Have you ever avoided a dental appointment? There are a million excuses for rescheduling, but some patients put off going to the dentist because they are full of overwhelming nervousness. The biology of fear can transcend logic and rationale. If you have a true anxiety disorder, the racing heart, muscle tightness, and gasping for breath which accompanies a typical panic attack are simply something you can’t control. Des Moines IA dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson wants you to know that you’re not alone if you feel nervous about dental appointments.
Q1. True or false – Anxiety and panic disorders involve the hypothalamus.
Q2. True or false – Crossed signals in your nerves cause fear.
Q3. True or false – About 1 in 4 people in America have an anxiety disorder.
A1. FALSE – Fear is a chain reaction which starts in your brain. When you encounter a stressful stimulus (sometimes unconsciously) your heart begins to race. Next, your breathing pattern becomes faster, and your muscles tighten up. You may have a particular phobia that sets you off (perhaps going to the dentist) or you may feel generalized anxiety and panic with no obvious cause. In the case of dental anxiety, sedation dentistry is a great solution to help keep you comfortable while still properly caring for your teeth and gums.
A2. TRUE –The hypothalamus is a part of your brain which controls the ancient “fight or flight” survival response. When anxious, your body experiences a flood of various hormones, including epinephrine and norepinephrine. A rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure will ensue. Your pupils even dilate when you are scared. Brain fog and fuzziness are often reported when someone has a panic attack. All of these responses begin with your hypothalamus.
A3. TRUE – Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million adults in America. This makes anxiety the most common mental illness in the United States amongst people age 18 and older.
Schedule a Visit with Your Des Moines IA Dentist
If you are nervous, we can help calm your anxieties with sedation options. Contact Dr. Johnson today to schedule an appointment or a consultation by calling our 50266 dentist office at 515-223-9764. We welcome patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, and nearby Des Moines metro communities.