Hands up if the last time that you went to see the dentist was in the last month. How about the last six months – or year? If you still haven’t put your hand up, then perhaps you haven’t gone to see a dentist for a dental check up in over a year, or perhaps even longer than that. Have you ever stopped to think why it is that you have been avoiding going to see a dentist – after all, we very rarely neglect to go see our doctor to check and see whether anything is wrong. So why not the dentist? In many cases, it is because a person is unaware that they have dental anxiety, and so their subconscious fear of the dentist has been stopping them from going at all. So how can you tell if you have dental anxiety.
Well, there are a number of different symptoms that are all connected to having dental anxiety, and you don’t have to have all of them to be sure that it is something that you suffer from. For a start, the biggest indicator is that you are frightened of going to the dentist. This may not seem that important by itself, but you have to remember that the sort of fear that we are talking about is the fear that completely prevents you from even going. You’re not nervous, you feel actual panic, and this may lead indirectly to having a panic attack when you try to go.
In other cases, the symptoms are a lot less obvious, and harder to spot. Some people may experience a sense of claustrophobia every time that they go for a dental appointment, but they may not put the two events together. Others may feel nauseous, and others will actually be sick, so great is their fear that their body will literally try everything to prevent them from going. Some people will find that they shake uncontrollably, and others will start to see flashing lights and stars when they try to sit in the dentist’s chair. In some more extreme cases, a person will experience a medley of these different symptoms, or may express their symptoms in different ways each and every time that they try to go to the dentist.
So now that you can recognise the signs, what can you do to combat dental anxiety? Well, according to our San Diego resident dental expert Dr Paige Woods, sometimes the best thing that you can do is to speak to a dentist directly – not even necessarily in the dental office itself. Sometimes meeting a dentist such as she can help resolve some of those fears, because then the dentist does not just become a strange and frightening concept, they become a real person. Another way to process your fear is to take everything very slowly, and make your dentist aware that you have dental anxiety. Many of them will be specially trained, as Dr Paige Woods is, to help those with dental anxiety still access the best possible dental care that they require.
Having dental anxiety does not mean that you will never be able to have healthy teeth, but it is something that you need to face head on, and not ignore. Dental anxiety does not have to control you forever, and many people have found that they are able to process the anxiety and help deal with it with the proper help. You cannot keep putting off your dental appointments, and once you have found a dentist that you can trust, you can start to build up that trust to the point where you can quite happily have your teeth examined.
More about Dr. Woods and her practice in San Diego, California – http://sandiegodentist.org