Three Types Of Anxiety That Can Affect Dental Patients

Some tips for our Burton patients who suffer from this relatively common problem.

Stress is increasingly common in our society. Although we may live a relatively privileged life in the West compared to some parts of the world, there are still many things that can happen in our lives which can lead to an increase in stress. If this is not managed correctly, it can lead to health issues, and, from our perspective, can also have an effect on your oral health.

In today’s blog then, the team at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice take a look at three common types of anxiety that can have an impact on dental issues.

Dental anxiety

This is the most common and most obvious type of anxiety that can have a really significant impact on a patient’s oral health. Most people probably have some degree of stress when a dental visit is due, but for most people, this is relatively low level and does not prevent them from attending their appointment. For these people, providing that they look after their teeth correctly at home, any dental issues are likely to be relatively minimal.

Not everyone is so fortunate though. Some people find the idea of visiting the dentist to be extremely stressful and may even bring on panic attacks. The problem is that taking the ‘easy’ option and not seeing a dentist will only make things worse when you finally have no other option, perhaps as an emergency appointment due to severe toothache, for example.

Our Burton dentists do understand patient’s concerns about visiting the dentist and be assured that some dentists are none too keen to have a dental procedure performed either. The reality is though, that without regular professional supervision, your oral health will suffer. If you have significant anxiety about seeing a dentist, please talk to our friendly team who will do everything that they can to help you to relax and have any necessary treatment.

Smile anxiety

This is perhaps a less ‘serious’ type of anxiety, but one that can still have an impact on people’s lives. Most of us want to look our best, and some other ‘appearance issues’ can be masked with makeup etc. If you have unsightly crooked and discoloured teeth though, there are no shortcuts to making them look nicer, other than perhaps keeping your mouth closed. Anxiety about their smile may prevent some people from attending social functions and generally losing confidence in themselves. The good news is that most aesthetic dental issues can now be resolved through cosmetic dentistry.

There are three main categories of teeth affected in this way that can be treated.

Missing teeth – Whilst dentures or a bridge can fill the gap between your teeth, we recommend that patients at least consider dental implants. These offer a long and strong solution that both looks and feels very natural once placed. Maintenance is also more straightforward when compared with dentures or a bridge.

Crooked teeth – Old style dental braces can be a thing of the past, and you can now have your teeth straightened with modern discreet orthodontic systems.

Discoloured teeth – One of the most popular of all cosmetic procedures, our popular teeth whitening treatment is a great way to reduce discolouration and give you a bright attractive smile again. Even where severe staining has occurred, such as through heavy smoking, a solution is available in the form of dental veneers that are used to replace/cover the affected surface enamel of the teeth.

General anxiety and TMJ

If you are generally anxious about your life, you may well develop certain habits. For some, it is a nervous tick, whilst others are likely to grind their teeth, often whilst they sleep. This can be very damaging and worn down and broken teeth are far from uncommon when this happens. Unfortunately, this can be very difficult to manage, although stress relief techniques may help. Once you have overcome your stress though, you may wish to have your teeth restored, for example using white dental fillings or crowns.

Anxiety can also lead to TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint disorder). This can be very painful and can also occur when a patient has an uneven bite, perhaps due to missing teeth. This is one of the reasons that we recommend that patients have missing teeth replaced, even if they are the less visible ones at the rear of the mouth.

We are pleased to note that many anxious patients have been able to either overcome or reduce their dental anxiety levels thanks to the friendly and patient nature of the dedicated team here at our Burton practice. We can also, of course, help to restore any aesthetic dental issues that are causing you concern.

If you would like to talk to us about any of the issues raised, or for any dental issue in general, please call MIke Allen’s Dental Practice on 01283 845345.