Easing Dental Anxiety: Helpful Methods that Can Help

Easing Dental Anxiety: Helpful Methods that Can Help

Posted by Center for Advanced Dentistry Feb 24, 2023

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Dental fear is a common phenomenon. Some people fear going to the dentist because they had a bad experience in the past. Others may be afraid because they aren’t familiar with dental instruments and procedures.

Speak up about your fears

If you are afraid to go to the dentist, don’t keep it to yourself. Let your dentist know about your fear so he or she can help you relax during your appointment. It may also help to talk to a loved one about your fear of the dentist. 

Agree on a signal

Agreeing on a nonverbal signal is helpful for patients who may have difficulty communicating during the procedure. The dentist and hygienist will do their best to stop if the patient is in distress, but it can be difficult not to interrupt the procedure. A signal helps the patient communicate to the dental team should they need a break or want to stop altogether.

Some signals can include lifting a hand or tapping on the table. These signals are easy for the dental team to understand, and they will help patients feel at ease in the chair. If a patient is particularly anxious, they may want to agree on a signal before the appointment to help everyone remain calm and relaxed throughout the visit.

Take a trusted person with you

If your anxiety is mild or moderate, having someone you trust in the dental office can be helpful. This person can be there to comfort you, answer questions and make sure you feel calm and safe.

Bring distractions

Whether you’re taking a loved one for a routine cleaning or you’re having a more complicated procedure performed, like a tooth extraction, it’s a good idea to bring along a friend to keep you company and distract you from the sights and sounds of the dentist’s office. Bringing headphones to listen to your favorite music or a handheld video game can keep your mind off the sights and sounds of your visit. Your friend can also hold your hand or give you comforting pats on the shoulder to make you feel more relaxed.

Consider sedation dentistry

It’s a good idea to consider sedation dentistry if you experience a lot of anxiety at the dentist’s office. Sedation can help relax you and keep you comfortable while you have work done on your teeth. Many dentists offer different types of sedation to help calm your nerves. Some types of sedation are inhaled by the patient, and others can be given in pill form. Talk to your dentist about which type of sedation will work best for you.

Don’t forget to visit the dentist twice a year for teeth cleanings and exams! This is the best way to stay on top of your oral health and ensure that everything is in good condition. Set up your next appointment today!

To learn more habits to improve your oral health, call the Center for Advanced Dentistry or request an appointment online.

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