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At Masterpiece Dental, we try to make your visit a relaxing and enjoyable experience. But to people who have dental anxiety, their dental appointments may seem like the equivalent to a horror flick. What is dental anxiety? How does it develop? And more importantly, how can you overcome it?

What Is Dental Anxiety?

In short, dental anxiety is a phobia of visiting the dentist. Patients with dental anxiety feel extremely nervous about going to a dental office, even if it’s just for a routine checkup. They may have trouble sleeping the night before their appointment and can even feel physically ill beforehand. People with dental anxiety have such a great fear that they often avoid receiving dental care altogether.

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

How do people with dental anxiety develop such an intense fear of the dentist? The cause could be one of many reasons:

  • They had a horrible experience at a dental office as a child
  • They have a sensitive gag reflex
  • They fear pain and the needles used for anesthetic injections
  • They hate the sound of a dental drill
  • They dislike the close proximity of the hygienist and dentist
  • They feel helpless in the dental chair
  • They feel embarrassed about the state of their oral health
  • They don’t like having dental tools in their mouth

What Solutions Are There For Dental Anxiety?

Patients with dental anxiety often avoid dental care, which only increases their risk for dental problems like cavities and gum disease. However, there are many solutions available which help patients overcome their dental anxiety, such as:

  • Using sedation options like nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation
  • Having a family or friend come to the appointment for moral support
  • Bringing pillows and blankets to improve comfort
  • Using a hand signal to let the dentist know they need a breather
  • Distracting themselves with music

Call our dental office in American Fork, Utah, if you would like to learn more about how one can overcome dental anxiety.