It’s almost time to schedule your 6-month cleaning and the dread of seeing a dentist keeps holding you back. While dental anxiety might seem like an impossible battle to overcome, it’s important to know that you and 75% of the American population can cope with the fear of dental appointments. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, three out of four people in the U.S. have encountered dental anxiety at some point in their lives. Although dental anxiety is very common among patients, it’s important to seek ways to manage constant fear, especially if it keeps you from pursuing crucial dental treatment. The good news is that there are many steps that can be taken to eliminate dental anxiety and improve your overall experience at the dentist.
1. Find A Trustworthy Dentist
When you’re looking for a Dentist, it’s critical that you chose a dental professional who also cares about the best interest of you and your health. Is the dental office convenient to your work or home? Are they in-network with your Dental Insurance? Do they offer reasonable payment plans? Does the dental staff educate their patients and give appropriate dental instruction? Do you feel welcomed from the moment you step into the dentist office? These are all questions you should ask yourself when seeking the best Dentist for you and your dental anxiety. When you are comfortable with the cost of treatment and the quality of patient interaction, you can feel at ease that your care is in the hands of a trusted dental professional.
2. Express Your Concern
Like most anxieties, the first step to overcoming fear is discussing the issue at hand. Some patients are afraid of needles while others worry about the cost of the visit. Some people avoid the dentist because they’ve had poor experiences in the past. Whatever the concern, be sure to inform your Dentist and the staff that you have dental anxiety. Doing so will help them proceed treatment with attentiveness, making you feel more comfortable when sitting in the dental chair.
3. Understand The Treatment
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the dentist is using a tool that is unfamiliar to you, don’t hesitate to become knowledgeable and fully understand their dental procedures. When reviewing a treatment plan with a Dentist, ask as many questions as you need to ensure that you fully comprehend the course of action. It’s important to stay educated at all times so that you know what to expect before your appointment.
4. Don’t Go Alone
Sometimes people with dental anxiety feel more comfortable with other people around. Bring your spouse, mom, dad or friend to help keep your anxiety at bay. Talking with someone that you feel comfortable with can help manage the level of nervousness that you might otherwise experience alone.
5. Use Relaxation Techniques
Anxiety is effectively treated through many different relaxation techniques. This is also true for dental anxiety. Use deep breathing methods before, during and after the dental appointment to help manage the degree of dental anxiety. Find other distractions that steer your attention from the actual fear itself. For example, playing a game on your phone or reading a magazine in the waiting room helps steer your focus on a different activity. Whatever it is that distracts your anxious mind from the root of your dental fears, use it as a tool to overcome dental anxiety.
If you are delaying dental treatment because of anxiety, don’t let the problem take over your health. It might be comforting to know that modern dental treatment is significantly gentler, softer, and quieter than it has been notorious for in the past. By neglecting routine dental care, you are also risking the chances of oral pain, tooth decay, and other dental health issues down the road. Dental anxiety can be managed, so take a deep breath and beat the stress.
Should none of the above mentioned suggestions work for you, maybe you should consider sedation dentistry.