Going to the dentist is not an easy feat for everybody. Some people find a dental appointment stressful, and too much to handle. In fact, between 9% to 29% of Americans avoid going to the dentist altogether. This fear makes it almost impossible to conduct any procedure on the patient.
What Are The Main Causes Of Anxiety For Children And Adults?
- Fear Of The Unknown
Whether you are a child or a grown-up, doing something for the first time may induce the feeling of fear in you. Sometimes, the patient may hear horror stories related to dental appointments which may cause them to associate dental appointments with something painful.
Saying things like “Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt” or “Don’t be afraid” may have the opposite effect on the patient. The patient may perceive that there is a possibility of pain, and therefore, increase the fear.
- Fear Of Pain
Children, especially those reaching the age of 9, start to fear the feeling of physical pain. By this time, they have a general idea of how pain feels through their past experiences, how adults describe it, and with the shows they watch. With the instruments the dentists use, mixed feelings of fear of the unknown and fear of pain may push the child or adult from seeing the dentist.
- Invasion Of Personal Space
Most dental procedures require the dentist to come close to your face. This can cause the patient to feel uncomfortable due to the nearness and invasion of their personal space. Some may be overly conscious with their teeth appearance and breath odor.
Feeling anxious or scared is just natural for anyone to experience. It is our instinct to ensure our survival since fear or anxiety may stop us from doing something that may hurt us. However, going to the dentist will not bring us harm. It is for our own good.
How Do You Overcome Your Anxiety For That Dreaded Dentist Appointment?
- To help your child overcome his or her anxiety, come to the dentist as a family. This may help in encouraging your child to face his or her fear. Your child may also realize there is nothing to be afraid of since the adults he or she looks up to are present.
- For the adult, go with a friend. Going with a friend may have the same effect as a child going with the family to the dentist.
- For children, changing the terminology may work. For instance, instead of saying “extraction,” say “will wiggle the tooth.” As a parent assisting your child, you may opt to consult your dentist beforehand to ask about the terms he or she uses with the younger patients.
- Eat high-protein foods before going to your appointment. These kinds of foods can induce calming effects. Avoid caffeine and food high in sugar which may cause palpitation and jittery movements.
- Tell yourself that having those fears and anxieties are normal, and others share the same feeling with you. Join support groups or visit https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/anxiety/ for more advice on how to take on your anxiety issues.
- Lastly, having honest and open communication with your dentist is the most important. Communicate your feelings to him or her. In that way, you would be able to avoid misunderstandings and be able to compromise to have a successful dental session.
Acknowledging your anxiety and researching ways on how to overcome it is the first step to have that perfect smile on your face.