One of the more common fears of visiting the dentist is a concern over the anesthetic used. This fear can manifest itself in many ways and it is important to address the underlying cause of concern to ensure you are able to move forward with your treatment. Below are three common causes of this fear and how you can overcome them:
Fear of Choking
Many people are worried that the anesthetic will cause their body to go numb, leading to functional problems that could result in choking. This fear arises because local anesthetic can cause the surrounding area to go numb, which in turn means that you won't feel anything while swallowing. However, this doesn't mean that you can't swallow. Rather, it simply means that your brain is limiting signals from the affected area to ensure that you do not feel any discomfort.
When local anesthetic is administered at the dosages required for dental procedures, the substance will not affect your motor functions. Dentists and dental nurses are highly trained professionals that will be able to keep the dosage at the exact level required to ensure you do not feel any pain yet do not lose any control over your body.
Viewing Numbness as a Threat
Going numb is a strange experience and isn't typically encountered in your day-to-day life. As such, your body can often misinterpret the sensation as being dangerous, perhaps due to illness or a lack of blood to the area. Even if you know that the numbness is caused by anesthetic, your subconscious brain may jump to hasty conclusions that can cause you to feel anxious.
In these situations, it's important to remain as calm as possible and recognize the changes in your emotional state. Rather than allowing the anxiety to build, take the time to calm down and understand your body's response to the situation.
Loss of Control
Local anesthetic can cause a number of minor side effects such as drooling. This drooling occurs because the brain switches of signals from this region of the mouth, making it difficult to stop the drooling from occurring.
This fear is more generally noticed as a fear of losing control. Many people are concerned that a loss of control increases their risk of injury. They are worried that a loss of sensation around the mouth means that they will be unable to detect pain and can end up hurting themselves by accident. Others are concerned that a loss of control may lead to an embarrassing situation, such as drooling at the mouth without noticing. Whatever the underlying reason is, it is recognized that people do not want to lose control of their body and this can translate into a general fear of visiting the dentist.
Unfortunately, some form of anesthetic is required in order to carry out dental procedures safely. As such, the side effects cannot be entirely removed. However, it's important to realize that everyone has these concerns and everyone has to visit the dentist at some point. You are not the only person that is worried about this. However, if you are particularly concerned, you should aim to visit the dentist at the weekend or when you are on an extended period of annual leave. This way you don't have to return to the office after your procedure and can take time to heal at home in private. For more information, talk to a professional like Mainwaring John D DDS.