If you have anxiety, you are probably sick of people telling you to just relax. They act like your anxiety is somehow your choice, and, if you want to, you can just make a choice to stop being anxious. Hopefully, they will sit up and take notice of a new study showing that anxiety is linked to different brain function, and that people with anxiety can’t help overgeneralizing frightening scenarios that increase their anxiety levels.
Anxiety Is Learned
One of the most important things to remember about anxiety is that it doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from specific stimuli that caused loss or hurt. However, in people with anxiety, those expectations of loss and hurt become generalized to a wider category of future events than those who don’t experience anxiety.
While a person without anxiety might rightfully fear a bad experience with a dentist where they’ve had a bad experience in the past, someone with anxiety might take a bad experience with a dentist and generalize it to all dentists. They might even be drawing from a bad experience with a doctor, or something else that they are reminded of when in the dentist’s chair.
Gain experiences are also generalized in people with anxiety. They tend to diminish the gain they experience in certain situations. Sometimes it’s already hard to appreciate the benefits of making your regular dental checkups, but for people with anxiety it’s even harder.
We Can Help You Address Your Anxiety
At Contemporary Dentistry, we work hard to help our anxious patients have great experiences in our office. We do this in many ways. First, we understand your anxiety. We don’t belittle your feelings or try to make you feel guilty for your anxiety. We know you don’t want to be anxious and would love to be free of it.
We practice gentle, holistic dentistry. We focus on a comprehensive program of preventive care that reduces your need for fillings and other treatments that can cause your anxiety levels to spike. Instead, we favor a watch-and-wait approach so you’ll be spared a surprise filling.
We also offer sedation dentistry for people who have difficulty overcoming anxiety on their own. With sedation dentistry, you can relax at the dentist’s office even if you naturally experience high levels of anxiety. This can help you build up new associations with the dentist so that maybe over time you will be able to feel more positive emotions and less anxiety about dental visits.