If you, or your loved one, struggles with dental visit anxiety, you’re not alone. Nearly one in five people grapple with the idea of visiting a dentist. Although general phobias are not something to squawk at and, generally, something we all face to some degree, a fear of the dentist is not one you should abide by. Visiting the dentist regularly is imperative for oral and overall optimal health. Routine dental exams are vital to maintaining positive oral health.
There are various reasons patients fear dental visits at any age. From phobias of needles and panic over the sound of the drill to the embarrassment of the state of your mouth or the idea that someone has to stick their hands in it, nothing is left by the wayside when it comes to dental phobias. Whatever the reason for your fear, don’t miss out on a critical pillar in your overall healthcare routine and maintenance.
The negatives of missing out on regular dental visits include:
- Increased risk of cavities
- Plaque buildup
- Tooth loss due to tooth decay and/or infection
- Increased risk of gum disease and gingivitis
The good news is that there are ways to ease the fear that comes with dental office visits for those who struggle with the phobia. Here are our top 5 ways to nix dental visit anxiety and stay on top of your oral health.
1. Find a dental practice that specializes in those who suffer from dental phobia.
When searching for a new dentist, don’t shy away from looking for a practice that is empathetic toward your dental fears. Ask the dental team how they work with patients to alleviate fears and worries during their visits. There is a lot of clarity and peace that can be found within their response which will put you at ease and get you ready to tackle your appointment with confidence.
2. Lean into the luxury of technology and comfort.
Sometimes a good distraction is key to nix anxiety. Most dental offices offer televisions, music and comforting accessories like a warm blanket or socks to ease your worries. If your dental office offers on-demand options for shows, like Netflix or Hulu, ask if you can pick one of your favorite shows to distract you during the procedure. Warm blankets provide the right amount of comfort, like a helpful hug, during longer dental procedures.
3. Ask questions.
Your care is your concern. Don’t ever shy away from asking your dental team questions about your procedure before and aftercare. If it eases your mind you can also request that your dentist walks you through the procedure as they are performing it to put your mind at ease. Sometimes a simple explanation can work wonders on the woes of anxiety.
4. Don’t be afraid to speak up and take breaks.
If your appointment requires a bit of a longer timeline due to procedure requirements, breaks are okay. Don’t be afraid to ask for breaks if you’re feeling pained or stressed out. Simply speak with your dentist beforehand and let them know what your goals are for the visit. Come up with a communication plan, like raising your hand mid-treatment, that allows the dental team to know you need a quick break. If something is bothering you during the procedure don’t feel the need to play the hero of the situation. Speak up about the pain you are experiencing and ask for the appropriate numbing or pain medications to help you through it. The dentist does not want you to feel pain through the procedure, so always opt for pain-free dentistry.
5. Bring someone from your support system.
If it’s your first time at a new dental office, you can alleviate some of your worries by bringing someone along that you trust with your feelings. With COVID restrictions slowly lifting across the country, it may be just the right time to bring a friend or partner in tow. Check with your specific dental office before inviting someone along. If you have to go the visit alone, consider having a friend or family member available via text to get out any of your worries. Talking it out always helps.
Dental anxiety is a common occurrence and not something that should stop you from attending your routine dental appointments. Stay on top of your oral health to keep your overall health and top shape. If you’re concerned about feeling anxious during an upcoming visit, we are happy to help you through it. Contact us today to discuss ways that we can help make your visit relaxing and easy. Your peace of mind matters just as much as your dental care does.