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Top Methods To Manage Dental Phobia Post





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!

Coping With Dental Phobia And Dental Anxiety Post



For people who suffer with dental phobia or anxiety, a visit to the dentist is an anxiety inducing event. Even the thought of dental appointments can be frightening for individuals with dental phobia. Almost 35 million Americans suffer from dental phobia and dental anxiety so severe, that they avoid dental care altogether. This is troubling because, study after study has shown that our dental health is directly related to our overall health. The subsequent lack of dental care will put their bodies and their health at risk for complications. Many think sedation dentistry is the answer, but sleeping through dental treatment does not allow you to overcome dental phobia and dental anxiety in a healthy manageable way.

Best Methods To Cope With Dental Anxiety And Dental Phobia

Dental anxiety and dental phobia can be overcome!! You should not let dental phobia 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 feel comfortable in the dental chair. Some of the best methods for coping with dental anxiety and dental phobia include:

Communication – This might very well be one of the biggest feats to overcome for many who are fearful of the dentist. Being afraid of ridicule or even being talked down to by the dentist can make it difficult to share your fears and concerns. Communication can be a very powerful tool in giving back a full sense of control over your dental care. This control helps to reduce a majority of the anxiety of helplessness that many feel. 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 through it.

Distractions – Take control of your mind and allow yourself to be distracted from the dental treatment. The best ways to achieve distraction are:

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

2) audio – listening to music, or the voice of your dentist while they talk you through the process with casual conversation.

3) visual –  watching television or a movie, looking at a relaxing picture during treatment. For many, the headphones help to block out 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 pleasant!

-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.

Acupuncture/Acupressure – Often laughed off, acupuncture/acupressure have many benefits. These can include relief form pain and anxiety. For this to be effective, the acupuncture  should be completed close to the dental appointment, while some acupressure can be done during the dental appointment. This will not work for all 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 fear is to remember that you are not alone in dealing with dental anxiety or dental phobia. If you choose the right dentist and team, they will be with you every step of the way, guiding you to overcome your fears. In the beginning it may seem insurmountable but one step and day 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.

Is Dental Phobia A Learned Trait? Post

Dental phobia, and dental anxiety come in many forms. Anxiety may cause you to be slightly apprehensive to extremely frightened at the thought of visiting the dentist. A

Dental Phobia Marielaina Perrone DDS

Dental Phobia Can Be Overcome!

phobia, may cause a paralyzing fear that overtakes your entire body. Whichever form, dental phobia or dental anxiety, can be very difficult to overcome. Inability to have regular dental and health care can lead to health issues. Numerous studies have linked diabetes, alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and even cancer to poor oral health. It is imperative to maintain a healthy mouth to keep our bodies happy and healthy. So, the question becomes, can dental phobia be overcome?

Dental Phobia Is A Learned Fear

There has been significant research to show that dental phobia and dental anxiety are linked to life experiences. These experiences can be direct or indirect.

-Direct experiences – are the most common way for people to develop a dental phobia or dental anxiety. Many people report fearing the dentist due to a prior traumatic or painful dental experience. However, it is often the dentist themselves who induce the dental phobia. During the many studies, patients report it was not the dental procedure that ultimately causes their fear. Instead it was the dentist’s attitude towards them. Dentists who were perceived as impersonal, uncaring, or even cold were found to be the root cause of the direct experience dental phobia. An interesting note from these dental phobia studies was, that patients who experienced a painful or traumatic treatment but had a caring dentist, failed to develop a dental phobia. This leads us to believe that dental phobia is a learned trait and can be overcome.

Indirect Experiences – These can include:

Parental/Peer Influence – Dental phobia can develop from hearing about your parents, siblings, friends, bad experiences or their negative views on going to the dentist.

Media Influence – Many movies like to poke fun at the dentist in good and bad ways. A good example is the dentist in little shop of horrors whereby dentistry is portrayed in  a sadistic way. This extreme visual can be quite unsettling, and emotional. The fear can readily be instilled, and dental phobia can develop.

Dental Phobia Diagnosis

Dental phobia can often times be very easy to diagnose. All you have to do is ask a patient and they can tell you how they feel about the dentist. It usually produces a very profound reaction if they truly have a dental phobia. The usual method for diagnosing dental phobia is the use of a scale to assess the level of dental phobia or dental anxiety. The scale consists of a series of questions and based on the answers the dentist can assess the level of your dental phobia. Common questions on the scale include:

Dental Phobia Marielaina Perrone DDS

Unlearn Your Dental Phobia!!

