Dental anxiety is a fear of going to the dentist, and it’s much more common than you may think. In fact, serious anxiety keeps millions of Americans from getting the preventive oral care they need.
Dental phobia often stems from a traumatic experience at the dentist that leaves patients justifiably anxious, even though they are aware this is an irrational fear. This avoidance of the dentist can go far beyond dental pain or lost teeth, and can include gum disease that affects the whole body, with studies linking it to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.
A dentist who is trained in using methods and treatments that reduce pain and alleviate fear is key to helping patients overcome their dental anxiety and receive necessary treatment.
Tips for Dealing With Dental Anxiety
If you suffer from dental anxiety, try these helpful tips to overcome your fear:
Voice your concerns. Speak with your dentist about how you’re feeling. Communicating your concerns upfront allows your dentist to understand your fears and suggest treatment options that will help you relax during your visit.
Try relaxation exercises. Methods like deep breathing exercises in the waiting room or simply using noise-canceling headphones during the appointment are beneficial. Find out which relaxation technique works for you and stick with it.
Ask about sedation dentistry. Some patients require anti-anxiety medication to face their dental appointment without fear. Oral sedatives keep you relaxed while the dentist performs even routine procedures, such as a cleaning or filling a cavity.
Bring a friend. A relative or friend can comfort you, keep you calm and help distract you from your worry. Also, if you do require sedation dentistry, your friend can safely drive you home.
Dr. Patel not only offers continually current state-of-the-art treatment options to all his patients here in Georgia, but he also stays connected to giving back and serving patients around the world with needs for dental care. He annually travels to foreign countries to provide dental services to children, elderly, and every age in-between in parts of the world where these services are not available to people that live there, through the highly respectable Flying Doctors of America program, of which Dr. Patel is a member of the board. Dr. Patel and his staff are consistently improving and implementing the newest technologies through the top seminars across the country. He is also a graduate of the Hornbrook Advanced Cosmetic Dentistry Continuum, which only about 5 percent of dentists worldwide have completed.