How to Overcome Dental Anxiety During A Pandemic
We are all afraid of something. Sadly, some people have developed anxiety over dentists and dental treatments. If you cringe at the idea of sitting in a dental chair, that can be a sign of dental anxiety.
According to a study conducted by ADA, 22% of the population are afraid of going to the dentist. Without proper oral health treatments from a dental practice, you increase your chances of getting sick. Colorado State University researchers found more communities of disease-causing microbiomes on adults who did not visit the dentist for a year.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is a constant feeling that something will go wrong during your dental treatment. It leads patients to neglect dental appointments that can progress their dental problems into an emergency case.
Possible reasons for dental anxiety:
- Bad experience from a dentist/dental treatment
- An underlying fear of medical or dental tools
- Dentists were used by your parents to incite fear to discipline their children
Here’s a list of dental anxiety triggers you might have:
- The sight of needles and air-turbine drills
- Sounds of drilling
- The smell of some chemicals like eugenol
- Sensations of high-frequency vibrations in the mouth
- Fear of blood
- Trust issues with the dentist
- Fear of sharp objects
Locust Family Dentistry encourages our patients to communicate their dental fear and overall health condition. It plays a big part in knowing how we can work together to overcome their dental anxiety and keep everyone safe from the coronavirus.
How COVID-19 Has Intensified Dental Anxiety
With COVID-19, the fear of going to the dentist comes from getting infected and the usual fear of the dental experience. Dentistry has the highest exposure to the virus because the mouth is one of the primary sources of transmission.
Close contact with patients and aerosol treatments also poses risks of aerosolized transmission that requires dental care professionals to wear PPEs.
Even if the world seems to be in a halt, medical and dental needs will continue to occur. The best way to deal with fear and uncertainty is to prepare and educate yourself about the coronavirus.
Ways to Overcome with Dental Anxiety During The Pandemic
Dentists are there to provide comfort and security that you’ll be fine during your dental treatment. Here are some tips on how you can work as a team with your dentist to overcome your dental anxiety during the pandemic:
Communicate With Your Dentist
Telling the truth about your health condition during a pandemic is crucial. Some of the steps that you should adhere to communicating with your dentist are as follows:
- You must be honest about your vital signs, travel history, exposure to the virus, and dental anxiety triggers.
- Your dentist will explain the risks of having a dental treatment amid coronavirus.
- Inform them right away if your condition is a dental emergency or not. You can classify your case here.
- Your dentist can disclose your Patient Identifiable Information to authorities for contact tracing in case contamination occurs within the practice.
- Inform them of your underlying medical conditions to know if you’re considered a high-risk patient.
Follow Sanitation and Disinfection Processes
OSHA has set specific guidelines for dental practices to ensure the safety of its patients and staff. Following these steps is paramount and will make you feel more secure that you’ve done your part.
- Frequent handwashing for 20 seconds or using 60% alcohol
- Wearing of face masks and other protective equipment like PPEs
- Social distancing
- Proper disposal of used tissues and facemasks
- Safe ways of sneezing or coughing
- Report as soon as possible if you’re sick or not feeling well
- Refrain from touching surfaces in public places
Educate Yourself On How to Avoid Contamination
There’s no better way of being sure you’re safe than educating yourself on how you can get infected by the virus. According to the CDC, transmission happens through:
- People that are in close contact within about 6 feet.
- Respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes. The transfer occurs when these droplets land in the mouth or nose and reach the lungs.
- Touching contaminated surfaces or things then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Close contact with asymptomatic patients that show no symptoms of the virus.
Plan Your Dental Appointment
To keep dental anxiety at bay, prepare everything you will need for your dental appointment. Inform your dentist when you’ll arrive at the practice and refrain from visiting without prior notice.
Your insurance documents, protective gear, and sanitation kit should all be ready. Time holds the most value because more exposure to the unseen virus leads to a higher chance of getting infected.
Equip Yourself with Protective Equipment
The three transmission sources of coronavirus are the mouth, nose, and eyes. Keep them covered with protective equipment before and after your dental procedure. Have the following items handy during your dental treatment:
- Travel size soap and water(water bottle)
- Disinfectant spray for your shoes, car or goods bought outside
Safety Protocols and Infection Control at Locust Family Dentistry
We make sure that both our patients and staff are safe by implementing strict guidelines mandated by the CDC. Our practice is now open to provide dental care services to the Locust community. We also accept both emergency and non-emergency dental cases. Let us know how we can help by contacting us.
Locust Family Dentistry hopes to see you smile again and be free from pain. May we all be safe in this uncertain time.