Anxiety about visiting the dentist can be a serious problem.
For those with no experience of the stress a serious fear of the dentist can cause, it is easy to underestimate the importance of seeking specialist support.
Anxiety can leave a person paralysed with fear, and can even lead to panic attacks. Not only can dental anxiety have a profound effect on the mental health of a patient, it can also impact their dental health.
Dental anxiety: You are not alone
Research has found that half the UK population has a fear of going to the dentist – and of those, 12 per cent suffer a severe anxiety.
Dental anxiety is behind the failure of a large number of people to make routine visits to the dentist.
The impact of this on dental health cannot be underestimated. Regular visits to the dentist are vital to pick up the early signs of tooth decay and to have those treated early on.
Prolonged absence from the dentist will more than likely only serve to worsen an anxiety – and to further risk dental health.
While some adults have a fear of the dentist routed in a childhood experience, it is important to recognise that modern dentists make patient comfort a priority.
Dental surgeries often have toys for children and the dentist will work hard to put young patients at ease from day one.
Dentists will also discuss treatment with patients, keeping them fully informed and talking through options.
It could help to make appointments first thing in the morning to stop anxiety building up throughout the day. Also bring a friend or family member along if you want extra support.
Sedation for dental anxiety
In cases of extreme dental anxiety sedation is an option. It could also help worried patients get used to the idea of visiting the dentist and receiving treatment.
Where dental patients need sedation it is usually inhaled as ‘gas and air’. This quickly makes patients feel calm and relaxed ahead of treatment. The patient remains conscious and the effects wear off quickly after treatment.
Don’t feel that anxiety is a barrier to getting dental treatment – kind, caring and compassionate dentists are ready to help.
Prevention is always better than cure. If you are anxious about visiting the dentist please contact Bhandal Dental Surgery, we will be more than happy to reassure you.