Feeling nervous about an upcoming dental appointment may seem like an outlandish scenario, but dentist anxiety is, in fact, extremely common among Americans, both adults and children alike.
Though there is no shame in feeling the way you do, your fears shouldn’t keep you from getting the dental care you need and deserve. Fortunately, there are many ways to help alleviate some aspects of dentist anxiety, a list of which is compiled below:
Choose a Dentist Who Understands
Part of every dentist’s training involves learning how to provide empathetic care to all of their patients, but there are, undoubtedly, certain dental professionals who go the extra mile to ensure that their patients are as comfortable as possible during their treatment. As such, your best bet for overcoming dentist anxiety is to seek out a dentist who is dedicated to helping you do it, but finding that sort of dentist may take some trial and error.
Nevertheless, if you keep an eye out for some key elements of an understanding dental professional, then the process shouldn’t be all that tricky. The right dentist should be open and responsive to your questions, able to provide you with an environment that is comforting and relaxing, and equipped with staff members who are equally as dedicated to your comfort as the dentist themselves.
Make Sure Your Dentist Uses the Best Technology and Treatments
Dental care has come a long way over the last few decades, and many of the fears that patients may still have regarding dental care are largely things of the past. That is, of course, provided your dentist uses cutting-edge technologies to employ the latest treatment methods.
Modern dental technology and techniques can speed up procedures, reduce discomfort, and shorten the length of the healing process, so ensuring that your dentist uses both is a great way to feel more comfortable before, during, and after treatment.
Express Your Concerns About Dentist Anxiety
Communicating your dentist anxiety out loud can help you feel more comfortable all on its own, but doing so with an empathetic dental team can go even further than that. Make sure to let them know how you’re feeling so that they can help you better understand your procedure and take even greater care to ensure your comfort during any procedures.
Learning all you can about the procedure you’re set to undergo can help demystify it and sap away some of the power it wields over you. Many procedures have evolved considerably over the years and are no longer the seemingly dreadful experiences that earned them their notorious reputation, such as root canals.
Employ Some Relaxation Methods
Choosing the right dentist and then actively working with them to ease your dentist anxiety can go a long way, but you should also consider taking things into your own hands with some relaxation techniques. Practicing a little bit of controlled breathing or meditation can help center yourself and assist in letting go of some of the more persistent worries.
Arrive Early to Your Appointment
Showing up to your dentist’s office just before you’re called in for your procedure can put a lot of pressure on you and prevent you from feeling as relaxed as possible. Instead, arrive a bit early to get yourself situated and relieve some of the stress weighing you down. You can also use the extra time to speak with the staff about any anxiety you may have when visiting the dentist so that they can help you feel more comfortable.
Ask About Sedation Dentistry
While all of the above techniques can be incredibly helpful in easing your anxieties, there may be times when you’ve done all you could, and you’re still feeling uneasy. Even when that’s the case, all hope is not lost, as you can still take advantage of sedation dentistry to bring you some comfort.
There are three types of sedation dentistry, which are as follows:
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Laughing gas is a sedative that won’t put you to sleep but will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed during your procedure. It’s safe for both children and adults and can be used in fairly simple procedures.
Your dentist can also prescribe certain medications that can make you feel relaxed and at ease during treatment. These are usually benzodiazepines — anti-anxiety meds.
Typically only used during more elaborate procedures, IV sedation involves the use of a sedative that is administered intravenously to keep you asleep or unaware of the ongoing process.
Comforting Dental Care From Dr. Brett Langston
If you’re feeling uneasy about receiving dental care, Dr. Brett Langston and his team can help. Reach out to us today to learn more.