By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert
What Is Dental Anxiety and How Do You Know if You Have It?
According to the Dental Research Journal, as many as 14% of people struggle with dental phobia, and even more people have less severe dental anxieties. The cause of dental anxieties varies by person, but the irrational fears and feelings of terror are present among many people.
Signs and Symptoms of Dental Anxieties
Many people with dental anxieties dread doing to the dentist. They may avoid scheduling routine dental appointments, or they may skip appointments that they’ve already scheduled. Other signs of dental anxieties can include:
- Racing heart or heart palpitations
- Low blood pressure
- Visible distress or crying
- Using humor or aggression to mask fears
How Eggert Family Dentistry Helps Reduce Dental Anxieties
To help all our clients feel as comfortable as possible, we offer a variety of ways to help during your appointment:
- Music: Many people feel more comfortable when they’re listening to their favorite music. If you’ll more comfortable with headphones on, please do it. Our team can work around headphones for routine cleanings and most procedures. We ask that you bring your own headphones and music device.
- Cable TV: We have cable TVs available in every procedure room. Watch your favorite shows while our team works on your teeth.
- Calming techniques: Deep breathing and visualization can help ease your nerves. Not sure what to do? Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff, and their assistants, Tracy and Heather, can coach you through some mental exercises to help bring you peace.
- Hand signals: For some people, the hardest part of a dentist appointment is feeling like they can’t communicate when their mouths are full of other people’s hands. Raising your left hand during your appointment lets us know that you need a break.
- Communication: Sometimes, talking about your fears and having them validated is enough to help you feel at ease. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and explain any procedures that are making you nervous.
- Medicine: In many situations, these calming techniques are enough to help patients get through their appointments comfortably. However, if you have dental phobia, we also have laughing gas (also called nitrous oxide gas) available and in worst case scenarios, we can talk about some prescriptions that may help.
How to Manage Dental Anxieties
Many of the calming techniques listed above can help people work through their dental anxieties enough to get through their appointments. Some people have also found relief by using therapy techniques. If you have headphones on during your dentist appointment, listening to a meditation, guided imagery, or progressive muscle relationship can also help lower your heart rate and help you feel more comfortable. There are many apps available for this. Finally, a few short, targeted sessions of cognitive behavior therapy can help people permanently overcome their dental anxieties.
At Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Elizabeth, Dr. Jeff, and our whole dental team will take the time to listen to your concerns, and we’ll work together to help you feel as comfortable as possible. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, contact our office at 651-482-8412.