7 Tips to Overcome a Fear of the Dentist and Dental Anxiety
Does going to the dentist make you nervous? We’ve got a few tips to help you out.
Your oral health plays a very important role in your life. Not only is your oral health directly connected to your general health, but your smile is a big factor in your success in life. Having healthy teeth and gums ensures you can enjoy life, whether it be eating your favorite foods without fear of a toothache or sharing your beautiful smile with those around you.
Unfortunately, dental anxiety can sometimes get in the way of pursuing your best smile. In fact, dental anxiety affects over 60% of adults globally. The good news is dental anxiety can be managed just as any other phobia or fear can be. With the help of a caring dental team, you can gain control over your fears and empower yourself to get the dental care you need.
If you feel nervous and afraid or even find yourself dreading your dental appointments, Brocks Gap Dental Group wants to help you in any way it can. A great way to start gaining control over your dental anxiety is by applying one or all of these 7 helpful tips.
1. Feel empowered by sharing your anxiety with our dental team and telling them how they can help.
Letting others know about your dental anxiety can feel tough, but taking control of your anxiety and acknowledging it is actually a very empowering experience. Sharing how you feel with our dental team allows us to serve you in a manner that makes you feel as comfortable as possible.
For example, some patients have a fear of the unknown and feel much more comfortable knowing everything that is going to happen in detail. Other patients may be the opposite, preferring details to be kept to a minimum to avoid added stress. Before your appointment begins, let the dentist/hygienist/assistant know you have dental anxiety and fill them in on how they can best help you.
2. Seeing your dentist often can help condition you to feel more confident during treatment appointments.
When a situation sparks anxiety, people tend to naturally avoid it as much as possible. Unfortunately, avoiding dental appointments not only puts your oral health at risk, but it often doesn’t help alleviate any anxiety when you finally do see your dentist.
A better option is to push yourself to see your dentist more regularly. We recommend our patients see us every six months for a cleaning and exam, but we are always happy to see you more often for quick checkups. Doing so can condition you to feel more comfortable with our dental team — and your teeth and gums will thank you!
3. Schedule your appointment when the office isn’t as busy and arrive early so you have time to decompress.
A busy office can make your anxiety feel even more overwhelming. When you’re booking your appointment, ask the staff member you’re speaking to which days and times are least busy. You may also benefit from getting your appointment taken care of early in the morning rather than waiting all day and potentially feeling more anxious.
Another tip is to arrive about 10 minutes early so you can sit and relax for a bit before your actual appointment time. This can be really helpful for those who feel nervousness related to feeling rushed or being late.
4. Don’t hesitate to request in-office sedation to help you relax, even if the procedure is as routine as a filling.
Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center offers in-office sedation, including nitrous oxide or injectable local anesthesia. We also offer hospital sedation for pediatric patients, but even adults with crippling dental fear may find it to be an option.
We encourage our anxious patients to not hesitate to request some form of sedation if it means they will have a more pleasant experience. Nitrous oxide is a great choice for patients who are having trouble relaxing during their appointment and simply want to take the edge off their anxiety.
5. Listen to music or an audiobook to help draw your mind away from sounds that trigger anxiety.
The sounds of a dental drill, the clinking of dental tools, and even just the general ambiance in a dental office can be an anxiety trigger. If you find yourself in this predicament, consider wearing earbuds and listening to something on your phone during your next appointment. You can play some of your favorite music, a guided meditation track, or an audiobook.
6. Bringing a loved one with you to your appointment can help boost your confidence.
Feeling alone can trigger even more anxiety when you’re already in a stressful situation. Although you’ll have our welcome team around you during your appointment, nothing is quite as reassuring as having a loved one accompany you to your visit.
Having someone to chat with on your way to your dental appointment and while waiting can also help keep you in a positive mindset. As a bonus, you can even plan for something relaxing to do after your appointment so you have something to look forward to.
7. For financial-related anxiety, ask your dentist for a complete estimate of costs before your appointment.
Financial anxiety is a very common cause of general stress during dental appointments, especially for urgent treatment that couldn’t have been anticipated. We strive to make our dental services as affordable as possible and be transparent when it comes to providing a cost estimate prior to treatment.
Ask us for a treatment estimate before your next appointment so you can feel confident knowing what you’ll need to pay.
Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center provides compassionate, gentle dental care for all of our patients.
The team at Bentz Dental is always excited to see our patients, but we are also very aware that many of our patients do feel some level of nervousness when seeing us. Our goal is to not only provide you with comprehensive dental care but to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible when you’re in our office.
When you’re ready to make your appointment, call our office or fill out this online form to book your visit. When you’re speaking with one of our staff about your appointment, let them know about your dental anxiety if you feel comfortable doing so.