The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common cause of anxiety. Many people visualize a drill-wielding man in a white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth. The reality, however, is very different. The comfort, relaxation, and happiness of the patient are the primary focus of any good dental practice. The staff at the practice will do whatever they can to reduce anxiety, allay fears, and provide painless, quick treatments.
Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:
Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth.
Fear of gagging.
Fear of injections.
Fear of loss of control.
Fear of not becoming numb.
Fear of pain.
Fear of the dentist as a person.
Fear of the hand piece (or the drill).
How can one overcome dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming. It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid. Receiving regular dental check-ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having regular routine check-ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.
Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:
Talk to us – Our goal is for your dental visit to be as enjoyable as possible. By letting us know that you are nervous or fearful about your appointment, you give us the opportunity to talk about what we can do to ease your discomfort.
Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.
Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment and will continue with the procedure regardless. The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal. When this signal is used, we will stop treatment and make sure that you are comfortable.
Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex. Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.
Nitrous Oxide - Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective way to ease dental anxiety. It helps with pain management and helps you to feel calm and relaxed during treatment. Nitrous oxide is easily reversible and will not impede your ability to drive to and from your appointment.
Anti-anxiety Medications - For patients with severe anxiety, the doctor can prescribe anti-anxiety medication that is taken prior to your dental appointment.
If you have questions or concerns about how we can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact our office.