Effective Strategies for Helping Adults with Dental Anxiety

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Fear of a dentist, popularly known as dental anxiety or dental phobia, is one common reason people do not visit their dentists as recommended. Notably, dental anxiety arises from many factors, including previous experiences, fear of pain, dental embarrassment and the side effects of anesthesia. While correcting dental phobia in children is easy, adults are a different challenge for dentists, especially if a patient has lived with the phobia for a long time. However, dentists can still use effective strategies to help adult patients with dental phobia.

Show Potential Results before Procedure

Treating an anxious patient sitting on a dentist's chair can be a big problem. For instance, a nervous patient does not readily open their mouth for a dentist to examine the condition of their teeth. They also exhibit poor memory and might not answer questions asked. One of the most effective and practical strategies that most dentists use to manage anxious adults is showing them a procedure's results before they begin treatment. For example, when a nervous patient walks in for deep scaling, you should not dive straight into the procedure. Instead, show them how clean their teeth will look once all the plaque and tartar are gone. It helps calm down a patient and lets you have an easy time working on their pearly whites.

Allow Distractions

Patients deal with dental anxiety differently, and dentists should try their best to support the various approaches. For example, some adult patients find music to have a calming effect on their anxiety; hence, they walk around with earphones. Other patients prefer to have a friend or close family member in a treatment room as a source of support. As a dentist, you should allow such distractions as long as they do not interfere with a procedure. Most importantly, you should be a source of encouragement if your patient's anxiety management strategy allows them to keep up with their appointments.

Embrace Emerging Dental Technology

Some patients immediately get anxious at the sound of dental instruments. Others cannot stand the thought of a traditional injection needle stubbing their soft gum tissue. If the tools you use make your patients anxious, it is time to invest in new technologically-improved equipment. For instance, dentists prefer microneedles for oral injections since they are painless. In fact, patients are often surprised when they find out that a dentist injected them, and they did not even realise it. Besides, quiet dental equipment goes a long way in helping anxious patients who cannot stand noisy tools to help them calm down.

For additional information, reach out to local dentists near you.