Anxiety Disorders And Dentistry

Many people who visit the dentist feel anxious. It's a common condition that dentists have been trained to handle. What happens if you have an actual dental phobia and have to go to the dentist? The entire appointment can become an emotional landmine. If you have clinical anxiety, you can work with your dentist to make treatment easier.

Oral Health Care Issues

If you have anxiety, you are more prone to develop certain issues. You may suffer from canker sores, TMJ, and dry mouth. In addition, you may be more prone to grind your teeth. On top of all these possibilities, you may also be so scared of the dentist that you avoid ever going, meaning you could have extensive tooth decay and advanced gum disease. 

Dental Assessment

Your dentist will need to assess exactly how anxious you are in order to treat you effectively. Although there are several dental anxiety "tests," your dentist may simply use the SDFQ or single dental fear question. Your answer to "Last time you visited your dentist, how did it go?" can help your dentist plan your treatment. If you respond extremely fearfully, you'll be ranked a four and given special treatment. 

Special Techniques

For patients with extreme anxiety, dentists do use some drug treatments. In some cases, the dentist will give you general anesthesia in order to treat your oral health issues. You may also be a candidate for conscious sedation. However, your dentist may also suggest that you try cognitive behavior therapy where you will learn techniques to help you with all types of anxiety. Part of the therapy is simply learning relaxation methods. Professionals may also try to "desensitize" you to your dental fears. Fortunately, this type of therapy takes place over a relatively short period of time, so you won't have to delay necessary dental treatment for long. Around 77% of those who sought psychological help for this condition continued to see the dentist regularly for at least four years. 

Dental phobia is a real and troubling condition. Those who have it would rather experience serious gum and tooth pain rather than seek treatment. This type of anxiety is clinical and cannot be overcome by determination. It's a real psychological condition that requires a knowledgeable dentist to identify. When your dentist is trained in this area, they can help you find the relief you seek so that you can have your dental health restored. For questions about how to treat your dental anxiety or for any other information, contact Treasured Smiles Dentistry.