Help for Dealing with Dental Anxiety

Did you know that between 9% and 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear?

People with dental anxiety experience a sense of uneasiness before their dental appointments. They’ll have exaggerated or unfounded worries or fears.

Dental phobia is a more serious condition than anxiety. People with dental phobia aren’t merely anxious; they are terrified or panic stricken. They know there is totally irrational but they are unable to do anything about it. Consequently, they do everything possible to avoid going to the dentist—until they are forced to do so because of extreme pain.

Common signs of dental phobia include:

  • Trouble sleeping the night before the dental exam
  • Feelings of nervousness that escalate while in the dental office waiting room
  • Crying or feeling physically ill at the very thought of visiting the dentist
  • Intense uneasiness at the thought of, or actually when, objects are placed in your mouth during the dental treatment or suddenly feeling like it is difficult to breathe

Dental anxiety and dental phobia can result from any number of things, including:

  • Fear of pain usually stemming from an early unpleasant dental experience or from listening to other people’s “horror stories.”
  • Fear of injections or fear the injection won’t work.
  • Fear of anesthetic side effects.
  • Feelings of helplessness and loss of control.
  • Feeling uncomfortable about the physical closeness of the dentist or hygienist; or feeling self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth or possible mouth odors.

dentalcomfort2 Dr. Douglas Angell and the staff at Angell’s Dentistry understand that many people are less than eager to see a dentist. We take your dental anxiety seriously and offer these suggestions for how you can minimize your anxiety at your next visit:

  • Tell us if you are tense or anxious. Getting your concerns out in the open will help us adapt the treatment to your needs.
  • Schedule your appointment for a time when you’re less likely to be rushed or under pressure.
  • Wear headphones to block out sounds you find unpleasant, or watch or listen to the TVs we have in each of our stations. You might even try visualizing yourself relaxing on a warm beach.
  • Ask us to explain what’s happening at every stage of the procedure. This way you can mentally prepare for what’s to come.
  • Establish a signal, such as raising your hand, when you want us to immediately stop a procedure—whether it is because you are feeling uncomfortable, you need to rinse your mouth, or you simply need to catch your breath.

Keep in mind that thanks to the many advances in dentistry made over the years, most of today’s dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain-free. If dental anxiety or phobia is an issue for you, rest assured that at Angell’s Dentistry you can expect compassionate care in a pleasant atmosphere. You will be treated by a friendly, well-trained, professional staff that puts your comfort first.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at:

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