If you have a fear of going to the dentist, you’re not alone. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “about 36% of people in the U.S. have a fear of dental treatment, with 12% having an extreme fear.” At Highland Dental Group, we take pride in making our patients feel comfortable before, during, and after a routine cleaning or more involved procedure. We are here to help you identify ways that can help you alleviate your anxiety before you even set foot in the office.
Here are 7 quick tips to help calm anxiety and nerves before a dentist visit:
- Be prepared to share your fears with your dentist. When you’re transparent about your fears, your dentist can walk you through your procedure or routine cleaning in a way that is helpful and comforting to you.
- Plan ahead. Try to schedule an appointment on a day where you won’t be really busy or in a rush to get somewhere right after your appointment. This will provide the body with an opportunity to relax.
- Monitor your food and water intake. Before your appointment, avoid foods with high sugars or caffeine; they may make you more jittery and contribute to your anxiety. Instead, try consuming something that has calming properties, like caffeine-free tea.
- Practice a deep breathing technique. Remembering to breathe is a key component to staying calm and relaxed during a procedure or routine cleaning. Breathing techniques are important in general as they help to lower blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce levels of stress.
- Visit your dentist regularly. The fear of what could be wrong with your teeth may prevent you from feeling at ease coming to the dentist. When you see your dentist every six months instead of avoiding or prolonging time between appointments, there are fewer unknowns and the process starts to feel more routine.
- Ask the doctor to explain the process with you beforehand. Our doctors always take the time to explain everything they’re doing because, regardless of whether someone has dental anxiety, it has a calming effect. Just remind your care provider that this is helpful for you.
- Consider additional medication. In some cases, dentists may offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to patients who are anxious to allow them to relax and reduce nervousness. During larger procedures, your doctor may suggest sedation to ease nerves and make the process go more smoothly.
If you’re feeling insecure about your teeth or self-conscious, remember that we are not in business to critique or judge your teeth or smile. Our job is to provide high-quality care and expertise in order to treat any issues, making your mouth and teeth the healthiest they can be.
Dental Anxiety Treatment Options
We recognize that fear of the dentist and dental anxiety is very real. In extreme cases of dental anxiety, we can discuss whether or not sedation dentistry might be a good option for you. The most important factor is to not let your fear control your oral health. If your fear of the dentist prevents you from seeking treatment, you experience a decline in dental health, which is the opposite of what you should want for yourself. We recommend that you see your dentist as soon as possible and work with them to determine a way to provide the care you need in a way that makes you feel most comfortable.
We prioritize the oral health of our patients and want to help you in a caring way that can aid in overcoming dental anxiety and fear of the dentist. If you have any questions or concerns, we’re here to help – just contact us!