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Dental Anxiety: You're Not Alone

Dental Anxiety: You're Not Alone

Who likes going to the dentist? I don't like going whatsoever, and I even asked my dentist if she likes to go and she admitted that it's not always fun, but it is necessary. So we force ourselves to go, but many of us may not like it one bit.

Some people on the other hand have such severe fears and anxieties about going to the dentist, that they won't even go. Here are some common reasons people won't go to the dentist:

  • Fear of pain.
  • Fear of needles.
  • Fear of the Novocaine and going numb.
  • Fear of NOT going numb - what if the Novocaine doesn't work?
  • They're worried about what may or may not happen - fear of the unknown.
  • Fear of the drill and things near their mouth and brain.
  • The scraping and drilling sound.
  • Bad past experiences.
  • They're worried about receiving bad news.
  • They're embarrassed or ashamed of their teeth and worried the dentist will make fun of them.
  • Fear of gagging, choking, or throwing up.
  • Fear of panicking or crying.
  • The cost. Even with dental insurance, the bill can be excruciatingly high.

If these sound familiar, you're not alone. Many people suffer from dental phobia or dental anxiety so much that they refuse to step foot in an office. This can be detrimental to a person's pearly whites. Want to know how to get over your fears? Then

If you are paralyzed by the mere thought of going to the dentist, there are a number of things you can do.

  • Identify what your specific fears are and try not to dwell on them. Then you and your dentist can figure out ways to deal with them.
  • Find a caring and compassionate dentist that makes you feel comfortable. Explain all your fears and map out what your perfect dental visit would be like. Get recommendations from friends or co-workers for dentists they like.
  • Some dentists may recommend that you take anti-anxiety medicine (like Xanax) the night and or a few hours before your visit. It will help you to feel calm and relaxed.
  • Your dentist may also recommend Nitrous Oxide. It's a gas you inhale that puts you in a state of ultimate relaxation and contentment. Just like with the anti-anxiety meds, this method won't do anything for pain, so if you need to be drilled, you'll still need to get a shot of Novocaine, but you may feel less anxious about it.
  • Another option is IV Sedation. You basically get anti-anxiety drugs administered into the bloodstream. You'll remain conscious and be able to understand and respond to requests from your dentist, but you may not remember much of what happened while you were in the chair. Time will feel like it passes quickly, almost like you were asleep.
  • If you are literally crippled by the anxiety, you may be a candidate for General Anesthesia.

Being fearful of dental visits is not at all uncommon, but at some point you will need to face your fears. You can't go through your life not seeing a dentist, and the longer you put it off, the more problems you can have. I hope these ideas help.


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