If you’re one of the millions of Americans who struggle with dental anxiety, there is hope. Dental professionals work diligently to create comfortable and welcoming environments that put patients at ease. However, this isn’t always enough because it doesn’t treat the root of the problem. Dental anxiety can stem from several factors, including:
- The dread of being lectured
- Fear of pain
- Fear of needles
- Worry about having a serious dental problem
- A bad experience
- The sounds of the dental equipment
The first step to overcoming dental anxiety is to identify the issue or issues. Once you’ve done that, read these tips to learn how to manage that anxiety so you can receive the dental care you need!
1. Find the right dentist
The best thing you can do to relieve some (or all) of your anxiety is to choose a dentist that makes you feel comfortable and at ease. This could take some time, but it’s definitely worth the effort! Thankfully, the internet makes this process much simpler.
Here are some steps to take to find the right dentist:
- Google search “dentist near me”
- Read the patient reviews
- View the dentist’s website to learn about their experience, passions, and personality
- See if the website addresses dental anxiety or fear
- Call for additional questions
If you’re still interested in the dentist, schedule an initial consultation. Most dentists offer free first appointments so all you have to do is find the time.
2. Ask about dental sedation
Many dentists offer safe dental sedation to patients who are nervous about a procedure or for patients struggling with dental anxiety. Dr. Rod Gleave offers three methods of sedation, including:
- Inhaled sedation
- Oral sedation
- IV sedation
Each of these can be safely paired with general anesthesia to ensure you don’t feel any pain and your nerves are calmed. Dental sedation is an extremely effective option for patients who fear the dentist so be sure you choose a dentist who offers it.
In addition to these methods, the office environment should make it apparent that the dentist prioritizes patient comfort. For example, our office provides free Wi-Fi, TVs to watch in the operatories, and blankets. Our staff is always friendly and ready to offer you anything you need.
3. Be open about your fears
When you schedule your initial consultation or during the initial consultation, it’s important that you express exactly what makes you feel fearful or anxious. The dentist will take all things into consideration to help you overcome those worries.
In addition to offering dental sedation, the dentist may work with you to create hand signals that will help you communicate during an examination or procedure.
4. Use breathing techniques
Patients should visit the dentist every six months for a regular dental appointment and exam. While dental sedation may be necessary for patients who suffer from extreme anxiety, breathing techniques may be helpful for others.
Deep breathing exercises help relieve tension in your muscles. To be successful at this technique, follow these steps:
- Inhale and exhale slowly five times in a row while in the waiting room and in the dental chair.
- Concentrate on relaxing your entire body, starting with your toes and all the way up to your head or vice versa.
- Repeat these steps throughout the appointment.
5. Bring a friend
Sometimes all you need is the extra support of a friend. Make it a fun day by planning to go to lunch, shopping, or golfing together after your dental appointment.
Bringing along a friend can help keep you accountable so you actually make it to the appointment as well.
Contact Our Friendly Dentist
Dr. Rod Gleave is prepared to help patients with all levels of anxiety achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. Call our office today at (801) 923-6406 to schedule an initial consultation.