When it comes to dental checkups, the real issue for some people is in the anticipation leading up to visiting the dentist. For a multitude of reasons, one might experience extreme anxiety toward visiting the dentist and is in need of a dental checkup. In these situations, friends and family can offer support through several different methods.
One step at a time
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, states that anxiety disorders develop from “a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.” Therefore, a patient who has dental anxiety may not be sure of why the anxiety is present. Since each individual is unique, no condition of anxiety will be exactly the same as someone else’s.
The ADAA also finds that “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States aged 18 and older.” An individual who is struggling with dental anxiety will not benefit from a friend telling the individual to get over it. The website detnalfearcentral.org offers a method to help think out the best dental scenario for a patient struggling with dental anxiety.
An individual struggling with dental anxiety may benefit from asking these basic questions, listed on dentalfearcentral.org:
- What would my “ideal” visit to a dentist be like?
- What would the dentist be like?
- What would they do?
- What wouldn’t they do?
The questions may not rid an individual of dental anxiety, but will help the individual understand what he or she needs to feel comfortable in a dental appointment. Another option is to speak with a dentist about the anxiety. In many cases, a dentist will be able to help accommodate the anxiety and help patients receive the care necessary.
How to help with dental anxiety
If a friend or a loved one is struggling with dental anxiety, it is important to know that support may not be the cure-all treatment. Rather, supporting one who is experiencing dental anxiety can lead to the path toward a solution. More than anything, it is important to be respectful of the friend struggling with dental anxiety and not act above him or her.
Mouthhealthy.org explains that even something as simple as sharing information about dental anxiety can be helpful. “Getting your concerns out in the open will let your dentist adapt the treatment to your needs,” Mouthhealthy.org writes. In other cases, a friend can help an individual struggling with dental anxiety find solutions that work.
A simple one is to wear headphones during the appointment. As mouthhealthy.org explains, “If the sound of the drill bothers you, bring headphones so you can listen to your favorite music.” Patients can also plan on scheduling an appointment at a time that will cause less pressure. In other situations, a patient who has to return to work after the appointment or the next morning may feel more anxiety about the appointment.
By explaining to the dentist that the patient has dental anxiety, the patient can make the experience much better than he or she might fear. A friend can help to support the patient by going through this process with him or her.
Anxiety is a much more common disorder in the U.S. than people realize. If you are struggling with dental anxiety or know a friend who has dental anxiety, you are not alone. Do not hesitate to call and voice your concerns before an appointment, then go over possible options. Our dental office will help find a solution so everyone involved can leave happy.
Pearl Shine Dental
At Pearl Shine Dental in Houston, TX, we will customize your treatment to match your needs and schedule. Our professional staff creates a calm atmosphere for you during the appointment and treatment process. If you have any questions or are unsure of what is causing the pain in your teeth, do not hesitate to call us.
We will answer any questions and make sure you get all of the necessary information. We can help prevent damage to your teeth and set you on track for a lifetime of pristine oral health. At Pearl Shine Dental, your experience with us and your dental health are our prime concern.