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Dental anxiety, or dentophobia, is a common issue many dental patients experience. Studies show nearly 75% of adults in the United States experience some amount of fear when visiting a dentist. Dental anxiety has several names, including dentist phobia, odontophobia, or dentophobia, but the feeling is the same: an intense fear of getting dental care from a dentist. Whether this fear stems from a negative experience with a dentist as a child, hearing about bad dental experiences from friends, or seeing a gruesome depiction on TV or in a movie, the truth is most dental procedures are painless and trauma-free for the patients who experience them. Check out some of these tips and strategies for dealing with your dental anxiety below.

Remember dental care is vital to your health.

While you may not believe it at first, the state of your teeth and gums can have a massive impact on your overall health and well-being. Ongoing dental pain and dental infections can progress to your bloodstream and cause severe health conditions, including heart disease. As bacteria spreads from infected gums and teeth, they can easily travel to other systems in your body, such as your heart. Patients with chronic gum disease, including periodontitis, are especially susceptible to a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Another reason to consider seeing a dentist is for them to screen for oral cancer. This diagnosis is best made by dentists as they can see the telltale signs of it approaching and provide proactive treatments and solutions to help battle it. No matter the state of your teeth and gums, don’t forsake your overall health and ability to live a long life; visiting a dentist at least twice a year is always a smart decision.

Dental care can effectively remove ongoing oral pain

While you may be worried about receiving a filling or root canal, the truth is these conditions typically cause much more pain than the actual treatments will. An infected  tooth can cause severe discomfort for years and limit your ability to eat regularly, speak, and enjoy the activities you love. dental procedures today are done with anesthesia, so you’ll feel little to no discomfort during the treatment.

Most dental treatments are painless

While a tooth extraction or filling may have been painful decades ago, today’s modern technology uses less-invasive tools and techniques and the anesthesia used can effectively remove any pain or discomfort you may feel during the procedure. While you may feel a little anxious during the procedure, you won’t feel any pain and typically you’ll experience very little soreness after most dental procedures.

Desensitizing your anxiety

For some patients it’s best if they have several regular dental checkups with a dentist before undergoing a major dental procedure. During this time, you can get to know your dentist and express your concerns as you have teeth cleanings and regular examinations. You’ll also get to know and trust his or her staff, and they can explain and answer questions about the equipment they use. By slowly desensitizing your fears about dental care, you’ll find you’re more than ready when a significant procedure is needed.  If you still don’t feel ready, your dentist can provide anxiety-relieving measures geared towards your level of anxiety.  These include nitrous oxide, an oral sedative, or IV sedation.

Incentivize your dental visit

You remember the song, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?” Well, it’s true, even with adults. Sometimes the best way to motivate yourself to see a medical care professional, like a dentist, is “rewarding” yourself afterward. Take the rest of the day off work to relax, enjoy a meal with friends or family, or just buy yourself special something to enjoy from the mall during your dental recovery. Having something to look forward to can help you move forward with getting proper dental care.

Breathing techniques can work

Expectant mothers call it Lamaze, fitness instructors use it with yoga, and even professional athletes know the power of proper breathing techniques. By oxygenating your body with deep, slow breathing, you can relax your muscles, calm your mind, and lower your heart rate. There are many techniques available online, and you may even find they help you with common anxiety as well.

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Get the care you need

No matter how you work past your anxiety, realize that many people suffer from it when they visit a dentist, and your dentist has only your best interests in mind. Talk to your dentist and express your concerns; they can accommodate your anxiety, answer your questions, and provide exceptional treatment that you’ll love. If you need more information about painless dental procedures, feel free to contact the professionals at Twin Aspen Dental Center. We’ll strive to ensure you feel at ease.

Find out more by contacting us today.

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