Dental anxiety is a common fear that prevents people from seeking dental care. Dental anxiety ranges from slight nervousness to fear that prevents a person from seeking dental care. Dental anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors.
Some people are so anxious about their appointment that they actually miss their visit altogether. This is the worst thing to do; if you skip your checkup, you risk not only cavities but also gum disease and other oral health problems that could have been easily prevented. Working with your dentist and hygienist on a treatment plan can help ease your mind.
Tips to Ease Dental Anxiety
There are many treatments and procedures that can help alleviate dental anxieties and fears. From mild sedation to anti-anxiety medications, there are many ways that dentists are equipped to help patients relax during treatment. A patient’s anxieties are often rooted in fear of pain and discomfort, so if you can alleviate that fear, it may help the patient overcome their anxieties during dental treatments. Here are some suggestions that may help.
- Avoid skipping regular visits – The best way to avoid dental anxiety is by visiting the dentist regularly. Skipping routine checkups can make small problems progress into big problems, which cause more fear and stress for you.
- Relax before your appointment – Take a few minutes to relax before your dental appointment. This can help reduce your stress levels and allow you to be calmer in the chair during your appointment. Consider meditating, taking a bath, or doing breathing exercises to help you relax.
- Bring headphones and music – Many patients find that playing music or wearing headphones helps them relax and stay calm during their appointment. Ask your dentist if it’s okay to bring these things in with you.
- Bring a friend – Having someone you trust with you during your appointments can make it feel safer and less scary. This is especially true if you’re experiencing dental anxiety. A friend can give you moral support and help you feel more calm during your visit. If you’re the parent of a child who needs to visit a dentist, consider bringing someone along to help your child feel more relaxed during the appointment.
- Talk about your fears - Sometimes, just talking with your dentist about your fears can help you feel better. Let your dentist know you’re nervous, and explain what you’re feeling. By talking about your feelings with your dentist, you’ll open up the door to a productive discussion, and together you can find a solution that works for you.
- Ask about sedation options – Sedation dentistry is a great option for patients who suffer from dental anxiety. With sedation, you’ll be in a completely relaxed state and won’t remember much, if any, of the procedure itself. Your dentist will simply ask you how you’re doing and then wake you up once the treatment is done. Talk to your dentist about your options for sedation. Most dentists offer nitrous oxide, conscious sedation, and IV sedation.
Get To Know Your Dentist
One of the best ways to avoid anxiety at your next dental visit is to get to know your dentist beforehand. When you meet your new dentist, be sure to ask questions about their background and specialties. Knowing more about them allows you to feel more at ease when meeting for your checkup. Plus, you’ll also get to learn some knowledge about different procedures that they may have to help calm some of your fears. For example, if you’ve always been afraid of needles, you can ask your dentist about their numbing techniques and how successful they’ve been in the past. The more you know about your dental health, the better chances you have of calming your fears and anxieties.
Dentists who are compassionate and caring are great choices for those who have dental anxiety. These dentists will take the time to learn about your fears and how they can help you overcome them. They’ll also do everything they can to make you comfortable during your treatment. For example, if you’re afraid of pain during injections, the dentist may offer a topical anesthetic or nitrous oxide gas to help you relax. Dentists who show genuine care and concern for their patients are great choices for those who experience anxiety at the dental office.
Wish to learn more? Call us or visit our dental office to schedule an appointment.