Ways to deal with dental anxiety
Published On April 23, 2016 » 1405 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Features
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Dental Talk Logo-Mainza MunsanjeIT is a common fact that the most people known to have phobias are children and women, their phobias range from fear of insects to sleeping in the dark, however, one phobia that affects both men and women, young and old and almost equally is the phobia for dental treatment.
Dental phobia is worse than dental anxiety in that it leaves patients panic-stricken and terrified at the thought of treatment.
For many, the thought of going to the dentist brings shivers down their spine to an extent to which one avoids dental treatment alltogether.
Many people have a fight and flight response to sights and smells of the dental clinic.
The few who gather the guts to attend the dental treatment often still appear anxious at the thought of sitting on the dental chair, the sight of the instruments and at the sight of the dentist and other oral health workers.
Fear of the dentist stems not only from the experience of pain but also the loss of control that patients experience when seated in the dental chair.
In the dental chair, one lies supine with the dentist having the upper hand as he or she hovers above you, while putting gadgets in your mouth, this for some people elicits anxiety as they are no longer in control.
The dental anxiety experienced by one visiting the dental clinic for the first time and that is experienced by one who has previously had dental treatment differ to a mild extent.
The first visit patient only has his or her imagination at play and adequate explanation of the procedure and findings somewhat curbs this alongside familiarisation with the dental environment.
For the old patient, previous uncomfortable, prolonged or complicated dental treatment would require other means than just explanation of the procedure to patient, bearing in mind that people approach past experiences differently.
All in all, it is essential to make the patient comfortable whether being new or old.
For people who have dental anxiety, the following ways can help calm your fears:
Talk to your dentist: the best thing one can ever do is talk to the person involved in offering you the treatment and care you need, in as much as a lot of people fear or don’t feel comfortable talking to their dentist, one should remember that these too are people just like yourself, and have once in a while been anxious about something they had to undergo, probably dental treatment itself as well. So if you are anxious about something express yourself and let it be known to your dentist.
Go to the dentist with someone you trust: going to the dentist with a friend or relative you know has no fear of dentists will help you curb your anxiety.
Take charge: face your fears and go on and visit the dentist, chances are your experience won’t be as bad as you had imagined them to be.
Try relaxation techniques: such as taking deep breaths, holding it and letting it out very slowly. This will slow your heart rate and relax your muscles. Another technique is tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in turn.
Sedative use: you can review with your dentist sedatives available. Here you get dental care under partial or full loss of consciousness. It is mostly an option for those who totally refuse to get dental treatment any other way.
If you can’t seem to bring yourself to any dentist, visit a psychologist.
Fortunately, many dentists are specially trained in handling fearful patients, a variety of methods and treatments are available to reduce pain and alleviate fear in the dentist’s chair.
Some of these include explaining procedure and what they are expected to feel and for how long, continually checking on patient, giving patient opportunity to stop procedure at any point if they feel uncomfortable.
In conclusion fear of the unknown dwindles in everyone’s mind on a daily basis, not only is it fear of treatment of any bodily ailment but also be it fear of success, fear of failure, etc.
The only way one can deal with fear of the unknown is to face the very fears themselves.
To quell fear of dental procedures, ask questions where you need to and make sure you are comfortable and okay with everything during your visit. Ensure to get regular oral health check-up, as it is well worth the effort. Comments:nzamai@yahoo.co.uk

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