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Dental Anxiety

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Dental anxiety is fairly common among both adults and children, and can sometimes get in the way of an individual’s dental health and goals.  Dental anxiety can be caused by a variety of concerns or fears, including:

  • Fear of sights, sounds or smells in a dental office
  • Fear of loss of control, the unknown
  • Embarrassment
  • Fear of potential “bad news” about dental caries
  • Gagging
  • Previous negative experiences
  • Fear of needles, pain

In some more severe cases, individuals who experience severe anxiety may require the help of a therapist, psychiatrist, or other professional to help them understand and cope with anxiety.  However, the vast majority of people who experience dental anxiety can overcome their fears and get the dental care they need and deserve.  At 1st Family Dental, we understand it isn’t always easy to sit in our chairs.  We have some suggestions and tips to help you feel more comfortable, and allow the compassionate doctors and staff at 1st Family Dental to give you the support you need to have a successful visit.

Understanding your Fears or Concerns

Many times fear and anxiety is of the unknown.  If you take the time to understand and articulate what has made you feel anxious, the better the chances that you and your dentist can develop solutions.  For example, if you realize that the sights and sounds are causing you anxiety, your dentist may encourage you to bring your smartphone or MP3 player to use during the procedure, close the operatory door to block out other sounds, or use the dark safety glasses rather than clear.  If you feel you would rather know less than more when it comes to treatment processes, it is perfectly OK to let your dentist or hygienist know so they can support you.

Communicate & Ask Questions (If you Want)

“Will this hurt?”  Concern about pain is a very common and understandable source of anxiety.  However, many times anxiety is fed by a poor previous experience, horror stories from friends or families, or misconceptions about certain procedures.  In many cases, knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you will feel.

Sometimes, patients may need a little extra help to overcome their anxiety and feel more comfortable during their procedure using conscious sedation.  Your dentist may prescribe a sedative such as Valium to help you relax, or you may elect to have Nitrous Oxide during your dental treatment.

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