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Dental phobia and dental anxiety can be a serious issue affecting over 35 million Americans alone. Many people have such an overwhelming fear of dental care that they force themselves to deal with constant pain and discomfort. Research has shown a definite body/mouth connection. Not maintaining good dental care can have dramatic negative effects on your overall health and well being. In recent years sedation dentistry has become quite popular, but sleeping through dental treatment does not allow you to develop the tools to overcome dental phobia and dental anxiety in a healthy manageable way. Common dental phobias include fear of dental pain, loss of control, and fear of needles or injections.

Top Methods To Cope With Dental Anxiety

Fortunately, both dental anxiety and dental phobia can be overcome with some work from both you and your dentist. You should never let fear stop you from seeking regular dental care. With proper steps taken by patient and dentist, and some patience, those fears will minimize so that you can not only seek treatment, but actually feel comfortable in the dental office. Some of the top methods for coping with dental anxiety and dental phobia include:

Communication – For many, the dental phobia began as a child. A dentist might have scolded or talked down to their younger patients, making them feel like they did not have a voice in their treatment or even when it was uncomfortable for them. Even adults have reported these similar feelings, where they feel they might be ridiculed for being afraid. Open lines of communication can give back a full sense of control over your dental treatment. This control helps to decrease the feeling of helplessness. Being a part of the decision making on treatment, knowing what to expect, and knowing if you feel uncomfortable your dentist will stop, can make any dental patient feel better. Communication and control can be the differentiating factor between those suffering from dental phobia and dental anxiety, and those who have found a way to work past it. A good tip is, if you are anxious about something just come right out and talk to the dentist about it.

“Talk” with your hands. Most dentists will give their patients hand signals to communicate. This is very important for those suffering from dental phobia. This gives the patients an increased control knowing the dentist can till listen to them while dental care is ongoing.

Distractions – Developing the ability to take control of your mind and allow yourself to be distracted from the dental treatment. The top ways to achieve distraction are:

1) meditation – a relaxation of mind and body musculature.

2) audio distraction – listening to music, or the voice of your dentist while they talk you through the process with casual conversation. Even the sound of a soothing voice can lower anxiety levels. A good tip is to listen to an audio book while undergoing treatment. This will engage your ears and your mind to distract you from the task at hand.

3) visual distraction–  watching television or a movie, even staring at a relaxing picture during dental treatment. For many, wearing headphones can help to block out much of the dental noises that increase their anxiety, listening to a personal story about  the dentist, visualizing a relaxing setting, and muscle relaxation can make the experience much more tolerable and possibly even enjoyable!

-Be Prepared – Ask your dentist in advance what you can expect during your visit and how procedures, such as injections, are handled. Some may enjoy hearing a play by play and others will not. Talk it over with your dentist when going through your initial dental examination.

Muscle Relaxation Techniques – The key here is to place focus on your body parts, relaxing them one at a time. You can start with your toes or hands and work your way across your body, squeezing then relaxing each area of your body progressively. This removes your focus on the dental care and places it on your body achieving the goal of relaxing and calming yourself. Try squeezing a stress ball in 1 or both hands.

-Take A Mini Vacation In Your Mind! – To help ease your nerves and control pain during dental treatment, imagine yourself in a relaxing, enjoyable setting. For example, visualize calming colors or scenes such as the ocean, think about the sound of the waves as you relax on your favorite beach or, if you enjoy hiking, imagine yourself walking along a trail next to a river. The more detail you add to the image, the less focused you will be on the dental procedure. This technique takes practice initially, but once you gain confidence in yourself and your dentist it will get easier to do. If you find that your mind drifts away from your image, gently turn your attention back to the scene you created. Try practicing meditation with visualization at home before your appointment when you feel stressed about upcoming dental treatment.

-Breathing Exercises – This is a great technique for your drive over to the dental office, or while waiting for your appointment. Deep breathing can be a great technique to relax your mind and body prior to dental work. By taking in slow, deep breaths, the oxygen flow will have a calming effect on your entire body. Remember, slow and deep, NOT short and fast, as this can cause you to hyperventilate.

-Take Frequent Breaks. Patients may need to take breaks during dental procedures, when anxiety builds up or they start to feel claustrophobic. If you feel like you need a break, let your dentist know and he/she will gladly stop to give you the time and space necessary.

