Hammaslääkäriasema Helmiäinen

Dental Fear

Dental anxiety is common, with up to half of the population experiencing fear of dental visits. It’s important to recognize that feeling fear is nothing to be ashamed of.

This fear can stem from various sources, often from unpleasant past experiences that could date back years or even decades.

Despite these fears, it is crucial not to delay or avoid visiting the dentist. Oral health significantly impacts overall health, and neglecting dental care can lead to infections that may harm the entire body. Fortunately, there are many strategies available to manage and overcome dental anxiety.

It’s important to talk about dental anxiety

It’s advisable to mention your fear when booking your appointment so that it can be considered right from the start. At Helmiäinen, we always allocate extra time for patients with dental anxiety. If making the appointment yourself feels daunting, consider having a trusted person do it for you.

On your first visit, it’s not necessary to undergo any dental procedures. You may simply book an appointment for a check-up or even just a conversation. It’s important to inform your dentist about your fear at the beginning of the appointment.

Together with your dentist, you can agree on a signal for taking a break. Raising a hand is an effective and clear signal that a breather is needed. Knowing that you can signal for a pause helps maintain control over the situation and can ease the intensity of your anxiety. Dental phobia often stems from a fear of losing control.

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Dental Anxiety and Relaxation

Practicing relaxation techniques can help you live with fear or even overcome it entirely. Relaxation methods may include active muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and visualization exercises. Listening to calming music through headphones can also be helpful.

If fear causes tension in a specific part of the body, it’s beneficial to learn how to relax that particular area. Breathing and tension are interconnected. Anxiety can cause breathing to become rapid and shallow. Slowing down the breathing rhythm activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which operates during rest, helping to calm the body stressed by fear.

Conscious visualization exercises are an effective way to soothe both the mind and body. Some patients with dental phobia also find distraction helpful, such as watching a television mounted near the ceiling. Focusing on a TV program can temporarily divert attention from dental anxiety.

Anesthesia alleviates pain

Modern anesthetics are highly effective, so there is no need to fear pain. If the injection itself is a concern, a numbing gel can be applied to the mucosa before administering the anesthetic, making even the injection painless.

Pre-medication Helps Relax

When treating patients with dental anxiety, pre-medication can be used to support the actual treatment. The pre-medication is taken on an empty stomach 45–60 minutes before the procedure. It helps the patient feel more relaxed, and its effects typically wear off within a few hours.

It’s a good idea to mention a request for pre-medication when making the initial appointment.

Sedation Dentistry

For those with severe dental anxiety, sedation dentistry can be an effective solution. Sedation is categorized into light and deep sedation. In light sedation, an anesthesiologist administers medication to relax the patient, reducing their level of consciousness. Light sedation is suitable for adult patients undergoing procedures that last about two hours.

Deep sedation, or general anesthesia, is appropriate for patients who need extensive dental work or whose treatment might otherwise be neglected due to fear. Learn more about sedation dentistry.

hammaslääkäri Katariina Moberg Tampere, hammassärky tampere