-While waiting in the reception area of the dental office, do you feel nervous about the visit?

-Have you had a prior dental experience that was unpleasant?

-While in the dental chair, do you feel uneasy and anxious?

-Do you feel embarrassed that the dentist will say you have the worst mouth they have ever seen?

These questions will give your dentist an assessment of what you are afraid of. Further questioning will help narrow down the fears and their triggers, enabling the dentist to work with you to help slowly overcome those fears.

Breaking The Dental Phobia Hold On You

Overcoming dental phobia can be a very difficult proposition, there is work and time involved for both you and your dentist. The first step is believing in yourself, and your dentist.The second is, feeling that it is possible, and truly wanting to try and overcome it. Dental phobia is a learned behavior and can be overcome with hard work and the desire to do so. The biggest key to overcoming dental phobia is to find the right dentist for you. One who will always keep an open line of communication, is extremely important. This will allow you to express yourself and your emotions before, during, and after treatment.

Feeling of Control –  A sense of control is your right as a dental patient. Understanding this, is key to confidence. Knowing that you can stop treatment as often , and whenever you want can be very freeing.The most common signal is simply raising your left hand to alert the dentist and staff of your need to communicate. A system should be established allowing you to stop for any reason, whether it be because you need more anesthesia, want to rinse out, or simply need a break.You should be part of the process of developing a treatment plan as well as have the ability to fully understand the treatment being offered and why it is needed. You need to be honest with your dentist and yourself regarding how much treatment you can tolerate initially. As time moves on, you will build confidence in yourself as well as increased trust in the dentist and staff treating you. Over time, the type and length of the appointments can be increased. You will be amazed how long you will be able to sit in the chair when it is your choice!

Feeling Embarrassed or Self Conscious – If you have been ridiculed in the past for your behavior or if you are embarrassed by your present dental condition caused by your neglect, please express yourself honestly and give your dentist a chance to understand your concerns and show you that they care. Please know, that most dentists

Dental Phobia Marielaina Perrone DDS

Free Yourself Of Your Dental Phobia

do care, and want to treat you with the respect that you deserve. These feelings do need to be addressed, and talked through, so that you can begin to leave them behind.

-Use Of Relaxation Techniques – If you feel tense in the chair, the easiest way to relax is through forms of physical relaxation. A relaxed body promotes a clear and relaxed mind. The human body cannot be physically relaxed and mentally anxious at the same time! The brain won’t process these feelings simultaneously. Physical relaxation methods are easier to accomplish at first as compared to cognitive ones, so practice forms of physical relaxation first. Light meditation methods and music work very well. Light conscious sedation, such as valium, is a great way to start.

Examples of physical relaxation are Diaphragmatic Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and various methods taught in yoga . If you induce relaxation in the presence of the stimuli that normally induces your fears (the dental environment), the fear response will be greatly diminished over multiple exposures and you will gradually desensitize yourself to these fears as you build confidence. The memories of traumatic visits will be replaced with more innocuous ones and this less threatening environment coupled with your relaxation methods will help you eliminate your dental phobia.

Repetition. The simple process of repeat appointments, will make you feel more comfortable. 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.

-Distraction – As you get more comfortable in the dental environment, you can use distraction. The use of an ipod with your favorite music is a common technique. It is only suggested to utilize distraction techniques once you have established some trust and confidence, because your ability to communicate will be decreased, although it is easy to communicate by using your pre-established hand signals.

Predictable Pain Control – Modern dentistry has many new techniques with regards to the administration of local anesthetics to help block pain. There are many people who have differences in their anatomy that do require more individualized techniques in order to predictably achieve proper local anesthesia. This variation must be respected and communicated to your dentist. The needle itself is generally the minor cause of discomfort, in fact, it is the pressure and volume of the fluids being injected that causes the major discomfort. Therefore, all injections should be given slowly. There are also great differences in the types of tissue in various locations, anatomically and from person to person, that must be considered when administering injections. There are even computer-controlled machines that are now available to standardize the injection process and make it more predictable than the conventional hand-held syringe.

