Many patients experience dental anxiety. Dental anxiety may cause a person to postpone appointments or avoid the dentist altogether. This avoidance can lead to more serious dental problems in the long run. Here are a few tips to save yourself from dental fear.
Speak up about your fears
There are many reasons for people to avoid the dentist's office. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed about their smile, they may fear pain, and some people even feel anxiety when visiting the dentist is the only option they have for oral health care. But it's important to remember that your dentist understands your anxiety and does everything possible to help their patients relax in the chair. One way that dentists ease patients' fears is by listening carefully to their concerns. If you're worried about an upcoming procedure, let your dentist know so they can explain in detail what's going to happen during the appointment. This can help to ease your mind, so you feel less anxious on the day of your appointment.
Agree on a signal
Your dentist and hygienist want you to receive the best dental care possible and will do their best to make you feel comfortable during your visits. However, it's helpful to have signals to communicate when you're feeling uncomfortable or if you need a break. Some patients like to use a hand gesture to signal that they need a moment to stop the procedure. Others prefer to use a specific word to let the dentist know they need a break. Using these kinds of signals will help your dentist know that you're experiencing discomfort or pain, so adjustments can be made to help you feel more comfortable.
Take a trusted person with you
Having someone you trust with you can ease dental fear. They can come with you to the office, hold your hand during treatment, and distract you with conversation—and vice versa! It's helpful to have someone offer moral support when you're feeling nervous. They can also help remind you to stay on track with your oral health routine at home. If you're especially anxious, you might even consider asking your trusted friend or family member to sit in the waiting room for part of your visit to give you a hand with your anxiety.
Bring a distraction to help pass the time during your appointment. Consider bringing a book or magazine to read while you are waiting in the reception area and when you sit in the chair for your procedure. You can bring headphones and listen to your favorite music, podcasts, or audiobook. Some dental offices even have televisions on the ceiling! If you are bringing your children to the appointment, consider packing toys such as coloring books and small handheld games for them to play with while they wait. For younger patients who are receiving dental treatment for the first time, having a special stuffed animal or blanket to bring with them may help them feel less anxious.
Consider sedation dentistry
Sedation is an option for patients who are extremely anxious or nervous. Nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation are both safe options for patients of all ages. These options can be discussed further during your visit to the dental office.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Robert Saunders, DDS & Dr. Brittany Krog, DDS, to learn more about maintaining good oral health. Visit us at 2834 S University Dr, Fargo, ND 58103. Contact us at (701) 293-9886 or visit our website to book an appointment.