Acupuncture/Acupressure – Acupuncture/acupressure have many benefits for patients who are dentally anxious. For this to be fully effective, the acupuncture  should be completed as close to the dental appointment as possible, while some acupressure can be done during the dental appointment. This will not work for all patients but it has been a successful technique for many in attempting to overcome dental phobia and dental anxiety.

Conclusion

The key to overcoming and coping with your dental fear is to remember that you are not alone. If you choose the right dentist and dental team, they will be with you every step of the way, guiding you to help you overcome your fears. In the beginning it may seem insurmountable but one step and one appointment at a time, and the visits become easier and easier. You might actually begin to wonder why you didn’t do this earlier. Do not let dental phobia prevent you from being healthy in all aspects of your life. Take control of your health today!



Thanksgiving is a time of family gatherings, good food, and being thankful for all we have. Your dental health is something that should not be taken for granted. Your teeth do amazing  things that most of us do not even think about. Below you will find a few to be thankful for this holiday season.

 5 Reasons To Be Thankful For Good Dental Health

1. Chewing Tasty Thanksgiving Foods. Healthy teeth are necessary for chewing hard, crunchy foods. Soft foods tend to be high carb and not as healthy. Imagine trying to eat your turkey dinner with all the trimmings without your teeth. It certainly would be quite a challenge!  Our teeth give us the ability to tear and and break down all kinds of food, from celery sticks and crusty bread to turkey and all the trimmings.

2. Convey Friendliness and Warmth. Our smiles convey to others how we feel towards them. A warm smile and hug to an old friend or relative at holiday warms even the coldest of hearts. Smiles tend to be contagious they just make you and others feel happy! Without a healthy smile, we would not smile nearly as often as many of us do.

3. Communication. Proper speech is directly related to tongue and tooth position. Without our teeth we would have a hard time communicating correctly. Just saying “Thanksgiving” would be very difficult without your upper teeth. Speaking without teeth is extremely challenging.

4. Attractiveness. Your teeth give your face a fullness and symmetry that you lose when they are missing. When a person is missing teeth, facial support is gone, causing a sunken in appearance. Your teeth are important as support for your lips and cheeks and give your face a full, rounded, youthful, look.

5. Maintain Bones And Keep Them Strong. The bones of the face are strong because they work to support our teeth. Once the teeth are gone, the bone is resorbed and re-utilized by other parts of the body. The jaw will atrophy and shrink. As the bone atrophy’s, there is a greater risk of jaw fracture.

Conclusion

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving season. We all have a lot to be thankful for so do not leave out your dental health. As always visit your dentist for regular dental examinations and professional cleanings.



Dental anxiety affects a large portion of the population. While many have such anxiety, some are so fearful that they can not even get themselves through the dentist’s front door.Statistics show that  15-20% of all Americans avoid the dentist due to fears or anxiety about the dentist. The reasons for anxiety are different for everyone. These can include fear about feeling rushed by the dentist, possible pain, or even just the smells and sounds of the dental office. Dental anxiety and dental phobia, when stopping someone from receiving dental care,  lead to unnecessary oral and general health problems.

Tips To Calm Dental Anxiety

Finding The Right Dentist And Dental Team. That’s right, it is not just about the dentist. The dental team is just as important in maintaining a calm, soothing atmosphere. A well trained dentist and team can make you feel at ease throughout your dental treatment and actually make it an enjoyable experience. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations. A good review about a dentist from someone you trust can significantly reduce anxiety. Also, in the internet age read online reviews. These can let you get a better understanding of the dentist and how they treat their patients. Last, make an appointment for a consultation so that you can meet the dentist and staff to see if they make you feel comfortable enough to schedule an exam and cleaning.

Communication. One of the most important factors in overcoming dental anxiety is a good, open line of communication between dentist and patient. You must always feel comfortable expressing your feelings, fears, and concerns before, during, and after treatment is rendered. You must also feel that the dental team is listening to you and making adjustments as needed. Communication should never be compromised for any patient but it is even more important for a patient with dental anxiety. This will allow you to feel a sense of comfort that you may have never felt in a dental office before.

