Many people experience dental anxiety or fear of going to the dentist. For some, the fear is so intense that it prevents them from ever getting dental treatment. However, avoiding treatment doesn’t make a dental issue go away. If you have dental anxiety, it’s important to understand and confront your fear.
Common specific fears related to dentists include:
- Fear of needles
- Fear of gagging
- Fear of dental drills
- Fear of Novocain or painkillers not working
Facing Your Fear of Dental Appointments
There are lots of possible explanations for dental anxiety. One of the most common causes of dental anxiety is a bad childhood experience. Maybe you had lots of cavities as a kid and associate the dentist with pain or discomfort. Maybe you heard the sound of a dental drill at your dentist’s office when you were young and were strongly affected by it. Maybe you simply had a bad dentist as a child and now believe that even a simple cleaning will be uncomfortable.
The way your family acts toward dentists can also have an impact on your anxiety levels. If your parents were always vocal about not liking the dentist, or if they shared a bad experience they had in great detail, it could cause you to develop dental anxiety.
Some people are afraid of visiting the dentist because of embarrassment about their teeth. If you haven’t always taken great care of your teeth, you may worry about being lectured or ridiculed at the dentist. Keep in mind, though, that dentists have probably seen much worse, and it’s their job to care for damaged teeth.
How to Overcome Dental Anxiety
One of the best ways to overcome any fear is to face it directly. Although that might seem extremely difficult, over time, your mind will realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
When you’re at the dentist, try to create as comfortable and relaxing of an atmosphere as possible. Bring a portable music player to calm you down and drown out frightening noises. If you’re afraid of gagging, you can use a throat spray to control your gag reflex.
Speaking to your dentist about your concerns can be helpful, too. Dentists know that many people have dental anxiety, and the two of you can come up with a plan for keeping you calm and comfortable.
At Palencia Dental, you can meet with a St. Augustine dentist who will listen to your concerns and do their best to keep you at ease. Call our office today at (904) 474-5444 to book an appointment with a dentist in St. Augustine.