If you experience anxiety when visiting the dentist, or even when just thinking about it, you should know that you are not alone. Experiencing dental anxiety is extremely common among patients of all ages. We want you to be able to receive needed dental care with as little stress and anxiety as possible!
Here is some information to provide you with some strategies to help reduce your anxiety. It includes methods ranging from helpful tips to sedation techniques, like the use of nitrous oxide. Taken together, these elements should help you get through your next dental appointment as comfortably as possible.
What is dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety is an uneasy feeling that you may have about a dental appointment or procedure. For most people the dental anxiety that they experience is unpleasant, but they are able to get through it. Others may be actually terrified at the mere thought of undergoing any type of dental procedure, which could indicate a more serious form of anxiety known as dental phobia.
As if dental anxiety wasn’t bad enough in its own right, it can cause problems when a patient puts off necessary dental treatments and procedures. Left untreated, problems like tooth decay and gum disease can result in the need for serious and expensive dental work that can heighten anxiety even further.
How can I become less anxious when visiting the dentist?
If you are debating with yourself whether to talk with your dentist about your worries and fears, the answer is most definitely yes. Dental anxiety, as mentioned earlier, is extremely common. Your dental team is used to this type of reaction, so don’t be embarrassed about opening up about your anxieties so that we can help calm your fears so that you are less anxious and more comfortable.
Some strategies for coping with dental anxiety include:
- If you are undergoing a consultation for any type of dental procedure, open up about your anxiety. One way we can help is by giving you a detailed explanation of every step of the procedure that you will be undergoing so that you can mentally prepare for it.
- Establish some type of signal, like raising your hand, to let us know that your anxiety is increasing. In the meantime, you may want to rinse your mouth or do something to help you catch your breath before restarting.
- Earbuds help. Bring earbuds so that you can listen to your favorite music during your treatment.