February 24, 2009
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
Overcoming Dental Anxiety
Do you feel anxious before every dentist appointment? Do you find yourself feeling sick to your stomach or getting sweaty palms? Is getting your child into the dentist chair like pulling teeth?
Though dental anxiety is quite common, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) reminds the public that this fear can be easily managed, and is even preventable.
For children, the key is to maintain regular dental checkups every six months, not only to sustain good oral health, but also to build their comfort level with the dentist. Ideally, it is recommended that parents take their child to the dentist between 6 and 12 months of age. The earlier you begin, the more your child will develop trust in the dentist and feel more comfortable in the chair.
Talk to your child about their upcoming dental visit in a positive manner, letting them know that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will help keep their teeth healthy. If your child seems nervous, try reading them a fun children's book about going to the dentist or have them use their imagination to turn the appointment into a new and exciting adventure. The dentist chair could be their very own space shuttle on a secret mission to attack plaque. Never bribe your child into going to the dentist or use a dentist visit as punishment. Do not let anyone tell your child scary stories about the dentist. As a parent or caregiver, set a good example by brushing and flossing daily and visiting the dentist regularly. If you are anxious about going to the dentist, don't share this nervousness with your child.
If you are an adult who suffers from dental anxiety, PDA recommends the following tips to help ease your anxiety:
- Choose a dentist that you trust. Find PDA member dentists in your area.
- Schedule an appointment for a time when you're less likely to be rushed, such as in the evening or on the weekend.
- If you are bothered by the sounds of the dentist office, such as the drill, bring a portable headset with you and listen to your favorite music.
- Use your imagination and picture yourself somewhere relaxing, like the beach.
- Communication is key. Share your fears with your dentist and dental staff. They can help alleviate any concerns.
"The fear of dental care can prevent improvement in one's overall health, which can then compound the patient's problems," said Dr. David Tecosky, a PDA member and general dentist from Philadelphia.
"Overcoming their fear allows patients to improve their appearance, eat better and improve their overall sense of well-being, lessening the energy the patient can utilize to further worry."View more information about overcoming dental anxiety.
the Pennsylvania Dental Association
Founded in 1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately 6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association (ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA’s mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients. PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. Learn more about PDA.