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How Common Is Dental Anxiety?

Going to the dentist can be highly stressful for many people. Whether it is fear of pain or the unknown of dental procedures, dental appointments can cause anxiety, which may keep patients from their regularly scheduled care. You may think that a fear of the dentist is irrational or perhaps embarrassing, but it is actually very common!

One study done states that anywhere from 50%-80% of the population experiences dental anxiety in some form. The same study discusses that around 20% of people with dental anxiety don’t go to the dentist regularly. Or they will avoid seeking care completely. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one-third of Americans don’t go to the dentist at least once per year. This number may not be entirely due to anxiety about visiting the dentist. Still, fear of the dentist keeps many people from getting checkups or seeking medical attention for dental issues. 

If you have dental anxiety, you are in the same company as nearly 100 million people. You are not alone. It is normal to have anxiety about visiting the dentist or dental procedures. So dentists are well aware of ways to help their patients get through their procedures and make their appointments. 

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How Can You Ease Your Anxiety?

One reason why many people are anxious or worried about visiting a dentist is that they are concerned about pain or the process of a particular procedure. The easiest method of reducing this fear is to talk to your dentist. Your dentist can explain each step to you before your procedure, whether it is a regular dental cleaning or a root canal. Knowledge of what you will experience can go a long way in helping you relax. 

You may even request that your dentist tells you what they are doing as they are doing it. They would explain they will gently scrape the plaque off your teeth before they put the tools in your mouth. Many dentists will even ask for permission to move forward with a procedure step-by-step to help put your mind at ease. 

If it is pain that concerns you, your dentist will prepare you. You may learn that you won’t experience any pain throughout your procedure. Or the pain won’t be nearly as bad as you anticipate. However, if you should expect pain or discomfort, your dentist will be sure to give you pain medication. They may also describe how to minimize pain with ice and rest. 

It is important to realize that your dentist wants to help you and make sure that your mouth is in good condition. Most dentists realize how nervewracking it is for many people to make it into their office, so they give their patients compassion and understanding. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about fearing dental procedures. But you should be sure to discuss this anxiety with your dental professional.