Does visiting a Minneapolis dentist feel your or your child with anxiety? Some degree of dental fear in children is common as they enter a new environment and are confronted with new routines and equipment. However, it’s estimated that as many as 75 percent of US adults also experience some degree of dental fear, from mild to severe, as reported in scientific surveys over the years.
Often this anxiety comes from a fear of pain, a bad experience with dental care in the past or even just the stories you hear someone else tell about a bad experience. If dental fear develops in a child, it will be more likely to persist in adulthood, so it’s important to address it early, rather than later.
Our Minneapolis dentist office had a number of suggestions about coping with anxiety:
Make it fun for kids before their first visit
If you have a child who will be going to the dentist for the first time, try reading a book to them about the dentist or finding a video they can watch. Presenting a dental visit as a positive experience, not something to fear, is important. Parents, children will sense your own feelings, so try not to let yourself stress too much about your children’s trips, either.
Communicate with your Minneapolis dentist
If you feel some anxiety about dental care, be forthcoming with your dentist. Often, people resist opening up about their concerns, and this only heightens the anxiety. When you communicate with your dentist, he or she can be more sensitive to your needs and go the extra mile to make you comfortable.
Most importantly, don’t hold one bad experience, or even a story you heard about a bad experience, against every dentist. Give your dentist a chance to show you they can be a caring, professional who will ensure you leave the office feeling better about your teeth and your stress levels.
Learn the truth about dental pain
Much dental anxiety comes from the myth that going to the dentist will cause you pain. With today’s technology and medication, dental treatments are becoming far less invasive all the time. At one time, all cleanings hand to be done by hand with a number of handheld instruments that may have intimidated some patients. Now, we have machines that can do the work more quickly and just as effectively.
Similarly, technology has helped us address other common phobias, like fear of a needle. If you are terrified of needles, there are alternatives available, so once again, it’s important to communicate with your dentist about these anxieties.
In extreme cases, try sedation
Above all else, it’s important that you receive regular oral care. Dental anxiety sometimes has been known to cause some people to avoid routine care that can be essential in preventing serious dental problems.
If your anxiety is too difficult to manage on your own, you should consider sedation dentistry. Gendler Dental Center does offer sedation to help patients who experience anxiety. A trained dental professional will administer a sedative to relax you (Read more in our article Sedation Dentistry MN Benefits).
Sedation can also be helpful in pediatric patients who have some fear in their first visits to a Minneapolis dentist. If a dentist can perform procedures while the child is in a relaxed state, it will greatly reduce the chance that child will develop an anxiety about the dentist’s office.
If you or your children have experienced dental anxiety, we want you to know there is a Minneapolis dentist who can help you cope and overcome your fear for the best experience possible.