Fear of the dentist is more common than you may think—about 9-15% of American adults suffer from it, in fact. However, avoiding the dentist as a result of dental anxiety can have serious impacts on your oral health. Therefore, consider trying the following methods to reduce your dental anxiety prior to your next appointment.
One of the best things you can do to ease your concerns about your dental check-up is to ensure you have a dentist you trust. Read online reviews to get a sense of which dentist might be a good fit for you. You might also consider speaking with trusted friends and family members about their dentists—particularly if your loved ones happen to have similar fears as you. The goal is to find a dentist that you feel comfortable enough with to speak openly with about your fears so as to ease your anxiety throughout the appointment.
Communicate with your dentist.
If you have a fear of the dentist, it is so important to discuss your concerns with them prior to beginning your appointment. For starters, this allows them to personalize your appointment to your needs. This might include choosing a non-invasive treatment method or establishing a nonverbal signal with you that will allow you to take breaks. Ultimately, discussing your fears with your dentist will help them to make you feel as comfortable as possible throughout the appointment.
The sounds of drills can be a bit unnerving, even if the treatment itself is completely painless. Therefore, you might consider bringing music, listening to a podcast, or even downloading a television show on your phone. You can also bring earplugs or a stress ball to help block out the noises and keep you distracted during your appointment.
Bring a friend.
Sometimes, a friend or family member can work wonders to keep you relaxed during a dentist appointment. Feel free to bring someone who makes you feel comfortable and can distract you while you’re in the chair. We just recommend that you do not bring someone who shares similar anxieties about the dentist, as this can sometimes achieve the opposite of your intended results.
Ask about local sedation.
Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is sometimes used with young patients and those who suffer from dental phobia. This local sedative helps to alleviate anxiety and calm you throughout the appointment. The effects of the sedative also dissipate almost immediately after the procedure is complete. Speak with your dentist to ask if he or she thinks you’re a good candidate for this particular option.
Maintain a solid dental hygiene routine.
One of the best ways to keep your dental visits short and sweet is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Be sure to brush your teeth twice per day and after meals. You also need to make sure you’re flossing every evening to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. This will help to reduce the amount of dental work you need during your appointments.
Our dentists at Aurora Dental Group can help to alleviate your fear of the dentist and keep you in good oral health. To schedule your next appointment, call our office today!