Dental fear is a very real thing. Millions of adults suffer silently from dental anxiety, and that number is only increasing. Patients with dental anxiety often avoid going to the dentist, which can put them at risk for serious dental problems.
Whatever the reason you are nervous about your upcoming appointment or procedure, you’re not alone. A huge percentage of people experience dental fear to some degree. Luckily, there are ways to help you manage your fears and anxieties so that you can get the dental care you need without fear. Talk to your dentist in advance about your fears so that he or she has time to develop a plan for managing them for you. This way, you won’t feel surprised or blindsided by anything during your visit, and anxiety levels can be kept to a minimum.
You should also ask your hygienist to tell you ahead of time what steps will be taken during your appointment. That way, you know exactly how much treatment you will be getting and how much it will cost so you can be prepared. And if you’re worried about pain, tell your dentist as well. He or she may be able to apply a numbing gel to your mouth before administering some treatments.
Remember that you are in charge! At every appointment, you have the power to talk or remain silent. If you feel uncomfortable or afraid, you can let your office know so that they can take appropriate measures to make you more comfortable. This may include playing your favorite music through the headphones, dimming the lights in the treatment room, or even giving you the option of receiving laughing gas during your procedure. However, if you trust your dentist and have a good relationship with them, you may be willing to let them take control of the situation. Either way, you should be comfortable enough to communicate your concerns and wishes with your provider!
As a patient, you also have the power to learn as much as you can about your upcoming procedure. The more you know about what to expect at an appointment, the easier it may be to overcome any anxiety you may feel leading up to your appointment. This can mean checking with your insurance company to see what they cover and what you will be responsible for paying on your end. It may mean asking your doctor any questions you have before your procedure. The more you know, the more at ease you will feel heading into the process.
If anxiety is keeping you from getting the dental care you need, talk to your dental provider about your concerns. They may be able to recommend a few different options to help you relax during your visit. The simplest and most effective way to calm your fears may be to simply talk to your dentist or hygienist about your comfort needs. Most people are nervous or anxious when visiting the dentist, and your dental team understands this and wants to help you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. They can answer any questions you may have and help you understand what might be happening during your procedure. They can also give you more information about pain and sedation dentistry so that you can make an informed decision regarding your care. Your dentist can also offer tips on what you can do at home to feel more at ease before your appointment so you feel more comfortable when you come into the office for treatment.
For example, some dentists may offer TVs in the room so you can watch a movie or listen to music while getting treated. Others may recommend nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, which can be inhaled through a mask to make you more comfortable both during and after a procedure. It’s important that you are open and honest about what makes you feel anxious, as this will allow your dental team to best address your needs.
Wish to learn more oral care tips? Dillon-Costantino Dental can help you. We are located at 10505 West Pico Blvd, West Los Angeles, CA 90064. Call (310) 475-0617 to schedule your appointment.