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Help! I Have Dental Anxiety

If you’ve ever felt nervous to go to the dentist, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is a common emotion experienced before a dental exam. Before an exam, you may experience heavy breathing, racing thoughts, an elevated heart rate, or an overwhelming dread at the dentist. In fact, between 9% and 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist simply because they fear the dentist.

Rick Davis, DDS, and Rick Schwartz, DDS, are experts in endodontics at Endodontic Consultants of San Antonio. They ensure you feel comfortable during your treatment. With over 20 years of experience, you’re in good hands. 

Why dental exams matter

As we age, our teeth can experience a variety of changes. That’s why visiting the dentist on a yearly basis is so important. Cells renew at a slower rate, meaning it takes longer for our bodies to heal. Bones are less dense and less elastic, which can lead to tooth decay. Our immune systems can become infected at a quicker rate. All these factors can lead to unhealthy oral health if they aren’t addressed at the dentist.  

Your dentist can sound the alarm if they are concerned a condition is developing. If untreated, you may experience issues tasting, chewing, swallowing, mouth sores, gum disease or even tooth decay. However, regular dental cleanings and checkups can prevent many of these conditions from developing, or catch them in their earliest, most treatable forms.

What is dental anxiety 

Dental anxiety is the general term used to describe a fear of the dentist. It is accompanied by intense anxiety and overwhelming emotion when entering the dentist office and before a procedure. The good news is there are strategies to help alleviate stress, anxiety and tension before your appointment. 

Coping with dental anxiety 

When you have the right dental team on your side, you can feel assured you’re in good hands. The longer you delay a dental visit, the higher risk you are for poor oral health. Seeing a dentist early on can lessen the chances of developing a more serious dental problem.

Use the following strategies at your next appointment to help ease your anxiety 

Talk about your anxiety

Sharing your feelings can make a world of difference. If you feel tense and anxious, let your dentist know. Before going in for your appointment, talk about your fears over the phone or upon entering the waiting room. It helps to make these concerns known right from the start so you and your dentist can make a game plan. 

Ask questions

Come prepared with a list of questions, comments or concerns you have before beginning your appointment. Talk about any negative experiences you’ve had in the past. Your dentist can help cope with previous negative interactions and talk about how this experience will differ. 

Have a signal ready to go

Talk to your dentist about a signal. If you need a break during the exam or want to ask a question, agree on a signal that you feel comfortable using should you become uncomfortable. 

Find a distraction

People cope with anxiety differently but one good way to keep those fears away is to distract yourself. Ask your dentist if you can listen to music, squeeze a stress ball, or even talk through portions of the exam. Consider mindfulness techniques as a way to relax your body and ease tension. You may find yourself entering your “happy place” when you’re able to sit still, focus on one area of the room and unclench your jaw and body.

If you experience dental anxiety, the dentists at Endodontic Consultants of San Antonio are ready to help. Call or book an appointment at Endodontic Consultants of San Antonio where you can feel confident you’ll be well taken care of.

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