If you ever get nervous just thinking about going to the dentist, you’re not alone! Many people with dental anxiety have a sense of uneasiness when it’s time for their appointments. They’ll have exaggerated or unfounded worries or fears. Beyond general anxiety is often a deep rooted fear. It can stem from one or several bad experiences that occurred in a patient’s past. We absolutely understand how these experiences can put a strain on dentistry as a whole for many. We are always here to help anyone who is ready to cope with their anxiety. If you suffer from dental anxiety, or “hate going to the dentist” we do not take it personally! We work very hard to make all of our patients as comfortable as possible.
When you call our office to schedule an appointment, tell us that you are nervous about dental visits. Feel free to stop by our office anytime to take a tour. We can help address your concerns and prepare you to be seen at our office. It helps a great deal if you get acquainted with our staff and what we have to offer at our office for patients with anxiety. Knowing what you’re experiencing and how you’re feeling, helps us do our jobs better and treat your individual needs. If there was a particular bad experience, or a certain aspect of dentistry your nervous about, let the hygienist and dentist know.
Comforts and Sedation
We will strive to make you feel comfortable with blankets, neck pillows, and headphones. There are many options available for sedation at our office. Most people are familiar with “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide. This is the lowest form of sedation we offer. The perk of nitrous is that it is out of your system by the time you leave the office. That means that you can drive yourself to and from your appointment, making scheduling easier. In most cases, nitrous helps you to feel more relaxed, and care less about the procedure. We always start with a low level to determine your tolerance and can always adjust the nitrous oxide as needed. Another option is oral sedation in a pill form similar to Valium. We also offer non-IV and IV sedation for the extremely fearful. For either of these options you will need a driver both to and from your appointments. If you have any questions or concerns regarding these amenities we will address them at your initial visit.
Taking your mind off the treatment at hand may seem impossible when you are nervous, but there are some things that can help distract your thoughts. Wear headphones. If the sound of the drill bothers you, this is the best form of distraction to block that out. Whether you want to get lost in an audiobook or podcast or want to listen to relaxing music, we encourage you to bring any form of listening material that will help you. We have stress balls and fidget spinners available for another form of distraction.
Use Mindfulness techniques
Relaxation starts in the mind. Try deep breathing exercises to help relax tension in your muscles. Count your breaths. Inhale slowly and then exhale for the same number of counts. Do this five times while you’re waiting for your appointment, or during breaks while you’re sitting in the dental chair. Concentrate on relaxing your muscles, one body part at a time. Start with your head and work your way down to your toes. For example, you can focus on releasing tension starting in your forehead, then your cheeks, your neck and down the rest of your body.
At the end of the day, we understand that most of the patients who walk through our door are not excited to be here. We also believe that your fears and concerns are always valid. We will work with you to sort out what may be causing your anxiety and strive to provide multiple options to make your appointments easier to endure. We simply ask that you be open with us so that we are able to best serve your individual needs. If you are not yet a patient of ours, and would like to talk with us about your fears and how we can help you, please give us a call!
Dental Research Journal