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Dental anxiety: your questions answered



Dental anxiety is a common issue in the UK, with up to one in six adults experiencing some form of dental fear or phobia. It can range from mild anxiety to a severe phobia that can cause individuals to avoid dental appointments altogether.


At Bridge Street Dental Surgery, we know just how important it is for our anxious patients to feel at ease when they visit us. Read this blog to learn more about dental anxiety - the causes, effects, coping mechanisms, and the steps we take to help our patients:


What causes dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety can stem from a variety of sources, including previous negative dental experiences, fear of pain, embarrassment over the condition of one’s teeth, and a lack of control during dental procedures. For some individuals, dental anxiety may also be linked to general anxiety disorders or specific phobias.


How might it impact your life?

Dental anxiety can have a significant impact on your oral health - it may cause you to miss much-needed dental appointments, meaning that dental problems are likely to go undiagnosed and untreated.


Eventually, this can lead to more significant issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. These anxieties can also lead to more complex dental procedures being required, which can exacerbate the fear and anxiety associated with dental visits.


How can you manage dental anxiety?

Thankfully, there are several ways to address dental anxiety in the UK. Here are some of the most effective methods:


1. Communication

Effective communication between you and your dentist is one of the most effective ways to reduce dental anxiety. At Bridge Street Dental Surgery, we help to alleviate your anxieties by explaining procedures in detail, using simple language, and taking the time to answer any questions that patients may have.


2. Sedation

For individuals with severe dental anxiety, sedation can be an effective option. Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. There are different types of sedation available, ranging from mild sedatives to general anaesthesia.


3. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a form of therapy that can be effective in treating anxiety disorders, including dental anxiety. It involves identifying negative thought patterns and replacing them with more positive, realistic thoughts. CBT can be used in conjunction with other treatments to help patients manage their anxiety.


4. Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation can help individuals to manage their anxiety during dental appointments. These techniques can be practised at home and used during dental visits to help reduce anxiety.


5. Dental phobia support groups

Joining a support group can be helpful for individuals with dental phobias. Support groups provide a safe space for individuals to discuss their fears and concerns with others who have experienced similar issues. Support groups can also provide information about treatments and coping strategies.


Can dental anxiety be prevented?

Preventing dental anxiety from developing in the first place is the best approach. Parents can help to prevent dental anxiety in their children by establishing good dental hygiene habits at an early age, providing positive reinforcement for dental visits, and avoiding negative language around dental procedures.


How do we help anxious patients at Bridge Street?

At Bridge Street Dental Surgery, we understand that many patients may feel nervous or apprehensive when visiting the dentist, whether it is mild anxiety or a full-blown dental phobia. However, we want to assure you that this is a common experience, and you should not feel pressured to hide or ignore your feelings.


Our team of friendly and expert dentists in Tadcaster have been specially trained to help even the most nervous patients feel at ease. During the consultation phase, we will take the time to speak with you about your treatment, so you are fully informed before proceeding with any procedures.


Throughout your check-ups and treatments, we will communicate with you constantly to ensure that you feel comfortable and informed at all times. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you like, and we are always happy to answer them. Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question!

At Bridge Street Dental Surgery, we have created a calming and relaxing environment to help you feel at ease during every visit.


Some of our lovely patients who are prone to dental anxiety have taken the time to tell us about the calming experience they felt at Bridge Street:


“For anyone seeking a new dentist, I can only highly recommend Bridge Street Dental. The team here has created one of the most friendly, warm and caring environments that I have ever been to (and I have been to many!). As someone afraid of visiting dentists, with nerves and borderline PTSD from some of my experiences, the team here have turned this around and even made me look forward to my appointments. Joanna is fabulous! Not only for her personality but the high quality of her work. Abbie and Amanda are assets to the team. Every team member has been so welcoming and kind. Nicola and Rob, I hope you are both extremely proud of what you have created.” - Melissa V

We have been patients of Rob for several years and have always been pleased with the treatment we have received. I am a very nervous patient and Rob seems aware of this and is always kind and sympathetic. He is the best dentist I have ever had - Janice Quinn

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