Dental anxiety: what is it and how to address it

If you experience dental anxiety, you’re certainly not alone. Defined as a feeling of fear or unease that people experience when they are about to undergo dental procedures, dental anxiety can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, it can be debilitating. In this article, we examine dental anxiety, what causes it and how North Sydney Dental Practice can help you address it to make your visits calm and worry-free.

Understanding Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a type of phobia that affects people of all ages. It is estimated that up to one in six Australian adults experience dental anxiety to some degree, which can make it difficult for people to undergo routine dental procedures, such as cleanings or fillings. In some cases, people may avoid dental appointments altogether, which can lead to serious dental problems down the road.

What causes dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Previous negative dental experience
  • Fear of pain or discomfort
  • Fear of needles or injections
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of the unknown
  • The sound and smell of dental instruments

Ways to Address Dental Anxiety

There are several ways to address dental anxiety to ensure your trip to the dentist is a calm and stress-free occasion:

Talk to Your Dentist

At North Sydney Dental Practice, we understand not all patients love to visit us – don’t worry, we don’t take it personally! So, one of the most effective ways to address dental anxiety is to talk to your dentist. Let them know how you are feeling up front and they can work with you to develop a plan that addresses your concerns and helps you feel more comfortable during dental procedures. Your dentist can also provide you with information about the procedures you will undergo, which can help reduce your anxiety.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and visualisation can help reduce generalised anxiety including dental anxiety. Try practicing these techniques before and during your dental appointment to help you stay calm and relaxed, even during procedures that may cause some discomfort.

Use Distraction Techniques

Distraction techniques can help take your mind off the dental procedure and reduce your anxiety. Here at North Sydney Dental Practice we offer you the ability to listen to music or a podcast, or to watch a range of movies or TV shows. You can also bring a stress ball or fidget toy to help keep your hands (and mind) busy.

Consider Sedation Support

If you require additional support to get on top of your anxiety, North Sydney Dental Practice offers a range of medications and methods to help patients relax during dental procedures including nitrous oxide (happy gas) and oral sedation. Talk to your dentist about whether sedation dentistry is a good option for you.

It is worth noting that the earlier the dental issue is dealt with, the easier the problem is to rectify. These good experiences help build confidence and trust and help you to avoid lengthier and more complex treatment plans. Get in touch with us for a chat about your oral health care and how we can help support you through your dental visit.

North Sydney Dental Practice
Suite 201, Level 2, 83 Mount Street, North Sydney NSW 2060
02 9922 1476

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