Conclusion

Dental phobia and dental anxiety can be overcome! With proper guidance, trust, patience, dedication, and communication, dental phobia can be beaten. Do not allow your health to be held hostage by your fears. You can live a longer, happier, and healthier life, free of dental fear. Take that first step and find a dentist that understands dental fear, and make an appointment for a consult. Dental phobia and dental anxiety can be overcome!

 

Are You Affected By Dental Phobia? Post



A phobia is generally defined as an irrational severe fear that leads to avoidance of the feared situation, object or activity. Most people can live with some level of anxiety about going to the dentist. However, for those with dental phobia, the thought of going to the dentist is terrifying. They may be so afraid that they will do anything to avoid a dental appointment. Exposure to the feared stimulus provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may or may not take the form of a panic attack. The dental phobia causes a lot of stress, and not only affects your oral health but other parts of your life as well. People with a dental phobia will spend a large amount of time fretting about their teeth, dentists or dental situations. Some do the exact opposite and spend a lot of their time trying not to think of teeth, dentists or dental situations. People with a true dental phobia often put off routine care for years or even decades. To avoid it, they will deal with periodontal disease, pain, infections, or even unsightly and broken teeth.

The dental phobia may take an emotional toll as well. Damaged or discolored teeth can make people self conscious and insecure. When speaking, they may smile less or keep their mouths partly closed. Some people can become so embarrassed about how their teeth look that their personal and professional lives begin to suffer. There is often a serious loss of self-esteem. People with dental phobia also may suffer from poor general health, and possibly lowered life expectancy.  This is because poor oral health has been found to be related to some life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease and lung infections.

Dental phobia and anxiety are extremely common. Estimates show that 50% of Americans do not visit the dentist regularly. Of those people, an estimated 9-15% are avoiding dental care due to their dental phobia, anxiety of the unknown and phobias that grow with time. This translates into 30-40 million people per year who do not see the dentist because of dental phobias or fear.

Anxiety and Phobia are often interchanged, but they are very different. Phobias are generally much more serious than fears or anxieties. They are deeply rooted within a person. Unlike fears that are learned and can possibly be unlearned, phobias are not as easily dismissed with confronting the situation. It takes time and attention by both patient and doctor to move forward.

Some of the known causes of dental phobia include, previous negative experiences, an uncaring dentist, humiliation, history of abuse, or even the phobia could be learned from a parent or relative when young.

Dental phobia and anxiety come in varying degrees. At the extreme end, a person with dental phobia may never see a dentist. Others may force themselves to go, but they may not sleep the night before. It’s not unusual for people to feel sick (or actually get sick) while they are waiting to be seen.

The dental phobia can be treated. Without treatment, the dental phobia is likely to get progressively worse. That is partly because emotional stress can make dental visits more uncomfortable than the situation warrants.

People who are unusually tense tend to have a lower threshold of pain. This means they may feel pain at lower levels than other people. They may need extra anesthetic. They may even develop stress related problems in other parts of the body. For example, muscle stiffness and headaches are not unusual.

There isn’t a clear boundary that separates “normal” anxiety from dental phobia. Everyone has concerns and fears and deals with them in different ways. However, the prospect of dental work does not need to fill you with terror. If it does, then you may need some help overcoming the fears.

Some of the signs of dental phobia include:

1) You feel tense or have trouble sleeping the night before a dental visit

2) Increased nervousness while you are in the waiting room.

3) Overcome by bouts of crying when you think of going to the dentist. The sight of dental instruments (or even the white lab coats) increases your anxiety.

4) Feeling physically ill with the thought of a dental visit.

5) When objects are placed in your mouth during a dental appointment you panic or have trouble breathing.

Phobias are not easily treated like fears are, however the same techniques can be helpful. Your dentist can prescribe muscle relaxers that help their patients relax before and during an appointment. If the dental phobia is extremely severe, talk with your dentist about the problem. If you can, seek help from a psychiatrist that too may benefit you, allowing you, your dentist and doctor to work together to find the best course of overcoming the dental phobia. Overcoming dental phobia is best done with a team approach. meaning you, your loved ones and the dentist and his/her staff must all work together to move past this. Thankfully it can be overcome. Some of my best patients were former dental phobics with severe anxiety. They are now comfortable having dental work done and actually look forward to coming to their dental visits.