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How to Ease Dental Appointment Anxiety

Dental anxiety is one of the most common fears people experience throughout their lifetime. Whether you’re going in for a simple exam and cleaning or have more invasive work to be done, feeling nervous about an upcoming appointment is completely normal. However, when your dental anxiety gets in the way of you visiting the dentist at all, it’s time to take control of your fears so that you can begin the treatment that is necessary for good oral health.

Here are some things you can do to ease your dental appointment anxiety:

Take Your Mind Off of the Appointment

Dwelling on your upcoming appointment only causes your fears and anxiety to escalate. Mark your appointment on the calendar and get back to living your life without worrying about what will and what may happen while you’re in the dental chair. Some ways to take your mind off of your appointment is to play games or apps on your smart devices, go out with the family and do what you normally would do if you weren’t feeling so anxious.

Become Informed

One of the main reasons patients are nervous about visiting the dentist is because they’re unsure of what to expect. They may be assuming that a certain procedure is worse than it actually is. Becoming informed is essential for understanding what to expect while you’re in the office. Stay away from forums and discussion groups of people who share similar fears of the dentist, as this can make your anxiety worse.

Sedation Options

Sedation can help to make your dental appointments a lot more comfortable. Both conscious and sleep sedation is available, so you can choose which one works best for your needs. Conscious sedation simply means that you’ll be in a very relaxed and slightly-dissociated state during the appointment and will quickly come out of this state at the end of the visit. Sleep dentistry involves general anesthesia and can be helpful for patients undergoing more complicated procedures and who don’t want to be awake for the appointment.
IV Sedation with Board Certified Anesthesiologist/Hospital-like setting. The anesthesiologist will be present throughout the whole treatment. With this method, the patient will receive the sedative through the vein, so it will work quicker. This allows the dentist to be able to continually adjust the level of sedation.
Oral conscious sedation/”laughing gas” is available as well. With this method, the gas relaxes the patient. The dentist has control over the amount of sedation the patient receives.

Communicate with the Team

The dental staff in the office are fully aware that most of their patients are nervous both before and during their visit. Always communicate to the team that you have anxiety over the appointment and they can work to make you more comfortable while you’re there. They are there to help make your treatment go as smoothly and comfortably as possible.

Bring a Friend or Relative

Bringing along support can help to ease your dental appointment anxiety. Whether you bring along a friend, relative or even an older child or teen, you will find that your care is a lot less scary. You will have someone to talk to during the appointment and who can be there to help in communicating your needs with the staff.

Use Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques both before and during the appointment can help a lot with easing your anxiety. Deep breathing and meditation can help in bringing down your heart rate and alleviating the panic that you might be experiencing. When you’re having dental work done, always try to breathe calmly through your nose and keep your eyes closed to prevent seeing the instruments being used. If you feel yourself starting to panic, put your focus onto something entirely different. Some people find that when they begin to visualize themselves somewhere else, it brings down their anxiety and allows the treatment to go more easily.

For men, women, and children living in Franklin Square, NY, living with a fear of the dentist is completely normal. However, with advanced technology and so many anxiety-relief options, there is absolutely no reason why you should be feeling panicked before and during your appointment. Be transparent about your fears so that the staff can better assist you and provide the care that is needed. When you are able to relax before and during your actual appointment, you will find that receiving dental treatment is so much easier. In fact, you may even look forward to your dental appointments, since they are a way for you to both care for and maintain a clean, healthy and full smile.

Posted in: Oral Hygiene, Patient Resources, Sedation Dentistry