Dental anxiety affects a large number of patients across the UK. Just the thought of booking a dentist appointment can cause some people a significant amount of anxiety and stress. Here at Oldbury Smile Spa, we are experts in handling patients who suffer from dental anxiety. Contact us today to book your appointment and begin the journey of handling your dental phobia.
What is Dental Phobia?
Mild fear and anxiety before a visit to a dentist or doctor are common. It becomes a concern, however, when the fear or anxiety stops people from getting the treatment they need and leaves them struggling with toothache, discomfort or they are dissatisfied with the appearance of their teeth. This most extreme type of dental anxiety is classed as a dental phobia (also known as ‘odontophobia’).
Dental anxiety can vary from acute anxiety attacks to mild uneasiness when it’s time for your dental appointment, making it easier just to cancel or avoid appointments. When a patient is avoiding treatment altogether or putting up with pain and discomfort from fear of visiting the dentist, they are likely to be suffering from dental phobia.
Causes of Dental Phobia
Specific fears can differ from patient to patient, and various triggers could spark their anxiety. For some people, the thought of needles in their mouth may be a trigger. For others, it may be the sound of the drill or the feeling of loss of control. Most commonly, the fear of pain triggers patients dental phobia. In some cases, but not all, dental phobia can develop due to a traumatic childhood dentist experience.
How to Deal With Dental Phobia
Many people feel nervous or afraid of visiting the dentist. Here at Oldbury Smile Spa, our dentists can try to help you overcome these fears. We take a genuine interest in the treatment of patients who have dental phobia. We work with delicate care and empathy and do our best to ensure all your worries are neutralised.
Communicate Your Anxieties With Your Dentist
Your first appointment with your dentist will usually be a consultation. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about experiencing any pain or discomfort from the treatment. You should use your first appointment to get a feel for the practice and getting to know your dentist. Communicate your worries and concerns to Dr Harry. Take it slow. Ask for longer or shorter appointment slots if you require them, whatever will make you feel the most comfortable. We can offer a range of solutions to help you feel more relaxed regarding your dental appointments. Often when we are confronting a fear or phobia, the first step is usually the hardest.
Coping With Dental Anxiety
Some people can struggle to cope with their dental anxiety but find having specific coping strategies in place works well. Here at Oldbury Smile Spa, we are partnered with Anxiety UK to help us offer the best care for our anxious patients. Below are some strategies you can try to help you cope with your dental phobia.
- Use Relaxation Techniques
Anxiety managing tips and tricks such as breathing techniques and medications can help to keep you calm before and during treatments. This will help you to feel more relaxed about the treatment you’re receiving. You can talk to your dentist about potential medications.
- Find the Right Dentist
The right dentist can make all the difference when it comes to handling and calming your dental phobia. You should look for a dentist who is patient and willing to listen to your concerns. Having a dentist who makes you feel relaxed and comfortable will make your treatment much easier.
- Bring a Friend
Ask a family member or friend if they can accompany you to your appointment. You can discuss with your dentist them coming into the treatment room with you. Alternatively, they can wait outside. Knowing you have someone familiar around that can help to calm your anxiety before treatment.
- Arrive at Your Appointment Early
Make sure you have plenty of time to travel to your appointment. Consider adding an extra 20 minutes to your travel time so you can ensure you will arrive at your appointment on time. Rushing will only amplify any anxiety you are already experiencing. By arriving early, you can also give yourself a chance to relax and calm down before entering the treatment room.
How Do I Know If I Have Dental Phobia?
If you experience amplified stress and anxiety before your dental appointments to the point where it causes a considerable amount of discomfort, they likely have a dental phobia/dental anxiety.
Signs of dental phobia:
- Putting up with pain or infection because of your fear of visiting the dentist.
- Experiencing overwhelming anxiety when you think about attending a dental appointment.
- Experiencing high levels of stress when hearing the sound of the dental drill.
- Avoiding dental or oral medical treatment due to your anxiety.
- Fears developing after a traumatic childhood dentist experience.
With the support of Anxiety UK, we want to raise the profile of dental anxiety in the UK and encourage people who may have been avoiding going to the dentist due to fear to seek help and take those first steps. Our team are experts in dealing with patients who suffer from fear and anxiety.
If you’re looking for general, advanced or cosmetic dentistry in Oldbury or the surrounding areas and suffer from dental anxiety, contact Oldbury Smile Spa today. Our dentists are excellent at handling the needs of anxious patients and have generated some outstanding reviews.