8 Tips to Help You Overcome Dental Anxiety

Author: Dr. Rima Solanki, DMD

Many people experience intense fear and anxiety when thinking about visiting the dentist. It is estimated that between 10-20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety or fear. Perhaps you may have an unpleasant memory from your childhood of an unprofessional dental practitioner, or you may be somewhat embarrassed that you haven’t been keeping up with your regular check ups. For many people, dental anxiety is disturbing and can be disabling for the emotional component of the human psyche. However, at Spring Lake Dental Group, there are options like nitrous oxide and halcion which allow patients to alleviate fear and make the experience as relaxing and stress free as possible.

8 ways to deal with dental anxiety:

  1. Tell your dentist about your anxiety. Some patients feel better if the dentist tells them what is happening at every step of the process. Other patients prefer to have the dentist talk about something other than the work that is being done. Tell your dentist which method you would prefer prior to the start of your dental procedure.
  2. Take frequent breaks throughout the procedure. Let the dentist know if you raise your hand, it means you need him/her to stop for a minute.
  3. Listen to music or watch TV. Bring an iPod and noise cancelling headphones, close your eyes, and concentrate on your favorite songs instead of the sounds of the dentist’s office. At Spring Lake Dental Group, we also offer a blanket and in some treatment rooms, allow you to watch TV/movies as part of our comfort package, so make sure to ask during your appointment!
  4. Bring a friend. It can help to know you have someone you trust sitting in the waiting room and keeping you calm.
  5. Have something to hold.  Kids may want to cuddle a teddy bear. Adults may choose to have a worry stone, a stress relief ball or a hand grip to squeeze during treatment.
  6. Picture yourself somewhere else. Visualization techniques such as imagining you’re on the beach watching the waves can help relax you.
  7. Consider oral sedation. Before your appointment, call your dentist about your fears and discuss whether you should take a prescription.  Make sure you follow your dentist’s instructions regarding any medication.
  8. Consider intravenous sedation dentistry. In extreme cases, there are some patients whose anxiety has reached the point of becoming a phobia.  In these cases, talk to your dentist about whether intravenous sedation may be the best option.

 Benefits of Intravenous Sedation:

1) Higher Level of Sedation

2) Safe and Quick Acting

3) Conscious Sleep-Like State

4) Little to No Memory of the Procedure

The most important thing to remember is there are ways to cope with dental anxiety so you or someone you love can have a beautiful and healthy smile.  The first step is to talk to your dentist.  Make an appointment today at Spring Lake Dental Group 910-497-3200!