Feeling Of Being In Control. This comes from the confidence to stop or start treatment whenever you need to. You should always feel comfortable controlling your treatment.  Making treatment decisions based upon options, how long your appointments should be, and how often you are comfortable coming in for treatment. Another aspect to being in control is to give yourself the power of knowledge about your dental care. This will give you the ability to understand the steps of treatment, and why it is important for you to follow through. Being in control will allow you to properly express your feelings about how much treatment you can handle.

-Own Your Emotions. For many who have neglected their dental care due to fear there can be a sense of embarrassment. Express your feelings and allow your dentist to understand your feelings so they can be addressed properly. Panic, tears, needing your hand held, etc. are coping mechanisms to fear. It is ok to get emotional at the dental office. You can and should be able to express your emotions without embarrassment.

Utilize Relaxation Techniques.  These can include:

1. Proper Breathing. Focus on breathing regularly and slowly during dental work. When people are feeling anxiety or nervousness we tend to hold our breaths, or breathe in short rapid breaths. This decreases oxygen levels in the body, or hyperventilation, further increasing our feelings of panic.

2. Wear Headphones. For many, the sound of the dental office is a trigger for dental anxiety. Using an ipod or mp3 player with headphones can drown out the noises and relax you.

3. Avoid Caffeine. Caffeine can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, This can trigger panic attacks, make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or give you the feeling of a fast beating heart. Caffeine before a dental appointment should be avoided.

4. Choose Pre Dental Meals Carefully. Eating high-protein foods have the ability to produce a calming effect.

5. Timing Is Everything. The time of day for your dental appointment can be critical. Try to choose a time for your dental visit when you’ re least  likely to be rushed or feel under pressure.

-Repetition. The simple process of repeat appointments, will make you feel more comfortable and at ease. As you learn what to expect, and realize that you are in control of the appointment, you will be able to manage more time in the chair. Remember not to wait too long between appointments or to reschedule unless an emergency arises. Merely coming to the office and not having treatment that day is better than canceling.

Predictable Pain Control. Every individual is slightly different. What may work for one may not work for another. Let your dentist know if you have a history of difficulty getting numb. Be sure to let your dentist know whether or not you still feel sensitivity, or lack of complete numbness. When you can trust that your comfort will be a priority, you will find that your anxiety rapidly diminishes.

Dental Anxiety Conclusion

Overcoming dental anxiety can be a trying experience. It is important to find the right dentist and dental team so that you can move forward and free yourself from dental anxiety once and for all. Know what you are looking for in a dentist, and be prepared with questions for your meeting. Remember, it is ok to shop around, you will know when you have found the right dentist for you!

Thanksgiving is a time of family gatherings, good food, and being thankful for all we have. Your dental health is something that should not be taken for granted. Your teeth do amazing  things that most of us do not even think about. Below you will find a few to be thankful for this holiday season.

 5 Reasons To Be Thankful For Good Dental Health

1. Chewing Tasty Thanksgiving Foods. Healthy teeth are necessary for chewing hard, crunchy foods. Soft foods tend to be high carb and not as healthy. Imagine trying to eat your turkey dinner with all the trimmings without your teeth. It certainly would be quite a challenge!  Our teeth give us the ability to tear and and break down all kinds of food, from celery sticks and crusty bread to turkey and all the trimmings.

2. Convey Friendliness and Warmth. Our smiles convey to others how we feel towards them. A warm smile and hug to an old friend or relative at holiday warms even the coldest of hearts. Smiles tend to be contagious they just make you and others feel happy! Without a healthy smile, we would not smile nearly as often as many of us do.

3. Communication. Proper speech is directly related to tongue and tooth position. Without our teeth we would have a hard time communicating correctly. Just saying “Thanksgiving” would be very difficult without your upper teeth. Speaking without teeth is extremely challenging.

4. Attractiveness. Your teeth give your face a fullness and symmetry that you lose when they are missing. When a person is missing teeth, facial support is gone, causing a sunken in appearance. Your teeth are important as support for your lips and cheeks and give your face a full, rounded, youthful, look.

5. Maintain Bones And Keep Them Strong. The bones of the face are strong because they work to support our teeth. Once the teeth are gone, the bone is resorbed and re-utilized by other parts of the body. The jaw will atrophy and shrink. As the bone atrophy’s, there is a greater risk of jaw fracture.

Conclusion

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving season. We all have a lot to be thankful for so do not leave out your dental health. As always visit your dentist for regular dental examinations and professional cleanings.