Overcoming Dental Anxiety For A Relaxing Dentist’s Appointment

It’s estimated that as many as 75% of US adults experience some amount of dental fear. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of U.S. adults are regarded to experience dental phobia; this is, they are so fearful of receiving dental treatment that they stop dental hygiene in any way costs. Many dentally fearful folks will seek dental care when they have a dental emergency, like a toothache or dental abscess. People that are very fearful of dental care often experience a”cycle of prevention” in which they avoid dental care due to fear until they experience a dental emergency requiring invasive treatment, which may fortify their fear of dentistry.

Women have a tendency to report more dental fear than men, and younger people tend to report becoming more dentally fearful than older individuals. People today are inclined to report being fearful of more invasive procedures, such as oral surgery, than they are far less invasive treatment, such as dental cleanings, or prophylaxis.

It’s been found that there are two main causes of dental anxiety in patients: Direct Experiences and Indirect Experiences.

Immediate experience is the most frequent way people develop dental fears. We’ve found that a vast majority of people report that their dental fear started after a traumatic, difficult, or painful dental experience. These motives, of course, aren’t the only reasons for dental stress. Another contributing factor is simply the perceived manner of the dentists since”impersonal”, “uncaring”, “Uninterested” or “chilly” whereas dentists who are perceived as caring and warm actually counterbalance the fear brought on by painful procedures.

Indirect experience may consist of vicarious learning, mass media, stimulus generalization, helplessness and perceived lack of control. Learning one can develop anxiety simply by hearing other people’s painful and traumatic experiences in their dentist’s office. Mass media has a negative portrayal of dentistry in tv shows and children’s cartoons.

Stimulus generalization is another indirect experience causing a patient to come up with fear as a result of previous traumatic experience in a non-dental context. A significant contributor to stimulus generalization is general practice doctors that possess antiseptic smells throughout their clinics and wear coats or a patient experience at hospitals. A manner a lot of dental practitioners have been combating this perception is by wearing clothes that are not so”lab coat-ish”.

Helplessness and perceived lack of management happen when a person believes they have no way of influencing a negative event. Studies have shown that whereas a perception of having control lessens fear, perception of lack of management leads to fear. For instance, a dentist that tells a patient to increase their hand in a process to indicate pain so that the dentist or hygienist can discontinue during the process will generate a much less fearful and nervous patient consequently creating a more agreeable overall experience influencing the individual to continue to come back for additional treatment.

A few great methods that modern-day dentists at Dr. Mark Santana Dentistry are implementing to reduce anxiety and stress are comfortable “massage” chairs, utilizing the “tell, show, do” method, music through headphones, enabling their patients to bring in their particular i-pods and even televisions in every operatory enabling the patient to choose what they would like to watch during their process. Each of these techniques offers the individual perception of welcoming and warmness inducing the individual to feel “at home” and relaxed through a potentially stressful procedure.

One of our most productive clients actually offers an in-house masseuse that will relax the individual by providing a short massage before any dental treatment. Although this technique has not been adopted by many dental clinics it has shown, for this specific doctor, to be a very effective way of reducing patient stress and stress. The offer of an in-house masseuse provides something for the patient to talk about once they leave the dentist’s office. Memorable experience using a personal masseuse in their dental professionals’ office gives family and friends a means for referrals.

The”tell, show, do” procedure is widely embraced by most practitioners where the dentist, hygienist, or assistant will first explain the procedure to a patient, show a video or show with versions how the procedure will be done, then continue to actually perform the procedure. The act of informing your patients precisely what is involved with a procedure gives the patient the background knowledge to have the ability to feel comfortable with what’s about to happen during their trip. This technique is especially significant within the business of dentistry because each of the processes is inside the mouth and is not readily visible to the individual.

