It’s not uncommon to experience some level of anxiety during a dental appointment. But in some cases, the nervousness turns into overwhelming anxiety leading to chest pain stress. How exactly does stress translate to chest pain for anxious dental patients?
Causes of Chest Pain
When a trip to the dentist triggers extreme fear and stress, it’s referred to as dental anxiety. This is a common problem that mostly affects young adults, making them scared of visiting the dentist. In other cases, however, the anxiety rises to extreme levels and is categorized as dental phobia. Dental patients suffering from either condition might experience a number of symptoms including:
– shallow breathing
– palpitations or a racing heart (tachycardia)
When such symptoms set in, patients often complain of chest pains. These are sharp and fleeting pains that result from intense and rapid muscle contractions. It could also start as a feeling of tightness, numbness or tension around the chest area and spread out across the rib cage and onto the shoulders. Such pain results from the body’s activation of the fight or flight mechanism which causes muscles to contract. The higher the level of anxiety, the worse the effect. Some people assume that these symptoms are the onset of a cardiac arrest or other heart problem and this fear in turn makes thing worse.
How to Cope with Chest pain stress
Usually it subsides when a person calms down and the body stops sending the panic signals that triggered the reaction. Some of the techniques used effectively to speed up the process are:
– deep breathing exercises
– closing the eyes to reduce exposure to triggers
– thinking positive
– consciously relaxing the muscles
However, in order to avoid a future recurrence, it would be important to address the root cause of the problem. One of the best ways to do this is by having a talk with your dentist, explaining your fears so that together, you can work on ideas to address the specific triggers.