Dental anxiety is a common condition that affects many people. Dental fear can make patients avoid the dentist, which can lead to long-term dental issues.
Many people feel nervous or anxious before their dental treatments. This can be due to any number of things- such as fear of pain, discomfort with the process, or a bit of general anxiety. Some patients may also miss their dentist visits because of finances or a lack of dental insurance. If your fears are getting in the way of you seeking the dental care you need, try some of these tips to ease the tension.
Speak up about your fears
Talk to your dentist about your fear. A skilled dental professional will be able to work with you to determine why you feel afraid and explain how treatment will proceed in a way that will make you feel more comfortable. The more you know about what is going to happen, the less tense you are likely to become in the chair.
Visit the dentist regularly. Regular appointments can help you keep your smile healthy and strong, and they can also help to prepare you for your procedure. You may find that going in every six months makes it easier on you, for example, because you will be familiar with the office and staff by then.
Take a trusted person with you
Your dentist and staff want you to be comfortable while you’re in the office! Conversation and distraction can help ease anxiety and make your appointment fly by faster. They’ll likely welcome your companion into the treatment room so you can chat and enjoy each other’s company while you get your smile cared for.
It’s also a good idea to bring a distraction item to help you relax in the treatment chair. Some people like to wear headphones or bring a favorite book to read while they wait. Others enjoy using iPads to play games or browse social media. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that you enjoy and won’t feel awkward doing during a dental appointment!
Have a book or magazine ready, listen to headphones on your phone, watch Netflix on your phone, keep some snacks handy, etc. Basically, anything to help you stay distracted will help ease anxiety during your dental treatments.
When possible, schedule your appointments during non-rush hours. The office will be less busy, and staff will be able to focus on your needs without disruptions.
We also recommend bringing headphones to listen to your favorite music during your appointment. Music has a way of calming nerves by triggering pleasant memories. Listening to relaxing music throughout your appointment can help put you at ease as well.
Ask your dentist what measures they take to ensure your comfort. Some offices have televisions you can watch during treatment, while others provide blankets to keep you cozy and warm. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more relaxed before your appointment.
Consider sedation dentistry
If you’re still feeling anxious, ask your dentist about oral conscious sedation. This type of medication is taken about an hour before your appointment to relax you before you arrive. It will make you feel drowsy, but you’ll still be awake enough to communicate clearly with the dentist throughout your treatment. Your dentist can also adjust the level of sedation as needed throughout the appointment.
Nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, can also work wonders to calm your nerves and help you relax throughout your visit. If you prefer to fall asleep during your treatment, oral or IV sedation may be right for you. Talk to your dentist about the types of sedation we offer and which one is right for you.
We’re happy to schedule a consultation to help you learn more about your choices, or book an appointment today!