Dental fear is a common phenomenon. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, about 75% of Americans experience dental fear to some degree. Dental fear can lead to dental anxiety, which is a more serious condition. There are various reasons people experience dental fear. If you have dental anxiety, here are a few helpful tips for you.
Speak up about your fears
Dental fear prevents patients from having routine visits or coming in to see the dentist when something is wrong. If you are afraid of receiving treatment, speak up! We don’t want you to feel anxious during your visits. Let your dentist know if you are uncomfortable during a procedure. They might be able to give you options to help make you feel better; for instance, using a topical anesthetic on the area before doing a filling or a root canal. If needed, we can also prescribe medication to help with anxiety. Don’t wait until there is an emergency to happen before you communicate with us about your fear of going to the dentist. Tell us! We will work together to make your visits as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Similarly, you should talk about any past traumas or bad experiences you’ve had at the dentist’s office. Your hygienist wants your experience to be as relaxing as possible, so they’re happy to talk through what happened, why you were scared, and what you can do to make your experience better next time. Be patient and be open with your dentist about how you’re feeling. That way, they can help you have a more comfortable visit.
Agree on a signal
If you’re feeling nervous, tell your dentist! It’s normal to be a little nervous before a procedure, and your anxiety can worsen if you’re worried about what the dentist thinks or if they’ll judge you for being afraid. However, if you speak up about your fear, your dentist will understand and help you feel more at ease. For example, ask for a signal that you can use if you need to take a break or feel too anxious to continue. It can be anything – raising your hand, tapping on the table, etc. Just talk to your dental hygienist about what you’ll do when you need a break.
Take a trusted person with you
Don’t let your dental anxiety keep you from taking care of your teeth! If fear is keeping you from the dental office, bring someone you trust along when you visit the dentist. Having a familiar face nearby may help you relax during your appointment.
Any kind of distraction will help ease any feelings of anxiety or nervousness. Bringing a distraction can help take the focus off of any discomfort you are feeling and ease your mind. This can include bringing your own music to listen to headphones or earbuds to listen to music that will relax you. You can also bring a book to read during your appointment to help distract yourself from the treatment you are receiving. Once you arrive, your dental hygienist will be happy to answer any questions you have, as well as help you prepare for your visit in any way possible. Our team will do their best to ensure you are comfortable throughout your entire visit.
Consider sedation dentistry
If you still feel nervous after trying these suggestions, then speak to your dentist about oral conscious sedation. This form of medication helps patients feel more relaxed and less anxious during their appointments. Oral conscious sedation medications are taken before the procedure and then wear off once the appointment is over. These medications are safe for most patients to use, but it is best to speak with your doctor beforehand to be sure you are a good candidate for the procedure. Sedation dentistry is safe for patients of all ages and will help decrease any fears you may have about your upcoming dental care treatments.
Contact Vasquez & Associates Dental Office if you have any questions about oral care. You can schedule a consultation by calling (760) 529-5339 or visiting us at 3601 Vista Way Ste 105, Oceanside, CA 92056.