Dental Anxiety: Do I Have It?

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Vinson
  • 9th Aerospace Medical Squadron
Do you fear the dentist? Do you feel that you have "white coat syndrome" where you fear any medical provider? If you have all or some of these feelings, you might have dental anxiety.

Some of the most common causes of dental anxiety include, previous unpleasant experiences, hearing about unpleasant dental experiences from others and feelings of embarrassment for having poor oral health. Dental anxiety is a common disorder that is treatable.

Dental anxiety is very common, about nine to 15 percent of Americans have some sort of dental fear. Most people experience some degree of dental anxiety especially if they are about to have an unfamiliar procedure done. An open line of communication with your dentist can make a huge difference and help in dealing with dental anxiety.

Here are some simple tips to help manage dental anxiety:

1) Inform your dentist about your anxiety so they may adapt the treatment to your needs.
2) Choose a time of day to schedule your dental visit where you don't feel rushed or pressured.
3) Establish a signal for when you need a break.
4) Remember to breathe.
5) Listen to music.
6) Think good thoughts.
7) Make a conscious effort to relax.
8) Don't avoid treatment that can worsen over time.

These simple tips can help ease dental anxiety and make your dental visit a positive one.