Easing Anxiety Can Be Good For Your Oral Health

tooth-colored_fillings_2 | Dr. Jennifer Perkins, DDS

Your tooth is starting to hurt. It’s not unbearable pain, but you worry that it could be a problem.

In this situation, a lot of people would call the dentist to set up an appointment.

It’s not that easy for you. You have dental anxiety.

You’ve been fearful about going to the dentist for as long as you can remember.

It’s why, even though you should let a dental professional take a look at your tooth, you still want to avoid going there. How much can your tooth hurt, right? It can’t be worse than sitting in a dentist’s chair, can it?

In all honesty, ignoring a painful tooth is not going to help it get better. Whatever problem you may be having today is going to get worse. Even so, that’s not going to make it any easier for you to drive to a dental office.

At the office of Jennifer Perkins, DDS, we want to help change your perception of what a dental office is like. If you live in or near Huntsville, AL, we welcome you to stop by and meet us before you make an appointment. We are happy to answer your questions and to explain our patient-first approach to dental care. Calling 256-801-0002 can be your first step.

We want you to be comfortable because we want you to have a healthy mouth. We know that’s more likely if you feel at ease with the people caring for you.

How Common is Dental Anxiety

You should know that there is nothing wrong with you if you feel afraid, anxious, or nervous about visiting the dentist. This is an incredibly common concern for tens of millions of people across the United States.

Dental fear affects men and women. It affects people from all walks of life from farmers and firefighters to teachers and truck drivers.

Knowing exactly how many people have a fear of the dentist is not entirely clear. Experts who have studied this estimate that between 9 and 15 percent of the population avoid dental care because of their fear.

This does not include another group of people who will go to the dentist in spite of their anxious feelings.

While this is common, it also can have some unfortunate consequences that go beyond just an increased risk of cavities and gum disease. But this is something you already know. We won’t belabor that point here.

Instead, let’s consider some reasons you may feel this anxiety. Knowing the source of your feelings can help you find a way to manage them so that you can get the care that you need and deserve.

Reasons You May Feel Anxious

We need to state that we can’t mention every possible reason someone might feel anxious about dental care in this space. We’ve met and helped a number of patients, and all of them are different.

With that in mind, we do want to mention some of the most common reasons people tell us that they have a hard time scheduling a cleaning or other treatments.

Many times, people tell us their dental fear developed as a result of a bad experience in their childhood. For some people, this means they had some kind of painful procedure. Unfortunately, patient comfort wasn’t always considered a priority be every dentist.

In other cases, a dentist may have been overly critical. Patients have told us stories about getting yelled at because they had a cavity or a gum infection. That can cause some people to worry that they will be judged harshly if their teeth aren’t perfect.

Gagging is another common concern for many patients. It’s simply a fact that some people have a much more sensitive gag reflex than others, and there is research to suggest that anxiety can make people more likely to gag, too.

Dentistry has improved in a lot of ways over the years. We are much more aware of how anxiety can affect individual patients. Understanding the reasons for your anxiety also can help us find ways to make your visits easier to handle.

We’ll discuss some specific things that we do to help our patients feel calm and relaxed in a bit.

The Effects of Anxiety

The most obvious impact of dental anxiety is that it is an obstacle to getting the oral care that you need.

Beyond that anxiety can have other effects on your health. First and foremost, everyone feels anxious sometimes. If it’s not about dental visits, it may be about public speaking, a job interview, or going on a first date.

In situations that cause high anxiety, you may feel a “fight or flight” response. This can cause an adrenaline rush. This can cause an increase in hormone levels and changes in blood sugar levels. Some people may also experience a faster heartbeat, rapid breathing, and sweating.

Finding ways to calm your anxiety can reduce these effects as well.

Ways You Can Manage That Anxiety

The first thing you should know is that your physical and emotional comfort is important to Dr. Perkins and the rest of our team. If something is bothering you at any time before, during, or after your visit, please let us know, so we can help.

To help you feel more at home, we gladly provide refreshments. To help you feel cozy and warm, we have pillows and blankets that you can use as well during any visit with us. If you’d like, we’ll even put one of your favorite shows on the television for you.

Laughing gas is another option for patients who are having a little trouble feeling relaxed. By breathing in the gas, you’ll feel a sense of calm, and you can rest assured that you won’t feel any pain.

For patients who need something stronger, we also offer oral sedation. This is a pill you can take before your appointment so you’ll feel its calming and pain-blocked benefits before your appointment begins. You must arrange for someone else to drive you to and from your appointment if you choose this option, however.

We Provide Help & Support

At Dr. Perkins’s office, you aren’t going to be criticized. You’ll also find that our team goes out of our way to help every patient feel comfortable when they come to our Huntsville, AL dental office.

If you have any questions about our approach to patient care or options for relieving dental anxiety, please contact us online or call 256-801-0002.

Call Today to Make an Appointment

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