Top tips for dealing with your dental anxiety
Do you suffer from dental anxiety? Is that little post card reminding you that you’re due for an appointment quickly brushed to the side as you procrastinate seeing your dental professional? If this sounds familiar you are not alone. More than 80% of Americans have some level of fear when it comes to stepping into a dental office causing nearly 25% of people to avoid dental appointments altogether.
While some of these people have fear due to a previously negative experience, most experience this anxiety because of the fear of the unknown. Unfortunately, skipping those yearly checkups can end up causing you a lot more pain physically and financially in the end.
Here are some tips to help relieve some of that nervousness leading up to your dental appointments as well as help you while in the chair so you can get the care you need.
Find a dentist that makes you feel at ease
Shop around! Ask family and friends for referrals or go online and read testimonials. You can also book a consultation with a dentist before going ahead with any treatment. This allows you to meet the dentist and get an idea for how comfortable they make you feel prior to them working in your mouth.
Alert dentist ahead of time
Express your fears and concerns with your dental office before coming in. Friendly staff will do everything they can to help prepare you for your appointment and design a plan to minimize stress the day of your appointment. Don’t be embarrassed to reveal your fears as this is very common. The more honest you are the better your dental team can care for you.
Early morning appointments
Early morning appointments are highly recommended as they don’t allow for the day to build up anxiety. Eat breakfast before your appointment as low sugar levels can raise stress levels and give yourself ample time to get to your appointment to avoid traffic stress.
Bring a friend
Bring a close friend or family member for emotional support. Many find that having a loved one with them relaxes their nerves as it is something familiar to them. Let your dental office know if you want to bring someone in with you for your appointments in case they have a room that allows more room for this.
Have something to hold
Maybe you have a comfort blanket, stuffed animal or like to hold onto a stress ball. Whatever distracts your mind and gives you comfort do not be embarrassed to bring it in with you. Believe me when I say I know more than one grown man that still has a childhood stuffy kicking around.
Have procedures explained in detail every step of the way
Have your dental expert explain all instruments being used and what they will be doing. Knowing exactly what will be going on throughout the appointments eliminates fear of the unknown. Ask questions if you have any and establish a signal with your dentist/denturist if you need a break at any point.
For some procedures your dentist may offer sedation or medications to help you relax. Speak to your dentist to see if these options are available.
Dental professionals are all very familiar with dental anxiety. Find a dentist that is willing to do what they can to make your dental visits a positive experience. And try to focus on the positives that come out of seeing your dental expert! At Perfit, we work with several great dental offices who understand the importance of patient comfort.
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