Discovering the Cause of Dental Anxiety to Manage Symptoms

Posted on: September 6, 2019

Did you know that discovering the cause of your dental anxiety can help you manage your symptoms? Once you know why you are so anxious about going to the dentist, you can tackle the problem. Then you can get dental cleanings and procedures without fear. Learn some of the common causes of dental anxiety along with ways to manage the symptoms.

Causes of dental anxiety

Dental anxiety usually does not materialize out of thin air. Most people experience anxiety due to specific causes. Patients often have anxiety due to a fear of the unknown, feeling helpless, the sound of the drill, a bad experience or embarrassment about poor oral hygiene. Discover how to overcome these fears.

Fear of the unknown

Many people experience anxiety when they do not know what to expect. Patients might be concerned about pain or the steps that the dentist must take during a procedure. People can manage the symptoms by discussing this with the dentist. The dentist will discuss the procedure, even providing step-by-step information if needed. The dentist can also discuss how the procedure will feel.

Feelings of helplessness

Some people feel helpless when visiting the dentist, and this creates anxiety. It can be difficult to talk during a dental procedure, and that adds to the feeling of helplessness. Patients can overcome this fear by working out a signal with the dentist. A simple hand signal can be used to tell the dentist to stop the procedure. Having the power to stop the dentist alleviates some of the anxiety.

Fear of the drill

Many people experience fear of the dental drill. The mere sound of the drill causes the pulse to race, and some even break out in a sweat. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. Bring noise-canceling headphones and listen to music at the dentist.

First-hand experience

Occasionally, patients have a bad experience at the dentist that causes anxiety. The experience is usually from childhood, and over time, it seems worse than it was. This can be extremely frightening, but this can be overcome. Patients should talk to dentists about this fear and discuss calming options. Numbing during cleanings is one way to overcome this fear. Patients also might consider nitrous oxide to calm down during the procedure.

Embarrassment due to poor oral hygiene

Sometimes the dental anxiety is not due to an actual fear of dental treatment. Instead, it is due to the condition of the teeth. People who have not visited the dentist for years often feel anxious about going. These patients fear judgment or even disgust from the dentist. However, dentists and hygienists treat a variety of dental conditions and will not be shocked or disgusted by a patient’s teeth. Instead, they will be pleased the patient is finally receiving oral care.

You can overcome your dental anxiety

It might seem like dental anxiety controls you, but you can get your power back. Begin by identifying the root of the fear. It might be fear of the unknown, feelings of helplessness, anxiety related to loud sounds or a first-hand experience. It could even be caused because you have not been to the dentist in years. Once you identify the cause, find the solution, so you can seek dental treatments once again.

Request an appointment here: or call Dr. Daddio and Dr. Kim Dental Group at (760) 394-3088 for an appointment in our Palm Desert office.

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