Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

Posted by Northeast Dental Associates on Mar 2 2023, 12:31 AM

Dental anxiety or phobia is a fear of visiting the dentist. This fear can be so intense that it prevents individuals from visiting the dentist regularly. The dentist is perceived as someone to fear. However, regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Speak up about your fears

While you should never feel embarrassed or ashamed of having dental anxiety, you do need to be able to let your dentist know before treatment begins. A good dentist will understand that dental fear and dental anxiety are very real and legitimate concerns, and they will do their best to help you feel comfortable throughout your visit. You can speak up about your fear of the dentist at any time during treatment. If you need to take a break for any reason, just tell your dentist that you need a moment. Remember: you’re never obligated to continue any procedure that makes you uncomfortable.

If you’ve told your dentist that you’re afraid of receiving dental treatment, they’ll make sure to keep you comfortable throughout your visit by signaling you when it’s time to stop and catch your breath. They’ll also let you know when they can pause for a moment if needed.

Agree on a signal

It’s often helpful for your dental office to also know what your signal is for the staff member or doctor. For example, you could agree to raise your hand when you would like to stop and receive more anesthetic, and you’d raise your thumb if you would like them to stop entirely. 

This will help your dentist be aware of your needs and allow them to tailor their treatment of you to best suit those needs.

Making these signals part of your regular dentist appointments will also make future visits more comfortable since you will be familiar with your dentist’s office and the procedures they have to offer.

Take a trusted person with you

Having someone you trust in the treatment room can help ease your anxiety. Your companion will be able to hold your hand or shoulder for comfort and reassurance. They can also be there to hold a conversation with you if you feel like talking during treatment. And you don’t have to stay alone in the waiting room, either! If you aren’t comfortable being alone in your operatory, ask a friend or family member to join you for moral support and to help keep you distracted from the dental treatment itself.

Bring distractions

Distractions can help ease dental anxiety and fear for many people. Having something to focus on other than the procedures being performed at your dental appointment can be comforting and help the time pass more quickly. Some patients like to bring headphones to listen to their favorite music or bring a book to read while they receive their treatment. This is a great way to relax during your procedure. 

Consider sedation dentistry

Sedation dentistry provides relaxation during dental treatments. There are many different types of sedatives that can be used to help you relax during a procedure. Medication can be administered in a variety of ways, including in pill form, inhaled through the nose or mouth, or intravenously. A nitrous oxide is also a common option. This gas is combined with oxygen and delivered to the body through a small mask placed over the nose and held in place by tubing connected to a machine. The effects start to set in quickly and provide a state of relaxation that will last throughout the appointment. Some patients will fall asleep during treatment and wake up feeling refreshed. Others may only feel relaxed but remain awake enough to communicate and answer questions about their treatment. Discuss your medical history with your dentist to learn more about which type of sedation is right for you.

To learn more, visit Northeast Dental Associates at 19411 McKay Dr #150, Humble, TX 77338, or call (832) 818-8132 to schedule an appointment.

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