How to manage dental anxiety and fear

Dental Anxiety and Fear

Written by Steven Go, DDS Oct 22 • 1 minute read

How can a patient manage and overcome dental anxiety?

The thought of going to the dentist and having your tooth drilled into, the long needle going into your gums, or the screeching sound of the instruments going against your teeth have caused many to delay or even avoid the dentist. While many people have access to safe and relatively pain-free dentistry, a large percentage of people do have anxiety or fear when if comes to going to a dental office. 

Fear and anxiety toward the dentist (myself) and dental professionals contribute to the avoidance of dental care. There is a difference between the two; anxiety is an emotional state that precedes or happens even before any dental treatment is done. In some instances there is no underlying reason, so it would help if the patient is educated on what the treatment is exactly and how it will benefit him or her. Fear is a reaction to a perceived threat or danger, for example if the patient saw the needle or large instruments on the dental tray, that would provoke some type of fear. There are many ways to overcome dental fear, but ultimately it is the dentist and staff that could help alleviate these fears. Behavior-modification therapies such as relaxation breathing, hypnosis, meditation are some ways that can calm the patient down. For younger patients like children, the "tell-show-do" method or even distraction techniques such as televisions work well. 

When behavior-cognitive therapies do not seem to be enough in controlling dental anxiety and fear, pharmacological therapies could help significantly. These therapies include sedation and/or general anesthesia. One form of minimal sedation I use at my practice is Nitrous oxide and oxygen Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, has an anxiolytic and sedative effect, and also promotes muscular relaxation and analgesia.

If you suffer from dental anxiety or phobia, our sedation dentist in Anaheim can help manage these fears in order for you to feel relaxed in a clean and safe environment. We understand that choosing the best dentist is important. Our staff will explain how our office can help with your anxiety and fear.  

Call out Anaheim dentist today at (714)779-7700.

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