We love seeing our patients and caring for their’ teeth, but some patients just don’t share our enthusiasm for oral health.
These folks would probably rather do just about anything else, like doing taxes or cleaning toilets, than come in and visit with us. For some people, just hearing the words “visiting the dentist” can create a little anxiety.
If you have dental fears, you’re actually in good company. About 60% of us have some sort of fear related to dentistry. This fear often originates from the memories of a painful or discomforting dental experience from your past.
Unfortunately, when dental fears prevent you from coming in for routine exams, or keep you from having a toothache checked out, this increases your risk for gum disease, early tooth loss, and it can eventually harm your overall health.
While we’ll strive to make your visits with us as friendly, safe and comforting as possible, if you are fearful about “visiting the dentist”, and you’re nervous about an upcoming dental visit, here are some ways to help you have a less anxious visit.
7 Tips to Cope With Dental Fears!
- Share Your Dental Fears with Us – Dental fears are real. If you have them, please let us know. And we won’t judge you. Please alert our dental team at the time you make your appointment. When we’re aware of your fears, we’ll work with you to create an experience that makes you feel less anxious, more comfortable and also in control of your dental care. We’re here to listen to your needs and help you. This may include a combination of tips to reduce anxiety, sedation dentistry, and clear communication with you regarding all the steps involved in your dental procedure. We’ll do our best to let you know what’s going on, and make sure that you’re heard. Open communication regarding any dental fears is the first step to building a trusting, safe and pain free dental experience for you.
- Let’s Talk About Sedation – Depending on your level of anxiousness, we may suggest sedation optons to enhance your comfort. If you suffer from mild dental anxiety, we may recommend nitrous oxide, which may be enough to lower your stress. Should your anxiousness be more severe, we can discuss other dental sedation options. You can rely on us to do whatever we can to make your visit a pain-free one.
- Don’t Forget to Breath – People who are anxious or stressed tend to hold their breath in. This in turn decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of panic. If you can be mindful of your breathing, this can help quite a bit. Just as with most meditation techniques, focusing on slow, regular breaths can work wonders to help reduce your stress level. (It’ll also give you something to focus on.) Ohm.
- Listen to Something – Not a fan of drill noises? We have headphones and plenty of music options to help cover up any sounds.
- Use your hands – Helping you to feel more confident and in control during your procedure is important, but sometimes you can’t tell us with words, so we’ll discuss hand signals to communicate with us. When you feel uncomfortable, signal us to ease off or stop the procedure. We’ll give you the time and space you need.
- Beware What You Eat & Drink Before Your Visit – If you can, try to avoid consuming caffeine before your visit. Eating high-protein foods before your appointment can also help, as these foods high in protein can help produce a more calming effect on your metabolism, compared to foods that are high in sugars.
- Pick a Low-Stress Appointment Time – If you suffer from dental fears, won’t any appointment time be stressful? Well, not exactly. Some times might actually work better to help you cope with anxiousness. Many patients with dental fears find that early morning appointments are optimal. Why? Because the time to think (and worry) about the upcoming procedure during that day is shorter. There may also be times of the day where you generally feel a bit calmer too. If you can schedule your appointments during those times, this can help make it easier during your visit.
Dental fears are real. But these fears don’t need to stop you from from regaining control of your oral health and having a more pleasant dental experience.
If you suffer from dental fears, please let us know when you contact us. When you’re better aware of your dental fears, and are able to express these fears to us, we can provide you with a more positive, and comforting “visit to the dentist”. We’re here for you – just call us at (206) 242-0066 or make an appointment here!