Dental anxiety or dental phobia is the extreme fear of visiting a dentist. This can prevent patients from seeking the treatment they need to maintain good oral health. If you are experiencing anxiety about seeing the dentist, you are not alone. It is estimated that around 9% of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety and fear. Here are a few tips to ease dental anxiety.
Discuss your fears with your dentist
Talk to your dentist about your fears and what to expect during your appointment. The more you know about a procedure or procedure before it happens, the less anxious you’ll be about it. If you’re nervous about numbing shots, ask your dentist about using a topical numbing gel instead. This will help reduce discomfort and help you stay relaxed during your treatment.
If you’ve experienced a traumatic event in the past that has caused you to feel anxious about visiting the dentist, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to talk about it. Your dentist understands that many patients are scared of coming to their appointments and will do whatever they can to help you feel comfortable and relaxed during treatment.
Ask your dentist to explain the procedure in detail
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, you might feel anxious or fearful about going to the dentist again. In these situations, it’s best to have a conversation with your dentist. Explain what happened and any discomfort you felt during your last appointment. Your dentist should want to ensure that you’re comfortable during your visit. They should also be able to review your treatment plan with you, so you know what to expect during the visit. If you notice that the office has a relaxing environment with reclining chairs and other amenities, it may also help ease your mind about your upcoming visit.
Bring a distraction
If you have a hard time sitting still in the dentist’s chair, try bringing headphones to listen to your favorite music. Listening to soothing music can serve as a distraction and trigger your body to release endorphins, which can aid in relieving stress. You should also avoid caffeine before your scheduled appointments, as it can increase your nerves. Try taking a warm bath or doing some light exercise to calm and relax before you come in for your appointment.
Consider sedation dentistry
Sedation dentistry can ease your anxiety and make procedures comfortable. Oral sedatives are taken by mouth and are usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The oral sedatives will make you drowsy and may even cause you to fall asleep during your procedure. Intravenous (IV) sedation is administered through a needle inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. IV sedation is a deeper form of sedation than oral sedation, although you will be awake during the procedure. Some patients prefer to be awake during some dental procedures but deeply relaxed during others. Talk to your dentist about the best type of sedation for you.
Schedule an appointment with South Friendswood Dental Associates for comprehensive oral care. We are located at 699 S Friendswood Dr., Suite #108, Friendswood, TX 77546. Contact us at (281) 482-7731 or visit our website to book an appointment.