understand and they won’t take it personally.

  5. Ask about sedation.

    Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral sedatives are safe forms of dental sedation that will keep you calm throughout your appointment. Other types of sedation may put you to sleep so you have no memory of your dental procedure. Ask about your options.

  6. Practice relaxation techniques.

    Focus on your breathing. We tend to instinctively hold our breath when we are anxious, but this actually decreases oxygen levels and may increase anxiety. Instead of holding your breath, focus on slow and regular breathing.

  7. Listen to music.

    If the sounds of the dental office bother you, feel free to pop in your earbuds and drown them out with music, your favorite podcast, or an audiobook. We would be happy to provide you with headphones and entertainment as well.

  8. Pack a distraction.

    Bring your phone or tablet and crush candy. Surf Instagram. Scroll Twitter or Facebook. Stash a fidget spinner. Catch up on your reading. Give yourself something – anything – to concentrate on other than your fears.

  9. Take breaks.

    Communicate with your dental assistant, dentist, or hygienist throughout your appointment. Ask questions. Express your concerns. Let them know if you’re not comfortable. Your dental team should be happy to accommodate you in any way that they can.

  10. Schedule your next appointment before you leave.

    Don’t give yourself homework. You’re more likely to return for another appointment if you don’t have to call later to schedule.

Bonus Tip: Schedule Online

If the thought of calling and speaking to someone about your dental needs gives you additional anxiety, find an office that offers online booking and put yourself on the schedule without a single conversation with another person. Wichita Family Dental offers booking via chat and online booking 24/7 for your convenience.

book dental appointment in wichita online 24/7

Call Our Office at (316) 630-9339 Today!

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