Treating Phobias

Intense procedural anxiety comprises an excessive fear of surgical, dental or medical procedures which results in severe distress or issues with completing mandatory processes. People may experience angst in anticipation of or during a process employed for screening, diagnosis, and therapy. Avoidance of processed due to procedural anxiety may have health results. Interventions for 3 phobias of Health procedures are discussed here:


Blood-injection-injury phobia: It’s characterized by the phobia of getting an injection, seeing blood, or of additional invasive clinical treatments. It is suggested to apply a combination of muscle and exposure tensing therapy, tension, for fear as the first-line remedy.

Applied tension: It is utilized to counteract a vasovagal fainting response related to the phobia of blood. Applied tension includes tensing the body muscles to improve blood pressure and prevent from fainting while at the existence of a phobic stimulus.

Added interventions: As there is a well-known fainting history and an individual has not discovered this applied tension method, a person ought to lie down within the process, turn away from the site of blood vessels, and sit just following sensations of fainting and dizziness resolving.

Cognitive restructuring: This includes the alteration and identification of excessively negative cognitions in regard to the feared stimulus.

Systematic desensitization: Including imaginal exposure to the phobic stimulus paired with muscular relaxation in order to take care of the anxiety.

Coping strategies: Approaches utilized in treating dental stress involve applied relaxation and relaxation. The more common type of relaxation method incorporates progressive muscle relaxation where individuals are directed to practice tensing (five seconds) and relaxing (ten seconds) various muscle groups beginning from the tip of their head down to the toes. Fifteen minutes are taken about by the workout and are practiced two times every day for one or two weeks. The tension portion will be eliminated and muscle groups’ relaxation will be practiced which takes five to seven minutes. It followed by conditioned comfort where a person learns to relax the body at the same time on cue using the self-instruction’relax,’ that additional reduces relaxation.

Hypnotherapy: Ideas to an individual, as in a stage of hypnosis, she or he will no longer be frightened of this imagined dental situation

Medicine: For those who have dental phobia where medicinal treatment is indicated, it is suggested to try nitrous oxide sedation over benzodiazepines or general anesthesia.

Nitrous oxide: In spite of the paucity of efficiency information, oxygen/nitrous oxide includes the sedation procedure of choice inside the dental practice.

Additional medicines: Empirical support for its use of general anesthesia as well as benzodiazepines in dental phobia will be more limited.

General anesthesia usually is limited to the most acute instances of dental phobia and owns the benefit of permitting major dental work to become finished within a single treatment.

Benzodiazepines are used for anxiolytic and sedation effects while undergoing dental treatment, nevertheless possess disadvantages as compared with additional remedies. Benzodiazepines lead to psychomotor and sedating impairment which may last for hours, the effects of that will wear off within minutes, including nitrous oxide. As the consequences of exposure therapy may last for weeks or even years the effects of benzodiazepines will continue for that remedy scenario.

The Best Way To Relax

Many people today hate the dentist to the stage that averting regular dental care is their MO. The truth is, while some individuals don’t have any anxieties regarding seeing a dentist others have panic attacks. If you’ve been neglecting your care for too long, you want to get “a couple” and come up with a way to reach the dentist. People who fail their dental care are more likely to develop dental pain, thus negating the entire reason for avoiding the dentist in the first place.

Luckily there are plenty of ways to ensure that your next dental appointment is as pain-free as possible:

Communication: Every successful relationship is based on communication, and that goes for a dentist/patient coupling. In case you have any fear of seeing with your dentist don’t hesitate to give a call to the office and have a dialogue. Talking out your fears can work miracles.

Zone Out: When you have the most recent MP3 player or are kicking it old school with your portable CD player, deciding on the soundtrack for your dental experience can provide you with a fantastic diversion and reassurance.

Move: Often, those with stress have excess energy to burn and that can result in focusing too much energy on your dental fears. Rather than believing too much relieve the strain that is excess and transfer your body.

Sedation Dentistry: Some sources have indicated that 30 percent to 50 percent of all Americans have some level of dental phobia. That is sedation dentistry has exploded in popularity. The process provides an extra degree of comfort for patients, but it is imperative you a well-qualified dentist.


About the author